New RF Cafe Quiz:
Microwave Circulator Design
This 10-question quiz tests your knowledge about
microwave circulator design. Circulator
design has advanced significantly since the first edition of this book was published 25 years ago. The objective of this
second edition is to present theory, information, and design procedures that will enable microwave engineers and technicians
to design and build circulators successfully. This resource contains a discussion of the various units used in the circulator
design computations, as well as covers the theory of operation. This book presents numerous applications, giving microwave
engineers new ideas about how to solve problems using circulators.
Cover Sistemi Uses Microwave
Office to Design UWB Receiver
Cover Sistemi, an Italian electronics developer, used
AWR software to design a UWB receiver
from concept to final production in a single pass. Specifications were for a complete design starting from the antenna through
to the entire RF/baseband analog chain down to the AD converter. Cover Sistemi used Microwave Office® for the circuit design
and AXIEM® for the EM simulation. The scope of work included all design phases, from high-level simulation to circuit-level
design and final verification of pre-layout and post-layout.
An Interesting Experiment
in Weighing the Electron
say almost, that all modern scientific investigation in the basic sciences, and a good deal of all practical developments,
are connected in some way or other with the electron." So writes Dr. Irving J. Sax in 1932 regarding the incentive
for determining as precisely as possible the
mass and electrical
charge of an electron. The Bohr atomic model had just been introduced two decades earlier, so the entire concept of
particle physics was still in its infancy. As with most areas of physics, experiments are conducted with particular biases
and expectations such that often the results are manipulated as needed to conform to preconceptions. Look no further than
the complex retrograde motion planetary models devised and perfected by early astronomers...
Many Thanks to ISOTEC
for Long-Time Support
Since our inception in 1996, ISOTEC has been a leading manufacturer
of RF and microwave connectors such as SMA, MCX, SSMB, Low PIM, N, 7/16 type, and RF components such as attenuators,
terminations, power dividers and more, for wireless
service providers, and other RF systems designers. We provide recognized and trusted products and service to our customers
in more than 60 countries worldwide. ISOTEC offers also an extensive product mix with RF Filters and Multiplexers and others.
What to Do with a Tape
Recorder (until the hi-fi arrives)
tape recorders? They began going the way of the typewriter about two decades ago when solid state voice
recorders hit the market, but now smartphones with sound recording have made even those devices seem outdated. In fact,
when my daughter's house burned down a few weeks ago, all of the on-site conversations with the insurance adjuster, fire
marshal, and housing contractors were recorded to ensure an accurate account of what was said by all parties. Even
though I was 800 miles away at the time, I was still able to listen to the dialog. In North Carolina, law does not require
you to apprise other parties...
Anatech Intros Cavity BPF,
Ceramic BPF, & 13 dB Coupler
Anatech Electronics has
released new designs for a
2,533 MHz cavity bandpass filter, a 749 MHz ceramic bandpass filter, and an 800-2,500 MHz 13 dB directional
coupler. All can be ordered directly through their AMCrf web store.
New Dilbert Book: I Sense
a Coldness to Your Mentoring
You can't go wrong with a good Dilbert book like
I Sense a Coldness to Your Mentoring, by Scott Adams. Dilbert is the most photocopied, pinned-up,
downloaded, faxed, and e-mailed comic strip in the world. Dubbed "the cartoon hero of the workplace" by the San Francisco
Examiner, Dilbert has been syndicated since 1989 and now appears in 2,000 newspapers in 65 countries and 25 languages.
Please Visit Orbel in
Appreciation of Their Support
Orbel is the leading designer and manufacturer
of RF Shielding and EMI/RFI Isolation Products for printed
circuit boards and electronic
enclosures. Board level shielding, EMI contact strips and rings, BeCu
finger-stock and metalized fabric gaskets, connector gaskets. Orbel also specializes in thin gauge
Photo Etched Metal Parts and
Precision Metal Stampings made from a wide variety
of material options.
A New Round of RF
Magazine Articles for April
2014 is continuing to be a great year for magazine articles.
These I have selected from Microwaves & RF
and Microwave Journal are fine examples.
