RF Cafe Software
About RF Cafe
1996 - 2016
BSEE - KB3UON
RF Cafe began life in 1996 as "RF Tools" in an AOL screen name web space totaling 2 MB. Its primary purpose was to provide me with ready access to commonly needed formulas and reference material while performing my work as an RF system and circuit design engineer. The Internet was still largely an unknown entity at the time and not much was available in the form of WYSIWYG ...
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Please click here to view September 2014 homepage archive page 2.
Handy-Dandy Engineering Career Advice Articles
I like the title of the first article listed in this week's group of career advancement resources. While it is true that some interviewers' questions appear dumb to you, it might just be that he/she has a good reason for phrasing in a particular way to see how you handle vague concepts. Or, it really might be the interviewer is lame, and that is a warning to what it would be like working for/with him/her ;-)
Smart Answers to Stupid Interview Questions
• The 10 Excuses of Highly Unproductive People
• What to Do If Your Boss Is a Micromanager
• 4 Salary Negotiation Secrets for Women
• Your Newest Employees Are Your Most Vulnerable
• 7 Things Successful Young Careerists Do Every
Mixing a little fun with learning has always been a good motivation for students. I have written in the past about a particular electronic circuits professor I had that liked to play practical jokes during lessons and exams. Including gag options on a multiple choice test is a great way to inject a bit of tension-easing levity while at the same time eliminating one or more opportunities to guess at a wrong answer (although no relief for the truly clueless). I sometimes do that on the RF Cafe Quizzes that I generate. Radio Craft printed a large bunch of such quiz questions under the title "Radio WittiQuiz...
Werbel Microwave Intros 4-8 GHz Power Divider
New 2-way splitter covers 4-8 GHz. The 2PA600 power divider manufactured by Werbel Microwave covers 4-8 GHz in a compact case with SMA connectors. Typical VSWR is 1.2:1 and typical isolation is -20 dB. Phase and amplitude balances are maintained at 2 degrees and 0.2 dB, respectively.
Microwave Engineering Crossword for 9/14/2014
Take a break from the drudgery by trying your hand at some of these goodies. Every word in the RF Cafe crossword puzzles is specifically related to engineering, mathematics, and science. There are no generic backfill words like many other puzzles give you, so you'll never see a clue asking for the name of a movie star or a mountain on the Russia-China border.
Many Thanks to Triad RF Systems for Support
Your source for RF front ends, transceivers and amplifier systems that just plain work! Solutions for integrating high performance HPAs into sophisticated RF subsystems and systems without sacrificing efficiency and linearity. Tower-mounted amplifiers, UAV (aka drone) systems, and many standard (30 - 6,500 MHz, up to 200 W) and custom-designed amplifier subsystems to your specifications. We are a small, private company run by serial entrepreneurs.
Master of His Domain
Shipboard radio operators have been a crucial part of commercial and military transport since first being implemented in the early 20th century. Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company's operators (John "Jack" Phillips and Harold Bride) onboard the RMS Titanic are credited for saving the ship after it ran into an iceberg in the north Atlantic, as are the radio operators aboard the RMS Lusitania after German U-boats mercilessly torpedoed it. Today's sailing vessels, as well as aircraft, are as reliant upon skillful radio operators and radio equipment as back then. Much has been automated, but ultimately it is the human element...
Please Thank Linx & Antenna Factor for Support
Linx Technologies and Antenna Factor, both part of the same company, have been long-time advertisers on RF Cafe. Please show appreciation for their sponsorship by visiting their website to see if you can use their products and/or services. Linx Technologies' RF modules, remote controls, evaluation kits and master development systems feature straightforward hardware configuration and clear documentation, making it simple for engineers and hobbyists to integrate wireless features without the hassle and expense of engineering RF functionality from scratch.
Inc. 500 (2014) CEOs Describe 1st Year in Business
It is well known that the vast majority of start-up businesses fail in the first year and a half. Inc. magazine's new survey of their Inc. 500 CEO member list shows that often even highly successful start-ups initially suffered from the same types of problems that failures did - undercapitalization, poor leadership, bad market timing, failed product or service rollout, difficulty finding and retaining skilled employees, poor fiscal discipline, and the list goes on. 45% claim not enough money at the outset was the biggest issue. A bad fit with key employee(s) and business partner(s) was a close second at 32%. There was no "I was just stupid at first" category, but if there was...
