Please Visit everything RF in
of Their Support
is a search engine for
microwave components. everything RF lists complete
catalogs from various RF & Microwave component manufacturers
and enables engineers to search through them by specification. There
are over 126,356 components listed from more than 342 manufacturers.
Download datasheets, Request quotes or contact the Suppliers for
more information via everything RF. Its fast & easy!
The Tube Family Tree, Part 2
is capable of putting out more power, a solid state amplifier or
vacuum tube amplifier? The simple answer is that given a large
enough array of power combiners, a solid state power amplifier can
theoretically put out as much power as a tube amp, but the complexity
is much, much greater. A single vacuum tube can output RF power
levels in the megawatt range, but even the highest power GaN semiconductor
devices do not reach the kilowatt realm. That is the reason there
are still so many vacuum tube transmitters - the tubes themselves
- still being produced today. Equivalent size solid state transmitters
are generally much larger...
Many Thanks to Noisecom
for Continued Support!
has been a leading provider of RF & microwave noise generating
equipment used in commercial
military applications since 1985. We provide noise diodes, calibrated
noise sources, jitter sources,
standards, and computer controlled instruments for either Precision
C/N, or broad band white Gaussian noise. Noise Com provides off
the shelf as well as custom designed noise testing solutions.
More Free Technical Books!
House and Cambridge University Press have generously donated
books to RF Cafe over the years. They are often used as the
basis of my RF Cafe Quizzes,
and then are made available to monthly RF Cafe Book Drawing winners
for selection. More than a hundred books have been given away since
the feature began, and I have always paid the shipping and handling
costs. In an effort to reduce the rather large collection of books
on-hand, I am going to offer, for the month of April, to make them
available for only the cost of shipping and a small packaging and
handling fee. For a flat fee of a mere...
- Walter urch, sound designer for the film
American Graffiti. That's film lingo for "reel two,
dialog two," and is what Mr. Murch had said to producer George Lucas
during the editing process. Lucas was also in the process of writing
the script for
Star Wars and needed a name for his robot. Seen in the
November 2013 edition of
Smithsonian magazine (p 81).
Satellites on the Air
late 1962, the U.S. was
launching new satellites at a very rapid pace. Many were destroyed
on the launch pad, others never turned on once in orbit, still more
turned on and operated in a crippled form and/or only for a small
portion of their intended lifespans. It was a learning period for
the entire satellite, rocket, mission control, Earth-based tracking
stations, and the communications equipment that dialoged with the
satellites. The "race" part of the Space Race moniker was literal.
Popular Electronics, QST, Electronics World,
and other electronics communications publications regularly printed
a list of newly commissioned satellites. The lists presented here
came from five different 1962-1963 editions of Popular Electronics.
The feature was repeated for many years. Incidentally, the "mc"
frequency unit used at the time...
Puzzle for March
engineering crossword puzzle has the name of the WWW's most
popular high tech website integrated among the matrix's words. As
always, every word and clue is related to science, engineering,
physics, mathematics, etc., as pulled from a custom dictionary of
words and clues that has been over a decade in the making. Let me
know if you would like to have your company's or school's name included
in a future puzzle.
Please Thank Boonton
for Supporting RF
Electronics is recognized as a leader in high-performance test instrumentation
and sensors. They are a manufacturer of test equipment dedicated
the power of RF and microwave systems used in both military and
commercial sectors. The company also manufactures
modulation analyzers, impedance measuring instruments, RF voltmeters
and audio analyzers.
Jokes & Puns Only
Smart People Will
a break from the work day drudgery and cogitate on some of these
tech zingers. Some juxtapose a riddle and a joke to form a clever
quip. To wit (get it - to 'wit'?): •
There's a band called 1023MB. They haven't had any gigs yet. •
A photon checks into a hotel and the bellhop asks him if he has
any luggage. The photon replies 'No I'm traveling light.'" •
What is a physicist's favorite food???
crossword puzzles has been shown to be a simple activity that can
help prevent or at least stave off some forms of mental atrophy.
