Carl & Jerry: "BBI"
are solidly in the middle of baseball season in America, so this "Carl &
Jerry" story from a 1950 edition of Popular Electronics comes at a good time. As is the case with many "Carl &
Jerry" episodes, this one involves the use of an amateur radio rig. Find out how and why Jerry willingly commits
"Baseball Interference" (BBI) to beat the opposing team at their own game.
ASC Paper on Using Blind PCB
Holes for Thermal Management
Sundaram Kumar, of American Standard Circuits, Inc., has published a paper titled, "Thermal
Management of High Frequency Circuits by Blind Hole Technology." For effective thermal management of high power
and dense electronics, the heat sink forms the bulkiest component, and aluminum, owing to its light weight and easy
machinability, is the preferred choice for airborne PCB devices used in aerospace and defense telecommunications.
In this paper, we present a versatile and robust fabrication...
Please Thank Bittele for
Supporting RF Cafe
Electronics is a leading Turn-Key PCB assembly manufacturer in the EMS industry. They will answer all
questions and solve all your problems in PCB design and layout,
PCB fabrication, functional testing to RoHS rules, quick-turn PCB assembly, and
FREE prototype PCB assembly.
RF Connectors and Cables
by Joe Cahak
Cahak, owner of Sunshine Design Engineering Services,
has submitted another fine article for posting here titled, "RF
Connectors and Cables." It is a very nice treatment on various flavors of coaxial cables and connectors that
includes specifications on the most commonly used types, governing equations, and recommendations on proper care
and cleaning. Joe has also provided a list of the manufacturers, industry standards, and technical references he
has found most useful during his many decades of automated RF testing experience. "RF Connectors and Cables"
serves as a great introduction for newcomers to the RF and microwave realm, as well as a quick reference for bookmarking
Competitor to the Transistor?
news from May 1958: "Hardly a month passes nowadays without the announcement of some 'sensational' new amplifying
device. The great majority of these startling inventions, after their brief flurry in the popular and technical
press, disappear into oblivion. But we believe that the
just announced in France, has a brilliant and enduring future." Have you ever heard of a Tecnetron? I didn't think
so; neither had I before reading this article in Radio-Electronics. I guess that pretty much negates the preceding
prediction. The holy grail of the Tecnetron, whose etymology in and of itself is worth reading...
Never Let Your Guard Down
what can (probably will) happen if you do like I did and fail to check the oil level
in your air compressor. Fortunately, it was a cheap model so the oversight was was more of an embarrassment than
a great financial loss. It would cost $98 to replace the entire compressor compared to $45 + shipping to buy just
the connecting rod, piston, and counterbalance set (can't buy just the con rod). Metal
from the con rod was seized on the shaft. 25¢ worth of oil and a little bit of good common sense would have
prevented the loss.
Engineering Crossword Puzzle
for June 29, 2014
the sake of avid cruciverbalists, each week I create a new
engineering crossword puzzle that has a
theme related to engineering, mathematics, chemistry, physics, and other technical words. You will never be asked
the name of a movie star unless he/she was involved in a technical endeavor (e.g.,
The New Radio Receivers
War II came to an end in Europe in May of 1945, and in the South Pacific in September of the year. By the end
of 1944, Americans were becoming confident that their fathers, sons, and husbands would soon finally be home. Manufacturers
began advertising the eminent return and availability of
that had gone out of production due to material shortages during the war years. Advertisements ran in trade and
hobby magazines as early as 1944 promising lines of goods that in many cases had not even been designed yet or production
planned. Some products being promised, however, were merely models that were already in production before...
Please Welcome Spartant
as a New RF Cafe Supporter!
Spartant, our mission is to provide you RF test tools
and instrumentation that are clean, uncomplicated and easy to use; nonetheless, our products are high-performance,
versatile. Whether you work in a development lab, production test, classroom or field, these tools will help you
win the daily battles. Perfect for getting the job done efficiently and cleanly, yet not encumbered by features
you don't need, Spartant delivers powerful, simple, electronic tools.
