RF Cafe Software
About RF Cafe
1996 - 2016
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:
Try Using SEARCH
to Find What You Need.
There are 1,000s of Pages Indexed on RF Cafe !
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
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Jun | Jul |
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2015: Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec
2014: Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec
2013: Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec
CircuitLab Online Simulator
If you don't mind having your circuits in the public domain, then CircuitLab is a very nice FREE, online SPICE type circuit simulator with a professional quality user interface and output graph function. CircuitLab handles analog, digital, and mixed-mode simulations with DC, AC, swept time domain and frequency responses. After signing up for an account, you have access to a large number of user-generated circuits that are available for use as-is or for modifying to meet your particular needs. You can use CircuitLab without creating an account, but then you will not be able to save or recall your circuits. A large library of pre-defined components are available, and standard SPICE expressions can also be entered.
Anatech Electronics Intros
4 New Filters
Anatech Electronics has published its May 2013 newsletter. As always, it includes both company news and some tidbits about relevant industry events, regulations, and standards. This month highlights a 1524 to 1560 MHz | 1626.5 to 1660.5 MHz cavity duplexer, a 55 MHz highpass filter, a 806 to 894 MHz/902 to 960 MHz cavity duplexer, and a 1515 MHz lowpass filter. Anatech Electronics' Sam Benzacar invites you to visit them in booth #2710 at the IMS 2013 trade show in Seattle, Washington.
RF Cafe Poll
Z-Comm's Ultra Wideband
VCO Tunes from 2.7 to 5.4 GHz
The new V600ME31-LF operates from 2700 to 5400 MHz with a tuning voltage range of 0-24 Vdc. This octave tuning VCO features a typical phase noise of -107 dBc/Hz @ 100 kHz offset and an average tuning sensitivity of 140 MHz/V. The V600ME31-LF is ideal for satellite communication applications. It is designed to deliver a typical output power of 7 dBm into a 50 ohm load while operating from a 5 Vdc supply and drawing only 25 mA. It is designed to operate over the industrial temperature range of -40 to 85ºC while suppressing the second harmonic to better than -20 dBc.
Amateur Radio Quiz:
Vintage Radios - Such a Bargain!
H. Ward Silver, N0AX, created the newest Amateur Radio Quiz titled "Vintage Radios - Such a Bargain!" N0AX says, "Who can resist taking a long look at the vintage veterans sitting along the aisles of the flea markets? Hey, I'm talking about the radios, not the attendees! 'Big iron' is making its comeback with Johnsons and Hallicrafters and Swans shoulder-to-shoulder at the hamfests. Before you test your lumbar regions by lugging one home, you might want to exercise your antique assessment skills first!"
Please Visit Z-Comm in
Appreciation of Their Support
Z-Communications is a world leader in the design and development of surface mount VCO (voltage-controlled oscillator) modules & PLL (phase-locked loop) frequency synthesizers for the commercial microwave/RF wireless market. RoHS compliant signal source products currently range from 40 MHz to 13.5 GHz bands. PLLs available in integer, fractional-N and single frequency models.
Watch 32 Metronomes
Synchronize with Each Other
If you place those 32 metronomes on a rigid surface, they will continue to run out of synchrony forever. If instead you place them on a moveable platform, it will begin oscillating side to side with increasing amplitude until the discordant rebels finally comply. There is probably a social behavior parallel somewhere, but the more important principle at work is the likening the system (metronomes + moveable platform) to a resonant circuit with feedback. Surely someone reading this can supply an equation for us that models the phenomenon.
(please help support RF Cafe)
Handbook of RF, Microwave, and Millimeter-Wave Components, by Sergey M. Smolskiy, Leonid A. Belov, and Victor N. Kochemasov. This unique and comprehensive resource offers you a detailed treatment of the operations principles, key parameters, and specific characteristics of active and passive RF, microwave, and millimeter-wave components. The book covers both linear and nonlinear components that are used in a wide range of application areas, from communications and information sciences, to avionics, space, and military engineering. This practical book presents descriptions and clear examples and of the best materials and products used in the field, including laminates, prepregs, substrates; microstrip, coaxial and waveguide transmission lines; fixed and rotating connectors; matching and adjusting elements; frequency filters; phase shifters; and ferrite gates and circulators.
