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About RF Cafe

Kirt Blattenberger - RF Cafe WebmasterCopyright
1996 - 2016
Webmaster:
Kirt Blattenberger,
 BSEE - KB3UON

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 Internet was still largely an unknown entity at the time and not much was available in the form of WYSIWYG ...

All trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other rights of ownership to images and text used on the RF Cafe website are hereby acknowledged.

My Hobby Website:
 AirplanesAndRockets.com

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Homepage Archive December 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.

Homepage Archive Pages

2016:  Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec
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2009:  Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec


Here is page 2 of the December 2013 homepage archive

Physics & Engineering
Crossword for 12/15/2013

Physics & Engineering Crossword Puzzle for December 15, 2013 - RF CafeEvery Sunday I create a crossword puzzle using a word list that I personally created and added to during over a decade of making puzzles. All of the words are related to engineering, science, mathematics, chemistry, astronomy, etc. There are no numbnut clues about movie stars or clothing designers. Enjoy.

"Noise and Noise
Measurements" - Joe Cahak

Noise and Noise Measurements - RF CafeJoe Cahak, owner of Sunshine Design Services, has submitted another paper on noise titled, "Noise and Noise Measurements." This is a very extensive treatise on noise definitions and their associated formulas as applicable to laboratory and report writing purposes. Derivations have been avoided in order to keep the focus on practical applications. Material is pulled from many established industry authorities on noise. I like the final sentence in the conclusion, "Clearly noise has much to teach us about many things and is of great use, in addition to being the bane of communications."

More Good Magazine Articles

This has been a good month for articles. Here are a few more you might find useful.

 - An Important Secret About
   Transmission Lines,
   by Eric Bogatin
 - Logging of RF Power
   Measurements (p.22),
   by Orwill Hawkins
 - Measurement Sensors: For
   a Calculator?,
   by Chris Grachanen
 - Leveraging the Use of a
   Radio Frequency Planning
   Design Tool for Modern
   System Design (p.30),
   by Malcolm Edwards

Empower RF Systems'
Airborne Pulse HPA Solution

Leveraging next generation hardware and software innovations that are part of Empower’s “size matters” architecture, several unique configurations of these HPAs are being shipped to key customers. This particular set of high power HPAs build on the size, weight and power advantages already demonstrated with commercial product releases in the broad market, “size matters” product family. This recent and unique Airborne Pulse HPA solution features UHF and L-Band pulse amplifiers tied to a shared

Venture Technologies
Continues Support - Thanks!

Venture Technologies"We are passionate about developing products that work better, and we have been delivering on that passion for 25+ years, helping dozens of companies bring innovative wireless products to market in a variety of markets. We design and develop products that analyze, measure, Venture Technologies - Product Development in a Wireless Worldcontrol, and communicate. Our in-house developed customizable, modular wireless platform, RFOS™ , allows us to do this better, faster and with less NRE cost. We wrap our core embedded wireless capability in full service 'spec to production' product development."

A New Look at W1AW/p>

New Look at W1AW, January 1967 QST - RF CafeThe American Radio Relay League (ARRL) has been on the cutting edge of communications technology since its founding in 1914 by Hiram Percy Maxim. Then, as New Look at W1AW, 2013 - RF Cafenow, many of the nation's top electronics and antennas experts have been intimately involved in the design, testing, operating, and regulating aspects of radio systems. Over time radar, software, and computer technologies have been added to the mix of specialties as have program management, field deployment and fixed station logistics, facilities management, and many other talents. A natural result of all the human capability affiliated with the ARRL is the collective personal investment in keeping flagship...

7th Circuit Excoriates Lawyers,
Judges for 'Fear of Science'

7th Circuit Excoriates Lawyers, Judges for 'Fear of Science', by IMS ExpertServices - RF CafeIMS ExpertServices periodically sends me e-mails that highlight recent key court cases that can significantly affect the effectiveness of expert testimony, both for the plaintiff and for the defendant. This article by Bob Ambrogi reports on a 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judge spanking legal entities for not exercising due diligence when vetting matters of science and simply accepting the testimony of 'experts' because of a willful ignorance of science. "This lapse is worth noting because it is indicative of a widespread, and increasingly troublesome, discomfort among lawyers and judges confronted by a scientific or other technological issue," Circuit Judge Richard A. Posner wrote." We are used to hearing people - professionals included - dismiss their lack...