New Tech Articles Posted
EDN, Microwaves & RF, and have a new batch of articles online now. The ones listed below are topics that should be of interest to many RF Cafe visitors. There are more available.
- Chips Steer
77-GHz Automotive Radars,
- Precision Validation of Radar System
Performance in the Field, W. Yu
- The Difference Between BER and BER, M. Rowe
- Transition Tackles mm-Wave Frequencies,
J. Dong, Z. Yang, Y. Liu, T. Yang
- What is 802.11ac, Anyway?, J. Corson
- MeMeasure Interference in Crowded Spectrum,
Censorship vs. Radio Progress
Having spent a lot of my career working for defense electronics companies in classified programs, I am somewhat torn between sympathizing with Hugo Gernsback from his perspective as editor of Radio Craft and what I know is a valid reason for guarding certain technological information for the sake of military advantage. It is often the case that people who have had no exposure to the 'black' side of industry cannot appreciate the need for it. Their argument postulates that suppressing knowledge does more harm than good because an opportunity for more...
Thanks Once Again to PMI for Support!
Planar Monolithics Industries' (PMI) organization has been setup to design, develop, manufacture, test, and market complex state-of-the-art hybrid RF MIC and MMIC components, supercomponents, and subsystems. Unique products for applications in space, military, commercial, telecommunications, and consumer electronics systems.
Morse Code 'CQ' Call in Star Trek: "The Space Seed"
Star Trek is famous for its technical faux pas repertoire, but the writers did manage to get in some impressively accurate scenes once in a while as well. Melanie and I were watching "The Space Seed" last night when a familiar dah-dit-dah-dit dah-dah-dit-dah began playing in the opening scene. 'CQ' is the general broadcast by an operator searching for conversation. Accompanying it is one of the few times where Mr. Spock gets something wrong even though his assessment of the situation is 'logical.' In this episode from the 1967 TV series, the notorious Khan is introduced. I have always liked the Capt. James T. Kirk character because he was portrayed as a man of virtue...
Tech Comics from National Radio News
National Radio Schools published a monthly magazine titled National Radio News. The later editions usually had an electronics themed comic panel that addressed contemporary topics. Earlier editions usually featured student-drawn comics that were primarily propaganda to promote the school more so than humor. It sort of reminds me of the way the Amway faithful were in the 1960s through 1990s - most losing money while cheering on the very few multimillionaire 'Diamonds.' Actually, such devotion and company/cause spirit...
Dilbert 2015 Day-to-Day Calendar
What could be worse than returning to work on January 2, 2015, and realizing that you neglected to procure for yourself a new Dilbert desk calendar? Side note: I recently checked into the cost for 'legally' posting Dilbert comics on RF Cafe. A very polite lady told me her franchise charges $75 per comic for the use of 1 to 9, and a bargain price of only $50 per use of 10 or more cartoons (other price breaks apply). So, it won't be happening on RF Cafe anytime soon, but you can always read them here.
Pasternack Publishes RF Calculators & Converters
Pasternack Enterprises, an industry-leading manufacturer and supplier of RF, microwave and millimeter wave products, has created and published a new set of RF calculators and conversion tools to assist engineers with answering complex RF-related product and design questions that arise on a daily basis. A total of 27 RF calculators were developed by the engineering staff at Pasternack to provide the users and buyers of RF components a valuable and easy-to-use resource while in the planning or
Expert Testimony Central to Coffee Class Decision
IMS ExpertServices periodically sends me e-mails that highlight recent key court cases that can significantly affect the effectiveness of expert testimony, both for the plaintiff and for the defendant. You need only scan the headlines I post daily to know the importance of effective legal representation when intellectual property (IP) is being contested. This article by Joshua Fruchter, writing for IMS ExpertServices, addresses a fundamental aspect of engineering for a large percentage of practitioners, including yours truly. Accordingly...
