It was not
all that long ago when virtually everything you bought was NOT designed to be
thrown away when it broke. Back when integrated circuits (ICs), resistors, and
capacitors had wire leads and cases were held together with straight-slot and
Phillips head screws rather than the microminiature 'security' type screws,
it was possible for the able and willing repairman to troubleshoot and repair
a device or appliance. Now, in a world that bombards us with admonitions against
not being green, practically everything is meant to be thrown away after use
- from cellphones and televisions to clothing and the vast quantity of cardboard
and Styrofoam packaging that contains our disposable goods.
For those of us who lived during the aforementioned times and/or those who
dabble in vintage electronics either for hobby or for career necessity, access
to data books can sometimes mean the difference between repairing and reusing
a piece of equipment or relegating it to the same refuse mountain that modern
goods inhabit. Many such references can be found on eBay and various electronics
forums, but prices can be high.
Most of the volumes uploaded by Arthur Missira are now gone
from the Archive.org website. I am trying to contact him to find out if there
is an alternate location for the documents. Fortunately, hundreds can still
be accessed on
- Thanks to David R. for the tip.
Bitsavers.org is another great resource for vintage technical publications.
Fortunately, there are good Samaritans like Arthur Missira who are on a mission
to make as many such resources available to the public at no charge (more than
1,500 volumes to date). Mr. Missira wrote to me recently (apologies
to him for taking so long to relay the news) saying he has been scanning and
uploading reams and reams of data book pages and technical text books onto the
Archive.org website. In order to avoid copyright issues, he has either received
permission to replicate the material or relied on copyright dated prior to 1978
having expired. I have not attempted to interpret the laws of the United States
Patent and Copyright Office (USPTO)
regarding copyright law,
but some legal beagle reading this is welcome to chime in with an opinion or
statement of fact. See also
of Copyright and Copyright Basics for more information.
Unfortunately, catalogs for most of the very familiar microwave components
companies do not seem to be available yet at Archive.org, either because nobody
has bothered to upload them yet, or because for some reason the companies (or
their new owners) object to their copyrighted material being placed in the public
domain. A few names that come to mind from when I first entered the RF / microwave
engineering realm in the mid 1980s are Avantek (bought by HP, now Agilent),
Anzac (bought by M/A-COM, then AMP, now Tyco), Amplifonix (bought by Spectrum
Microwave), Celeritek (bought by Mimix), Cougar (bought by Teledyne), Continental
Microwave (bought by Chelton, now Cobham DES), FSY Microwave (bought by Spectrum
Microwave), KDI/Triangle (bought by Aeroflex), and Watkins Johnson (bought by
Stellex, now TriQuint). This info was found in the "Where Are
They Now?" article in the December 2011 Microwave & RF magazine. None
of those companies' catalogs are listed according to my search.
There are, however, plenty of catalogs and data books for analog and digital
components from companies like RCA, Philips, General Instrument, etc.
Additionally, there is a huge number of technical books, repair manuals, and
other resources available. The best thing to do is go to the
and try a few searches.
Here are a few of the thousands of examples:
Posted September 23, 2013