Market Sees Increased
Growth, S.h Mangiola
Mixers, Q. Luu,
Modern High Efficiency
Amplifier Design: Envelope
Tracking, Doherty and
Outphasing, R. Pengelly,
Z. Wang, D. Holmes,
M. Acar, R.
M.P. van der Heijden
Cost Effective 3D Glass
Advanced RF Packages,
J.H. Flemming, R. Cook,
K. Dunn, J. Gouker
House Bill S.2206
Let Me Google That for You Act
What do Google, LinkedIn, Apple, Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo, Bing, Verizon, Microsoft, Sprint, etc., etc., etc., all have
in common? Answer: They all willingly participate with the NSA, FBI, CIA, DHS, ATF, etc., etc., etc., in
collecting as much data as possible about you and me. You might say the former group has become an unofficial branch of
the later group. Well, it is about to become official based on House Bill S.2206 - Let Me Google That for You. It is just as well since the Google twins
(not really twins) already get discount military jet fuel purchases and, along with other
American royalty like Mr. Gates and Jeff Bezos, have open doors to the White House any time they demand it. The Act is ostensibly
a cost-cutting measure and effectively...
April 14, 2014
Equality to most politicians is taking from people who work for a living and giving it to people who vote for a living."
A Nostalgic Adventure: Midland
10-561 Shortwave Restoration
Thanks to Internet, there has never been a
better opportunity to be able to step back in time and reclaim some of your past indulgences. A lot of guys are using resources
like eBay and specialty website forums to search for items remembered from days of yore. Although I can't imagine how it
can be so based on my slacker personal habits as a teenager, there are still available a fairly large number of hobby type
items that I recall owning - many in like-new condition and some even in their original, unopened packages. If you are about
my age or even older, chances are you have either done some of the same, or have considered doing so.
Bob Davis, an RF systems and circuits designer of many years, has submitted accounts of a couple radio restoration projects
Test your diode switch analysis skills here with six circuits designed
by Mr. Robert P. Balin in the July 1961 issue of Popular Electronics. When evaluating the equivalent circuits with
the diodes biased on or off, don't make the job more difficult for yourself by considering whether there is enough voltage
or current to turn a particular diode on or not, just whether the diode is forward or reverse biased. Doing so reduces everything
to simple series and parallel combinations. Redrawing each circuit either with a short for a forward biased diode and an
open for a reverse biased diode makes the task easier.
Radar & Radio Crossword
for April 13, 2014
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.
I will be travelling and have limited access to RF Cafe for the next couple days. Please forgive any delay in response.
Z-Comm Intros Ultra
Compact L-Band VCO
Z-Communications announces a new RoHS compliant VCO
model USSP1570-LF in the L-band. The
USSP1570-LF operates from 1540 to 1600 MHz with the narrow tuning voltage range of 0.5 to 2.5 Vdc. This miniaturized
VCO features phase noise of -90 dBc/Hz @ 10 kHz offset while operating off a 2.7 Vdc supply and drawing a mere
6mA of current. The USSP1570-LF provides the end user an output power of -1±3 dBm into a 50 Ω load while operating
over the industrial temperature range of -40 to 85º C
Out of Order:
Of Pointy-Haired Bosses
This story, submitted by RF Cafe visitor Jerry L., of Cincinnati, OH, reminds me of a
certain manager in a popular engineering comic strip. Jerry writes: I worked in the defense electronics industry for my
entire career and it is hard to
think of a project in more than four decades that was not made infinitely
more difficult due to the 'helpful' input of project managers. One experience in particular comes to mind as a perfect topic
for your Out of Order feature. In the
mid 1970s I was a "fresh-out," as new engineering college graduates were called at the time. Newly minted as a Masters degreed
electrical engineer, my aspirations were high and I was ready to set the mobile radio system world on fire...
Advanced Test Equipment
Rentals April 2014 Newsletter
Advanced Test Equipment Rentals just issued
their TEC Talk newsletter for April 2014. It includes hot topics in the tech news world, highlights of new or special function
test equipment they have available, and some electronics industry news.