Z-Comm Intros Low Phase
Noise 10.625 GHz Synthesizer
Inc. announces a new RoHS compliant Fixed Frequency Synthesizer model 10625E-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.
Identify That Chassis
spent many years professionally scouring the Internet while attempting to identify electronic components as part
of a reverse engineering
effort, I can appreciate how difficult life would be when the only resources available were a few manufacturers'
databooks and a magazine article or two. You might think it would behoove a company to make certain that its products
are clearly marked if not with a part number, at least with an easily identifiable logo. That way a researcher could
call the company, describe the part, and get the required information. Even with today's nano-size packages, laser
marking could do the job. Sometimes, the maker of the next higher assembly (which might be
the finished product) purposely either removes the identification from select components or instructs the
vendor to only partially mark...
Another Round of RF
it my imagination or are these tech articles being published at a much faster rate than before? It sure seems like
it to me.
Receiver Sensitivity and Equivalent Noise Bandwidth (p.22), D. Layne
Flexible and Low Cost Hands-On Lab for Antennas and Propagation, M. Pasian
Beyond 100 GHz with Coaxial Connectors, W. Oldfield
KKey Test Requirements of Modern Handset Power Amplifiers, D. Hall, H. Nelson, G. Pailloncy
Boosts UWB Gain,, R. Kumar, T. Oli, N. Kushwaha, R. Krishna
Digital Predistortion Techniques for Mobile PA Test (p.32), H. Nelson, S. Ferguson
Errors Common To Spectrum Analysis, B. Nelson
Thanks Much to NIC
for Their Continued Support!
is a leading manufacturer of custom RF & microwave filters and
assemblies. For over 20 years, we have been
trusted partner for military, commercial & space solutions that includes RF modules, phase shifters, multiplexers,
filters, amplifiers, TCXOs, and more. NIC headquarters is located in Overland Park, KS with additional sales and
manufacturing operations in Washington, DC and India.
Our Growing Industry
consumer electronics (CE) industry has an estimated value of $354 billion per a Statista
report. In 1957, according to this article in
the market value was reported to be $13.7 billion ($116 billion in 2014 dollars per the BLS
inflation calculator). The world population in 1957 was 2.89B and grew to 7.10B by 2013. That means population
increased by a factor of 2.45 while the CE industry grew by a factor of 3.05. Within the margin of error of marketing
expert estimates, that represents essentially flat growth. Fret not, though, because while the total spending on
consumer electronics per capita might have been flat...
June 2014 Product Update
Electronics, Inc. offers the industry’s largest portfolio of high-performance standard and customized
RF and microwave filters and filter-related
products for military, commercial, aerospace and defense, and industrial applications up to 40 GHz. Anatech has
released new designs for a 170 MHz cavity bandpass filter, an 882.5 MHz ceramic bandpass filter, and an 800 MHz
helical bandpass filter. All can be ordered directly through their
AMCrf web store.
Electronic Alphabet Quiz
quiz from Popular Electronics is a bit trickier than others because it requires you to think abstractly
rather than concretely. Quiz-maker Robert Balin presents a series of circuits and components along with the first
letters of the related topics. Your mission, should you decide to accept, is to match the item to the letter. The
example provided is matching the letter 'J' to a drawing of that type of half-wave antenna. I have to admit that
my attempt at matching all of the items and letters was taking a lot of time, so I quit before finishing all of
them; my hard head is better at concrete thinking...
ATEC Gearing up for 2014
IEEE EMC Symposium
Advanced Test Equipment Rentals, supplier of complete testing
solutions for the Electromagnetic Compliance (EMC) market, is preparing for the last domestic
EMC Symposium, August 3-8 in Raleigh, NC, until it returns to Washington DC in 2017. Awareness of EMC is increasing
with the growing demand of wireless communications for monitoring radiation and cross RF signals to ensure electronics
are not affected. Also, the demand to plug equipment like solar panels back into the electrical grid is contributing
to the growth of...
