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:
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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Many Thanks to American
Microwave for Support
American Microwave Corporation (AMC) uses a state-of-the-art clean room to manufacture all of it's products, as well as a fully automated machine shop. AMC is a leader in the design and manufacturing of DC to 40 GHz solid state control components for commercial and military grades. Products include PIN diode switches, PIN diode attenuators, detector log video amps (DLVAs), tunnel diode amps, wideband detectors, power dividers & couplers, and bias "Ts."
Surface Barrier Transistor
According to the Transistor Museum website, "The Philco Surface Barrier Transistor (SBT) was the 'hottest' transistor around until the late 1950s. This device performed very well at high frequencies and was used extensively in radio and computer circuits. Hobbyists were delighted to find such an inexpensive high frequency device... [Edwin] Bohr authored many well-remembered transistor construction projects in the 1950s/60s." Many of Bohr's construction articles featuring SBTs were published in Radio Electronics magazine, and this was one of them from 1957. The manufacturing process is described where jet streams of an electrolyte were shot at both sides of the germanium crystal to etch it as required - Neanderthal in nature compared to today's...
Gratefulness to RFIC Solutions
for Continued Support
Please visit RFIC Solutions in appreciation of their helping to deliver RF Cafe. 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.
High Performance Combo
for VSAT, PtP & Radar Markets
Hittite Microwave Corporation, the world class supplier of complete MMIC based solutions for communication & military markets, has announced a new GaAs pHEMT MMIC power amplifier and an analog variable gain amplifier that are ideal for Ka-band VSAT, high capacity microwave radio and radar systems in the 27.5 to 31 GHz frequency range. The HMC7441 is a three-stage GaAs pHEMT Power Amplifier which operates between 27.5 and 31 GHz. The amplifier provides 23 dB of gain and +34 dBm of saturated output power at 25% PAE from a 6 V supply and output IP3 of +38 dBm.
and Content Manager Needed
Pasternack Enterprises is searching for a talented Copywriter with RF/Microwave knowledge and industry experience to develop and maintain an extensive range of information for the Company. Writing projects will be varied and challenging including the development of content for the Company’s website landing pages, product descriptions, marketing-related emails, press releases and news pages as well as copy for technical reference materials such as white papers and glossaries. Our successful candidate will become an integral part of our professional team of RF engineers and marketers. This position requires strong technical and product knowledge
Scatter System to Link
"Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe" - is that a cool sounding title or what? As an aficionado of World War II movies and paraphernalia, such terms bring to mind a consortium of countries and countrymen desperately working and sacrificing together to fend off ruthless aggressors to preserve their cherished ways of life. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was formed in 1949, just a few years after the end of WWII in order to formalize an agreement to basically cover each other's butts. To attack any one member was to attack all members, thereby reducing the chance of onslaught. Part of the strategy included developing and implementing what would be the most extensive radio communications in existence at the time. Because of the great distances that needed to be covered, both over-the-horizon tropospheric forward scatter and line-of-sight radio relay links were essential...
Hittite Expands GaN MMIC
Hittite Microwave Corporation, the world class supplier of complete MMIC based solutions for communication & military markets, announced a new Gallium Nitride (GaN) MMIC power amplifier product which offers significant performance, size and durability advantages for communications, test instrumentation and radar systems operating in the 6 to 18 GHz frequency range. The HMC7149 is a 10 W GaN MMIC Power Amplifier which operates between 6 and 18 GHz. The amplifier typically provides 20 dB of small signal gain, +40 dBm of saturated output power.
Anatech Electronics has published its November 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 takes on the subjects of analog voltage-tuned filters, legacy products, reverse microwaves, high-tech feature phones.
Thanks to ACS
for Long-Time Support!
Applied Computational Sciences has been supporting RF Cafe since 2008. ACS designs, develops and sells Electronic Design Automation (EDA) software tools for RF and microwave engineering applications. ACS's main product is the LINC2 linear circuit simulator and RF Tools products. Visual System Architect provides a block diagram level system simulator, and AMP Pro simplifies amplifier design. Bundles on multiple packages are available. All products run under Windows.