PMI Dielectrically Stabilized
GaAs FET Oscillator @ 16.3 GHz
PMI Model No. DRO-16D3G-CD-1 is a
dielectrically stabilized GaAs FET oscillator
with a center frequency of 16.3 GHz. This model provides minimum output power of +11 dBm with all spurs held
to -55 dBc and harmonics held to -20dBc. The mechanical tuning frequency is ±25 MHz and the unit has
a phase noise of -70 dBc/Hz. The unit requires +15 VDC and 150 mA and measures 1.06" x 1.63" x 0.98"
The Tube Family Tree (Part 3)
Magnetron, photomultiplier, traveling wave, compactron,
klystron, backward wave, pencil, lighthouse, cathode ray, indicator, nuvistor, acorn, peanut, T-R, electrostatic, cat's-eye,
orithon, and loctal, are just a few of the many types of
tubes that have been and in some cases still are in use in various types of electronic equipment. Some you have heard
of, others you probably have not. All are discussed in a series of three articles published in Popular Electronics. This
is part 3, which includes operational descriptions of klystrons, magnetrons (in your microwave oven),
and traveling wave tubes...
Carl & Jerry:
Pure Research Rewarded
Jerry in handcuffs? Say it ain't so! Has the pair of good-natured, upstanding high-tech sleuths gone to the Dark Side
(George Lucas 18 years old in 1962 when this was written)? Read the tale to see how they figure
into a plot to kill a local judge, and why they decide to cannibalize a service station television set for parts. What has
come over Carl and Jerry?
Tracking Signal Generator
Supports Spectrum Analyzers
DS Instruments offers the TG6000, a generic tracking signal generator that is compatible with new and legacy RF/microwave
spectrum analyzers. The TG6000 can provide a
TG signal from near DC to beyond 6 GHz enabling swept scalar type measurements with a Spectrum Analyzer. In addition
a fully synthesized signal source is integrated into the TG6000 allowing its use as a standalone signal generator. The SG
source has a frequency range from 25 MHz to 6 GHz. Typical dynamic range for swept response of a DUT is >80 dB.
Skyworks Intros Family of
Hyperabrupt Varactor Diodes
Skyworks introduces a series of surface-mount, silicon, hyperabrupt junction tuning varactor
diodes for automotive, consumer, defense and infrastructure markets. The
SMV2026 Series provides high capacitance
ratio and low-series resistance, suitable for use in low-phase noise, voltage-controlled oscillators, voltage-tuned phase
shifters, bandpass filters and microwave tuners at frequencies up to and above 2.5 GHz. The Series is also ideal for
wideband UHF and VHF applications.
Look How They're
nickel-cadmium (NiCad or NiCd) batteries were the way of the future due
to a combination of high charge storage density and recharging ability. Carbon-zinc (C-Zn)
cells were well established by then and had performed reliably during World War II and in Korea. Alkaline batteries
were considered the de facto high standard for critical applications that required longer life and higher current than C-Zn
could supply, but were (and still are) considerably more expensive. Mercury cells exhibited
a fairly constant voltage level during useful life, which made them preferable for applications with a low voltage variance
tolerance. Lithium-ion (Li-Ion) cells, those things...
What the #!$% Is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin has been in the headlines
often for the last couple years. It was heralded in the media as "a new kind of money," a form of e-currency that was supposed
to level the global financial playing field so that no one country would have a
monopoly on the economy. Mt. Gox, a short form of "Magic: The Gathering
Online Exchange," was smoking hot. Fantastic stories appeared almost daily of Bitcoin valuations rising at astronomical
rates while making overnight millionaires of people who had "discovered" forgotten caches of bitcoins in their computer
hard drives. For a while, it appeared the goal might be achieved, but then suddenly Bitcoin mania was stigmatized by word
of scandal. Mt. Gox was shut down suddenly...
Many Thanks for AMC's
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. PIN diode switches
and attenuators, detector log video amplifiers, and power dividers and couplers are among their offerings.
Here is a humorous "kwiz"
that appeared in the June 1970 issue of Popular Electronics magazine. Your answers to questions will determine
whether you are a truly cool technophile, or you are just a maniacal misanthrope who happens to know something about radios
and regulations. This would probably have been more aptly printed two issues earlier as an April Fools' joke.
