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Homepage Archive August 2013 (page 1)

These archive pages are provided in order to make it easier for you to find items that you remember seeing on the RF Cafe homepage. Of course probably the easiest way to find anything on the website is to use the "Search RF Cafe" box at the top of every page. About RF Cafe.

Homepage Archive Pages

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Here is page 2 of the August 2013 homepage archive

Spirent Is Looking for 5

RF / Wireless Engineers

Spirent Looking for 5 RF / Wireless Engineers - RF Cafe Job PostingSpirent has announced 5 new RF / Wireless engineering positions. Spirent Communications is where the world's leading communications companies turn when they need to accelerate their time-to-market for next-generation communication systems. We are always looking for new employees with exceptional abilities, vision, and commitment levels to join our team.

-  RF Hardware, Staff Engineer

-  Wireless Applications

   Software Senior Engineer

-  Senior Wireless Protocol

   Software Architect

-  Senior LTE Systems

   Software Architect/Engineer

-  Senior LTE Network

   Emulator Layer 1 Architect

   / Developer Software /

   Firmware Senior Staff


Many Thanks to ASC

for Supporting RF Cafe

Amplifier Solutions Corporation (ASC) has been a supporter of RF Cafe since 2009. Please thank them by visiting their website to see if any of their offerings can be of use to you. ASC is a designer and manufacturer of RF & Microwave hybrid amplifiers for the military and commercial markets. ASC's thick film hybrids utilize GaAs FET, silicon bipolar transistor and MMIC technologies to achieve low to medium power output in the 300 kHz to 6 GHz frequency band.

Skyworks Powers Dual-Core

MediaTek Smartphone Platform

Skyworks Solutions announced that MediaTek is leveraging several of Skyworks' front-end solutions in their innovative, dual-core MT6572 platform which is supporting multiple leading tier-one smartphone manufacturers in emerging markets. MediaTek has revolutionized the manufacture of mobile phones by supplying complete chipset solutions that couples their own baseband processor, radio, software, multimedia and connectivity product offerings, with industry-leading front-end solutions to offer a turnkey approach to manufacturers who supply handsets to consumers around the world. 

The Cloud Begins with Coal

The Cloud Begins with Coal - RF CafeYour smartphone is essentially coal-powered, or maybe even gas-powered. So is your tablet, notebook computer, television, and even, if you have one, your electric car. Just as buying one of those devices in a friendly-faced suburban retail store doesn't change the fact that it was almost certainly built and shipped by people whose lives are so miserable that some companies place nets around their builds to keep suicidal souls from landing on sidewalk pedestrians, neither does ignoring the "true" impact of your data consumerism habit make the reality of its ramifications any less significant. Mr. Mark Mills, of the Digital Power Group, just released a landmark paper titled "The Cloud Begins with Coal - Big Data, Big Networks, Big Infrastructure, and Big Coal: An Overview of the Electricity Used by the Global Digital Ecosystem" wherein he assesses the impact of our digital world on energy demands. Increasingly, and at a rapid rate, the share of electricity consumed by Internet-connected devices is dominating many traditional realms. As this thumbnail chart indicates, the share...

PMI Intros 1.0 to 2.0 GHz

Low Noise Amplifier

PMI Intros 1.0 to 2.0 GHz Low Noise Amplifier - RF CafePMI Model No. PE2-35-1R02R0-1R4-17-12-SFF is a Low Noise Amplifier that operates over the 1.0 to 2.0 GHz frequency range. This model provides 35 dB of gain and offers a low noise figure of 1.4 dB typically. The amplifier provides an OP1dB is +17 dBm and operates on +12 to +15 VDC with 160 mA of typical current draw. This amplifier is supplied in the PE2 housing measuring 1.08" x 0.71" x 0.29".

The Fabulous Fuel Cell

The Fabulous Fuel Cell, September 1964 Popular Electronics - RF CafeWhen you think of typical primary battery cells (non-rechargeable by definition), something like the standard Ray-O-Vac carbon (actually zinc-carbon) model probably comes to mind. The reason primary cells cannot be recharged is that the cathodes are consumed in the reaction with the electrolyte during current flow. Secondary cells are rechargeable because the current-producing reaction does not consume the cathode (at least not as rapidly), so applying a reverse voltage drives the electrons back from whence they came allowing the discharge process to happen again. There is another type of primary cell - the fuel cell - that never really discharges but is constantly fed with a chemical (or combination of chemicals) that facilitates a reaction between electrodes and the electrolyte. Therefore it never needs to be recharged in the traditional sense - just refueled. In a sense a fuel cell is more of an electric generator than a battery. Turn off the external energy source...

