Windfreak Invites Your
Visit @ IMS2014
Tech designs, manufactures, tests and sells high value radio
frequency products such as
detectors, mixers, and up/down converters. We develop high quality,
reliable, low cost products to make your life easier. Windfreak
Tech is developing high quality, low cost products to make life
easier for RF Engineers and hobbyist - all at low cost. Please stop
by our booth (#1052) at
RF Cafe Quiz #60:
Ten Essential Skills
or somebody you know needs this book. When author Barry Dorr told
me a while back that he had a new book coming out aimed at recent
college graduates and other job hunters, I figured it might be just
another "Top 10" type collection of ideas which wouldn't hurt to
know, but that would be too specific for general use. After reading
Ten Essential Skills for Electrical Engineers I can confidently
tell you that is much more than one guy's opinion of what you should
know to advance in your career. It is rare that I actually read
through as much of an engineering book as I did this one. Mr. Dorr's
primary goal is to provide...
AWR: "Simulating Dynamic
new ways to enhance power amplifier performance at the AWR sponsored
Simulating Dynamic Load Modulated Amplifiers—an Alternative
Solution to Maintaining Efficiency over a Power Range. This webinar
introduces the concept of dynamic load modulation and demonstrates
how amplifiers can be designed using this approach. The ability
of the AWR tools to model nonlinear components using discrete components
and parameterized variables gives the designer access to a fully
Littler Than Lilliput:
Einstein believed everything is relative, and this 1963 article
on the revolution of "microminiature
electronics" certainly attests to the truth of it. Unlike with
his Theory of Special Relativity though, travel near the speed of
light is not needed to witness length contraction in the electronics
realm; the passage of time and its attendant evolution of technology
does that for us. Today's definition of 'microelectronics'
will to our progeny seem laughingly absurd when they read about
(or more likely have wirelessly implanted
in their brain's memory cells) our current transistor gate
widths of tens of atoms. BTW, Lilliput, in case you don't know,
is the island nation of Gulliver's Travels where...
Funnies from The Good Life
Good Life is a free publication printed in northern Michigan.
Along with advertisements and stories from local interests, every
edition is chock full of humorous quips and jokes. These tech-related
items are from the June 2014 edition.
Why Computers Should Be Considered Masculine:
• In order to get their attention, you have to turn them on.
have a lot of data but are still clueless.
• They are supposed
to help you solve your problems, but half the time they...
Fairview Microwave Debuts
New Lines of Tunable RF Filters
Microwave a preeminent supplier of on-demand microwave and RF products,
announces their new lines of
band pass and band reject tunable filters. Fairview Microwave's
tunable RF filters are commonly used in lab environments for testing
many frequency bands including PCS, UHF, PMR, Tetra, LTE, and WiFi.
The tunable band pass filters and band reject filters, also known
as band-stop filters or band-rejection filters, are effective in
band selection or frequency discrimination with high attenuation
greater than 50 dB...
always have been and always will be a daunting subject to a lot
of people. For electronics types, the issue of when to multiply
logarithm of the ratio by 10 or by 20 seems to be the biggest
stumbling block. After many years of working with decibels, it becomes
second nature. There are still instances, though, where I see seasoned
engineers and technicians routinely confuse unreferenced decibel
units (dB, the logarithm of a ratio)
with logs of ratios referred to some base value
(dBm, dBV, etc.). The bel unit
was originally created to quantitatively assign changes in perceived
levels of sound loudness...
Please Thank Agile Microwave
founders of Agile Microwave have over 100 man-years of experience
designing, developing, manufacturing, marketing and providing innovative
solutions to the industry.
have successfully designed and managed multi-million dollar technical
projects from concept to completion.
RF amplifiers using GaN and GaAs technology for class A, AB,
C, D and E available up to 100 W CW / 150 W pulsed, WB &
NB, up to 30 GHz. RF limiters switches, frequency multipliers,
mixers, and integrated modules are among their offerings.