Please Welcome Fast Circuits
As a New RF Cafe Supporter!
Fast Circuits has been providing since 2009 high-quality
PCB manufacturing and fabrication services to U.S. and Canadian clients. Our fabrication facilities give us the capability
PCBs such as FR4, high temp FR4, Rogers high frequency, heavy copper, and high density.
We also have expertise at delivering impedance control, buried & blind vias, and multiple layered PCBs. Our assembly
services in SMT and PTH capabilities are popular with overseas clients who seek a low cost, high quality and fast turnaround
Z-Comm Intros Low Phase
Noise 11.8 GHz Synthesizer
Z-Communications announces a new RoHS compliant Fixed Frequency
Synthesizer model SFS11800C-LF in the X-band. The SFS11800C-LF is a single frequency synthesizer that operates at 11.8 GHz
with a 10 MHz reference and features a typical phase noise of -90 dBc/Hz and -120 dBc/Hz at the 10 kHz
and 100 kHz offsets, respectively. The SFS11800C-LF is designed to deliver a typical output power of 3 dBm with a VCO
voltage supply of 5 Vdc while drawing 90 mA
(Your purchase helps support RF
Fundamentals of RF and
Microwave Transistor Amplifiers, by Inder Bahl. A comprehensive and up-to-date treatment of RF and microwave transistor
amplifiers. This book provides state-of-the-art coverage of RF and microwave transistor amplifiers, including low-noise,
narrowband, broadband, linear, high-power, high-efficiency, and high-voltage. Topics covered include modeling, analysis,
design, packaging, and thermal and fabrication considerations. Through a unique integration of theory and practice, readers
will learn to solve amplifier-related design problems ranging from matching networks to biasing and stability.
and Their Allocation
National Radio News was published
bi-monthly by the folks at the
National Radio Institute (NRI). NRI used to be a major training center for
electronics technicians beginning in the early part of the 20th century. This article was provided for them by the FCC as
a synopsis of radio frequency spectrum allocations at the time. Compare a 1940 spectrum allocation chart
(just a simple description here) to one for 2014 and you will see a remarkable difference
in not just the number of bands, but in the extension of the frequency range...
A Yell from an XYL
Most amateur operators know that "YL" is Hamese for "young
lady," meaning a female operator. Less well known these days is "XYL" which
decades ago, referred to an ex-young lady, implying either an older woman or the wife of a Ham. According to online
call sign lookup services, Popular Electronics' poet laureate K8AOU was in fact a YL; the call sign was later assigned
to an OM ("old man;" i.e., male operator).
AWR Presents & Exhibits
at EDICON 2014
AWR will be presenting and demonstrating its soon-to-be released V11 NI AWR Design Environment™ at
EDICON 2014 in Beijing,
China starting April 8 and running through April 10, 2014. V11, the first major software release in 2014, includes new features,
functionality and enhancements to Microwave Office/Analog Office circuit design software, Visual System Simulator, AXIEM
3D EM, and Analyst™ 3D FEM EM software. Demonstrations within booth #301
"Conquer Radio Frequency"
RF and microwave engineering has been aptly described as a "black art."
Even for those who have a deep understanding of the concepts, there is still an element of mystery involved, particularly
when it comes to troubleshooting misbehaved circuits or systems. When frequencies are high and wavelengths are so short
that everything conductive becomes an antenna absorbing and conducting or reflecting signals elsewhere, tracking down a
source can be like feeling you way around a house of mirrors at an amusement park while looking for the exit. Fortunately,
someone like Francesco Fornetti, at Explore RF,
not only grasps the concepts but also has the ability to develop...
Many Thanks to Nortec RF
for Continued Support!
Nortec RF has more than 22 years
of experience designing power combiners and dividers, directional
couplers, and filters. Our research and development group and engineering team constantly
introduces new, top of the line products into our product line. Custom designs on request.