New Book Added to Pick List

for Monthly Drawing

A Student's Guide to Vectors and Tensors, by Daniel Fleisch, has just been added to the titles available for selection to winners of my monthly book drawing. You can think of this book as a grand collection of all the short tutorial sections in the fronts and backs of all your electromagnetics, physics, mechanics, and optics text books. I am tempted to keep this book for my own library, but it will surely be more valuable to a student or engineer suddenly faced with the need for such knowledge.

Graciously provided by Cambridge University Press

Hobnobbing with Harbaugh:

Biocells Revisited

Hobnobbing with the Harbaughs: The Fabulous Fuel Cell, September 1964 Popular Electronics - RF CafeHobnobbing with Harbaugh was a regular comic feature in Popular Electronics in the 1960s. Creator Dave Harbaugh chose topics ranging from husband-wife relationships where the husband is a technophile of some sort and the wife either purposely or unknowingly challenges his efforts to participate in his hobby, to contemporary (at the time) subjects such as this month's treatment of biocells. Like electronics, bioengineering was a mysterious field few understood that received a great deal of attention by comedians and sci-fi film makers.

Repair Zone Website Listing

Added to Motors & Servos

Even though I have spent decades in the electronics and microelectronics fields, there is something about rolling up my sleeves and delving into a 1/3 HP motor that takes me back to my roots as an electrician and controls guy. Just like you can actually buy a bottle of men's cologne (somewhat of an oxymoronic term) with the scent of bourbon, glue, saw dust, or cut grass (not the 5-bladed variety), I might place a bottle of Eau de Overheated Stator Winding Enamel on my medicine cabinet shelf next to the Old Spice. The aroma would make a nice addition to Yankee Candle's collection of man-candles as well... although maybe not. Why am I bringing this up just to announce the addition of the Repair Zone (aka York Repair) website to my Motors, Solenoids, Fans & Cooling Manufacturers & Services webpage? Well, while perusing their site...

AOptix Looking for

RF Architect & Field Engineer

AOptix Looking for RF Architect & Field Engineer - RF CafeAOptix Technologies is growing as we continue to lead the world in creating breakthrough products for Wireless Optical Communications and Identity Solutions. AOptix is interested in hiring an RF Architect to work on our communications products. This would be someone who has worked on the subsystems of wireless radios. This is an E-band front end with a baseband radio.  AOptix is also looking for a Senior Technical Field Support Engineer.

New Waveguide Component

Search Tool on everything RF

everything RF has released a Waveguide Components Section on the website. There are thousands of products from a number of waveguide manufacturers. Each category has a customized parametric search tool that lets you narrow down on products that meet your specification. Users can search for waveguide products, compare them across manufacturers, download datasheets and request quotations. The waveguide categories that currently live on everything RF include horn antennas, attenuators, bends, circulators, couplers, isolators, and terminations.


The Metal of Tomorrow

Uranium: The Metal of Tomorrow - RF CafeThis is a really cool infographic that packs in a lot of good statistics about uranium. Beginning with its initial discovery in 1789 by Martin Klaproth (who named the element after the planet Uranus), uses ranging from tinting glass to nuclear power to nuclear medicine are diagrammed in chronological order. Did you know that this 92nd entry in the Periodic Table of the Elements is, as far as known today, 500x more abundant on Earth than gold, or that 13% of the world's electricity is currently supplied by nuclear reactors that exploit the stuff? A ton of Uranium can produce 16,000x as much energy as a ton of coal, with no greenhouse gas emissions. Sure, the chart is ultimately meant to promote nuclear energy, but aside from a potential catastrophe like a power plant core meltdown or a tsunami washing nuclear material out to sea (if you are dumb enough to build one in a known vulnerable area), you have to admit it is by far the best option economically. Contemporary construction techniques for light water reactors that extract more use from uranium rods, located in areas vetted based on modern geological knowledge far from large population centers, practically eliminates the chance of an incident. Terrorism by religious fanatics...

Practical Amateur

Aerial Design

Practical Amateur Aerial Design, July 1934 Radio News - RF CafeOne of the nice things about antenna design articles is that regardless of when they were written, all that is needed to make them entirely contemporary is to substitute a transistor schematic symbol for a vacuum tube and substitute the units "kHz" and "MHz" for "kc" and "mc," respectively. If the article delves into detailed circuit design, a substitution of "μF" for "mf" might also be required and depending on the frequency range, "pF" for "mmf" or "μμF." Some readers might feel the urge to replace SAE units with metric units, but even a hundred years ago there were people who needed to do that. "Aerial" and "antenna" are still interchangeable in modern radio parlance. With that in mind, please enjoy this 1934 article on basic antenna design.