A New Direction
for AMC and PMI
Raymond Sicotte, Chairman and CEO of American Microwave Corporation (AMC), and Ashok Gorwara , Chairman and President & CEO of Planar Monolithics Industries, Incorporated (PMI), wish to announce that they have completed realignment and separation of AMC and PMI. Mr. Sicotte and Mr. Gorwara were formally colleagues at MIT Lincoln Laboratory in the late 1960's. Each is very well recognized for his extensive expertise in the microwave electronics field and industry. Each Company has developed its own complete manufacturing, engineering, research & development capabilities and facilities as the individual companies have grown and prospered
PMI Intros 30 MHz to 18 GHz
PMI Amplifier Model PEC-38-30M18G-12-SFF is a broadband, low noise amplifier that operates over the 30 MHz to 18 GHz frequency range. This model provides 38 dB of gain and has a gain flatness of ±2.0 dB maximum. The noise figure is 5dB maximum and the OP1dB is +12 dBm minimum. This amplifier maintains a maximum VSWR of 2.2:1 into a 50 ohm impedance. The operating voltage is +12 VDC and the current is 300 mA maximum.
Kete Microwave Intros New
Line of Isolators & Circulators
Kete Microwave Company announces a kind of new product: Microstrip isolators and circulators, provide frequency range from 5.2-40 GHz with full band. These devices have microstrip dual junction circulators as well. These parts are made of golden leads, ferrite material and thin film technology. They are stable performance with good quality. To find more information, or to purchase these products, please you visit the links from Kete Microwave's website.
Please Welcome RFIC Solutions
as Our Newest Advertiser
RFIC Solutions offers RFIC/MMIC, Analog, Mixed-Signal, Digital IC and module, RF system design services, RF prototype board development and RF testing up to 60 GHz. The RFIC team of 40+ staff, mostly engineers has delivered more than 30 million RF ICs for Wireless LAN, Cordless & Cellular Phone & wireless apps. The RFIC team has extensive RF industry knowledge with many years of background in designing and deploying Wireless Systems. RFIC has a strong background in designing wide range of products from RF amplifiers, Switch to complex Mixed-Signal SoC like 'RF CMOS Transceiver' & and other ICs up to 60 GHz. Click here to download our Company Profile.
January 1948 was a mere two and a half years after the end of World War II, so military planners strategized about what a future war, if one occurred, would look like. Two implements that had a huge effect on the previous efforts were the atom bomb and the guided missile; therefore, they were prominent in discussions. Germany's use of the V-1 Buzz Bomb is a familiar example of a guided missile that struck terror in the hearts of populations that experienced its devastating destructive power. The U.S. developed a few missiles of its own, particularly immediately after WWII when it had the assistance of Werner von Braun and other notable rocket scientists who worked for the U.S. space effort after the war. A few of the missiles are on display today at the Udvar-Hazy center of the National Air and Space Museum.
Thanks to Dong Jin Technology
for Continued Support!
As a premier manufacturer of RF connectors, cable assemblies and components, Dong Jin TI is highly recognized an RF industry leader in Korea. Our premium products offer a competitive price, on-time delivery and best quality in the industry. Attenuators, arresters, adaptors, bias tees, filters, terminations, directional couplers, and power combiners and dividers, are among Dong Jin TI's offerings.
Agile Microwave Technology
Added to Vendor Listings
Agile Microwave Technology, Hicksville, NY. Agile MwT's motto says, "This company may be new, but we're not newcomers to the high reliability RF/Microwave industry." The three founders have more than 100 years of combined experience. Agile MwT specializes in RF amplifiers, limiters, switches, and multipliers. "Our goal is to cut product cost by more than 50% by keeping our overhead low, by staying small and focusing on innovative designs which are inspired by the commercial wireless market. Our goal is to provide same or better performance, size and quality at a much lower cost through better engineering and outsourcing to U.S. based contract manufacturers."