Helleroy Needs an RF Engineer
Helleroy is a startup working on building high-quality waterproof audio systems for extreme watersports
(e.g. surfing, kayaking or sailing). Currently, we're just 3 people - an award-winning industrial
designer and graduates from Harvard and uPenn. Our mission is to enable people to
have next-level experiences on the water through music. So far we've built and tested a series of prototypes and have build
a large pre-sales list. As an RF
Engineer, you will be involved in all stages of engineering from R&D to DFM. NOTE:
The schedule begins in April, so do not delay if you are interested!
"Nothing spoils numbers faster than arithmetic!" - Peppermint Patty,
from the Peanuts comic strip by Charles M. Schulz. The
comic strip has been a lifelong favorite of mine.
Your Dream Home
on Michigan's Long Lake
Are you looking for a quality starter home, retirement home, vacation home, or a home for a small family? This home has
quality construction that includes a maintenance-free full brick facing from the ground up to the soffits, all the way around.
Windows are double paned and airtight. R-45 insulation in the attic keeps heating bills at a minimum as does the metered
gas supply for the furnace and water heater. That, and sitting on 1.28 flat acres with beautiful trees, on a private road
100' from the main highway, deeded access to a boat launching area on Long Lake, a large 2-story pole barn, with boat/camper storage,
topped off by great neighbors, makes this estate an ideal choice for your lifestyle. Low taxes, very high speed cable Internet
are a bonus to boot. SimpliSafe alarm installed.
Crossword for April 6, 2014
I have no idea whether the
engineering and science themed
crossword puzzles I have created every Sunday for the last decade are worked by anyone. Occasionally, an editor from
an engineering school newsletter will ask for permission to reprint one, or some company might ask to include one in a corporate
email, but other than that, I usually do not receive any feedback. Please let me know if you have ever worked one of my
custom-made crosswords. Thanks.
Hobnobbing with Harbaugh:
5 Wanted Household Inventions
top off your good fortune, here is a little levity from the "Hobnobbing
with Harbaugh" series of comics that appeared in Popular Electronics. Unfortunately, none of the "The 5 Most
Wanted Household Inventions" have come to full fruition in the marketplace yet, although the Conversation Jammer can be
found on the Internet in various unofficial forms. Personal computers were a pipe dream in 1963, but nowadays we do have
software like TurboTax to take care of filing taxes, although you still can't simply dump all your receipts into a bin and
have it work. Flat-fixing robots...
Free White Papers
TradePub is a service that offers
free whitepapers and magazine subscriptions
to qualifying engineers and technical professionals. I have downloaded many over the years and find them to usually be useful.
A few turn out to not be what I wanted, but since they're free, all that was lost was a few moments spent filling out the
form. Here are a few of the trending "hot" topics per TradePub that might be of interest. Many are geared more toward business
and management, but even if you are 100% engineer, it never hurts to round out your knowledge base a bit and get an insight
into how the company managers think...
with just about every other type of hobby anymore, creativity and mechanical aptitude is not much of a necessity if you
have money to spend. Heck with all the government handouts these days, all you need is other people's money. There is such
a plethora of options available for every conceivable need to satisfy whatever degree of complexity you want your hobby
to entail. The back 1/3 of every edition of the ARRL's QST magazine is loaded with advertisements offering antennas,
radios, towers, test equipment, guy wires, insulators, cables, connectors, soldering stations, semiconductors, tubes, nuts
and bolts. It is a wonderful world we live in if your desire is to engage...
Ribbon cable has been around and familiar to most of us for
as long as we can remember. The advent of personal computers in the 1980s brought ribbon cable into the homes of millions
of people in the form of the interface to disk drives. In 1957, however, when this news story appeared in Popular Electronics,
ribbon cable, known initially as "tape cable." was just being introduced to industry. There was also a story on what might
have been the first flat panel display screen, the "Sylvatron," developed by Sylvania. Finally, we have a report on bouncing
has released new designs for a 825-835 MHz, 870-880 MHz cavity duplexer, a 950 MHz cavity bandpass filter, and a 748 MHz
surface-mount ceramic bandpass filter . All can be ordered directly through their AMCrf web store.