Marki Leverages AWR's MWO

for Revolutionary Mixer Design

AWR Corporation announces that its customer, Marki Microwave, a leader in custom high-performance wireless components, has leveraged its high-frequency design software platform to develop a new design and manufacturing flow for successful mixer design. The revolutionary new mixer design flow combines AWR's Microwave Office circuit design software and Marki's patent-pending Microlithic™ mixer manufacturing process, resulting in a 14x reduction in the size of Marki's mixers and a 5x reduction in design time with the same industry-leading quality and performance as the former handcrafted devices.

Listen to Byrd

on Short-Wave Radio

Listen to Byrd on Short-Wave Radio - RF CafeLittle America was a series of Antarctic exploration bases begun by Admiral Richard Byrd in 1929, located on the Ross Ice Shelf, south of the Bay of Whales at the South Pole. In those days such expeditions captivated the imaginations of Americans and folks worldwide for that matter. CBS radio broadcast a weekly show that featured in part communications from Byrd's team. Listeners sat in rapt attention as the announcer described the S.S. Jacob Ruppert passage through the Panama Canal en route to New Zealand and then on to the South Pole for the "Byrd Antarctic Expedition II." KFZ, Byrd's station call sign, used an aerial constructed of a horizontal, diamond-shaped type known as a Bruce antenna. The wires are stretched between four 60-foot telegraph poles. Shortwave frequencies between 6,650 and 21,625 kilocycles...

Dots and Dashes

Radio Industry News

Dots and Dashes, July 1934 Radio News - RF CafeIf you read through this Dots and Dashes column from the July 1934 edition of Radio News, you will find many familiar topics - and a couple weird ones. Among the familiar are transmitting electrical power via RF waves, an electronics industry convention and exposition, elevator control with electric sensors, global communications, the closing of a historic radio station (how 'historic' can a radio station be in 1934?), earth-moon-earth (EME) experimentation, and remote control of beacon stations with radio signals. The weird ones? How about a woman with glowing breasts and a 'queer' radio microphone, do they qualify?

Anatech Electronics

Newsletter - August 2013

Anatech Electronics Newsletter for August 2013 - RF CafeAnatech Electronics has published its August 2013 newsletter. As always, it includes both company news and some tidbits about relevant industry events, regulations, and standards. This month Sam Benzacar offers his take on the subjects of toxic waster waste in Silicon Valley, legacy filters, LTE in residences and Audi vehicles, channels guard bands, and believe it or not, fruit flies.

Featured Book: Engineering

Student Survival Guide

With engineering classes about to begin again in a couple weeks, this would be a good time to get yourself a little survival knowledge - particularly if you are a freshman. Engineering Student Survival Guide might be a good place to start for you, your kid, or a friend. "The third edition of this wildly successful text provides information and strategies for engineering students to get the most out of their college education. From freshman orientation to senior year and beyond, this book covers topics pertinent and unique to all engineering students. "

NuWaves Showcases Linear

Bidirectional PA at AUVSI 2013

NuWaves Engineering of Middletown, Ohio, an international Radio Frequency (RF) and Embedded Systems solutions provider, is exhibiting its high-performance, miniaturized RF products and is also demonstrating the first linearized model to come from the company's new NuPower Xtender™ series of bidirectional power amplifiers at the 2013 Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) Unmanned Systems exhibition. Operating from 2200 to 2500 MHz, the NuPower Xtender Linear Bidirectional S-Band PA is capable of generating over 10 Watts of peak saturated power, or approximately 6 Watts of average power

Smart NFC Location System

for Your Car Keys - FiMS

NFC Location System for Your Car Keys (and other things) - RF CafeEveryone knows if you lose your cellphone, all you have to do is call it on another phone and listen for your personal ringtone. Slightly clever devices have been invented to connect to your car keys, wallet, PDA (anyone still have one?), and other portable items that are easily laid down and forgotten that will respond to a clap of the hand, whistle, or whatever. Those schemes require you to be within hearing or seeing distance of the lost item. Find My Stuff (FiMS) hopes to improve on the idea significantly. Researchers at the Institute of Media Informatics, Ulm University Ulm, Germany, are about to go high tech with Near Field Communications (NFC) and an intelligent location system that will tell you exactly where to find your tagged device. Per the FiMS whitepaper, "An average person misplaces up to nine items per week, most frequently mobile phones, keys, and sunglasses, and spends about 15 minutes per day searching those objects. Yet, in contrast to searching information online, locating physical objects is rarely supported by technology." In order to be fully implemented, "smart furniture" is required which has RFID readers integrated...