It is a medical fact that as you grow old and/or cease presenting
yourself on a regular basis with mental and physical challenges,
your brain actually begins to lose gray matter and synapse interconnections
are lost. Working crossword puzzles is a healthy mental exercise
that helps increase your vocabulary and improve cognitive skills.
That is one reason I create a weekly crossword puzzle for RF Cafe
visitors. Electronics magazines of the last century regularly published
theme-based crosswords, like this one from a 1960 edition of
AirBulb App-Controlled LED
Light and Wireless
When there is Light, there is Music." That is the tag line for a
Kickstarter product that is seeking investor funding to bring to
market their combination LED light bulb and speaker. An app is used
on your smartphone, tablet, or any device with Bluetooth to stream
stereo audio to the AirBulb, and it also adjusts the LED light spectrum
and intensity. AirBulb is already designed and tested, so the money
is mainly needed for expensive production tooling. Officially: "What
is AirBulb? AirBulb combines LED bulb and wireless speaker
together at an affordable price. Integrated with Bluetooth technology,
you can play music or control the lighting...
Many Thanks to 3Gmetalworx
1994, leading wireless electronics companies have relied on 3Gmetalworx
to deliver cutting edge solutions for advanced
RF/EMI PCB-level shielding requirements. From prototyping
to JIT manufacturing supply, our clients depend on us to provide
a seamless service pathway supporting entire product lifecycle.
All our shields can incorporate engagement tabs, trace / component
relief, tuning / access openings, and thermal relief.
Television Forges Ahead
of the earliest television display schemes were mechanically scanned
light projection systems rather than electronically raster scanned
cathode ray tubes. This 1930 vintage article from Radio News
magazine reports on a scheme developed by Arthur Watson whereby
a specially formed rotating Monel disk served as the rotating reflecting
surface to produce the light scanning action. This invention was
hailed as a breakthrough that would finally make commercial TV available
to the masses. "Mechanical
televisions" worked by transmitting scanned images of the original
subject in the form of amplitude modulated electrical signals whose
voltage was determined by the level of reflected light. A synchronizing
Advanced Test Equipment
good folks at Advanced Test Equipment Rentals have put together
a pretty darn nice collection of
videos for some of the equipment that they make available. Examples
are "How to Use Anritsu MT9083A Optical Time Domain Reflector
(OTDR)," "How to Use a Kaelus iPA Passive
Intermodulation (PIM) Tester," and
"How to use Fluke 435 II Power Analyzer." Even if you don't plan
to use the exact manufacturer and model, these videos are still
useful for tips. Operations manager Martin Jahn also has a short
video where he...
Orbel Intros 2014 Catalog of
a leading manufacturer of etched and stamped
EMI / RFI shielding, recently introduced its 2014 catalog. With
more than 1,000 designs and ideas to choose from, expert designers
are on staff for support and to satisfy your custom design needs.
Orbel is able to meet your demands for board level shielding, finger-stock,
gaskets, metalized fabric gaskets, photo-etched precision metal
parts, precision metal stampings, and electroplated...
A Short Lesson on the
Use of the Apostrophe
would you pluralize VCO, BJT, or SAW? My awareness of certain often
seen grammatical errors in both technical and non-technical media
is heightened by the large numbers of technical articles I read,
so certain errors tend to stand out. Some of the errors are likely
made out of uncertainness and/or an unwillingness to challenge de
facto (yet still incorrect) standards.
Capitalization in titles is one area of flagrant abuse, where capitalizing
all words, capitalizing the first letter of every word, capitalizing
the first letter of only the first...
USAF Technician Elbert Cook's
at Minot AFB
USAF radar technician Elbert Cook, who last year sent photos of
a scale model he was building of the
MPN-14 ASR/PAR radar system, has submitted photos of when the
3rd Combat Communication Group (aka 3CCG or
3rd MOB) sent one of its systems to Minot AFB, ND, for a
TPX-42 secondary radar system installation. The TPX-42 is the unit
that interrogates an aircraft's transponder to paint the familiar
3-digit octal IFF (Identification Friend or
Foe) code on the PPI (Plan Position
Indicator) display for ATC (Air Traffic
Control) use. The purpose of the photos is to show how improvisation...