An archive of 2014 press releases has been created to help
if you recall seeing something but do not remember exactly when or by whom. These press releases were either submitted by
the manufacturers or I created them on request based on information on the companies' websites. If I create them, the format
is my copyright and cannot be distributed to other media outlets. I strongly encourage you to write and submit your
own press releases. Due to time availability, I am currently posting press releases only for advertisers, but occasionally
I do so others as well, particularly for upstart companies.
Our two intrepid techno-sleuths
are in college by now, but that does not keep them from applying their well-honed
mystery solving skills to hometown situations while on spring break. The boys invoke the scientific method
of Mr. R.R. Dibble, a New Zealand scientist, to help prove to county commissioners that a certain part of their critical
infrastructure was in need of repair. An nth-generation farmer's observation was not proof enough, so indisputable empirical
data would be needed. Real-life inventors and company's unique instruments are often incorporated into the
Carl & Jerry series that ran for many years in Popular Electronics.
This month, as an advertising promotion, American radio
Supply is giving away an Alinco DR135T 2-meter mobile transceiver to a lucky ham radio operator. No purchased
registration is required. At American Radio Supply we recognize the importance of amateur radio operators
and the valuable service they render to the public. As a token of our appreciation we give away an amateur radio each month
to a licensed amateur radio operator. To enter our random drawing
Congratulations to Mr. David L., of High Point,
NC, the latest RF Cafe Book Drawing winner for March
2014. David chose
Digital Front-End in Wireless Communications and Broadcasting: Circuits and Signal Processing,
by Fa-Long Luo. The book was graciously provided by Cambridge
Paul Rockwell wrote a 4-part series on station design for
long distance (DX) communications that covered antenna selection and siting
(Part I), economics
and construction (Part II), station configuration and receiver topics (Part III), and propagation
quirks and operating tips (Part IV). This is part III,
and discusses topics such as Receiver preamplification, preselectivity and matching.
a new RoHS compliant fixed frequency synthesizer model
SFS10625E-LF. The SFS10625E-LF is a single frequency PLL solution that is pre-programmed to operate at 10.625 GHz.
This fixed frequency device utilizes ceramic resonator topology to achieve integrated RMS noise performance of better than
0.4° while consuming less than 500 mW of power. It is designed to operate over the temperature range of -30 to +70°C
and delivers +3 dBm of output power into a 50 Ω load. Package measure 1.0 x 1.0 x 0.22 in.
by Joshua Fruchter, writing for
IMS ExpertServices, tells an interesting tale of what can happen when a powerful megacorporation, in
this case Apple Computer, decides
to match wits with a 10-year-old child prodigy who,
by no coincidence, was named
Dilbert by his adoring engineer father. The few minutes it will take you to read will leave you with a
sense that yes, there is still a bit of sanity remaining in today's court system.
Daubert, for the uninitiated,
is a landmark legal decision regarding expert testimony in damage liability litigation.
PMI Model No.
OPTION 618-15D is an 8-bit, digitally controlled phase shifter operating from the 6.0 to 18.0 GHz. frequency range.
This unit has a typical insertion loss of 10 dB, accuracy of ±15°, switching speed of 500 ns maximum, and a VWSR
of 2.0:1 maximum. It is supplied with removable SMA(F) connectors in a housing measuring 1.6" x 1.75" x 0.5".
the Western Electric 8A airplane receiver." That statement describes a 160-pound system that included a wind-driven electricity
generator for the equipment used by Captain Frank M. Hawks when setting coast-to-coast time records in the year 1929 using
his Lockheed Air Express airplane, dubbed "Texaco 5." A simple 4-tube AM radio, its chassis measured a whopping
6" x 10" x 12". There were no radio direction finding stations enroute at the time, so the radio's usefulness was limited
to being "comforting to listen in every half-hour and be advised of general conditions...
Today might be April 1st, but these giveaways are not
a joke! Many of your favorite magazines offer free
subscriptions to qualifying people. Qualifying usually means that you are currently employed in a field related to the
primary theme of the magazine, and often you also need to be a decision maker for buying products represented within the
pages. Technical magazines, like RF Cafe, get paid by advertisers and therefore need the public to support those companies
by purchasing their products and/or services. If you believe you meet the standards and can use a subscription...