Notable Quote

Today, August 12, Google honors Erwin Schrödinger's birthday with a homepage Doodle referencing the famous Schrödinger's cat paradox (here is the Doodle archive if you miss it). "When I hear of Schrödinger's cat, I reach for my pistol." - Stephen Hawking. Here are a couple humorous items to go along with the notable quote. "Wave if you've met Schrödinger" - Bumper sticker | "Wanted: Schrödinger's Cat, Dead or Alive" - Bumper sticker | "Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar and doesn't" - Bar joke

Computing with

Scattering Parameters

Computing with Scattering Parameters, by Joe Cahak - RF CafeRF engineer Joe Cahak, owner of Sunshine Design Engineering Services, has written a series of white papers on S-parameters. This second installment is titled, "Computing with Scattering Parameters." At least one other will follow within the next few weeks, so stay tuned. "Network Transforms: These are the matrix transforms that are used to convert from one network description to another. Typically the –parameter, Z, Y, h and ABCD are direct conversions. The conversion to a few of the others are after the base conversion then the conversion from h to the inverse g, ABCD with the inverse..."

Please Check out everythingRF

in Appreciation of Support!

everything RF is a search engine for RF & microwave components. everything RF lists complete catalogs from various RF & microwave component manufacturers and enables engineers to search through them by specification. There are over 113,660 components listed from more than 253 manufacturers. Download datasheets, request quotes or contact the suppliers for more information via everything RF. Its Fast & Easy!

JyeBao Intros Line of Coaxial

Connector Rotary Joints

JyeBao Intros Line of Coaxial Connector Rotary Joints - RF CafeJyeBao, a vertically integrated company that designs and produces its RF products in house all the way from raw material to the end product, has introduced a line of rotary joint coaxial connectors and adapters. Rotary joints are used to transmit microwave energy from stationary lines to rotating lines. JyeBao's patented multi-directional adaptors permit smooth rotational movement around two axis allowing the adaptors to move in virtually any direction. SMA jack to SMA jack, SMA jack to SMA plug, and SMA plug to SMA plug, rotary joint adapters; panel mount SMA coaxial rotary joints; and PCB-mount SMA coaxial rotary joints offer low loss and low VSWR at all rotational angles.

RF & Microwave Crossword

for August 11, 2013

RF & Microwave Crossword Puzzle for August 11, 2013 - RF CafeTake a break and work this week's RF & microwave engineering themed crossword puzzle. All the words are pulled from a hand-built list of terms, names, and abbreviations that have only to do with science, mathematics, and engineering. If you want a crossword with names of movie stars and obscure countries, try the local newspaper. If you want to exercise your nerd knowledge, this is the one for you.

RFS Announces Dual Axis

Mechanical Tilt Sensor

RFS Announces Dual Axis Mechanical Tilt Sensor - RF CafeRadio Frequency Systems (RFS), the global wireless and broadcast infrastructure specialist, today announced the availability of an AISG 2.0 compliant, dual axis RFS Mechanical Tilt Sensor (MTS). The simple-to-install in-line device enables RFS customers to accurately measure the position of its antennas in real-time without physically having to check the placement on site. RFS' MTS performs calibrated angle measurement with respect to gravity, reading 0 degrees when the device is vertical. Any deflection from a vertical position will result in increasing angle values. MTS is expertly engineered to withstand extreme temperatures and weather conditions and prevents water intrusion, making it ideal for providing reliable data even under the most severe environmental conditions.

R&D Researcher Needed by

Filter Sensing Technologies

Filter Sensing Technologies is looking for an Electrical / Mechanical Research and Development Team Lead. This position seeks an electrical or mechanical engineer to lead R&D projects in the areas of RF-based sensors and vibration systems. The ideal candidate will possess a strong background in electronics, programming, and prototype development, as well as demonstrated ability to lead projects and small research teams. Additional mechanical background and experiences are a benefit.  Significant potential exists for career growth in technical and/or business management roles.