Calculator watches stopped being a sign of nerd chic a long time ago. If your wrist has been crying out for a device that declares to the world, "I am a hopeless technophile... and proud of it!," then this wearable o-scope-in-a-watch might be just the fashion statement revolution you have been waiting for. For a $99 pledge, you can receive one of the first prototype as part of Gabriel Anzziani's Kickstarter project (hurry - only one left as of this writing). Per the website, "The Oscilloscope Watch has all the features of a modern watch (time, calendar, alarm, etc...) combined with all the features of the popular Xprotolab (Oscilloscope, Waveform Generator, Logic Analyzer, Protocol Sniffer, Frequency Counter). The $60k goal has been met and exceeded. Its open source code...
Test Equipment Connection
TEC has been helping deliver RF Cafe since 2009. "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, 2nd 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."
In 1957, only a top-of-the-line automobile deserved a radio containing 13 discrete transistors and four crystal diodes. Only buyers of such a top-of-the-line vehicle could afford the luxury offered by an electronic marvel that promised instant-on music with superior sensitivity and selectivity over the vacuum tube models that lesser humans endured. Delco's Model 7268085 was up to the task as it populated the dashboards of Cadillac's Eldorado Brougham. Modern day radios use a single IC (e.g., NXP SAA7706H) for performing all reception, filtering, amplification, and tuning functions, with superior performance compared to the Delco without all the interstage tuning transformers, Rs, Ls, and Cs. Most of the rest of the circuitry in your car radio is for microprocessor control of the user interface and that single RFIC.
AWR Showcases Latest
Software at MWE 2013
AWR Corporation, the innovation leader in high-frequency EDA Software, will be exhibiting in Booth A505 at the 2013 Microwave Workshops and Exhibition from November 27 to 29 in Yokohama, Japan. Software demonstrations of the AWR Design Environment™ will inform and educate attendees about key features and applications. AWR will participate in the MWE Workshop #08 on Verification of Accuracy for Electromagnetic Simulators for Canonical Problems on November 28th. AWR will present "Introduction to Analyst, AWR's 3D FEM EM Simulator," on November 29th.
Many Thanks to
Linx has been helping to deliver RF Cafe since 2008. Linx Technologies' RF modules, remote controls, evaluation kits and master development systems feature straightforward hardware configuration and clear documentation, making it simple for engineers and hobbyists to integrate wireless features without the hassle and expense of engineering RF functionality from scratch. We also offer design services including board layout assistance, programming, certification advice and packaging design.
New Twitter and LinkedIn
Buttons - Please Test
I just added Twitter and LinkedIn buttons to RF Cafe in the horizontal bar underneath the top menu area. By clicking on them, you activate your account and can automatically send the page URL to your followers. If possible, I would appreciate your trying one or both buttons to make sure they are working properly. For some reason they do not seem to be incrementing even though I have sent out multiple Tweets and LinkedIn messages when new items are posted on the homepage (like this one). Each web page is supposed to have its own unique, independent set of counters, so maybe also try at least one page other than the homepage. Thanks for your help!
Here is another of the Electronic Sticklers challenges from Popular Electronics (see May Electronic Sticklers). These are fairly basic circuit analysis problems that often can be solved by inspection, but sometimes a pencil and paper are necessary. Re-drawing the circuit in a different configuration to make the connections more obvious often helps when solving total resistance, capacitance, inductance, etc., as in question #1. In this case, though, you need to be able to recognize a common configuration to be able to simplify the circuit; otherwise, you'll be writing and solving mesh equations. #2 has a simple answer and a more elaborate possibility. #3 and #4 are simple inspection problems.
Electronics for Dummies
Chances are if you are reading this, you don't really need Electronics for Dummies. However, Christmas is coming and you might considering picking up a copy to gift to a tech-challenged friend or boss, or maybe to a relative, that always gets the tell-tale deer-in-the-headlights stare whenever you start explaining what you do for a living or hobby. The "for Dummies" series is well-known for helping to make complex concepts understandable for laymen.
Please Visit BRL Test in
Appreciation of Support
BRL Test, Inc. is a leading dealer of new and reconditioned test and measurement equipment. We buy, sell, rent, lease, repair and calibrate all types of general purpose test and measurement equipment. BRL Test is your one stop source for over fifty different manufacturers and thousands of different models – specializing in Agilent, HP, Tektronix, Fluke, Anritsu, and Rohde & Schwarz. All equipment is calibrated per order at an ISO9001:2000 Registered and A2LA Accredited facility (Z-540 & 17025), so you have the added reassurance you are receiving high quality equipment ready to work right out of the box.