NanoDegrees: A New
Paradigm in Tech Credentials
buzzwords are appearing these days faster than IRS scandals. 'NanoDegree,'
coined by Udacity, is one of them. A NanoDegree provides, "Credentials built by industry leaders to advance your
career." It is essentially another form of online certification in specific fields of study, in Udacity's case,
Internet and IT. The ultimate mission is to reduce the requirement and expectation of a formal college degree -
be it Associate, Bachelor, or even higher - for routine jobs. An intense introduction to or concentration on increasing
specific skills, combined with on-the-job experience and instruction, is really all many high technology jobs require.
In order to be a success, employers will need to be convinced of the value provided by abbreviated educational regimens...
Featured Book: Highly
Integrated Low-Power Radars
Low-Power Radars, by Sergio Saponara, Maria Greco, and Egidio Ragonese. In recent years, advances in radio detection
and ranging technology, sustained by new achievements in the fields of signal processing and electronic components,
have permitted the adoption of radars in many civil and defense applications. This resource discusses how highly
integrated radar has been adopted by several new markets such as contactless vital sign monitoring or harbor traffic
control, as well...
Mr. Math Analog Computer
in the early 1990s, while working for a fine Midwestern company that made automated utility meter reading
(AMR) equipment, an older gentleman was hired as a contractor to do some design work.
He was an instant hit with everyone not just because of his engineering prowess, but because of his stories of the
computers he work on for the U.S. Navy. After being commissioned as an ensign at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis,
Maryland, he spent time studying, researching, and designing massive radar-directed gun pointing systems for battleships.
Just as contraptions like Babbage's difference engine was a marvel of contemporary engineering...
FCC Issues Record $34.9M Fine
to GPS Jammer Manufacturer
Schwarz recently played a major role in the FCC's crackdown on truckers using illegal
GPS Jammers. On March 5, 2014, Rohde & Schwarz set up
an instrumented van on a major highway connected to the Portland, OR, airport and determined that "about every third
or fourth truck was radiating at or near the GPS L1 [frequency of 1575.42 MHz]." A report titled, "Strategies for
Limiting Civil Interference Effects Inspired by Field Observations," by consultant Logan Scott, President, LS Consulting,
included the R&S measurements in a detailed presentation on the issue of illegal GPS jamming and the hazards...
Sherlock Ohms: Use Your Head
to Solve the Tough Problems
love these kinds of stories because they involve a combination of luck and skill to solve a long-standing problem.
The important lesson to learn from this story is that
Michael Tompkins was smart enough to make the essential cause and effect link to be successful. To be honest,
the scenario by which the discovery was made made me laugh out loud - not because of the pain caused to Mr. Tompkins
but because I have experienced so many similar doinks myself.
Thanks Once Again to
Z-Comm for Support!
has been leading the wireless world in VCO and PLL technology
for over two decades. We are the largest manufacturer of VCO and PLL modules for the commercial / wireless
market. To ensure our
as the leading RF / Microwave component supplier, Z-Communications, Inc. invests in continuous research and development
to develop state of the art RF/Microwave components. We hold patents in ultra low noise technology, which enable
us to provide excellent performance.
Notable Tech Quote
technocrats are not found among the ranks of such plodders of limited vision and ambition. Instead, they are found
among those who aspire to eminence through their position in the technical hierarchy. Such men will find their climb
made easier by the large number who choose to remain behind by practicing creative incompetence." - Archibald Putt,
in his book
Putt's Law and the Successful Technocrat. Hat tip to Lance Lascari, aka "RF
U. Alberta Student Uses NI AWR
MWO to Design Graphene FET
(formerly AWR Corporation) has published a new success story detailing how Ahsan U.
Alam, a University of Alberta, Canada graduate student, successfully developed a modified top-of-the-barrier model
graphene field-effect transistors using NI AWR Design Environment™/
Microwave Office® circuit design
software. Likewise, an IEEE paper detailing this venture was also recently presented and presented at the IEEE International
Conference on Simulation of Semiconductor Processes and Devices.
Carl & Jerry
might be the first appearance of Carl's father, at least in a drawing. In this episode, Carl and Jerry design and
build a "polecat
detector." In the process, a little drama is thrown in when a stander-by mistaken believes he is being insulted.