Notable Tech Quote: C. Francis Jenkins
"If I stay poor enough long enough, I may be able to accomplish something really worth while." - ad hoc addendum to poster in the laboratory of Charles Francis Jenkins, the 'Father of Television,' that began, "They said it couldn't be done; but he, poor fool, didn't know it, and went ahead and did it."
Magnetic Recording - Recorder Design
In most instances the method and materials have changed over the years, but fundamental principles of writing and reading data to and from magnetic media are the same today as when this article was written in 1947. If you find that your lexicon of technical jargon lacks terms such as coercivity and remanence, then you might want to invest a few moments reading this short article that appeared in Radio Craft...
Thanks to Empower RF for Long-Time Support
Founded in 1999, Empower RF Systems is a US based company and global leader in RF power amplifier solutions that are critical to defense, commercial, and industrial market applications. Investments in both hardware and software engineering are yielding next generation products with significant size, weight, and interface functionality advantages over legacy products in the market.
Starkey Needs a Senior Wireless System Engineer
The Senior Wireless System Engineer, under minimal supervision, will be responsible for the design, implementation, optimization and verification of wireless systems for hearing aids and hearing aid accessories. S/He must possess technical expertise, effective communication skills, creativity and internal drive to lead the design and test of wireless systems that are recognized as best-in-class in the hearing aid industry. S/He must have the ability to work both independently and in a group environment
Transmission Line Matching to Multiple Branches
Here is a short tutorial on how to design a resistive impedance matching circuit for feeding multiple transmission lines of equal impedance. Both series and parallel feeds are presented. As the author mentions, ideally you would like a lossless transformer for matching, but often a resistive network is acceptable, especially if receive signal power is not an issue and if your transmitter power is sufficient to overcome the resistive losses (and doesn't torch the resistors). It is also possible to match transmission lines of different...
Congrats to Book Drawing Winner Tekamul B!
Tekamul B., of Anaheim, CA, is the August 2014 drawing winner. Tekamul selected Practical Microwave Circuits, by Stephen A. Maas. Dr. Maas recently received the "RF Living Legend" from AWR for his immense contributions to the microwaves, RF, and wireless engineering realm. This drawing brings the number of books I've given away in the last 7 years to around 130. Graciously provided by Artech House
Engineering Crossword for September 7, 2014
Wow, it's September already! This week's engineering-themed crossword puzzle follows the same MO as the hundreds that precede it by using only technically related words and clues. You will not find any other type words used for fill-in just because something is needed. If I cannot complete a crossword using my hand-entered library of a couple thousand terms, then I start over. No kidding.
Wireless Technician Needed by Starkey Hearing
The Wireless Technician is responsible for the verification and validation of all Starkey wireless product designs, using test procedures, test equipment, lab tools, software tools and orientation from the engineering team. The person in this position should provide efficient, systematic and well documented feedback for the tasks that have been assigned. The members of the technician staff should maintain a clean and organized lab environment in addition to keep track of the calibration methods, requirements and
Comtech Looking for an Associate RF Engineer
The successful candidate will be responsible for solving medium complex engineering problems in one or more phases of a development engineering project involving the analysis, research, design, development, fabrication, and testing of devices or systems. Works under the general supervision of senior engineering management. Depending on the project line assigned, reports to the VP of engineering, RF technologies, digital technologies, military products, and/or other departments
Coming "Secret" Weapons - Sound Familiar?
Usually, when I read about yet another launching of rockets from Gaza into Israel, what comes to mind is the barrage of V1 Buzz Bombs and ultimately the V2 rockets that German terrorized London with during World War II. Although overall not very effective individually, they did cause brief spells of horror for the localized group of people that were affected through maiming, killing, or property destruction. The difference between the Nazi's weapons and Hamas' weapons is that the Germans didn't depend on other terrorist entities to supply them with their weapons of destruction; they were brilliant people who had evil intentions of world domination. Hugo Gernsback writes...
Thanks Again to PCB Material World for Support!
PCB Material World is an independent distributor and market maker of PCB raw materials. We buy and sell PCB raw materials such as copper clad laminates, copper foil, drill backer and entry, among other items. We buy surplus, obsolete, and off-cut RF copper clad laminates to make available to you when needed.