Me Technician You Engineer
story from a 1963 edition of Popular Electronics proves
that my ongoing effort to point out that the sometimes harmless,
sometimes harmful tensions between engineers and technicians is
not a recent development. I have told of my own witnessing of
engineer vs. technician pi**ing contests stretching back into
the early 1980s during my first job as an electronics technician
at Westinghouse Electric. Rather than joining the fray, I appreciated
the abilities of engineers to provide, typically but with some exceptions,
a good combination of academic and real-world experience. Being
a technician myself at the time...
Electronic Curves Quiz
Electronics Curves Quiz will probably prove to be a little more
of a challenge than some of the ones previously appearing in Popular
Electronics magazine. Being a rocket scientist won't help you much
here, but being a seasoned electronics technician, hobbyist, or
engineer will sure come in handy. Be careful to note the axis unit
labels - I got tripped up by that from being lazy and missed one.
Anatech Electronics Published
Electronics has published its
March 2014 newsletter. As always, it includes both company news
and some tidbits about relevant industry events, regulations, and
standards. This month, Sam Benzacar offers his views on the subjects
of AT&T's Digital Life service, LightSquared "Crawling back
to life," the challenges of Defense contracting, and IMS2014 in
Tampa Bay, Florida.
Wayward Capacitor Woes
come in a huge variety of package configurations, chemical makeups,
physical constructions and sizes, capacitance values, and voltage
and power handling abilities. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses
for a particular application. When capacitors are functioning properly,
life is great, but when one decides to fail either completely or
troubleshooting the cause can be a real challenge. The best
kind of electrical component failure from a troubleshooting perspective
is one where the component releases its life-giving internal smoke
and in the process leaving a clearly visible clue like a cracked
case or a nice black mark when none should be...
Mathematics in Radio
Quotient Rule for
has been a while since I saw the
quotient rule for derivatives applied. Probably the last time
was in a college text book, because I'm pretty sure I haven't had
the occasion to use it since then - except maybe back in the days
when I was writing my RF Workbench software and needed to derive
closed form solutions for group delay in filters. This 1933 article
from Radio News magazine presented the quotient rule as
part of a discussion for finding the impedance of a load for maximum
power transfer. Pure resistances were used in the example, but the
method applies as well to complex impedances.
Many Thanks to AWR
for Ongoing Support!
the innovation leader in
EDA, provides software solutions that maximize user productivity
design of high-frequency ICs and communications systems for the
aerospace / defense, semiconductor, computer, consumer electronics,
and telecommunications markets. Free Trial Downloads Available.
do a lot of my purchasing on Amazon for convenience, but also because
that's where I can usually find the best price and shipping is almost
always free. They also have a no-hassle return policy where if the
problem is their fault, they pay return shipping; otherwise, you
pay only the cost to mail it back. If I need something that there
is a fair chance it will need to returned, I'll buy locally to avoid
a potential return shipping cost. Cellphones are a good example
of finding a good price online. This unlocked
Samsung S5830 Galaxy Ace is a good example, as are of course
just about any form of electronics, tools, housewares, and of course
movies, books, and software.
is a great look inside the planning and operation of the "Minitrack"
systems used for
Project Vanguard to track the Sputnik, Echo, Explorer, and other
early Earth artificial satellites during the International Geophysical
Year (IGY) activities. "Essentially, the [IBM 704's] storage function
works by means of doughnut-shaped cores, about the size of pinheads,
which are strung on a complex of wires in such a way that several
wires pass through each core. Combinations of electrical impulses
on these wires alter the magnetic states of the cores. A line of
cores, some magnetized and some neutral, represents a number or
other collection of symbols in much the same way...
latest batch of new articles have been posted online by magazines
such as Microwaves & RF, EE Times, Microwave
Product Digest, etc. Enjoy!
Managing Output Level
Transients in RF Signal
Generators, P. Perez-Lara
Change Test Strategy from
Serial to Parallel, P. Scalisi
Bouncing Short Beats Clean
One for Power System
Testing, Glen Chenier
Precipitation Radar Employs
Variable Pulse Repetition,
Future of Flexible Electronics
Millimeter Wave Sub-
Assemblies Enable Next
Generation R&D Projects
March 2014 Newsletter
March 2014 LadyBug Technologies newsletter is now available.