The Electronics of
Before there were CFL light bulbs with complicated electronic circuits for generating the requisite high voltages without a transformer, there were just the familiar straight fluorescent bulbs that use a simple ballast arrangement and a built-in switch in the bulb base. As with compact fluorescent (CFL) lights, very few people understood how they worked. Most knew that the 8-foot-long T-12 bulbs made a really cool implosion sound when they broke - usually intentionally (by people like me) since the glass tubes were amazingly tough. I remember many moons ago, between high school and the time I enlisted in the USAF, while I was an apprentice electrician working on a renovation job at a public school, a co-gofer and I spent weeks wiring fluorescent fixtures all throughout the building. We worked atop a tall scaffolding that was on wheels, pulling ourselves around the room by grabbing the suspended ceiling grid. When the foreman wasn't around, we relieved our utter boredom...
PMI Intros 2 to 18 GHz
PMI Model No. TD-30T-SHS-218-2G4G-PECL is a high speed, LVPECL logic output threshold detector designed to operate from 2.0 to 18.0 GHz, but optimized for 2.0 to 4.0 GHz. This detector has a propagation delay of 15 ns max and has a LVPECL output.±15 Vdc supply, SMA connectors.
Advanced Google Searches
A lot of time can be wasted when performing Internet searches. With tens of thousands of pages likely containing at least some reference to whatever it is you are looking for, drilling down into data to retrieve relevant web pages can be difficult or impossible. Fortunately, if you know about a few handy special search formats, you can increase your likelihood of success greatly. Here are a few I use quite often. Search terms are not case sensitive, but note that the OR operator is. You may combine any or all of these special operators as long as the syntax rules are followed. If you don't want to remember all the special search formats, simply type in "advanced search" to get a search page with all these options implemented. BTW, one of the best tricks I've discovered...
Eternal Thanks to All
Who Have Served !!!
The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month - November 11th, at 11:00
am - that is when the armistice (cease fire) began in 1918, unofficially ending World War I.
This Veteran's Day tribute is by Canadian citizen Terry Kelly. It was written after an experience he had on Veterans Day
in 1999. Terry went blind at an early age, but has excelled as an athlete and a musician. "A Pittance of Time" is done in the
finest Celtic tradition.
Notable Tech Quote
"Right now, there are about a thousand satellites operating in space. Of those, just two were designed to be serviced in orbit: the Hubble Space Telescope and the International Space Station." - Benjamin Reed, PM of NASA's Satellite Servicing Capabilities Office, regarding work in progress to built automated robotic satellite service platforms for repair and refueling satellites not originally designed to be serviced.
USCG Turns to R&S for Help
Analyzing Comms Signals
U.S. Coast Guard Office of Contract Operations intends to award a non-competitive sole source purchase order to Rohde & Schwarz, for PR-100 portable receivers (with options) and GX430 digital decoding software (with options). The statutory authority permitting Other than Full and Open Competition is 10 U.S.C. 2304(c)(1) as implemented by FAR 6.302-1, Only One Responsible Source and No Other Supplies or Services Will Satisfy Agency Requirements. Together, the products can be used for capture, analysis, classification, demodulation and decoding of digital and analog IF signals.
Thanks Again to Apex Wireless
for Continued Support!
Since 1985, Apex Wireless has offered consulting, engineering, and design services focusing on high-performance, cost-optimized products that employ wireless RF transmitters, receivers, and transceivers. To complement our RF design expertise, we work with local experts in DSP, ultra low power design, packaging, certification, and manufacturing. Apex Wireless handles the complete design and production cycle, or any part of it - electrical, mechanical, packaging, sourcing, certification, and management.
Track ESA's Falling
Satellite in Real-Time
The N2YO website provides real-time mappings of many satellites, including the ESA's Gravity Field and Steady-State Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) platform, which, as I write this, is deciding whose front lawn to fall onto. The only thing about the satellite's destiny known for certain is that sometime between Sunday afternoon and Monday morning, it will come plunging to Earth in a fiery re-entry, hopefully burning up into small enough chunks to not cause any damage on the ground. If you or anyone you know is hit by a piece of the debris, take comfort in knowing that you can probably sue your country's government for damages. "Basically, governments are responsible for their own spacecraft," explained...
