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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Click for Page 1 of the November 2015 homepage archives.
Jeremy Clarkson Unveils New Amazon Delivery Drone
"Amazon's drone delivery project Prime Air has unveiled a new prototype in a video featuring former Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson. According to the video, the drone could fly for up to 15 miles (24km) and deliver a parcel within 30 minutes of the order being placed. There was no indication of when it might be used by the retail giant. The firm was given permission to test delivery drones in the US earlier this year. It also has drone delivery development centers ..."
Heathkit Advertisement in the December 2015 QST
While perusing the December 2015 issue of magazine, I happened across this advertisement for Heathkit build-it-yourself electronics projects. It has been a couple decades since Heathkit ads have been seen. Hopefully, people will support Heathkit's effort to re-introduce hobbyists to the fun and satisfaction of assembling, aligning, and operating everyday-useful electronics projects. At this time it appears the sole new product offering is the Explorer Jr: TRF AM Radio Receiver Kit. Whether or not a renaissance occurs is largely dependent on how enthusiastically people support their business model ...
Please Welcome Military Radar Summit 2016 as a Sponsor
Join us for the 9th annual Military Radar Summit! As the only event in the United States that focuses exclusively on Military Radar, we again will bring together experts and thought leaders responsible for advancing critical discussion on this narrow and deep subject. Whether by land, sea, or air, military radar is used everywhere and requires consistent reexamination to achieve maximum performance. Come ready to learn and engage as this community works towards developing the next generation of capabilities for this essential technology! February 29 - March 2, 2016 Washington, D.C.
79 GHz Frequency Band Approved for Automotive Radar Applications Globally
"Radio-frequency spectrum needed for the operation of short-range high-resolution automotive radar has been allocated in the 79 GHz frequency band. This decision was reached at the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-15) meeting in Geneva which tool place from 2 to 27 November. The allocation of the 79 GHz frequency band provides a globally harmonized regulatory framework for automotive radar to prevent collisions, which will improve vehicular safety and reduce traffic accidents. The allocation of the frequency band for automotive radar responds to the call by ..."
everything RF Adds Multiple-Vendor Quotation Feature
everything RF has launched a tool that makes it easy for engineers to request quotations for custom products. Users can select a category, enter their requirement and select the manufacturers from the list from who they would like a quotation. They can then, enter their requirement. The inquiry will be directed to the manufacturers who they select. This tool makes it easy to get quotations on custom products from RF & Microwave manufacturer. Try it out now at everything RF.
Oldest Electronics Companies Crossword for November 29, 2015
This week's engineering crossword puzzle features the names of some of the world's oldest electronics companies. Many of them began life with a primary business focus other than electronics, then ended up being known universally for their high tech products. If you're like me, until now you had no idea that one of the world's leading cellular equipment makers originally was a wood pulp mill, and another made playing cards. Clues with asterisks (*) are the featured companies ...
Mac's Service Shop: Automation and the Technician
Once transistorized computers made desktop-sized systems a reality, the sure eventuality of humans being replaced by their electronic equivalents became a popular theme of media pundits. News reports and 'special features' on TV at the same time scared citizens concerned for their jobs and assured them that by the year 2000, humans wouldn't need to work anymore anyway because computers and robots would be doing everything for them. The millennium crossover occurred a decade and a half ago as 2015 draws to a close, and looking back it is true that computers and robots have usurped a lot of what used to be done manually, but, as Mac presciently predicts in this story ...
'The Architecture of Radio' Displays Your Electromagnetic Field Environment
"The Architecture of Radio is a data visualization, based on global open datasets of cell tower, Wi-Fi and satellite locations. Based on your GPS location the app shows a 360 degree visualization of signals around you. The dataset includes almost 7 million cell towers, 19 million Wi-Fi routers and hundreds of satellites. A site specific version of the app includes wired communication infrastructure embedded in the exhibition space. It's aim is to provide a comprehensive window into the infosphere." Created by Richard Vijgen. The Architecture of Radio app is currently available for iOS! The Android version is set to follow early 2016.