"We tried everything from seed oils to high-temperature lubricant to glycerin in search of the right liquid. It's the closest I've ever felt to Thomas Edison when he was looking for the perfect element" - Dave Horn, Switch Lighting CTO, regarding the liquid silicone cooling used in their 'game-changing' LED light bulb.
If You Appreciate Fine
It's probably a safe assumption that
most electrical engineers and technicians appreciate intricate, high precision mechanical creations. Gizmodo has an article that highlights some incredible wearable timepieces
(aka watches). As author Andrew Liszewski puts it, "Gadget nuts have
CES, kids at heart get Toy Fair, video gamers have E3, but if it's watches
that ring your bell, every spring you'll want to head over to Basel, Switzerland for Baselworld. It's where the world's
horological masters gather to unveil their latest timekeeping works of art.
And these are the most wonderful of this year's whole bunch. "
RF Engineering Crossword
Puzzle for May 12, 2013
Every 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.
The Antenna Research
By 1950, say the author of this story, "No longer are 'aerials' merely required to transfer electromagnetic energy into space," in reference to airborne platforms. Following great advancements in radio and radar technology during World War II, great interest lied in what would later become referred to as 'stealth' technology and in secure communications. The transition of aircraft speeds into the realm of supersonic also mandated that projections beyond the main airframe outline be either eliminated or very much minimized. The long cable aerials that stretched from the cockpit area to the tip of the vertical fin, and the round direction finding antennas hanging from below could not be accommodated at airspeeds above about 300 knots. The aerodynamic drag would be excessive and the forces would tear the antennas apart. Douglas Aircraft set up one of the first antenna measurement laboratories specifically to address those issues both for airborne and shipboard platforms.
1st Radar Images of
D-Day occurred on June 6, 1944. It was the day that Allied forces stormed the French coastline with overwhelming numbers of battleships, landing craft, bombers, fighters, and personnel. It broke the German stronghold on mainland Europe and marked the beginning of the end of Hitler's dominion. These photos are the first official releases of radar imagery before and during the D-Day invasion at Normandy. Pre-invasion reconnaissance radar plots show a sparsely populated coastline and English Channel. White areas that indicate radar targets were concentrated mainly in city regions. On the day of the invasion, white returns nearly saturate the displays due to the incredible presence of all the aforementioned war machine elements. Even the soldiers' presence contributed to the return because of all the metallic hardware being carried - guns, ammo, radios, helmets, bayonets, canteens, etc...
Please Welcome Asian Circuits
as Our Newest Advertiser!
Asian Circuits, with its HQ in Toronto, Canada, and production facilities in China, has emerged as a well known turn-key PCB assembly service provider for mid- and high-volume electronic contract manufacturing. Asian Circuits is well known for providing economical one-stop PCB assembly services, including PCB fabrication, sourcing of components, and complete. Our online PCB assembly quote generator can help you estimate the assembly cost of your PCB project from the very beginning.
PMI Intros 2 to 18 GHz Flat Gain
Low Noise Amplifier
PMI Model No. PBB-20-218-16-LCA is a 2.0 to 18.0 GHz Low Noise Amplifier which provides 20 dB of gain while maintaining a gain flatness of ±2.0 dB maximum over the operating frequency. The noise figure is 4 dB typical and offers a typical OP1dB of +14 dBm minimum. The amplifier requires +12 to +15 VDC and the current draw is 150 mA typical.
Custom-Cal Listing Added
Our experts routinely repair sophisticated and expensive instruments, often providing the flexibility to defer capital investments in retooling and new equipment. We specialize in optical, RF and communications test equipment repair, often considered too complex by other independent repair facilities.
NuWaves Intros Bidirectional
RF Power Amplifier
NuWaves Engineering announces the release of the NuPower Xtender bidirectional L- & S-band power amplifier module, model number NW-BSSPA-10W-1.0-2.5. The product is the first in the company’s new Xtender series of bidirectional power amplifiers, which are based on the successful NuPower broadband, high-efficiency, miniature PA modules. Designed for use with half-duplex RF transceivers running constant-envelope waveforms, the new bidirectional PA provides a minimum of 10 Watts peak RF output power and 40 dB of gain with 30% average power efficiency from 1000 to 2500 MHz.