Even if you don't learn how a photocell-based threshold crossing circuit works, you might just learn the meaning
Career News & Tips
a week has slipped by since last looking around for useful career and job hunting stories. For some reason these
stories tend to have numbered lists. Here are 6 items from my latest roundup.
10 Things You Need to Know
About Working for a Startup
6 Signs Your Boss Is a
Does Your Resume
the ATS System
(click on the infographic links)
4 Don'ts to Remember on
Your First Job
How Much Time Should You
Spend on Your Job Search?
Zenith TV Advertisement
"No Printed Circuitry"
We ain't got no PCBs in our TV sets... We don't have to give you no stinking PCBs." That is effectively what the
advertisement from a 1958 edition of Radio-Electronics told its potential customers. According to the Zenith communications
department, even though their head R&D guy, Dr. Alexander Ellett, was "the daddy of printed circuit boards,"
they stuck with the traditional point-to-point wiring in all their TV chassis. I have to agree with them from a
troubleshooting and component replacement perspective. There's nothing easier than heating a solder lug or terminal
post to unwrap a leaded R, L, or C either to measure its value, isolate it...
RF & Microwave Crossword
Puzzle for June 22, 2014
today's RF & microwave crossword puzzle
was a galaxy, it would be classified as spiral. If it was top-down hurricane image, it would be in the southern
hemisphere since it rotates clockwise; low pressure areas spin CCW in the northern hemisphere. In fact, the shape
is not meant to represent anything in particular; it was just a convenient way to create the matrix.
Please Thank LadyBug for
Their Ongoing Support!
in 2005, LadyBug Technologies manufactures the PowerSensor™ line of miniaturized USB RF & microwave power sensors.
LadyBug manufactures high accuracy average, pulse, and
pulse profiling sensors with
interfaces covering up to 26.5 GHz and 80 dB dynamic range. These sensors set a, patented industry standard,
no zero / no cal technology. There is no need to disconnect or wait for internal zeroing and calibration
prior to making accurate low power measurements.
Tesla Movie Kickstarter Fund
is the time that I drag anything from my e-mail spam bin back into the inbox, but I do always check it just in case
something slips by. The subject "Tesla Movie" is what caught my eye and caused me to investigate.
Tesla proposes to be a full-feature, star-studded film documenting the
life and times of Nikola Tesla. Its producers have turned to the increasingly popular 'crowdfunding' venue via
Kickstarter as one aspect of fundraising to help bring it to fruition.
Per the Kickstarter website pitch: "Why Crowdfunding? Quite simply we need a boost in finances to keep us going
towards bringing this film to realization. We don't have the financial resources the big studios...
A Unique Attention Getter
for a few notable examples such as the incredibly life-like humanoid robots coming from Japan, the overwhelming
today are either educational tools, special function equipment for performing highly precise tasks
(surgical, exploratory, search & rescue), or part of high volume production lines.
Back in 1940 when this 'Telecan' robot debuted, people though of robots almost exclusively as autonomous devices
that would some day make life easier for the human race, or eventually conquer and subdue the human race into slavery.
Constraining robots to the relatively inefficient layout and proportions of homo sapiens...
RF Calibration Technician
Needed by ATER
Test Equipment Corp. has in immediate need for an
RF Calibration Technician to perform calibration and repair of medium to high level test and measurement equipment.
successful candidate will requires little assistance and supervision on to create calibration data sheets accurately
and efficiently with minimal supervision based upon instrument specifications and approved calibration procedures,
identify and recommend products and related peripherals and accessories to add to our rental inventory...
Interview with KN3NOB
Harbaugh drew the semi-regular Hobnobbing with Harbaugh series of comic strips in Popular Electronics.
His themes were always in the situational comedy style of the day where Ham operators were depicted as victims of
their own obsession with amateur radio, their wives' lack of obsession with amateur radio, or being at the mercy
of some well-meaning but ignorant neighbor, police officer, store clerk, or other such individual. This particular
comic has an on-the-scene TV anchorman making KN3OB's life heck.
"Ham Radio and Me
in High School" - Hilarious!