World's Helium Supply

Up in the Air

World's Helium Supply Up in the Air - RF CafePopular Science magazine has been reporting on the world's helium supply shortage for a couple years. It seems incredible that the element our sun creates at a rate of millions of cubic feet per minute by way of a nucleosynthesis process is actually becoming scarce on Earth. Helium, element #2 in the Periodic Table, was discovered on the sun via spectral analysis before it was found terrestrially. MRI machines are the largest users of helium (22%), followed by welding operations (17%), electronics and other cooling applications (14%), pressurization (11%), party balloons (8%), and various other uses. The world could arguably get along without floating party balloons; in fact, using hydrogen in lieu of helium would still produce floatation and could make for real Hindenburg-like excitement when gotten too close to birthday cake candles. ...but I digress. The coolest part about the short story that appeared in the August 2013 issue is the chart which plots the price of helium versus the world's production of helium, created by author Katie Peek. The line looks a lot like random walking exhibited by Brownian motion...

Dali Wireless Digital-Over-Fiber

RF Router™ System

Dali Wireless RF Router™ System is Industry’s Most Advanced Digital-Over-Fiber Solution for Extending Wireless Carriers’ Coverage and Capacity - RF CafeDali Wireless, Inc., today introduced the industry's most advanced digital-over-fiber solution for delivering distributed wireless coverage and capacity. Based on the company's t-Series™ RF Router system, it has the industry's lowest cost of ownership while providing 6 times the reach, 3 times the bandwidth, and requiring one-third the fiber, 25% less power, and 75% less equipment space. Dali Wireless will demonstrate the network at the 2013 Wireless Infrastructure Show.

USAF Radar Tech

Elbert Cook Checks In!

USAF Radar Tech Elbert Cook Checks In! - RF CafePlease welcome Elbert Cook to my USAF Radar Technician comrade list!. Elbert provided a very detailed account of his duty stations and the equipment worked on. Any of you who had the pleasure of maintaining the TPN-19 ASR/PAR radar system will appreciate his comments. I never worked on it myself, but while at Robins AFB, GA (5CCG) in the MPN-14 radar shop a couple of the newfangled, transistorized TPN-19s arrived from Tinker AFB, OK (3CCG) and oh, boy, do I remember the stories that came from the poor souls who came with them. I helped clear the site on Robins AFB's back 40 and laid down a lot of AM2 portable aluminum runway panels for the units to sit on. Rattlesnakes were all over that place - ugh. I was glad to get back to the civilized part of the base after a couple weeks there.

Thanks to PMI for

Continued Support

Planar Monolithic Industrie's organization has been setup to design, develop, manufacture, test, and market complex state-of-the-art hybrid RF MIC and MMIC components, supercomponents, and subsystems. Unique products for applications in space, military, commercial, telecommunications, and consumer electronics systems in the DC- 40 GHz realm are their specialty. Filters, amplifiers, amplifiers, modulators, and switches are among their offerings.

Cobham Intros Ultra WB, Dual

Polar, Sinuous Spiral Antenna

Cobham Intros Ultra Wideband, Dual Polar, Sinuous Spiral Antenna - RF CafeThis newly developed sinuous, spiral antenna is particularly suitable for security, surveillance and EW applications. Its rugged, machined housing makes it ideal for harsh environments. Ultra wideband, frequency covers 2 to 18 GHz. Directional, the Beamwidth is 65° to 95° in azimuth and elevation, with a maximum Beam Squint of only +/-4 degrees to -3 dB points across the band. Dual circular (Right and Left Hand) polarisation over the entire band means that there is no likelihood of any frequency being missed at any polarisation.

Tales from the Cube:

Drawing out a Solution

Tales from the Cube: Drawing out a Solution - RF CafeThis is clearly one of the best installments of EDN's Tales from the Cube series that I remember reading. The anecdote told has everything a good story needs - a catchy introductory paragraph ("Having trouble?" my boss asked, looking over my shoulder. I wanted to say, "No, my design is failing exactly the way I intended."), a body that retains the reader's interest and builds an anticipation for the conclusion (a crescendo, so-to-speak), and then delivers on the promise with an ending that utterly gives closure and justifies your attention and time. You finish being glad you read it. My junior year college creative writing professor would surely have given writer Steve Lubs an A+ for his 500[+73]-word essay. The story has a moral lesson to boot!

Please Visit JQL Electronics

in Appreciation of Support

JQL Electronics, Inc. is a leading manufacturer of microwave ferrite isolators & circulators, directional couplers, power divider/combiners, ceramic filters, and power transformers. In addition to their design capability, JQL has strong production capability to deliver its products, and their lead time is among the shortest in the industry. Up to 120 GHz and 250 W available off-the-shelf.