RF Engineering Crossword
Puzzle for November 10, 2013
This week's RF Engineering crossword puzzle is a bit larger than normal, so you'll need to budget a little more time in the corporate reading room to complete it. As usual, only words related to engineering, science, mathematics, physics, etc., are used. If you want to de-throne those folks in management and sale of a know-it-all attitude for being able to complete the 'other' crosswords that use movie star and fashion designer names, leave a copy of this puzzle in a strategic location in the men's and women's resting areas.
Q&A on Oscilloscopes
Simpson Electric is a name most RF Cafe visitors are probably familiar with as being the maker of high quality analog multimeters, with the Simpson 260 line being the most famous (it is still manufactured today). Not as many people, however, know that Simpson also used to make oscilloscopes. This article from Popular Electronics was written by a Simpson Electric engineer whose job was, in part, to respond to questions asked by users. It covers basic operations like how to calibrate the display, adjust the horizontal time base and vertical amplitude scales, and how to synchronize the display with the input signal. Some explanation of how to interpret periodic and pulse type waveforms is provided as well as tips on how to avoid overloading and possibly...
AWR Hosts High Frequency
Workshop in Brazil & Argentina
AWR Corporation, the innovation leader in high-frequency EDA Software, is co-hosting with CST and National Instruments a complimentary series on high-frequency design, simulation, and test workshops in Brazil and Argentina this month. The workshop brings to South American designers hands-on insight into the world of simulation for RF and microwave circuits and systems as well as 3D electromagnetic analysis using AWR and CST software. Attendees will also be introduced to the National Instruments’ PXI platform for RF measurements.
Anatech Intros Directional
Coupler & 3 New Filters
Anatech Electronics has released new designs for a 800-2500 MHz 10 dB directional coupler, a 728 to 734 MHz cavity bandpass filter, and a 1710 to 1785 MHz/1805 to 1880 MHz cavity duplexer, and a 2412 MHz cavity bandpass filter for Wi-Fi Hotspots. All can be ordered directly through their AMCrf web store.
Career & Job Hunting
News & Tips
About once a month I scan the Internet for useful articles on career news and tips. Here are a few new ones.
Branding Mistakes You
Didn't Know You Were
- Demand for Engineering
Jobs Grows in 2013
- U.S. Investigating
"Onshoring" Firms for Visa
- 5 Job Search Tips for
- Corporate Recruiters Insist
There Really Is a STEM
- Tips to Use LinkedIn
Effectively for Job Hunting
- 10 Job Search Tips for
- How's the Engineering Job
Market? Depends on Whom
RF Cafe Quiz #55:
Conquer Radio Frequency
Dr. Fornetti personally provided the copy of Conquer Radio Frequency that was used to create this quiz, and has authorized me to include it in the monthly Book Drawing. His video to the right provides a great introduction to the book and to the very well-done set of instructional videos featured on the included DVD. AWR's Microwave Office software is used throughout the tutorials. A live, narrated, step-by-step process is fully captured on-screen so you see how to create the circuit schematic, set up the component parameters for simulation and optimization, specify graph and table types and how to designation input files, configure input stimulus, and how to interpret the results of the simulation. It is an excellent way to familiarize yourself with where to find everything in MWO's menu and toolbar structure...
The Rice Variarm
Electron-coupled oscillators (ECOs) were a real breakthrough in achieving frequency stability in harsh environments that included mechanical vibration, temperature excursions, power supply variations, and load changes. Use of vacuum tubes made the task even more challenging. Such oscillators were necessarily very expensive compared to less sophisticated designs. Henry E. Rice Jr., W9YZH, introduced his "Rice Variarm" model (aka the Millen Model 90700) at a breakthrough price of just $29.50, which in 2013 money equates to $469.89 per the U.S. BLS Inflation Calculator. That is a lot of moola for amateur radio operators even today. The arm sticking out of the case is for adjusting the frequency.
