Please Visit everything RF in
Appreciation of Their Support
is a search engine for RF & 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 &
The Tube Family Tree, Part 2
is capable of putting out more power, a solid state amplifier or a
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, cryogenic noise 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 many
engineering 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...
Notable Tech Quote
- 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
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 31, 2014
week's custom-made 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 Cafe
Electronics is recognized as a leader in high-performance test instrumentation and sensors.
They are a manufacturer of test equipment dedicated to
the power of RF and microwave systems used in both military and commercial sectors. The company
impedance measuring instruments, RF voltmeters and audio analyzers.
Jokes & Puns Only
Smart People Will "Get"
a break from the work day drudgery and cogitate on some of these
high 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 Electronics World.
AirBulb App-Controlled LED
Light and Wireless Speaker
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
for Ongoing Support
1994, leading wireless electronics companies have relied on 3Gmetalworx to deliver cutting edge
solutions for advanced
shielding requirements. From prototyping and design
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 signal...
Advanced Test Equipment
Rentals' How-To Videos
good folks at Advanced Test Equipment Rentals have put together a pretty darn nice collection
of How-To 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
EMI/RFI Shielding Products
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
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
MPN-14 Photos 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
Its March 2014 Newsletter
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 partially,
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 Derivatives
has been a while since I saw the
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 high-frequency EDA,
provides software solutions that maximize user productivity for
design of high-frequency ICs and communications systems for the aerospace / defense, semiconductor,
computer, consumer electronics, and telecommunications markets. Free Trial Downloads Available.
Samsung S5830 Galaxy Ace
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...
RF Magazine Articles
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
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
Notable Tech Quote
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 Cafe visitor
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
Crossword Puzzle 3/23/2014
week's 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
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 CISPR 16-1-1
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
Agilent N9038A MXE EMI receiver and the R&S
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
Appreciation of Support
RF Systems is a global leader in power amplifier
solutions that are critical to defense, commercial, and industrial market applications.
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
Bring Down Patent Trolls
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.
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 Shop List
Radar technician Jerry 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 vector
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 design applications.
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
Representatives for Nevada
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 ACETEC,
Inc. Both firms are established LadyBug partner representatives with extensive experience
in RF and microwave technology.
WANTED: HP/Agilent Software
G.W. Ko wrote in search of anyone that has an HP/Agilent Software Upgrade Kit
for sale. This option allows the capability of impedance measurement function for the
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 RF
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 Support!
Test is a trusted source providing sales, rentals and leasing of
refurbished electronic test and measurement
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 Wanted
Mountain Technologies, an industry leader in USB-based, lab-quality vector network analyzers,
has announced a career opportunity for a
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
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
Solutions 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...
New Magazine Articles
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 A. Arsenovic
The Impact of Power
Characteristics in Cognitive
Radio Networks, G. Watkins,
Beware of the Square Root,
Notable Tech Quote
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 Newsletter
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
Crossword for 3/16/2014
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.