Many Nice Online Calculators

from Phase Matrix

Many Nice Online Calculators from Phase Matrix - RF CafeWhile clicking around the Phase Matrix website the other day, I happened upon a nice set of online calculators like the cascade calculator shown in the thumbnail. Also included under the "RF Design Tools" menu are Tee & Pi Attenuator Calculator, VSWR Mismatch & Power Uncertainty, Microstrip Line Design, Power Dividers / Couplers Designer, and a few other calculators. A nice feature about these calculators are the sliders and dials for making parameter adjustments, or you can enter an exact number. Many of the RF / microwave vendor websites have nice calculators buried in them.

Many Thanks to JyeBao for

Their Long-Time Support!

JyeBao has been helping deliver RF Cafe to you for more than four years by continual advertising of their products. JyeBao is a connector, cable, cable assembly and passive components manufacturer. Synergies and large stock keep lead times to a minimum and allow them to offer customers an unparalleled flexibility. Innovation is pivotal and they are constantly developing new products.

USAF Radar Tech

Jim Mallik Checks In

USAF Radar Technician Jim Mallick - RF CafePlease welcome Jim Mallick in his appointment to my listing of venerated former USAF radar technicians. Jim retired in 1993. His service record includes half a dozen different duty stations around the world where he worked primarily on mobile radar systems. If you or anyone you know are also former radar techs, please contact me with your service info and I'll be glad to add it. 

Our Intellectual Property

Laws Are Out of Control

Our Intellectual Property Laws Are Out of Control - RF CafeDid you know that prior to the 17th century monarchs and their assigns would issue decrees forbidding anyone other than their chosen vendors to sell certain products or services? Monopolies were granted for marketing of such trivial items as perfume and playing cards. In 1624, Parliament passed a law banning monopolies except as a reward for inventors. That bit of trivia is part of an article by Glenn Reynolds in Popular Science. He continues that during the drafting of the U.S. Constitution you find similar thinking. "Thomas Jefferson opposed all government-granted monopolies, but James Madison argued that while monopolies generally are bad, there is a place for patents and copyrights. In the end, the Patent and Copyright Clause (Article I, Section 8) empowered Congress '[t]o promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.'" It's a short article, but an interesting read about how the current patent and trademark system is breaking down.

Featured Book

Modern RF and Microwave Measurement Techniques, by Valeria Teppati, Andrea Ferrero, Mohamed Sayed (Cambridge RF and Microwave Engineering Series). This comprehensive, hands-on review of the most up-to-date techniques in RF and microwave measurement combines microwave circuit theory and metrology, in-depth analysis of advanced modern instrumentation, methods and systems, and practical advice for professional RF and microwave engineers and researchers. Topics covered include microwave instrumentation, such as network analyzers, real-time spectrum analysis, sampling oscilloscopes and microwave synthesizers.

Thanks Once Again to

Coaxial Dynamics for Support

Coaxial Dynamics has been a leading manufacturer of precision equipment for the measurement and termination of RF power for over 30 years. Their equipment is used by engineers, technicians, and hobbyists in a wide variety of applications throughout the world. Directional wattmeters (average & peak  power), field strength meters, loads & attenuators, line sections & elements, and filters are among their offerings.

Radar Explores the Moon

Radar Explores the Moon, May 1961 Popular Electronics - RF CafeNASA is currently collecting a phenomenal amount of data on the planet Mars. No small part of the effort is to determine whether sending humans to inhabit Mars would be feasible, or even at all possible. In order for it to be even possible for a long-term stay, it would be necessary for consumable resources to be accessible by Earth Martians. Discovering water ice would be the pièce de résistance since water is heavy and therefore very expensive to transport across vast reaches of space. Another key bit of data needed is frequency and size of meteor strikes on the surface since that figures directly into survivability. Long before we had the capability or even need to do that for Mars, NASA was doing the same sort of investigation on our moon (as opposed to one of Mars' two moons, Phobos and Deimos). The resolution of telescopes, all ground-based in the day, was good enough to perform site selection surveys in the x-y plane, but altitude data could only be inferred via estimations based on shadow lengths along the terminator (night/day line of demarcation) and sideways glances of peaks and valleys. That was not good enough for planning a human expedition to the surface, so engineers and scientists came up with a radar mapping technique to obtain z-axis data. That effort is reported here in this May 1961 edition of Popular Electronics. More information was needed prior to actually launching a Moon lander mission, including sending...

Congrats to the 2nd July

Book Winner, Darren W. !