Founded in 2005, LadyBug Technologies manufactures the PowerSensor™
line of miniaturized USB RF & Microwave Power Sensors. "Our
software developers are currently working on Gemini’s applications.
The product will offer many new exciting features. One of these
new features is "Math Windows"; these are pre-defined windows that
can be opened within the application and can be used to process
measurements from two or more sensors...
March 24, 2014
you think there's no big deal about those two little letters 'E'
and 'X', just ask my wife if she is the same as my ex-wife." - RF
Mr. Steve Gilbert, in response to my Day in History item for
March 4th. In it,
I stated, "1930: President Calvin Coolidge dedicated the Coolidge
Dam on Gila River in AZ." Steve's comment was in regard to my use
of "President" vs. "Ex-President." Technically, it is correct to
refer to an ex-president as "President," but I laughed so hard at
his comment that I had to ask for permission to post it.
Engineer vs. Technician
The Saga Continues
is yet another them-vs.-us scenario regarding
engineers-vs.-technicians. Maybe I misinterpret the author,
but a jab definitely seems to be included in the emphasis put on
the technician attempting to score points with his proposal requirement.
This otherwise interesting and instructive anecdote is a bit tainted
by shifting at least part of the blame for a hurried research effort
off onto the customer's imposed time schedule. I'm not looking to
rag on anyone, but just have seen way too much of the class warfare
in our electronics realm. It certainly exists everywhere.
RF & Microwave Engineering
RF & Microwave Engineering Crossword Puzzle, as do all my
crosswords, uses only technical type words pulled from a hand-assembled
dictionary that has been added to for over a decade. You will find
no other crossword puzzle like it anywhere on the Internet.
and Their Alignment
was a big year in the commercial broadcast industry because it was
when the FCC began licensing stations for
FM operation. Amazingly, that was only four years after Edwin
Armstrong first came up with his frequency modulation scheme - fast
moving for the government. Simultaneously, equipment manufacturers
were cranking out transmitters, receivers, antennas
(new frequencies), writing installation
and operation guidelines, training servicemen, and doing scores
of other vitally important tasks. The advent of FM was considered
a very significant technical improvement because of immunity to
electrical noise interference. If for no other reason, you should
look at this article to see the photo of the megavolt...
MECA Intros Low Frequency
100 W Power Dividers
introduces Low Frequency addition to the H-Series,
100-watt Wilkinson high power combiner/dividers. Available in
2-way and 4-way configurations covering 5 to
MHz. With VSWR of 1.30:1 (Typ)
and low insertion loss (less than 0.3
dB) all while accommodating load VSWR’s of 2.0:1 or better!
Available in N and SMA connectors. Essential for combining
unbalanced inputs! All models are weatherproof IP 67 rated.
Made in USA.
ATEC Now Carries 2 New
EMI Analyzers for
Test Equipment Rentals, supplier of complete testing solutions for
EMC, now carries the latest
EMI receiver and analyzers from top manufacturers Agilent and
Schwarz, from 20 Hz to 40 GHz, fully compliant to CISPR 16-1-1 with
A2LA ISO 17025 calibration certification. The
Agilent N9038A MXE EMI receiver and the R&S
ESU40 are fully CISPR compliant EMI analyzer. Features like
quasi-peak detectors, meters, signal and measurement lists, marker
functions, span zoom, zone span, and spectrogram displays.
Please Visit Empower RF in
RF Systems is a global leader in
solutions that are critical to defense, commercial, and industrial
market applications. With our
in the design of broadband and band-specific SSPAs, Empower continues
to advance the science of RF power amplification to produce the
toughest, most efficient and cost-effective solutions in the industry.
Our priority is to design and deliver high quality, innovative products
which solve customer systems and business requirements.