A Soldering Conundrum
Ohms is a regular feature by Design News where engineers
and technicians describe their adventures of troubleshooting circuit
and software problems. Quite often I can relate to the scenarios
because of similar instances I've had over many years of being involved
in electronics. This story by A. David Boccuti is very instructive
in how to find the root cause of a problem in production that suddenly
appears for no apparently good reason. In Mr. Boccuti's case it
was a component refusing to be soldered properly when in the past
there was never an issue. He did a commendable job in resolving
the problem. Having begun my post-USAF electronics career as...
Carl & Jerry: A Hot Idea
John T. Frye was a great short story writer is a given truism
based on his decades-long production of the
Carl & Jerry series in Popular Electronics. It
is easy to look over the fact that he also had artistic skills as
well as evidenced by the pencil drawings that accompanied each installment.
In this episode, our two electronics hobbyists build a resistor
anemometer to measure wind speed from within their basement workshop.
In the usually storyline style, one boy gives a lesson in circuit
design while the other (also the reader)
is the attentive student.
Kaelus and ATEC Announce
New Rental Partnership
Test Equipment Rentals (ATEC) partners
with Kaelus to become a rental distributor of Kaelus products. Kaelus
Passive Intermodulation (PIM) Testers
for the wireless telecommunications sector, and ATEC is one of the
largest rental companies of test equipment for the telecommunications,
aerospace, semiconductor, consumer electronic, and many other
sectors. PIM, the non-linear junction that causes interference in
the RF path...
The Laboratory Page
mentioned in an earlier article, National Radio Institute (NRI)
was one of the first companies to exploit the burgeoning field of
electronics in the early part of the last century. They invested
heavily in facilities and resources for producing educational material
for both classroom and
correspondence courses. Up until sometime in the early 1990s
when throw-away electronics and almost total offshore manufacturing
became the rule rather than the exception, there were always large
advertisements in magazines offering to rescue floundering career
seekers with promises of untold opportunities and riches from servicing
going to be a hot time in Tampa next month in more ways than one.
The RF and microwave industry may not exactly be producing the eye-watering
revenue as other sectors of the economy but there are plenty of
market and technology "hotspots" that will no doubt be evident at
IMS exhibitors' product displays. For example, the wireless
industry is evolving rapidly as LTE moves toward its next incarnation
as LTE-Advanced, Wi-Fi morphs from discrete hotspots to a seamless
network via HotSpot 2.0, and distributed antenna systems and small
College Return on Investment
and executive staff at top colleges
get paid lots of $$$ for their services. Add to that über generous
retirement and benefits packages, the high cost of administering
a plethora of social programs and politically correct courses, guest
lecturers, and '<insert worthless topic>
Studies' degrees, and expected donations to various popular causes.
Throw in a prestigious brand name and maybe a sports team and the
cost of actually getting an education can be really, really expensive.
Many studies have shown that for the vast majority of people, the
college that issues your diploma has almost no bearing on earnings
after a few years of experience is gained...
Thanks to KR Electronics
for Ongoing Support!
over 40 years KR Electronics has designed and manufactured
RF & microwave filters for the commercial and military
markets. KR Electronics manufactures all filter
and individually synthesizes filters for special applications.
State of the art computer synthesis, analysis and test methods are
used to meet the most challenging specifications.
Station Design for DX - Part IV
the the forth and final installment on a series written by Paul
Rockwell discussing station design for long distance (DX) communications.
Covered was antenna selection and siting (Part
I), economics and construction(Part
II), station configuration and receiver topics
III), and propagation quirks and this one - operating
Many Thanks to RF Dude
Consulting for Support!
LLC is a consulting company run by
Lance Lascari. With the help of key clients over the years
we have been able to take the business full time as of June 2008. Our
goal is and has always been to be a highly technical resource for
hire specializing in the
of RF, Wireless, and Microwave circuits and systems with occasional
work in embedded control and signal processing. Projects over the
years have been in the the aerospace, defense, industrial, telecom,
and consumer electronics industries. We have solid resources in
terms of equipment, software, and materials...