Most months I select two names for receiving free engineering books graciously provided by Cambridge University Press and Artech House. Also in most months only one person responds to my e-mails - maybe 50% are being escorted into the spam filter black hole of people's e-mail programs. I use most of the books for creating quizzes prior to making them available for winners. Two people actually responded for the July 2013 book drawing. Darren W. of Ontario, Canada, is winner #2 this time. Darren selected Optical Antennas, by Mario Agio and Andrea Alù., published by  Cambridge University Press.

Notable Quote

"Engineers like to solve problems. If there are no problems handily available, they will create their own problems." - RF Cafe notable Quote"Engineers like to solve problems. If there are no problems handily available, they will create their own problems." - Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert

Copper Electroplating of

Crosley 03CB Radio Hardware

1941 Model 03CB Crosley 03CB Floor Console Radio Restoration Project - RF CafeNow that my nearly 4-year-long grandmother clock project is finally finished, I'm on to the next big project, which is to restore a 1941 Crosley 03CB console radio. My intention is to do as complete a restoration as possible (or reasonable), including repairing and refinishing the wooden cabinet, stripping and repainting the metal faceplate parts, and completely disassembling and rebuilding the electronics chassis. By disassembling and rebuilding the electronic chassis I mean unsoldering and/or unbolting / unriveting every component and then testing and reinstalling every part. Fortunately, shortly after buying the Crosley radio ($75) from someone who advertised it on Craigslist, a complete electronics chassis appeared on eBay for $20, so I bought it. Now I have two of everything from which to make a good working model. Some items like the old paper capacitors will definitely need to be replaced with modern versions. While removing some of the hardware that mounts the electrical chassis to the wooden cabinet, I discovered some of it was copper plated. So were the 10-32 threaded studs that held the speaker to the frame...

Science & Engineering

Crossword for August 4

Science & Engineering Crossword Puzzle for August 4, 2013 - RF CafeTake a break and work this week's science and engineering themed crossword puzzle. All the words are pulled from a hand-built list of terms, names, and abbreviations that have only to do with science, mathematics, and engineering. If you want a crossword with names of movie stars and obscure countries, try the local newspaper. If you want to exercise your nerd knowledge, this is the one for you.

RF Cafe Quiz #52: RF and

Microwave Power Amplifiers

RF Cafe Quiz #52 : RF and Microwave Power AmplifiersTest your engineering savvy with this 10-question quiz is based on the information presented in Handbook of RF and Microwave Power Amplifiers, by John L. B. Walker. It covers design, test, and production topics. This book currently was recently selected by the winner of my monthly RF Cafe Giveaway.

Radio History and Growth

Radio History and Growth, September 1942 Radio Retailing Today - RF CafeDuring my daily technical headlines search, one of the websites I regularly visit is Radio Ink. As a lifelong fan of over-the-air broadcast radio (and TV), it is interesting to see what trends are playing themselves out. OTA broadcasting is struggling to survive in the modern world of Podcasts and Internet streaming broadcasts; indeed, I do a lot of my radio listening via the Internet because the local stations don't provide what I want. At least I can watch the local news on TV in the evening using just a simple inside antenna. The Big Media types are involved in a major lobbying effort to mandate FM radio receivers in all cellphones, which of course is a prime example of corporate chieftains using their financial might to pay off politicians for something that the rest of us will ultimately have to pay for. Radio's early days faced no such dilemma. People the world over were excited about the advent of radio and eagerly awaited their favorite broadcasts each day. Televisions were...

IEEE Dead to Me After 25 Years

IEEE Dead to Me After 25 Years - RF CafeOK, that sounds a bit extreme, but although the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is a great organization, the main reason I have remained a member for lo these many years (first joined in college) is because their life insurance plan was way lower in cost than others. I also have been buying accidental death insurance from them. However, since this month (on August 18th) I will cross the 55-year-old Rubicon, the price will increase by 67%. To continue as last year my total cost for life insurance, accidental death, and IEEE membership would be $(1,000 + 190 + 185) = $1,375 per year, and none of it is tax deductible. Ouch! With outrageously high 'affordable' health care rates about to hit this coming January, combined with the 1% Social Security increase that went into affect this year, and my property tax bill just went up by $400 over last year, something has to give...