A Few Useful Articles

A Few New Articles (December 11, 2013) - RF CafeI do a fair amount of perusing tech articles on the Internet and found a few recently that might be of interest to you.

 - Lab Equipment: To Build
   Or Not to Build
 - Six Tips for Better TDR
   Measurements
 - Open-Source Financing
 - Wanted: Brightest and Best
   Young Engineers for
   DesignCon Panel
 - Active Antenna Systems
   Enjoy Growth

Skyworks Customized Optical
Solutions for Varian Medical

Skyworks Launches Customized Optical Solutions for Varian Medical - RF CafeSkyworks Solutions, an innovator of high performance analog semiconductor enabling a broad range of end markets, today announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary Isolink is shipping customized optical solutions to Varian Medical for radiation oncology applications. Varian is the world’s leading manufacturer of medical devices and software for treating cancer and other medical conditions with radiotherapy, radiosurgery, proton therapy and brachytherapy

Please Thank Kete Microwave
for Their Continued Support!

Kete MicrowaveKete Microwave Electronics Co., Ltd. specializes in designing and manufacturing state of the art RF/Microwave passive components solutions including isolator/circulator, Kete Microwave Circulators & IsolatorsRF resistors, terminations, attenuators, multilayer chip ceramic capacitors, feed-through capacitors, directional couplers, power divider/combiners, 3 dB hybrid couplers, etc. Connectorized, surface mount, drop-in, and waveguide versions available.

Crossword Puzzle
Nov 1960 Electronics World

Crossword Puzzle - Electronics & Other, November 1960 Electronics World - RF CafeCruciverbalists rejoice! Here is another crossword puzzle to try your technical prowess. Unlike the weekly RF Cafe crossword puzzle that contains only engineering, science, mathematics and other tech words, this one from Electronics World does have a few unrelated words. The big difference between making crosswords then and now is Mrs. Le Fevre had to construct the grid of words manually, whereas I just create a huge file of words and definitions, draw the grid outline, and then click a button to have software put it all together. I'm guessing it took a couple hours to make this puzzle; mine take about 15 minutes.

RF Cafe is Back in Full Swing
- from Alpena, Michigan

RF Cafe Is Back in Operation in Alpena, Michigan! - RF CafeRF Cafe is back in business full-time! After a busy, tiring few days, Melanie and I have completed our relocation from Erie, Pennsylvania, to Alpena, Michigan. Why did we leave Erie and why did we move to Alpena? The answer is multi-faceted. Although we really like Erie, the state of society has really degraded there since we moved there six years ago. Property and school taxes, while already very high to begin with, have increased significantly over that time. A news article from Erie this morning, read online, reported that school taxes will increase yet again...

Carl & Jerry:
Under the Mistletoe

Carl and Jerry: Under the Mistletoe, December 1958 Popular Electronics - RFCafeI know what you're thinking... but remember, this was 1958. I've been waiting for months to post a couple Christmas-themed Carl & Jerry articles from old editions of Popular Electronics. Carl & Jerry, if you are not familiar with them, are a couple electronics-savvy teenagers who, in the style of the Hardy Boys, manage to get involved in a series of criminal investigations. With headquarters based in their parent's basement, the two friends cobble up strategies and contraptions for snaring the bad guys. They have quite an impressive collection of test equipment and radio gear at their disposal per the drawings. In this episode we are introduced to the word "osculation." If you already know, don't tell us.

Notable Tech Quote

Notable Tech Quote for December 9, 2013 - RF Cafe"The facts and knowledge learned in any course will become obsolete well before you retire. The ability to think critically is a skill that will last a lifetime." - Kenneth C. Young, University of Arizona, in December 2013 Scientific American

Thank to Dow-Key Microwave
for Their Continued Support!

Dow Key MicrowaveDow-Key Microwave is the world's largest manufacturer of electro-mechanical RF switches. We are AS9100/ISO-9001 certified and committed to providing Coaxial Switches, Dow-Keyunparalleled customer service, competitive pricing, on-time delivery and products that are distinguished by quality and reliability. Dow-Key offers the largest switch product line in the world with over 10,000 unique configurations.