Orbel Corporation Launches New Product Catalog
To provide audiences across a variety of industries with a comprehensive overview of its precision component lines, Orbel Corporation recently launched a new product catalog. Available online or in print, the catalog delivers detailed information on each of Orbel's main product categories, including board level shielding, finger-stock gaskets, photo-etched precision metal parts, and precision metal stampings
A Little More Levity from The Good Life
The 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 (mostly) tech-related items are from the August 2014 edition. Sample: A student at our high school a few years back, having had his fill with drawing graph after graph in senior high math class, told his teacher, "I'll do algebra, I'll do trig, and I'll even do statistics, but graphing is where I draw the line!"
RF Test Technician Position Available at Comtech
The successful RF Test Technician candidate will be responsible for testing/aligning RF microwave amplifier systems. Should be familiar with working with high power and with basic RF measurement; such as gain, VSWR, and insertion loss. Should have knowledge of network and spectrum analyzers, and power meters. Must have knowledge of microprocessor based control circuitry and have he ability of trouble shooting down to component level
Comtech PST Needs an RF Project Engineer
The successful RF Project Engineer candidate will be responsible for solving highly complex engineering problems in one or more phases of development RF engineering involving the analysis, research, design, development, fabrication, and testing of devices or systems. Assignments may be varied and somewhat difficult in character, and require originality and ingenuity. Assignments include activity which can be very theoretical in nature
New Antenna to Multiply Field
Amateur radio enthusiasts are very familiar with burying ground radials below the surface in order to increase antenna efficiency by affecting impedance and, more importantly, the radiation pattern. Long distance (DX) operators generally prefer low launch angles over high angle 'cloud warmers.' Pittsburgh's KDKA, the country's first commercial broadcast radio station, built what would have been the mother of all ground radial arrays for its time - 360 (one every degree), 700-foot copper wires, for a total of a ¼ million feet! It was laid using a farm tractor drawing...
Career Advice Roundup for September 4, 2014
It seems like there have been a lot of layoff news stories lately, but maybe it's just the status quo because media outlets don't have anything better to report at the moment. Any time there is a corporate merger, you know it will include a RIF affecting unlucky employees in both organizations in order to eliminate duplication of duties. Pat Hindle over at Microwave Journal recently wrote a piece...
§ 3 Job Search Myths Busted
§ Inside the ATS Resume System (part 2)
§ 4 Lies (and 1 Truth) About Applicant Tracking
Systems (see above)
§ How to Answer the Question 'What Was Your
Last Salary?' <more...>
Sally, the Service Maid: Case of the Silent Speaker
Sally Mason was the soldering iron-wielding heroette of Nate Silverman's "Sally, the Service Maid" series that ran in Radio Craft magazine during the years of World War II. As I noted in the previous episode, many of the nation's women were left behind to run their husband's, father's and/or son's electronics sales and repair businesses when they went off to save the world from aggressive Communists, Socialists, Maoists, Nazis, and other nasty types. Some of those ladies had already become very adept at troubleshooting, component replacement, and aligning radio and television sets, while...
Mallory Capacitors Advertisement
This is a perfect example of setting up a "straw man" in order to knock it down. Per Merriam Webster, a 'straw man' is, "A weak or imaginary argument or opponent that is set up to be easily defeated." The advertising team didn't even do a very good job of it since nowhere in the copy is there a reference to why the Indian Rope Trick in particular is alluded to regarding Mallory capacitors. It mentions a 'trick,' but that's all. Ah, I just figured it out - they hanged themselves professionally with the rope! BTW, type "FP" supposedly stands...
Here is a unique quiz by überquizmaker Robert Balin, from Popular Electronics. Names of components we use in electronics - particularly ones that have been around for a long time - were given nomenclature that come from the animal kingdom because they happen to resemble one in some way. Probably the most familiar are examples like the alligator clip, pigtails, and rabbit ears - although the younger you are the less likely you might be to have heard the names. Recent election results in Colorado and Oregon may give a resurgence in popularity of and familiarity with alligator clips by potheads.