Median CEO Pay Crossed
7-Figure Mark in
Welfare is alive and well in spite of political campaign promises
to end it. According to a new Associated Press story, the median
compensation for the CEO of a large publicly traded company crossed
over into the 7-figure realm for the first time in 2013, with an
average pay package of $10.5 million - an increase of 8.8% from
$9.6 million in 2012. Why do I say
welfare? Simple, the increase is attributed primarily to a surging
stock market, which is almost entirely funded by the Fed printing
money (yeah, I know, it's not actually printed)
and passing it into the coffers of bankers, investors, and businesses
either directly via stimulus programs, quantitative easing, and
bailouts, or via social programs, government contracts, hiring incentives
for OTWM workers, and a multitude of other manipulations ...
is a brand new batch of RF / microwave engineering magazine articles
Trends in Electronics
Compact Antenna Snares
WiMAX/WLAN, G. Ghobadi
GNSS Signals Are Used for
for Wireless Applications
((p30) A. Grebennikov
GaN Solutions for Next
Communications, R. Baker
Books from Amazon.com
Please Support RF Cafe
Fundamentals: An Introduction to Engineering, by Saeed Moaveni.
Specifically designed as an introduction to the exciting world of
engineering, the book encourages students to become engineers and
prepares them with a solid foundation in the fundamental principles
and physical laws. It begins with a discovery of what engineers
do as well as an inside look into the various areas of specialization.
An explanation on good study habits and what it takes to succeed
is included as well as an introduction to design and problem solving,
communication, and ethics. Once this foundation is established,
the book moves on to the basic physical concepts and laws...
a great appreciator of good humor, and especially
technology-related humor, I made sure to scan these comics from
the pages of vintage Radio-Electronics magazines. You might have
to have lived through the era of televisions with cathode ray tubes
(CRTs) to fully appreciate the frustration
of trying to acceptably grab, align, define, sharpen, tone, and
lock an over-the-air broadcast signal on track. Stories of people
putting feet or baseball bats through the sets were a big source
of situational humor.
Please Visit Excel Wireless
is a solution provider with many years of experience in the
amplification and wireless communications industry, serving
universities, military and government agencies. We stand behind
our products offering full service warranty, return and replacement,
and installation support. We can produce up to 10,000 pieces of
different cable assemblies every day. Not many factories can do
Memorial Day - 2014
in a larger sense, we can not dedicate - we can not consecrate -
we can not hallow - this ground. The brave men, living and dead,
who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power
to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember
what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It
is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished
work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.
It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining
before us - that from these honored dead we take increased devotion
to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion
- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died
in vain - that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of
freedom - and that government of the people, by the people, for
the people, shall not perish from the earth." - Abraham Lincoln.
November 19, 1863.
for May 26, 2014
I'm a good software engineer, but I'm not exactly known for my fashion
sense. White socks and sandals don't translate to 'good design sense'."
Linus Torvalds, inventor of Linux
Uncommon Ground Difficulties
is ground the world around," is an oft repeated saying when
talking about making electrical connections to Earth ground. In
a general sense that is true, especially when referring to electromagnetic
radio signals and antenna systems that are in some manner dependent
on the common connection. However, when you are working within the
confines of a localized electronic circuit such as on a printed
circuit board or inside a chassis, there is no guarantee that without
proper precautions ground is not at the same potential everywhere.
Poor (high impedance) soldered, crimped,
and bolted connections are among the prime offenders...
Many Thanks to Anatech
for Long-Time Support!
Electronics designs and manufactures the industry's widest range
and microwave filters at
up to 40 GHz, as well as power dividers, directional couplers,
and many other product types. We specialize in standard and custom
designs for commercial wireless, public safety, satcom, and defense
applications, and we can meet stringent military environmental specifications.