Notice: Household Move
in Progress

Please excuse any delay in response for the next couple days - maybe through Tuesday. Melanie and I are moving to our new (well, new to us) home in Michigan and will be on the road for a bit. Thank you for your patience.

Electrical Engineering
Crossword Puzzle

Electrical Engineering Crossword Puzzle for December 8, 2013 - RF CafeEvery Sunday I create a crossword puzzle using a word list that I personally created and added to during over a decade of making puzzles. All of the words are related to engineering, science, mathematics, chemistry, astronomy, etc. There are no numbnut clues about movie stars or clothing designers. Enjoy.

Modeling Radiation Patterns
of Whip Antennas

Modeling Radiation Patterns of Whip Antennas, January 1967 QST - RFCafeComputer modeling of antenna radiation patterns has evolved from a relatively simple electric field equation that diminishes as the inverse of the distance from the source, to exotic, highly sophisticated numerical methods that account for conducting and dielectric surfaces and volumes. A spreadsheet can be built rather quickly to calculate and graph the free-space azimuth and elevation e-field patterns for a 1/4-wave whip or a dipole antenna using textbook formulas, but building a model for displaying the 3D radiation patterns of a cellphone placed next to a human head, or a UHF radio antenna on top of an aircraft takes some pretty serious computing power. In large part we owe a debt of gratitude to the Ph.D. types who have labored hard to make such tools...

Anatech Intros Duplexer, BPF,
Isolator, & Directional Coupler

Anatech Electronics Intros Isolator, Coupler, BPF, Duplexer, December 6, 2013 - RF CafeAnatech Electronics has released new designs for a 902 to 928 MHz cavity bandpass filter, a 1850 to 1910 MHz/1930 to 1990 MHz cavity duplexer, a 840 to 960 MHz circulator , and a 5 to 18 GHz 8-way power divider. All can be ordered directly through their AMCrf web store.

Please Thank Nova Microwave
for Their Support

Click to visit Nova MicrowaveNova Microwave is a leader in technically differentiated electronic and radio frequency Ferrite Circulators and Isolators that connect, protect and control critical systems Nova Microwave Drop-In Circulatorfor the global microwave electronics market place including commercial and military wireless telecommunications. Dedicated to R&D of standard and custom design quality Ferrite Circulators and Isolators from 380 MHz to 23.6 GHz.

Coil Function Quiz

Coil Function Quiz, June 1962 Popular Electronics - RF CafeHere is a quick, 10-question quiz about coils (inductors). It appeared in the June 1962 edition of Popular Electronics magazine. Don't be scared off by the vacuum tubes that appear in three drawings. Just pretend they are transistors - it won't affect your answers. One of the coil applications is almost obsolete for most people as the nature of computer monitors and TV screens has changed significantly in the last decade.

Selected Job Tips from IEEE

IEEE Job Site logoHere are this week's suggestions, plus a couple others I found as well.

 - 6 Memorable Engineering
   Interview Questions
 - 7 Missed Opportunities
   That Can Cost You That
   Dream Job
 - Can You Make a Workplace
   U-Turn? (leave, then go back)
 - How's the Engineering Job
   Market? Depends on Whom
   You Ask
 - Engineering the Perfect
   Cover Letter
 - U. of Maryland School of
   Engineering job Search Tips

Thanks to Windfreak
Technologies for Support!

Windfreak TechnologiesWindfreak Tech designs, manufactures, tests and sells high value radio frequency products such as RF Signal Generators & Synthesizers, RF Power Detectors, RF Mixers, RF Upconverters and RF downconverters. We develop high quality, reliable, low cost products to make your life Windfreak Technologies: SynthNVeasier. Windfreak Tech is developing high quality, low cost products to make life easier for RF Engineers and hobbyist. Future products will be more synthesizers, transmitters, receivers and test equipment. All at low cost.

The Future of Mobile
Application Development

Forrester Research Report: The Future of Mobile Application Development - RF CafeForrester Research Report: The Future of Mobile Application Development. This report, which is the vision report of the mobile app development playbook for Application Development and Delivery professionals, focuses on the changes application developers need to understand if they want to build modern applications that deliver contextual customer experiences. With more than 1 billion smartphones worldwide, and tablets numbering in the hundreds of millions, the scope of the mobile revolution rivals that of the move from monolithic systems to client/server computing in the 1990s...