Cobham Launches 'Universal' Spring Mount Antenna Range
Cobham Antenna Systems, a market-leading antenna solutions provider, is proud to announce the launch of a 'Universal' range of spring-mount omni-directional antennas. A brochure covering the full range is available on request. Cobham has designed and manufactured spring mount antennas, for over 20 years, with a vast number of happy customers and proven results in the field ...
Li-Fi Is the New Wi-Fi - 100x Faster
"Step aside, Wi-Fi. Scientists have just taken to the streets with a new wireless technology called Li-Fi, and it's 100 times faster than current speeds. Li-Fi transmits data using visible light communication, and it's now being tested in offices and industrial environments in Tallinn, Estonia. This new wireless system hit speeds of 224 Gbps in the lab, and has the potential to revolutionize internet ..."
"As God As My Witness, I Thought Turkeys Could Fly"
Anyone who watched the WKRP in Cincinnati sitcom back in the 1970s has to remember what was one of the funniest episodes ever. Here is the 5 minutes that made Prime Time history. In this Thanksgiving episode, station owner Arthur Carlson decided he would do a surprise good deed - that doubled as a promotional stunt - and drop live turkeys from a helicopter for lucky shoppers at the local shopping mall. Watch the disaster unfold as Les Nessman reports live, and then hear Carlson's final comment that is still used or alluded to in many comic routines ...
Happy Thanksgiving !!!
Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday, being a day of thanks given for the blessings bestowed upon our country's early settlers by God and the welcoming actions of Native American tribesmen. Per the Smithsonian website, "Most Americans are familiar with the Pilgrim's Thanksgiving Feast of 1621, but few realize that it was not the first festival of its kind in North America. Long before Europeans set foot in the Americas, native peoples sought to insure a good harvest with dances and rituals such as the Green Corn Dance of the Cherokees. The first Thanksgiving service known to be held by Europeans in North America occurred on May 27, 1578 in Newfoundland, although earlier Church-type services were probably held by Spaniards in La Florida. However, for British New England, some historians believe that the ..."
Simple Radio Mathematics for the Service Man
Included in this first of a series of the 'Simple Mathematics for the Serviceman' series that ran in Radio-Craft is another 'cheat sheet' full of oft-used formulas. It begins with basic Ohm's law, resistance, inductance, and capacitance, then builds from there. What was valid in 1930 is still valid in 2015. See October 1930 for the next installment that includes yet another handy-dandy cheat sheet of formulas ...
Ultra High Definition TV to Exceed 330M Units by 2019
"TV manufacturers could have a very good holiday season, and the good times likely will continue through 2019. Sales of 4K or Ultra High Definition (UHD) TV sets will exceed 330M units by the end of 2019... However, while the price of those sets has fallen sharply and likely will continue to fall, a report released this month by the Natural Resources Defense Council contended that new UHD models use on average 30% more energy than their HD predecessors." AGW warriors would be committing sacrilege by owning one of these ...
Visions of 1946
December is traditionally the issue for magazines to sum up accomplishments of the ending year and make predictions for the next year. Radio-Craft was no exception, but in 1936 they went ten steps farther and prognosticated a decade into the future - all the way to 1946! It is actually a tongue-in-cheek reprint from Pathe News magazine. However, note the drawing of 'professor teaches 2 million pupils,' where he is instructing via television and the railroad company boss checking in on the conductors en route via wireless teleconferencing. It might have seemed like a pipe dream in 1936, but now it is commonplace. Not only do we now have live classroom broadcasts, but millions of YouTube videos of instruction for performing ...