Three Legal 'Billy Goats' Could
article by Bob Ambrogi, of
IMS Expert Services, reports on three particular cases making
their way through the U.S. court system and the U.S. Congress might
be the death knell for the
patent trolls' despised practice. "A patent troll, also called
a patent assertion entity, is a person or company who enforces patent
rights against accused infringers in an attempt to collect licensing
fees, but does not manufacture products or supply services based
upon the patents in question, thus engaging in economic rent-seeking.
Related, less pejorative terms include patent holding company and...
USAF Tech Jerry Wright
Added to My Radar
Wright just checked in with his service info. He spent 5 years
at Tinker AFB in Oklahoma working on the TPN-19 ground-based mobile
airport surveillance radar (ASR) and precision approach radar (PAR). New
photos have been offered, so check back later to see them.
Career News Roundup
is this week's batch of useful career enhancement articles that
I found on the Web. Some apply specifically to technical job, while
others are good advice for any professional.
Engineering Fields That
Best and Worst Words to
Use in Your Resume
Looking for a Green Tech
Job? Move to One of These
Who Needs to Know How
Bangalore Tech Firms Urging
Employees to Be
How to Talk to Your Boss
About Your Career Goals
Microwave, a privately owned and operated U.S. company, has been
designing and manufacturing passive and active
RF and microwave
including filters, mixers, VCOs, power dividers, phase comparators
and shifters, DC blocks, attenuators, x-formers, and more since
1983. With more than 30 patents, we are constantly striving to serve
this industry by providing products that exploit all modern technologies
and methods, while also supporting installed bases of equipment.
Copper Mountain Technologies
to Copper Mountain Technologies (CMT)
for continued support! CMT makes affordable, lab-quality
network analyzers that provide high accuracy, wide dynamic range,
a familiar UI and a broad
of standard features. Operating with an external PC via USB, these
VNAs increase productivity and lower costs for test, control, and
Your Radio Training and
the Defense Program
National Radio Institute (NRI) was
one of the first country-wide organizations to offer
formal electronics training both as classroom and as self-study
courses. Magazines were filled with offers to train men in what
was an exciting new career field. The drums of war were beating
in the background by December 1940 when this article appeared, and
the U.S. military was gearing up for what was sure to be an eventuality.
Three months earlier, the Tripartite Pact united Japan, Italy and
Germany to formalize the Axis Powers, and Hitler's forces had invaded
Carl & Jerry: Sonar Sleuthing
this August 1963 adventure, teenage techno-investigators Carl and
Jerry use their home-brew sonar device to help the local sheriff
nab a couple bank robbers. The 'Hydro
Probe' mentioned in the article was a real product manufactured
by the Raymond Development Company of Watertown, Massachusetts
(no longer in business). Enjoy.
LadyBug Announces New
Technologies, manufacturers of patented no-zero no-cal before use
USB RF Power Sensors, is pleased to announce new
representatives for the state of Nevada.
Nevada is served by
Jay Stone Associates
and Southern Nevada is represented by
Both firms are established LadyBug partner representatives with
extensive experience in RF and microwave technology.
Upgrade Kit #4395U-010
G.W. Ko wrote in search of anyone that has an HP/Agilent
Software Upgrade Kit #4395U-010
for sale. This option allows the capability of impedance measurement
function for the
4395A is a network / spectrum / impedance analyzer. HP/Agilent
no longer offers the upgrade for sale. If you have or know of a
source for purchasing the 4395U-010 upgrade kit,
please send me an e-mail at
Cafe and I will pass it along to Dr. Ko. thanks.
A Little Light Humor
Cafe visitors are amongst the most intelligent and most clever folks
on the World Wide Web. I receive many e-mails, and an occasional
phone call, from people in response to items I post on the website.
Whenever appropriate, I ask permission to use it for content, with
an offer to give full credit and attribution for the idea. I have
been surprised at how often the person prefers to keep the communications
private, which I always honor. That's too bad because, believe me,
you have missed out on some really good insider information over
the years. Yesterday...
More "Tower" to You
the 1960s, most people believed that poetry ought to rhyme. It was
not uncommon to see poems appear in magazines of all sorts including
even technical publications like Popular Electronics. "More
'Tower' to You" is a good example. Nobody ever claimed that these
reader-submitted on-subject poems were of Nobel Prize quality,
but many were extremely clever and were almost sure to elicit the
chuckle their authors intended; that is to say, they were humorous.