Is Stratovision the Answer?
'Stratovision' sounds about as serious as 'Wonkavision,' but unlike the candy maker's fictional machine that transported chocolate bars across the room, Stratovision was in fact a serious proposal. It was an early form of satellite television. Since orbiting communications satellites would not be practical for another decade, Westinghouse devised a system in 1945 using aircraft flying at high altitude to relay television signals. Engineers calculated that 14 airplanes circling at 25,000 feet could provide coverage to 78% of the country. By 1950 they had a working system, but needless to say (because nobody has ever heard of it... except you, now), the concept ultimately did not pan out. It was not because the system failed to work as designed, but because there was not enough demand for coast-to-coast broadcasts at the time.
Glowing Trees a Problem
A controversy brews over the merits of breeding plants that glow like a lightning bug. Proponents say glowing trees could eventually replace electric street lights, thereby reducing pollution created by generating stations. Opponents say messing around with tree genes is dangerous and should be disallowed since it could lead to unanticipated environmental ramifications on both plant and animal species. The unique aspect of this effort is that it is being pursued primarily by genetic hobbyists rather than corporations - at least for now. There is bound to be a huge financial potential for such a copyrighted line of plants. My opposition to the concept is primarily a concern for light pollution projected skyward. Astronomers have a difficult enough time with ever-encroaching sources of ambient light, but a planet overrun by cross-bred and mutated glowing plants (and possibly animals), especially if they are capable of emitting levels high enough to replace street lights, would effectively blind billions of dollars of investments in telescopes...
Please Support RF Cafe
Introduction to Modern EW Systems, by Andrea De Martino. Master the latest electronic warfare (EW) techniques and technologies related to on-board military platforms with this authoritative resource. You gain expert design guidance on technologies and equipment used to detect and identify emitter threats, giving you an advantage in the never-ending chess game between sensor guided weapons and EW systems. This unique book offers you deeper insight into EW systems principles of operation and their mathematical descriptions, arming you with better knowledge for your specific design applications.
Naval communications and their communicators have always been held in high regard. Operating and maintaining sophisticated electronics equipment is difficult enough on solid ground, but doing it on the ocean with winds and waves tossing the platform (ship) relentlessly can exacerbate the problem tremendously. It is a wonder that radar systems can even be useful with the antenna constantly rotating about pitch, roll, and yaw axes while simultaneously shifting in the x, y and z axes. Sure, airborne platforms have the same sort of challenge, but their perturbations are not typically as violent, as great in magnitude, or as prolonged as a naval vessel in rough seas. For the record, I'm a former USAF radar guy so I'm not just trying to glorify my own branch of service. This article from Radio & Television news gives some insight into the life a naval communicator during the 1950s.
RF Cafe Poll
Congrats to April 2013
Book Winner Thomas K.
Each month I select a name at random for the RF Cafe Book Giveaway (sometimes I pick two). Anyone who buys my engineering software is automatically entered once for each item (you can also enter by sending me an e-mail). Thomas chose SIP: Understanding the Session Initiation Protocol (Graciously provided by Artech House).
Please Visit Colby Instruments
in Appreciation of Support
Colby Instruments designs and manufactures the world’s finest high-precision Programmable Delay Line (PDL) instruments and modules. All instruments are fully programmable via GPIB interface, and are suitable for use in high frequency RF signal applications as phase shifters or where an extremely high precision and accurate amount of delay is required. 125 Femtosecond steps have been achieved in some products!
Introduction to Professional
Alan Bensky, author of Short-Range Wireless Communication (and ironically the book selected by April's book drawing winner), is the presenter in this online introductory level 1-day course (May 15, 9:00am - 4:30pm EDT) for individuals interested in an overview of wireless telecommunications. "This course may be used as introductory training for students pursuing IEEE's WCET professional certification. It is also ideal for anyone who wants a more firm grasp on what the technology in the products they are selling is, the fundamentals of what it can do and what wireless communications professionals on the engineering front are working on developing for future applications."