ARDX V1.3 Arduino Experimentation Kit
Cyber Monday is just four days away, so why not use it as an excuse to buy yourself or significant other (wife, husband, teenager, college student) an introductory kit of components to join in on the Arduino craze? Per the sales pitch: "13 circuits to explore microcontroller basics. Covering LEDs, transistors, motors, integrated circuits, pushbuttons, variable resistors, photo resistors, temperature sensors & relays. Comes with an Arduino Uno (the latest Arduino) prototyping bundle to make constructing your circuits and future projects easy. Printed copy of the Arduino Experimenter's Guide."
Electrons Always Find a Quantum Way
Scientists from the University of Basel in Switzerland have demonstrated for the first time how electrons are transported from a superconductor through a quantum dot into a metal with normal conductivity. This transport process through a quantum dot had already been calculated theoretically in the nineties, but scientists at the University of Basel have now succeeded in proving the theory with measurements. Transport properties such as electrical conductivity play ...
2016 Obamacare Cost for RF Cafe
It looks like again in 2016 Melanie and I will be without health insurance because of the prohibitive cost of the misnamed Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). Not only will we have no insurance, but we will be taxed at a rate of 2.5% of our Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI*) for opting out. Our expected MAGI of about $60,000 amounts to $1,500 being added to our standard income tax - which already includes paying the full amount of the Social Security tax**. What follows is a brief synopsis of our decision-making rationale. Bear in mind while reading that tens of thousands of Americans are making similar decisions nowadays. Prior to 2014, we had ...
Notable Quote: Lawrence Krauss
"For most of us, the times when we go astray are happily forgettable. In Einstein's case, even the mistakes are noteworthy." - Lawrence M. Krauss, in What Einstein Got Wrong, appearing in the September 2015 issue of Scientific American.
Nuvitron's Vintage Nixie Clock
Just in time for holidays for the Nixie tube aficionado who appreciates a fine wooden chassis and 'authentic' vintage, heretofore unused Nixies is Nuvitron's Vintage Nixie Clock (clever name). Says them, "With brand new, unused Nixie tubes that were rescued from exile in long abandoned basements in Eastern Europe, the vintage Nixie tube clock imparts a warm glow from within its beautiful, handmade, Art Deco enclosure. Each clock casing takes over 30 hours to create and a lifetime to admire. Make yourself appear cooler than you actually are with this super cool Nixie tube clock." Now, if anyone is still trying to figure out what to get me for Christmas ... (hat tip to Electronics Weekly, where I learned of it)
RF Application Engineer Needed by e2v
e2v is looking for an RF Applications Engineer that will support high performance RF IC products and Broad Band Data Converters. This position will provide application support for RF switches, mixers, PLLs, DSA, and prescalers in challenging environments for defense an space systems. High speed data converters with industry leading performance will also be a key focus. The position will also require the candidate to take the lead role in assessing and understanding Aerospace and Defense Electronics customers' system requirements and provide guidance to the R&D teams to develop successful semiconductor products. This position provides a unique opportunity to support current and new cutting edge technology that supports some of our nation's fundamental defense programs ...
Pasternack Waveguide Mixers Operate for Ka, Q, U, V, E & W Bands
Pasternack, a leading provider of RF, microwave and millimeter wave products, adds new millimeter wave (mm-wave) waveguide frequency mixers available in six down-conversion and six up-conversion models that cover full Ka, Q, U, V, E, and W bands. Designs utilize high performance GaAs Schottky Barrier Beam Lead Diodes in balanced configurations that require a +13 dBm LO drive and display low levels of conversion loss ...
The "Neon" Interference Problem
Before there was radio, it really didn't matter much how much electromagnetic energy at any frequency was spewed into the air and into electric wires as long as the amplitude was not great enough to physically damage affected equipment. There was no need for an FCC or unintentional radiation limit regulations. It was not long after radio came along that the presence of electromagnetic interference (EMI) made itself painfully obvious due to its presence on audio as static. Motor brush arcing, electrical atmospheric phenomena (lightning, meteors), switching on and off of circuits, intermittent connections, nearby radio spurious emissions, high voltage transformers, and in this case, neon lighting were among ...