Baluns: What They Do
and How They Do It

Baluns: What They Do and How They Do It - RF CafeBaluns are not devices familiar to most engineers even if they have been in the RF business for many years. Most have heard of them but few probably really know what a balun is, how it works, and how it is used. Admittedly, it wasn't until maybe a decade ago that I ever even came into contact with one - at least that I was aware of. Having spent most of my career connecting cables and waveguide to pre-designed, pre-packaged components, there was never a need to convert between balanced and unbalanced transmission lines. The many analog circuits that I did always used ICs that had single- or double-ended inputs and/or outputs so it was never necessary to be concerned with the details. Now that I have been reading the ARRL's QST magazine monthly for the last few years, an appreciation for...

What is a Servomechanism?

After Class: What is a Servomechanism?, April 1959 Popular Electronics - RF CafeServomechanisms are all around us in the form of electronically actuated controls for our cars, stepper motors in our ink jet printers, overhead garage door openers, and anywhere else you can identify where a combination of electricity and mechanics operates with some form of positional sensing and feedback. The author of this article in one instance declares a control circuit with a human operator as part of the operation as being "open loop," but I contend that the human element is part of the loop and therefore constitutes a component in the effectively "closed" loop, albeit not strictly a pure electromechanical system. Those of us who operate radio-controlled model airplanes, boats, cars, etc., are very familiar with servos for moving control surfaces as commanded by the transmitter's joystick position.

How to Break into
the Aviation Radio Game

How to Break into the Aviation Radio Game - RF CafeYes, this is another article that will probably appeal to a small percentage of RF Cafe visitors, but please countenance my indulgence in things aeronautical as well as things electrical. The early 1930s was a time when both airplanes and electronics were a wonder and a mystery to most of the public worldwide. Of course today both are still a mystery to the public but the wonder is gone - it's merely taken for granted. Many idiosyncrasies of airborne electronic communications were encountered for the first time, like the need for proper grounding and static electricity dissipation. Ruggedization of chassis assemblies in terms of mechanical vibration and shock as well as for temperature extremes...

Featured Books
- Gift Suggestions -

Your New Job Title Is "Accomplice" - RF Cafe Featured bookYour New Job Title Is "Accomplice," by Scott Adams. If you are looking for a gift for your engineer spouse, friend, son, or daughter, then what could be better than the latest collection of Dilbert comics? Dilbert 2014 Calendar - RF Cafe Featured BookBoth traditional paperback and newfangled Kindle versions are available. Not the reading type? How about a Dilbert 2014 Calendar? Seriously, if you are buying the calendar because your engineer is not a reader, then Learn to Read (Zac the Rat) - RF Cafe Featured Bookhe/she would be better served with Learn to Read, by Zac the Rat (the name doesn't really rhyme, BTW).

Does Anyone Still Make
Vacuum Tubes?

Does Anybody Still Makes Vacuum Tubes? - RF CafeDoes anyone still manufacture new vacuum tubes? The simple answer is yes if you are referring to the kind used in household radio and television sets, but don't expect to find a full line of replacements. Also, don't expect them to be made anywhere other than places like China and Russia. China does it because mainly to service the rest of the world's demand for restoring and maintaining vintage equipment. Russia probably does it to supply its own military and civilian populace which largely still hasn't heard of transistorized electronics (just joking, kinda). Three of the most widely available newly produced vacuum tubes are made by JJ Electronics, Valve Art, and Ruby Tubes. They are all over Amazon.com and eBay at reasonable prices. If you are in the market for vacuum tubes and prefer to buy...

Please Thank Reactel
for Helping Deliver RF Cafe

ReactelEstablished in 1979, Reactel is an industry leader in the design and manufacture of RF and Microwave filters, diplexers, and sub-assemblies. We offer a line of filters covering DC-50 GHz. The latest in CAD/CAM methods and equipment in all of our design and manufacturing processes are used. We feature a modern, well-equipped machine shop complete with multiple CNCs, which gives us the ability to produce long production runs quickly and economically. Our testing department is equipped with the latest in Agilent Technologies Network Analyzers offering quick, dependable, and accurate measurements.