Screws: Styles, Sizes
there are lots of resources on the Internet for identifying various
screw types, styles, shapes, and sizes, but sometimes there
are so many that it can be time consuming to peruse through them
all, particularly if what you are looking for is an older type.
This chart from a 1960 edition of Popular Electronics might
be just the thing you have been looking for when working on a piece
of vintage electronic and/or mechanical gear.
Wireless Engineering Crossword
May 25, 2014
is this week's
engineering crossword puzzle with words and clues focused specifically
on the topics of communications, electronics, science, physics,
chemistry, astronomy, mechanics, etc. There are no numbnut entries
like names of movie stars or fashion designers - I leave those to
the New York Times puzzle makers.
Engineering Career News
& Tips for
May 23, 2014
is hard to believe that nearly two weeks have passed since I scoured
the Internet for job hunting and career guidance articles. With
graduation time being here, there is particularly a lot of information
and advice for first-time job seekers. Of course if you are graduating
and just now beginning your job search, you might be a little late
to the party - so to speak. Have you considered a career serving
your nation's armed forces? Some of the R&D and real-world applications
The New Graduate's Guide
to Job Searching
How to Pierce Through
Veiled Job Interview
U.S. Air Force Engineering
Is Engineering Consulting
Your Next Career Gig?
Birth of the Electron
article purposes to set the record straight about the difference
between John A. Fleming's 'thermionic valve diode' rectifier,
which did not produce signal amplification, and deForest's audion
tube, which did provide amplification. U.S. patent number 841387,
"Device for Amplifying Feeble Electrical Currents," was issued to
Lee deForest on January 15, 1907, a little over a year after Fleming
received patent 803684 for his "Instrument for Converting Alternating
Electric Currents into Continuous Current" on November 7, 1905.
Unlike the contest between...
Radio Aloft!...in Private
forget who brung you to the dance," is a variation of the old adage
that admonishes you to remember who/what it was that provided the
opportunity to be where you are now. It aptly applies to
radio communications of all sorts. This short article from a
1932 edition of Radio News discusses the advent of radio
beacon installations across America to facilitate air navigation
during inclement weather. Before there was an FAA, the Department
of Commerce handled commercial air traffic for passenger and cargo
payloads. Aviation was on the verge of becoming a very profitable
industry (the Douglas DC-3 would make that happen...
crossword puzzle is a little trickier than some because it uses
electronics abbreviations rather than full words. Not everyone
uses the same abbreviation, so some answers are a bit more subjective.
For instance, many people abbreviate the word 'transformer' as 'xfmr,'
while others use 'trans' or 'trr' (I use xfmr).
Where you really have to be careful, though, is with evolutional
changes in terminology as is the case for frequency units, where
'cps' was most often used in 1958 rather than today's 'Hz." Enjoy.
Characterization, Modeling, and Design of Nonlinear RF and Microwave
Components, by David E. Root, Jan Verspecht, Jason Horn. This
is the definitive guide to X-parameters, written by the original
inventors and developers of this powerful new paradigm for nonlinear
RF and microwave components and systems. Learn how to use X-parameters
to overcome intricate problems in nonlinear RF and microwave engineering.
The general theory behind X-parameters is carefully and intuitively
introduced, and then simplified down...
and I are moving back to North Carolina and will be on the road
for the next couple days. During the two-day drive, access to email
will be limited until Thursday. Please forgive delays in responding.
We have been away from NC for seven years and are returning at the
behest of family members.
After Class: X-Rays
while back I was taken to task for remarking on the seemingly crude
(the word I used was 'barbaric") nature
of some early medical machinery that appeared in a mid-20th-century
edition of Popular Electronics (see "Electronics
Against Cancer"). I won't repeat my mistake here when
describing how early medical x-ray machines are scary looking. Admittedly,
being stuffed inside a modern MRI machine and having the loud electromagnetic
coils cycling is no relaxing trip to the countryside, but the
x-ray machine shown here looks like the Q-36 space modulator
beam Marvin the Martian might have pointed at the Earth to disintegrate
it just before he asks, "Where's the kaboom?...
