While perusing engineering and science magazines and websites, I often run across photos of some really cool-looking
RF devices that make me wish I had a use for them, or at least had examples to put on display as conversation pieces. Usually
the components look the way they do purely due to functional necessity, but sometimes I think the designers intentionally
add a little bit of 'wow' factor to them. Waveguide components tend to dominate. Here are few examples of what I mean. The
National Electronics Museum, which often lends some
of its items to the MTT-S
(IEEE's Microwave Theory and Techniques Society, aka IMS - International Microwave Symposium)
show, has a great collection of particularly nifty specimens.
Sage Millimeter has this
Space Qualified 26.8 GHz
Integrated Transmitter Module (left) in one of their current magazine advertisements.
It is designed and manufactured for small satellite applications. The horn antenna built onto the amplifier assembly definitely
looks spiffy. I want one for my curio cabinet of cool stuff.
I also saw some nifty adjustable attenuators, including this one (right) with legs from Millimeter
Wave Productss. It is an instrument grade precision attenuator. The gold-plated waveguide 'ears' are the pièce de résistance.
Who wouldn't like to own one
of these Direct Reading Frequency
Meters (right) made by Flann Microwave? It uses a resonant cavity to somehow cause the
rotating cylinder to indicate the applied frequency to within 0.12% accuracy. Keysight Technologies, formerly Agilent Technologies,
formerly Hewlett-Packard, also makes a
coaxial frequency meter (left). According to the application note from
Keysight, "At resonance, power is absorbed by the cavity, producing a dip in the coaxial line power." The details must be
a closely held secret in the industry because all of the attempts I made to access technical papers require payment in cash
or by registering with your e-mail and personal info.
I swear something like this
from General Dynamics SATCOM's Tracking Feeds &
Couplers product line appeared as a spaceship in an episode of
Star Wars, or maybe it was
Star Trek. It evidently is used in radar tracking systems. Midnight blue paint would add an extra
touch of glamor to it, and would go well with a Flann frequency meter..
AFC Microwave Components'
Orthomode Coupler may well be a copyright infringement
on Dr. Seuss's Jing Tingler or maybe the Gar Ginker that appeared
How the Grinch Stole Christmas. My daughter,
who has a natural penchant for painting things in Seuss-like color schemes, would do a nice job of enhancing its polished
These two versions of UCLA Particle Beam Physics
Laboratory's "ORION version of the 1.6 cell RF photocathode gun and related vacuum and waveguide components and ports"
need to be displayed side-by-side in my display case in order to profoundly demonstrate the correlation between software
models and physical models. A coat of clear lacquer would assure a lasting sheen.
There is something innately
awesome about the contraptions built for waveguide - especially high power and high frequency components. Nikoha, of Japan,
has an entire catalog full such devices, including this high power
This coaxial RF switch (right) by Mega Industries designed for use in the Fusion Energy
Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory's 6 megawatt
US ITER nuclear fusion system
(Iter = "The Way" in Latin).
I could spend hours looking for the things I've seen, but this took long enough. Please send me your suggestions for
additions to the page.
Posted February 19, 2015