Sagetech Announces Principal
Development Engineer Position

Sagetech Announces Principal Development Engineer Position, December 2, 2013 - RF CafeThis is one of the best job descriptions I have ever seen. It reads like it was written by real engineers who need a really good person to work with the team. To wit:

EE UAV Avionics Design and Certification
"Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in civil airspace are the next big thing. Sagetech is a leader in UAV avionics and has exciting projects starting now in FAA / military UAV design and certification. We are building a kick-ass team. You might fit if this grabs you:  We seek highly talented, disciplined, imaginative engineers (RF design, embedded, or FPGA programmers) who love creating novel and highly efficient solutions in a requirements-based design environment. That’s not easy. We seek team members who are like us, who are energized by challenge."

Mary Burke, W3CUL Wins
1956 Edison Award

Mary Burke, W3CUL Wins 1956 Edison Award, April 1957 Radio & TV News - RF Cafe$5,000 in 1956 currency is equivalent to about $43,000 in 2013, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' "Inflation Calculator." That is the value of the amateur radio equipment used by Mrs. Mary Burke in her work handling "an average of 3000 messages per month, principally for service personnel overseas." For her tireless efforts, she was the first woman to win the coveted Edison Award Cup (sponsored by General Electric). Most of Mrs. Burke's communications was via Morse code, where she restrained herself to "about 30 words a minute to maintain accuracy". Way to go, Mary!

Neverware Juicebox
New Life for Old Computers

Neverware Juicebox - New Life for Old Computers - RF CafeRemember the old adage about not throwing away that wide tie because someday it will be back in style? Well, the good folks at Neverware have built a business model and product that exploits that concept. "Neverware installs powerful software on schools' existing computers, taking over the 'heavy lifting' and allowing the computers to run like new. Neverware's servers can supercharge any PC - even if it's ten years old and missing its hard drive." Those of us who have been using computers since the 1970s ['78 for me] know this system as a network with dumb terminals. The main difference between then and now is wireless connectivity rather than copper cables. Calling the server a "Juicebox" helps the sales pitch and with cinching the deal - it sounds trendy. I have long predicted that the "personal" computer in business and other large networks like in schools and government offices would eventually come full circle...

Notable Tech Quote

Notable tech quote for December 2, 2013 - RF Cafe"Twitter is the only place where you're thrilled when a complete stranger starts following you." - Anon

PMI Intros PIN Diode Transfer
Switch for 0.5 to 18 GHz

PMI Intros PIN Diode Transfer Switch for 0.5 to 18 GHz - RF CafePMI Model No. SWN-2181-TRA is a pin diode transfer switch that operates over a frequency range of 0.5 to 18.0 GHz. It has 60 dB min of isolation, max insertion loss of 3.5 dB and a max input power of +10 dBm CW.  This model incorporates a TTL compatible driver for easy system integration and is supplied with removable 2.92 mm (F) connectors in a housing that measures 1.0" x 1.0" x 0.25"

The Swiss Quad Antenna

The Swiss Quad Antenna at ZS6PP, September 1967 QST - RF CafeThis design for a "Swiss Quad" antenna appeared in the September 1967 edition of QST magazine. One of its touted strong points is not needing spreaders or a boom. I am not an antenna design guy, so I can't comment on its usefulness. No gain measurement was provided by the author. The article states that the antenna had not yet enjoyed widespread adaptation in the U.S. at the time of the writing. A Google search for Swiss Quad antennas turns up a handful of modern examples. I could not locate an example of a computer-generated gain plot (radiation pattern) for the Swiss Quad, so if you know where one exists, please let me know so I can post a hyperlink. Maybe you own a  copy of EZNEC and can model it?

Wireless Crossword
for December 1, 2013

Wireless Crossword Puzzle for December 1, 2013 - RF CafeThis is a BIG crossword puzzle so be prepared to spend some time on it. In fact, if you find yourself being dragged along for a major Christmas shopping jaunt, then you might print it out and take it with you to be entertained whilst sitting on the mall bench. As always, this puzzle contains only science, engineer, and mathematics type words - no numbnut movie star names or obscure mountain peak names.