Carl & Jerry: "BBI"
are solidly in the middle of baseball season in America, so this
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
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
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
prototype PCB assembly.
RF Connectors and Cables
by Joe Cahak
Cahak, owner of
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 regardless...
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
Tecnetron, 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
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,
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., Hedy Lamar).
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
consumer products 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
Spartant, our mission is to provide you
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
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
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),
Flexible and Low Cost Hands-On Lab for Antennas and Propagation,
Reaching Beyond 100 GHz with Coaxial Connectors, W. Oldfield
KKey Test Requirements of Modern Handset Power Amplifiers, D.
Hall, H. Nelson, G. Pailloncy
Microstrip Antenna Boosts UWB Gain,, R. Kumar, T. Oli,
N. Kushwaha, R. Krishna
Digital Predistortion Techniques for Mobile PA Test (p.32),
H. Nelson, S. Ferguson
Eight Errors Common To Spectrum Analysis, B. Nelson
Thanks Much to NIC
for Their Continued
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
Radio-Electronics, 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
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
ATEC Gearing up for 2014
IEEE EMC Symposium
Equipment Rentals, supplier of complete testing solutions for
the Electromagnetic Compliance (EMC) market, is preparing for the
IEEE International 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
Featured Book: Highly
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 mechanical and
analog electronic 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
Schwarz recently played a major role in the FCC's crackdown on truckers
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...
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
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
(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 for
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 of 'lugubriously.'
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
Where Does Your Resume
Go? Inside 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?
Name-Dropping During an
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
Zenith television 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
RF & Microwave Crossword
June 22, 2014
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
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
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 majority of
robots 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
W4GKF (know to his parents as Chaz Cone),
author of a very well-written and entertaining short story that
is reminiscent of a
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
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
electronic 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,
Get Smarter About
Production Outlier Removal,
Challenging 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,
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
lagging power 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 a
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
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
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 an experienced
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
Break-Over Torque Wrenches
Introed by Fairview
Microwave, a preeminent supplier of on-demand microwave and
RF products, announces the release of a new portfolio of
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
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
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
Technologies, a long time supporter of RF Cafe, has a nice collection
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.
Guide to Wireless
Regulations in the U.S.
RF 101 Information for the
Modulation Techniques for
Low-Cost RF Data Links
The FCC Road: Part 15 from
Concept to Approval
Considerations for Sending
Data over a Wireless Link
Specifications and Operation
Science & Engineering
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.