Thanks to ISOTEC for Renewing
Their Support Again
"Since our inception in 1996 in Korea, ISOTEC has been a leading manufacturer of RF and microwave connectors such as SMA, MCX, SSMB, etc., and RF components such as attenuators, terminations, etc., for wireless service providers, etc. We provide recognized and trusted products and service to our customers in more than 30 countries worldwide. ISOTEC offers also an extensive product mix with RF filters and multiplexers etc."
CEI's Electronics Slide Rule
It wasn't until February 1 1972, that Hewlett-Packard introduced the HP-35 electronic calculator. Before that, when you spoke of an electronics calculator it referred to a computer (likely a vacuum tube type), a human who specialized in electronics calculations, or this special slide rule sold by Cleveland Electronics Institute - the 515-T. It had special scales for calculating reactance, and resonance, and had common circuit analysis formulas printed on the back side.
Working Hard or
Surely someone has greeted you with the trite line, "Working hard or hardly working?" It used to be funny enough. Chances are you are working hard, but nowadays the likelihood that someone is hardly working is growing greater every day. The real unemployment rate (U6) in the U.S. is around 14% per the BLS website. About half the population pays no income taxes (yet receives the most benefits), and a huge number of people are receiving food stamps. My county of Erie, PA, is at 19% (find your area's rate here). Have you seen the stories of SNAP abuse? Probably not if all you watch is mainstream news. Immigration Reform (a misnomer) is about to exacerbate the problem. A smaller portion of us are pulling the wagon while more are piling in for the good ride. We have become the United States of Greece (apologies to hard-working Greeks).
Sherlock Ohms: The Case
of the Lucky Touch
As both a technician and, after earning a BSEE degree, an engineer, I have done a lot of circuit troubleshooting in my life, so I really like reading the short accounts of other people's experiences in tracking down and solving problems. The Sherlock Ohms series from Design News is a great source of such stories. This one is titled "The Power of Human Touch." I once had a very similar episode.
Many Thanks to everything RF
for Supporting This Website
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 60,000 components listed from more than 150 Manufacturers. Download datasheets, request quotes or contact the suppliers for more information via everything RF.
Congrats to April 2013
Book Winner Patricia W.
Each month I select a name at random for the RF Cafe Book Giveaway. Anyone who buys my engineering software is automatically entered once for each item. You are also welcome to send me an e-mail entry, which is how this month's winner, Patricia W., of Tampa, FL, won. Most books have been graciously donated by Artech House and Cambridge University Press.
Please Thank JFW for Their
JFW Industries 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!
"Communications do not just grow; they are planned." - Brigadier General Wesley T. Guest, Planning Integrated Signal Communications
Employee Hiring Stats
Inc. magazine published a few statistics relating to trends in employee hiring based on polling of employers. The upshot is that personal networking through current employees has greatly supplanted job websites and headhunters for finding quality employees. Here are a few of the numbers from hiring companies:
- 50% of have abandoned
- 98% use LinkedIn, 42%
Twitter, 33% Facebook.
- 7% of applicants come
from referrals but account
for 40% of hires.
- 47% 3-year retention of
employee referrals, but
only 14% from job boards.
- $1,200 average referral
bonus to employees
Take a break from the drudgery by trying your hand at some of these goodies. Every word in the RF Cafe crossword puzzles is specifically related to engineering, mathematics, and science. There are no generic backfill words like many other puzzles give you, so you'll never see a clue asking for the name of a movie star or a mountain on the Russia-China border.
Blu-ray Laser Bursts
100 Black Balloons
Got an old Blu-ray player from which you can cannibalize the laser unit? Scott Stevenson did, and use used it produce this video. Blu-ray players use a 405 nm (more violet than blue - see thumbnail) laser diode that emits a 580 nm beam at around 5 mW. I'm guessing black balloons are used because they absorb more of the light energy and therefore heat faster. A debate on the YouTube page argues between melting or air heating causing the balloon to burst. My money is on local melting since it would take a long time to heat the air inside enough to expand enough to cause the popping.