Pasternack Releases Line of
Low Noise Amplifiers
releases a new family of
low noise amplifiers (LNA) capable
of high gain and broadband performance between 9 kHz and 18 GHz
which are widely used across the spectrum of military and commercial
applications. A total of fourteen new low noise amplifiers are offered.
The new LNA category exhibits excellent broadband performance from
9 kHz to 18 GHz, noise figures between 0.8 dB to 3 dB, gain levels
from 25 dB to 50 dB...
Good Life is a free publication printed in northern Michigan.
Along with advertisements and stories from local interests, every
edition is chock full of humorous quips and jokes. These tech-related
items are from the May 2014 edition. • Kids, you'll
never know the pain of digging the innards of a loved cassette out
of a cheap stereo and crying as you wind it up with a pencil. • Twitter
is proof that people should not be allowed...
RF Cafe Calculator Workbook
case you are new to RF Cafe or have just missed it, a couple years
ago I released a free Excel spreadsheet titled
RF Cafe Calculator Workbook that contains many worksheets with
commonly needed calculations. It has Butterworth and Chebyshev filter
plotters, mixer frequency conversion, radar horizon, directional
coupler, VSWR, Pi and T attenuators, RF path loss and propagation
time, and more for calculators. I have an Android App in the works
that should be ready in a couple months, so stay tuned.
Please Thank Vector Telecom
Telecom has fully instrumented microwave, millimeterwave, &
and production facilities for up to 50 GHz. We provide microwave
waveguide components and assemblies,
components and antennas to global market. Vector Telecom consists
of microwave and millimeterwave laboratories, antenna laboratories,
microwave and electronic components factories.
Notable Tech Quote
they don't define themselves on the web, they're going to be defined
by someone else." -
Patrick Ambron, co-founder of BrandYourself, regarding personal
and corporate reputation control on the Internet.
Carl & Jerry
Carl and Jerry episode is a bit far-fetched compared to the
typical storyline, but it does illustrate how when you are desperate
to get out a distress signal, a little technical knowledge and having
a knack for improvisation can save the day.
Radio Radar Crossword
Puzzle for May
Sunday I create a
crossword puzzle using a word list that I personally created
and added to during over a decade of making puzzles. All of the
words are related to engineering, science, mathematics, chemistry,
astronomy, etc. There are no numbnut clues about movie stars or
clothing designers. Enjoy.
than taking college courses or attending seminars, reading technical
books and magazine articles is one of the best ways to keep current
on component introductions, circuit and system design methods, and
industry news. I put a lot of effort every day into scouring the
Internet for items that should prove useful to you in your endeavor
as a professional and/or hobbyist. Here are a few of the latest.
Laminates, J-J DeLisle
Cellular and WiFi MIMO
Radios, F. Mlinarsky
Industry's Next Tipping
Point, D. Corman,
P. Moosbrugger, G. Rebeiz
GaN, Babic, Ejeckam, Lowe,
Mollart, Faili, Wilman, Dodson
Tricks That Extend
O-scope Usefulness, A. Pini
everythingRF's RF Calculator
App for Android
is offering a free
RF Calculator app for Android OS users. Among the many
calculation functions available in this app are Pi and T, bridged
T, reflection, and balanced attenuator calculators; unit converters
for dBm to watts and watts to dBm; RF propagation and link budget
calculators; coax and microstrip calculators; and noise figure,
resonant frequency, skin depth, and VSWR calculators. Watch for
more to added later...
Many Thanks to RIGOL
Technologies for Support!
is an emerging T&M leader and a technology innovator in electronic
measurement. RIGOL's premium line of products including:
analyzers, DMMs, programmable power supplies, signal and waveform
generators. DSA800 Series Spectrum Analyzer The
DSA800 Spectrum Analyzer by RIGOL redefines the product category
by setting new standards for performance and price. Its digital
IF technology guarantees reliability and performance will meet the
most demanding RF applications.