Phase Matrix: 100 GHz Diplexed

Broadband Downconversion

Phase Matrix Achieves 100 GHz Diplexed Broadband Downconversion - RF CafePhase Matrix, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of National Instruments, participated in the demonstration of the world's first 100 GHz real-time oscilloscope. The integrated microwave assembly designed by Phase Matrix for the demonstration is a broadband downconverter, which allows the successful acquisitioning and displaying of live signals at 100 GHz bandwidth. The unique frequency converter combines state-of-the-art diplexer technology with active and passive RF functions to meet stringent requirements of wide dynamic range, high linearity, low noise, gain flatness, and extremely wide IF bandwidths. 

Please Thank JFW Industries

for Their Ongoing Support

JFW Industries, Inc. designs and manufactures a wide range of attenuators, RF switches, power dividers, test accessories and systems within an ISO 9001:2008 certified quality system.  These products meet or exceed the requirements of the most demanding applications. All JFW products are designed to the most exacting standards to provide innovative, high quality and cost effective solutions in a wide variety of global applications. JFW offers custom designs at catalog prices, fast delivery and no NREs!

Scattered Thoughts on

Scattering Parameters

Scattered Thoughts on Scattering Parameters - RF CafeRF engineer Joe Cahak, owner of Sunshine Design Engineering Services, has written a series of white papers on S-parameters. This first installment is titled, "Scattered Thoughts on Scattering Parameters." At least two others will follow within the next few weeks, so stay tuned. "Scattering parameters or S-parameters (aka Spars) are used by RF and microwave engineers to measure and design components and systems at those frequency ranges. These S-parameters are typically measured with an instrument called a vector network analyzer, or VNA..."

Congrats to July Book Drawing

Winner Benedict V. !

July 2013 Book Drawing Winner! - RF CafeCongratulations to RF Cafe visitor Benedict V., of Herndon, Virginia, for winning the July Book Drawing. Ben selected Handbook of RF and Microwave Power Amplifiers. Each month I select someone to receive a free book from those provided by Artech House or Cambridge University Press. They are often books I have used to create quizzes. How to enter? Either buy one of my inexpensive software offerings or send me an e-mail.

Pasternack Releases Line of

High Frequency Power Dividers

Pasternack Releases Line of High Frequency Power DividersPasternack Enterprises introduces a brand new line of ultra-broadband power dividers capable of 50 GHz. These millimeter wave power dividers/splitters are ideal for use in radar systems, electronic warfare equipment, fiber optic systems, 10G Ethernet and any application that requires high frequency, multi-octave performance. Pasternack is offering three new configurations of broadband power dividers. Two 2.92 mm models cover 10-40 GHz at 10 W maximum input power. The third option is a 2.4 mm model for 10-50 GHz at 10 W.

ATEC Energy/Cost Saving

Studies to Facility Operations

Advanced Test Equipment Rentals Provides Energy and Cost Saving Studies to Single and Multi-Facility Operations  - RF CafePower analysis and energy studies have quickly come into demand for facility managers, electrical engineers and contractors of small companies and major corporate enterprises, sometimes stemming from a recent inflation of the electric bill or the desire to Go Green. Advanced Test Equipment Rentals is helping industrial and facility managers perform energy monitoring studies, which identify cost saving opportunities, with power quality analyzers, to troubleshoot and verify power distribution, monitor phase unbalances, measure and record power system quality, and determine overall electrical power efficiency and compliance

Win This 3-Volume Set

Handbook of Reflector

Antennas and Feed Systems

RF Cafe 2013 Website Visitor QuestionnaireIt has been many years since I presented a questionnaire to website visitors in order to get a measure of what people like or dislike and what new feature(s) might be useful. In order to qualify as an entry, you must fill out the form in its entirety. A winner will be randomly selected. As an incentive for you to take a few minutes of your busy day to complete and submit the form, I am offering as compensation a chance to win the 3-volume set titled Handbook of Reflector Antennas and Feed Systems, by authors Satish K. Sharma, Sudhakar Rao, and Lotfollah Shafai: "Theory and Design of Reflectors," "Feed Systems," and "Applications of Reflectors," published by Artech House. This represents a $627 retail value ($501 from Amazon).

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Kirt Blattenberger - RF Cafe Webmaster

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    Kirt Blattenberger,


RF Cafe began life in 1996 as "RF Tools" in an AOL screen name web space totaling 2 MB. Its primary purpose was to provide me with ready access to commonly needed formulas and reference material while performing my work as an RF system and circuit design engineer. The World Wide Web (Internet) was largely an unknown entity at the time and bandwidth was a scarce commodity. Dial-up modems blazed along at 14.4 kbps while tying up your telephone line, and a nice lady's voice announced "You've Got Mail" when a new message arrived...

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