Asian Circuits Added to
PCB Vendor Listings
Asian Circuits is a reliable mid to high volume electronic contract manufacturer (ECM) and provider of printed circuit board (PCB) assembly services with surface-mount (SMT), through-hole (THT) and mix components. Headquarters is located in Toronto, Canada, and production plants in Shenzhen, China. Workforce is totally committed to providing clients with excellent service and quality products at a reasonable prices.
Please Visit ISOTEC in Appreciation of Their Support
Did you know that ISOTEC stands for Iso Technology Corporation? "Since our inception in 1996 in Korea, ISOTEC has been a leading manufacturer of RF and microwave connectors such as SMA, MCX, SSMB, and RF components such as attenuators, filters, multiplexers, and terminations, for wireless service providers." ISOTEC provides recognized and trusted products and services to customers in more than 30 countries worldwide.
Q-par Angus Limited is
Acquired by Solid State plc.
Q-par Angus Limited has been acquired 1st May 2013, by Solid State plc, an AIM listed supplier of industrial / ruggedised computers, specialist electronic components and battery power solutions to the electronics market. Q-par, will now be known as Steatite Q-par Antennas, and will remain as one of Europe’s leading microwave engineering experts specialising in the design and manufacture of ultra-wideband antennas, subsystems, antenna components and consultancy.
Many Thanks to
Test Equipment Connection!
Test Equipment Connection Corporation is your single source test & measurement solution. "We offer over 300 test equipment manufacturers including Agilent, Tektronix, Anritsu, Rohde & Schwarz, Advantest and Fluke, plus thousands of New, Used, Second Hand, and Refurbished test equipment products. We buy and sell bench top, general-purpose test and measurement equipment. $2,000,000 is budgeted each month for the purchase of surplus equipment."
PMI Intros 0.5 to 18 GHz
Positive Gain Slope LNA
PMI Model No. PE2-1020-R518-12-SFF is a low noise amplifier that offers a positive gain slope versus frequency. This type of amplifier is useful when trying to equalize frequency flatness over a broad bandwidth. This model provides 10 dB of gain at 500 MHz and 20 dB of gain at 18 GHz. The noise figure is 10 dB at 500 MHz and 9 dB at 18 GHz. The OP1dB is +14 dBm minimum and the maximum VSWR is 2.5:1.
A Few Job-Related Headlines
On Fridays I usually comb the Web for relevant news stories related to engineers and technicians. Here are a few you might find interesting.
IEEE RFIC Symposium 2013 Next
Month in Seattle, Washington!
Early Bird registration with reduced prices ends on May 6 (Monday). From the brochure: "The RFIC Symposium brings focus to the technical accomplishments in the area of integrated RF circuits, systems, and devices. This year's exciting technical program will showcase the latest innovations with sessions that cover a broad spectrum of topics such as cellular and wireless-connectivity system ICs, low power transceivers, reconfigurable and digital RF, broadband wireless communications, silicon millimeter-wave ICs, power amplifier technology, and RF device modeling and characterization."
Electronics Geography Quiz
1970 just doesn't seem all that long ago, buy holy moly that was going on half a century! This quiz appeared in Popular Electronics to test the hobbyist's knowledge of the whereabouts of some of the major components and products companies. Many of the businesses have gone defunct, been bought and absorbed by other companies, or if they do still exist, are in new locations. It will take a real old-timer to score well on this quiz without resorting to lucky guesses. Still, there are a couple stalwart manufacturers today that even a newcomer can get right. Good luck.
Tales from the Cube:
Debugging with a Laser
Tales from the Cube is an occasional feature published by EDN. It is akin to Sherlock Ohms in that readers submit the stories. PETA members with a religious level of fervor might want to avoid reading this one titled, Debugging with a Laser. I'm not ashamed to admit that given the same opportunity, I might have done the same sort of thing. Here is an especially good line from the story: "An office joke was that 'L.A.S.E.R.' stood for Latest Angle to Secure Expensive Resources."