Big Data from Your Car
"The typical new car today generates 15 gigabytes (109) of information per hour - a number that's climbing as sensors proliferate. A little back-of-the-napkin figuring suggests that 250 million such vehicles would produce around 2000 exabytes (0.002 yottabyte) per year, most of which never leave the car. But that's changing." So said Frank Markus in the September 2013 edition of Motor Trend magazine. His article titled, "You Car's Contribution to the 'Big Data' Cloud," does a nice job in explaining the immense amount of digital data generated by a new car's computer system. The numbers include everything from tire pressure sensors sending metrics via Bluetooth to fuel injection and entertainment systems. Smart headlights, auto-dimming rear view mirrors, self-parking algorithms and gesture sensing make it easy to believe the numbers. Coming soon to a vehicle near you is a personal health vital signs...
The late 1950s and early 1960s were the dawn of the Space Age, beginning unofficially with the launch of Sputnik. Popular Electronics put a lot of effort into educating the public on advances in space electronics, including not just the spaceborne platforms, but also ground tracking and communicating equipment. Much hardware was launched into orbit in the early years without giving much thought to the hazards or space debris. Failures in the form of explosions scattered chunks widely, but fortunately most were low enough to have their orbits degrade and re-enter the atmosphere. One interesting tidbit reported in this article that I didn't know was that the TV camera lens on the TIROS 2 weather satellite was defocused during launch (due to positional shifting from vibration and G forces, I suppose) and crippled the image quality severely.
Skyworks Ramps SkyOne™
Skyworks Solutions today announced that HTC and Samsung are ramping SkyOne™, a highly customizable, fully optimized front-end solution, in several of their recent smartphone launches. The SkyOne™ platform, which integrates all RF and analog content between the transceiver and antenna, reduces complexity, size and time-to-market for customers with demanding architectures for advanced mobile applications. Utilizing Skyworks’ full technology portfolio and advanced multichip module capabilities including proprietary shielding and packaging, SkyOne™ is the world’s first semiconductor device to condense multiband power amplifiers and high throw switches along with all associated filtering, duplexing and control functionality into a single, ultra-compact package.
Solace in Solar
RF test engineer Joe Cahak, owner of Sunshine Design Engineering Services, recently had a photovoltaic panel system installed on his southern California home. After much research and running through return on investment (RoI) calculations, he made the decision to invest in a state-of-the-art system by Semper Solaris in San Diego. If you have not looked into modern PV technology, you might be surprised - as was I - to learn that rather than all the panels feeding their DC outputs into a common AC inverter that handles phasing issues with the street service, instead each panel has its own inverter and phase matching circuit so everything simply feeds into a 2-pole circuit breaker. Doing so eliminates single point failures and allows graceful degradation if necessary rather than taking down the entire system. Joe has provided a very nicely done write-up on the system and its installation.
DARPA's Advanced RF Mapping
A project is underway by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to provide a real-time map (RadioMap) of where over-the-air broadcasts are occurring. The idea is to create a Google Maps type graphical interface where a network of 'sensors' that includes special purpose and otherwise deployed devices will report to a central data collection point to provide situational awareness for where and when (and by whom in some cases) specific frequencies are being occupied. Proposals are being accepted for companies wanting to contribute to the program, so this might be a great opportunity for makers of software defined radios (SDR) to build functionality into systems for accommodating such detection and reporting...
Linx's RM Series GPS Receiver
for Economical Solutions
Linx Technologies announces its launch of the high performance, low cost RM Global Positioning System receiver modules. Using the built-in MediaTek MT3337 chipset, The RM module can simultaneously acquire on 66 channels and track on up to 22 channels, providing standard NMEA data messages through a UART interface. A simple serial command set can be used to configure optional features. The RM receiver module is a cost-effective GPS solution. It offers no-frills, basic operation in a compact 15 mm by 13 mm package.
Portable Digital O-Scope
RF Cafe Featured Product
No, this is not a phone or GPS device. It is a handheld digital oscilloscope (DSO) with a 1 MHz bandwidth, 2.8" color LCD, max sample rate of 1 Msps with 12 bits of resolution, and a USB interface (not needed for operation). For a mere $70 you get the DSO201 and a test probe. For $162 you can get a 4-channel version (DSO203) with a 72 MHz analog bandwidth. Here is a YouTube video demonstrating both o-scopes' capabilities.