Inventing the Electronic Century
Inventing the Electronic Century: The Epic Story of the Consumer Electronics and Computer Industries, by Alfred D. Chandler Jr. History changes quickly nowadays, so some of the reviews are a bit harsh in complaining of lack of material for the 21st century, which is not the primary subject of the book. "Consumer electronics and computers redefined life and work in the twentieth century. In Inventing the Electronic Century, Pulitzer Prize-winning business historian Alfred D. Chandler, Jr. traces their origins and worldwide development. From electronics prime mover RCA in the 1920s to Sony and Matsushita's dramatic rise 1970s...
Fairview Microwave Debuts IP67 RF Adapters
Fairview Microwave, a preeminent supplier of on-demand microwave and RF components, introduces a comprehensive line of IP67 RF adapters commonly employed in the DAS, cellular, aviation and military industries due to their ingress protection from water and dust. Fairview Microwave's new RF adapters are IP67 rated, meaning they use advanced ingress
Microwave T&M from R&S at EuMW 2014 in Rome
Rohde & Schwarz will showcase its T&M equipment for sophisticated wireless and A&D applications at EuMW 2014. In addition, R&S specialists will hold 16 workshops and seminars at the event. The company's display (in hall 9, booth 102) at the Fiera di Roma exhibition center will include the following highlights: Complex multichannel and pulse scenarios
The Enormous Electron
Anyone who pays attention in present-day high school physics class would read this article from 1944 and immediately appreciate the advances that have been made in atomic theory during the ensuing 70 years. Even with modern knowledge, it is hard to believe that even in 1944 someone would seriously suggest that perhaps theorized sub-electronic particles (building blocks of electrons) might be responsible for supporting the propagation of electromagnetic energy. We still consider the electron to be an elementary particle (although now the proton and neutron are not), but at this point we are aware of many elementary particles other than the electron (some which make up protons and neutrons)...
Anatech September 2014 Product Update
Anatech Electronics offers the industry's largest portfolio of high-performance standard and customized RF and microwave filters and filter-related products for up to 40 GHz. Anatech has released new designs for a 915 MHz ceramic BPF, 424/435 MHz ceramic duplexer, and a 2190 MHz ceramic BPF. All can be ordered directly through their AMCrf web store.
Many Thanks to Windfreak for Continued Support!
Windfreak Technologies designs, manufactures, tests and sells high value radio frequency products such as RF signal generators, synthesizers, power detectors, mixers, up/downconverters. We develop high quality, reliable, low cost products to make life easier for RF engineers and hobbyists.
Notable Tech Quote: Albert Einstein
"A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving." - Albert Einstein, in The World as I See It.
Men Who Made Radio - C. Francis Jenkins
'Father of Radiovision' (RV) was the title bestowed upon Charles Francis Jenkins for his work in what would eventually become known as television (TV), which is a very good thing because otherwise mass confusion would have ensued by now due to the ambiguousness of having to contend with a familiar reference to recreational vehicles (RV) when the 'other' RV is what was meant ;-) Mr. Jenkins was also the inventor of the Phantoscope motion picture machine. BTW, did you know that the Coast Guard...
Career Advice Stories - Handling Failure
This week's collection of career advice has a somewhat dour theme of how to deal with personal failures (harsh word) and behavior at work. It ends on a high note, though, with an interesting piece on telecom service engineer jobs - a great opportunity if you like field work and don't mind getting your hands dirty.
- Verbal Coaching vs. Formal Written Warnings
- 5 Tips to Proactively Handle Project Failure
- What Your Manager Really Thinks of You
- Avoid Pitfalls That May Derail Your Career
- How to Beat Procrastination
- Telecom Service Engineers
MWJ / Besser Webinar on RF Components for
Aerospace and Defense Set for September 10
NI (formerly AWR Corporation) will sponsor the Microwave Journal / Besser RF/Microwave Training Webinar Series on RF Components for Aerospace and Defense on September 10, 2014. Topics to be covered include defense versus commercial philosophy, standards and standards organizations, quality assurance in defense, military microelectronics, the difference in
Many Thanks Once Again to Dow-Key for Support
Dow-Key Microwave is the world's largest manufacturer of electro-mechanical and solid state RF switches. We are AS9100 / ISO-9001 certified and committed to providing unparalleled customer service, competitive pricing, on-time delivery and products that are distinguished by quality and reliability.