What made them humorous is what is true of nearly all good humor
- it contains an element of truth.
Thanks to Alliance Test
Equipment for Their
Test is a trusted source providing sales, rentals and leasing of
electronic test and measurement equipment to
R&D, manufacturing and quality assurance industries. We carry
a full range of used test equipment from manufacturers such as Agilent,
Ando, Anritsu, Fluke, HP, Keithley, Lecroy, Rohde & Schwarz,
and Tektronix. With Alliance Test, you can recover 30%-40% more
on your idle test equipment rather than selling to a dealer.
National Sales Manager
Copper Mountain Technologies
Mountain Technologies, an industry leader in USB-based, lab-quality
vector network analyzers, has announced a career opportunity for
National Sales Manager. Qualifications include understanding
VNA test methodology and product strategy, possessing in-depth product
expertise to conduct customer demonstration, trials, and providing
pre-sales technical support to sales channels, and providing technical
and commercial support for on-going projects. Must understand local
RF market, establish relationships within the industry...
Soldering Iron Station
it's time you had your own
ESD-Safe Digital Soldering Iron Station. Whether you do your
soldering at home, at work, or at both places, having to tolerate
a piece of junk soldering iron can be not only annoying, and can
cause irreparable damage to both components (heat, mechanical, and
ESD) and circuits boards (layer delamination and metal trace separation).
Really nice programmable soldering stations are available today
at surprisingly low prices. Many models are available, but this
one even includes a fluorescent work lamp. It gets great reviews
- just $90 including free shipping. Don't wait for your company
to finally supply you with a good soldering station when you can
buy one for the cost of a month of cellphone service.
Care and Handling
of Coaxial Connectors
have probably seen some pretty atrocious
coaxial cable connector installations. You might have even been
responsible for a few of them. It could be tempting, at least for
frequencies in the lower megahertz range, to allow yourself to be
a little sloppy with coaxial cable preparation and connector attachment,
but doing so can result in marginal functionality if power levels
are high or if power levels are very low. When voltage levels are
high, excessive air gaps between the inner and outer conductors
can result in arcs, and poor connections can generate intermodulation
products high enough to cause interference
(possibly subjecting you to a violation citation...
Skyworks Intros Connectivity
for Mobile Devices
Solutions today unveiled several
wireless networking products incorporating flip-chip packaging,
augmenting its existing world-class mobile connectivity portfolio.
Skyworks' newest devices leverage innovative and proprietary manufacturing
techniques that allow smartphone and tablet OEMs to incorporate
smaller, thinner solutions for 802.11ac system-in-package (SiP)
modules. As high-end mobile devices deliver ever-increasing functionality
and ubiquitous connectivity...
latest batch of new articles have been posted online by magazines
such as Microwave Journal, High Frequency Electronics,
etc. Here they are for your career edification.
Tips for Transitioning
Designs to Manufacturing,
Modulation: PAM-4, NRZ,
or ENRZ?, Martin Rowe
Quasi-Optical Techniques for
Properties in the THz
Region, J. Martens,
J. Hesler, and
The Impact of Power
Characteristics in Cognitive
Radio Networks, G. Watkins,
Beware of the Square Root,
no doubt who was a leader in space after the Apollo Program. Nobody
came close to us. And our education system, in science, technology,
engineering, and math, was at the top of the world. It's no longer
there. We're descending rather rapidly." --
Buzz Aldrin, former NASA astronaut and second person to walk
on the moon (Source: Wikipedia) Buzz is one of my all-time favorite
astronauts, and is the namesake of Toy Story's
Advanced Test Equipment
Rentals March 2014
Test Equipment Rentals just issued their TEC Talk newsletter
for March 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.
Science & Engineering
a break and work this week's
science & engineering themed crossword puzzle. All the words
are pulled from a hand-built list of terms, names, and abbreviations
that have only to do with science, mathematics, and engineering.
If you want a crossword with names of movie stars and obscure countries,
try the local newspaper. If you want to exercise your nerd knowledge,
this is the one for you.