Electronic Speed Mail
Electronic mail did not start out as we know it today, whereby anyone with access to an Internet-connected device can compose and send a typed message to a similarly equipped receiver. The first electronic mail message was sent (and received) on November 1, 1960, between post offices in Washington, D.C., and Chicago, Illinois. This article from Popular Electronics takes you on a step-by-step tour of how the Speed Mail system worked, including its dedicated shortwave radio links between participating cities. Great care was taken in an attempt to assure message confidentiality by having the letter opened and scanned automatically inside a sealed machine on the transmit end and then printed and placed in a sealed envelope on the receive end. Knowing what we know now about government snooping, you have to wonder if a copy of each message was routed...
16 Corps Control Nearly All
You Buy, Read, or Watch
An RF Cafe visitor sent me a link to an article showing how most of what we buy at a grocery store is under the auspices of a mere 16 conglomerates. It is amazing - and scary - just how much corporate consolidation has occurred in the last couple decades. News reports mention all the bankruptcies, buyouts, and mergers throughout each year, but unless you are paying attention to such matters, it is easy to not notice what is happening. Did you know, for instance, that Pepsico owns and therefore controls among other companies Kentucky Fried Chicken and Pizza Hut, Aunt Jemima and Cap'n Crunch, Doritos and Ruffles, Dole and even - believe it or not - Pepsi. Proctor & Gamble owns Mr. Clean and Bounty, Tide and Ivory, Cover Girl and Olay, Charmin and Old Spice. Kraft controls Ritz and Planters, Jell-O and Cool Whip, Dr. Pepper and Sunkist, Certs and Chiclets, Oscar Meyer and Honey Maid. The list goes on and on...
RF Technician / Test
This opportunity is open to either new EE/EET electronics graduates, experienced RF / wireless technicians with 1 year min experience seeking a full or part time job, or current EE/EET students seeking a paid internship or a part time / co-op job. The RF test and general engineering technician will work primarily in product test where RF amplifiers are tested and tuned prior to shipment. No experience is necessary and all training will be provided, however, it is necessary that the applicant be proficient in basic electrical concepts and circuits. In addition to RF test the job involves assisting design engineering with parts purchases, light electronic assembly (prototyping) and engineering documentation and database update tasks.
Please Visit ISOTEC in
Appreciation of Their Support
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. ISOTEC is ISO9000 and ISO14000 certified factory.
Tales from the Cube:
"The Big Breaker Mistake"
Most of us have heard tell of people sticking a penny in a screw-in glass fuse holder slot in an old fuse panel when either a replacement fuse is not available or when the correct amperage fuse keeps blowing. Neither reason is acceptable under any conditions, but the latter reason to avoid replacing a fuse that keeps blowing is especially stupid. Fuses blow and circuit breakers trip usually because something is wrong and needs attention. This installation of EDN's "Tales from the Cube" feature shows how truly stupid people can thwart virtually any measure of safety when it comes to electricity.
Notable Tech Quote
"Everyone is born a genius, but the process of living de-geniuses them." "I'm not
a genius. I'm just a tremendous bundle of experience."
- R. Buckminster Fuller
This Is Not the Internet
This appeared in the
November 2013 edition of The Good Life, a local
newspaper of northern Michigan. Each monthly edition is chock full of not just news and advertisements, but also scores
of jokes and riddles. "Okay, I'm five-foot-three and pleasingly plump. Recently, after I had a minor accident, my mother
accompanied me to the emergency room. The ER nurse asked for my height and weight, and I responded in a serious tone, 'Five-foot-eight,
125 pounds.' While the nurse pondered this information, my mother...
Bonus riddle: How do the guys in a close-knit group of technology refer to each other?
Crossword for 11/3/2013
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 Radio Physics Course:
Resistances in Radio
You've heard of 'Litz' wire, right? It's the twisted bundle of multiple enamel or otherwise coated wire used for making couplers, antennas, and at frequencies up to about a couple MHz. Congratulations, but did you know the full name for it is 'Litzendraht?' Neither did I until after reading this article. 'Litzendraht' is the German word meaning 'braided wire' or 'woven wire.' Litz by itself means braided or woven. So, technically if you call it Litzendraht wire, you are being redundant since it is the same as saying woven wire wire. That might save you some embarrassment one day if you happen to be working around a German techie. Litzendraht is used in order to exploit the skin effect at high frequencies where the majority of the current is conducted on the wire's surface. Using multiple insulated wires enables greater current carrying capability than an equivalent diameter single solid wire. While dispensing trivia, note also the use of the term 'B. & S.' gauge for wire...