'Me' in this case is
(know to his parents as Chaz Cone), author of a very well-written and entertaining
short story that is reminiscent of a Jean Shepherd
radio tale. Hat tip to RF Cafe visitor Leon Robinson (K5JLR) for sending me the hyperlink.
He was an accomplice to and co-conspirator with W4GKF in the confessed escapades.
Digital Filters for Everyone
Filters for Everyone, by Rusty Allred. Performing such functions as noise mitigation and signal conditioning,
digital filters are everywhere: in your car, in your TV, in your music player, in your phone, everywhere. But an
engineering degree or expensive software is not required to design and analyze them. In fact, whoever you are and
whatever your background, this book will help you understand,
design, analyze and use digital filters. This book was written to make digital filters more accessible to everyone.
Practicing engineers will appreciate its straightforward approach...
Beware Advice from
Columnists with Deadlines
I search for useful articles that offer career advice, I do a cursory scan through them to make sure there is no
hidden bit of idiocy that ends up poisoning the entire thing. I would not want to recommend something without have
at least performed some minimal amount of vetting. Sometimes, I don't need to go any father than the headline to
flag it as idiocy. Take this one, for example: "How to Go from
Working 60 Hours a Week to 40 by Sending 2 Emails a Week." The author has the very naive view that all a worker
needs to do get away with working 40 hours each week is to send his/her boss an email on Monday morning outlining
what he/she plans to accomplish in 40 hours by the end of the week, and then sending a follow-up on Friday afternoon...
Bionics... a Weird World
is an interesting article that appeared in Popular Electronics discussing some of the early
system developments that were based on sensory elements found in nature. I'm a bit surprised and disappointed
that the author made the mistake of equating a bat's sound-based detection and navigation system to radar rather
than sonar. Yes, the principles of operation are the same regarding transmitting a signal and then computing the
distance based on the round-trip time of the reflected signal, but there is a fundamental difference...
Tech Articles for June 17, 2014
hard to believe more than a week has passed since I posted the last batch of articles. A couple links go to some
nice videos produced at the IMS2014 trade show last week.
Eight Errors Common to
Key Test Requirements of
Modern Handset Power
Amplifiers, G. Pailloncy,
H. Nelson, D. Hall
Get Smarter About
Production Outlier Removal,
the Status Quo,
D. Carlson, and
D. Pilgrim (I know Duncan)
Flexible and Low Cost
Hands-On Lab for Antennas
and Propagation, M. Pasian
Dr. Stephen Maas - 2014
Microwaves & RF Living
Freescale's RF Test Bench
in a Box (video)
Circuit Quiz: Capacitive,
Inductive, or Resistive?
is a different type of quiz from Popular Electronics' master quiz-maker, Robert P. Balin. Rather than the typical
format where you need to match a word or another picture with a picture, this one requires you to consider each
description and decide whether it best describes an inductive, capacitive, or reactive circuit. I confess to messing
up on question 20, because I couldn't remember whether a
factor referred to voltage lagging current or current lagging voltage. Hint: It refers to current lagging voltage.
Another hint: Remember the ELI the ICE...
KR Electronics Intros
70 MHz Bandpass Filter
Electronics part number 3157-1
is a 70 MHz bandpass filter. The
filter has a min 0.5 dB bandwidth of 30 MHz. The filter is group delay and amplitude equalized. Stopband
attenuation of 45 dB is maintained to 5 GHz. Elliptic type response for quick transition to the stopband. The
filter is supplied in a 0.6" x 0.6" x 2.25" case with SMA connectors.
The Maker's Bill of Rights
be misled by the word "Maker's" in the title. "Maker" comes from Make magazine, the website that originally
posted "The Maker's Bill of Rights" as created by Mister Jalopy, Phillip
Torrone, and Simon Hill. The trio's collective lament and peeve is the manner in which so many manufacturers
(aka 'the makers,' but not the object addressed in the title) produce products that
are essentially unserviceable by users. It has been a topic of concern by many consumers ever since miniature and
integrated components hit the product scene in the 1960s. "The Maker's Bill of Rights" was published around 2006.