Engineering the Integrated
As a follow-on to the "Planning Integrated Signal Communications" story, this article is the next step in the U.S. Army Signal Corps' implementation of ubiquitous communications systems. Along with powerful transmitters and super-sensitive receivers at command communications hubs are the many hand-held, back-pack, and vehicular radios needed to complete strategic and tactical operations across the face of the Earth. It wasn't just wireless systems that Signal Corps engineers and technicians were responsible for, but also all the wired equipment and interconnecting cabling. The possibility of software configuration for network switches, radios, modems, telephones, antennas, and ancillary components had never been thought of in 1950 (by very few, anyway). Everything was set up with patch panels, jumpers, and hard-wired connections. That's not to say modern communications...
Free e-Book from IEEE USA
Occasionally the IEEE USA offers a free e-Book for download in PDF format. This is one of those times. "Launching Your Career: Lifelong Learning —Your Key to an Enjoyable and Rewarding Career." Enjoy.
Skyworks Unveils Surface
Mount Limiter Diode
Skyworks Solutions, Inc. has introduced a surface mount limiter diode for receiver protection applications. The CLA4608-085LF is a low capacitance silicon PIN limiter diode designed for high power applications ranging from 10 MHz to over 6 GHz. Maximum resistance at 10 mA is 1.2 Ω and maximum capacitance at 38 V is 0.65 pF.
The U.S. Army's Signal Corps was set up to "exercise supervision over signal communications literally from the Pentagon to the foxhole." Created in 1860 at the suggestion of a military doctor, the Signal Corps originally used a system of flag waving for messaging dubbed 'wigwag' and graduated to overseeing the nationwide telegraph network six years later. By 1870, members were tasked with establishing and operating a weather forecasting service, so in 1907 when they created an aeronautical division it was just in time for facilitating the nation's rapidly growing cadre of aircraft pioneers (recall the Wright brothers had flown four years earlier at Kitty Hawk) by providing en route weather information. Having already mastered the state of the art that was radio and telephone by 1937...
World's Tiniest Video by IBM
"A Boy and His Atom"
Scientists from IBM have produced the world's smallest movie, made by a stop-action photography type method. 242 individual still frames created and acquired by an in-house scanning tunneling microscope were used to create "A Boy and His Atom." Guinness World Records has certified it as a record-setter (although I cannot find it on their website yet). From the IBM press release: "A Boy and His Atom" depicts a character named Atom who befriends a single atom and goes on a playful journey that includes dancing, playing catch and bouncing on a trampoline. Set to a playful musical track, the movie represents a unique way to convey science outside the research community. 'Capturing, positioning and shaping atoms to create an original motion picture on the atomic-level...
AWR Kicks off ADF 2013
This July in Asia
AWR Corporation, the innovation leader in high-frequency EDA software, today announced the start of its AWR Design Forum 2013 tour with a diverse schedule of dates and venues in the Asia Pacific region starting this summer. ADF is an open event at which designers of microwave and RF circuits and systems such as MMIC, RF PCB, and LTE can network and share useful information and resources pertinent to high-frequency design, discuss AWR products.
Time to Buy a New Book?
Introduction to Antenna Analysis Using EM Simulators, by Hiroaki Kogure, Yoshie Kogure, and James C. Rautio. Written for novice engineers and engineering students, this easy-to-comprehend resource offers readers thorough introductory-level treatment of antenna analysis using electromagnetic (EM) simulators. This richly-illustrated book shows how to use EM software to analyze and tune wireless antennas to meet specific requirements. Readers learn important wireless antenna design terminology and gain a detailed understanding of how antennas work. Moreover, the book offers guidance in troubleshooting problems with wireless antenna designs. This authoritative reference also provides a complete overview of the many different kinds of antennas and related EM tools. DVD is included! This title contains Sonnet electromagnetics analysis software, featuring example files that are described and illustrated in the book.
Sherlock Ohms: Car Radio
Fires up Check Engine Light
Design News' 'Sherlock Ohms' mysteries are submitted by their readers. They tell stories of electronics posers and how the e-sleuths solve them. I only link to ones that RF Cafe visitors might enjoy. This installment proves that the old adage "ground is ground the world around" is only valid when it has a good connection.