Permission has magnanimously been given to broadcast and promote it far and wide using the poster contained in this
PDF document. As I read down the bullet list, I find myself agreeing...
The Cuk Converter
I am not a proud miscomputerist (a made-up word) a la the sadly departed and much revered
Bob Pease, I do allow myself the luxury of being emotionally affected at the sight of a hand-drawn circuit in
a 21st century electronics magazine. Such is the case with Steve Bush's short article on the functional theory of
Cuk converter circuit. Its primary function is to invert the output voltage of a switching power supply using
as few components as necessary. Rather than confuse (and bore) you with my interpretation,
I'll let Steve do the 'splainin...
Notable Tech Quote
"On closer inspection,
the first question to ask is whether computers are getting smarter or people are getting dumber." - David Auerbach,
The Age columnist, in "Turing
Test: What Eugene Said, and Why It Fooled the Judges"
Here Is Why High-End RF Test
Equipment Is So Expensive!
you want to know why high-end RF test equipment is so expensive, here is a clue: Look at all the gold-plated coaxial
connectors on the back of this Agilent Technologies (aka Keysight Technology) FFT-based
PXI signal analyzer. I show a screen capture of the front panel connections from a video narrated by Agilent's
Joan Gibson at the IMS2014 show. In it, she demonstrates the difference between stepped vs. swept spectrum analysis.
BTW, I'm only partly kidding about the connector-related cost drivers of instruments.
Sr. Engineering Manager
Sought by IC Interconnect
Interconnect is a leading supplier of flip chip wafer bumping, wafer level CSP and back-end services to the
semiconductor and electronics communities. Our customers
world wide locations and are serviced from our manufacturing locations in Colorado Springs. IC Interconnect is seeking
Sr. Engineering Manager to do development and manufacturing support in a high tech, high volume, small company
environment on processes to support advanced packaging of wafer and die level bare silicon products...
Break-Over Torque Wrenches
Introed by Fairview Microwave
Microwave, a preeminent supplier of on-demand microwave and RF products, announces the release of a new portfolio
beak-over type torque wrenches used to precisely fasten RF coaxial connections between components and systems.
Fairview Microwave has added a broad range of these break-over type torque wrenches suitable for multiple RF connector
types including 1.0mm, 2.4mm, 2.92mm, 3.5mm, 7mm, SC, SMA, SMC, SSMA, SSMC, Type N and TNC designs. These
RF torque wrenches...
Please Visit Triad RF Systems
in Appreciation of Support
RF Systems was formed with the objective to solve the problem of
high power RF amplifiers being the Achilles' heel in most
RF radios. We have solutions for integrating high performance HPAs (10 MHz - 20 GHz)
into sophisticated RF
and systems without sacrificing efficiency and linearity. Triad RF Systems serves the military, satellite and commercial,
medical, home land security, digital video broadcast, aviation and commercial wireless applications.
from Linx Technologies
Technologies, a long time supporter of RF Cafe, has a nice collection of
RF app notes that do a nice job
of boiling down to the basics of complex topics. They are well-written and have good visuals. Here are a few of
their offerings that might be helpful.
in the U.S.
RF 101 Information for the
- Modulation Techniques
Low-Cost RF Data Links
- The FCC Road:
Part 15 from
Concept to Approval
Data over a Wireless
Specifications and Operation
Science & Engineering
week's science and engineering theme
crossword puzzle won't take you long to complete. All you need for success is a knowledge of common technical
terms and names. Being a trivia whiz on movies clothing designers, and exotic foods won't do you any good here.
Many Thanks to DongJin TI
for Ongoing Support!
a premier manufacturer of RF Connectors,
Cable Assemblies and RF Components,
Dongjin Technology Innovation is highly recognized an RF industry leader in Korea. Our premium products offer a
price, on-time delivery and best quality in the industry. No Minimum Order. One Day Delivery MSDS Equivalent product
suggestions with drawings and specification available. VSWR report on request. Whether your requirements are 1 piece
or a million, Dong Jin TI has the knowledge and ability to produce your custom product.