RF Cafe Visitor & Page View Count Climbing - Thanks !
Thanks to everyone for the explosive growth of RF Cafe's visitor and page view number in the last year! In 2015 the number of website Visits has grown by about 10%, while the number of Page Views has grown about 300%. That means visitors like you are now spending more time looking at multiple pages once you arrive here. RF Cafe has more than 10,000 unique pages covering a wide variety of engineering and science topics, most of which can be useful to all levels of hobbyists, technicians, students, engineers, managers, and even people with a casual interest in science. I always welcome your comments, suggestions, and contributions. The RF Cafe Forum is available if you prefer that venue for participation (registration not required).
Anatech Electronics Intros 3 New Filter Designs
Anatech has released three new RF / microwave filter designs: a 902-928 MHz connectorized cavity bandpass filter model, an 880-915 / 925-960 MHz cavity duplexer model for outdoor applications, and also a 910-920 MHz connectorized cavity bandpass model. All can be ordered directly through their AMCrf web store.
Please Welcome Alliance Test Equipment as My Newest Supporter!
Alliance Test Equipment, located in Webster, Massachusetts, is a leading source of quality used/reconditioned test & measurement equipment. Alliance Test sells used & refurbished test equipment, offering short-and long-term rentals. They also purchase your excess test equipment in large or small lots, and do repair, maintenance and calibration. Alliance Test offers products from many manufacturers available at prices discounted up to 80% off manufacturer list price.
Six-Inch Radio Waves
2.1 GHz (5.6-inch, or 14 cm wavelength) radio waves were an almost totally unexplored realm in 1930, with it and higher frequencies being the domain of theoretical research laboratories. Signals generators capable of producing much more than a few hundred megahertz were rare even in commercial applications. As reported here, centimeter-length electromagnetic waves were "according to the theories of Barkhausen and Kurz, [the] result of purely electronic vibrations, whose frequency was determined only by the operative data of the tube and was not dependent on any internal or external oscillation circuit." A half-wave receiving antenna picked up the transmitted signal with a simple diode detector to enable, after a couple ...
Engineering & Science Crossword Puzzle for November 22, 2015
For the sake of avid cruciverbalists amongst us, each week I create a new crossword puzzle that has a theme related to engineering, mathematics, chemistry, physics, and other technical words. You will never be asked the name of a movie star unless he/she was involved in a technical endeavor (e.g., Hedy Lamar). Enjoy!
EEs Report Highest Pay Increase Since 2008
"The median income of electrical and electronics engineers increased 3% in 2014, the largest increase since 2008, according to the IEEE-USA's annual salary survey. The total median pre-tax income of U.S.-based EEs increased to $133,000 last year, up from $129,000 in 2013, according to the responses of IEEE members who responded to the survey that indicated they were employed full time in their primary area of technical expertise. Excluding overtime pay ..."
What to Expect When You're an Expert
"You may be the expert in your field, but if you fail to understand how the rules on admissibility of expert testimony may affect your opinions and testimony, you jeopardize your role as an expert. If the court excludes your testimony, all your hard work is for naught and you lose your opportunity to be the expert in front of the jury." IMS ExpertServices is now offering a new whitepaper, What to Expect When You're an Expert. It is the first in a series of whitepapers and presents strategies on how to conduct your expert witness business with an eye toward the rules on admissibility of expert testimony throughout the litigation process. The information ...
Please Welcome Microwave Products & Technology (MPT) as a Sponsor!
When you need a solution now, MPT provides the engineering, program management, and technology needed with expertise that meets your price and schedule requirements. They deliver on promises so you remain on schedule and on budget. Digital Receivers - front end with amplification, filtering, down conversion. Phased Arrays - L-Band through Ka-Band. Solid State Power Amplifiers (SSPA). Transmit/Receiver (T/R) Modules. Down Converters - integrated assemblies. Please visit MPT's website today to see what they have to offer.
Men Who Have Made Radio - E. F. W. Alexanderson
The name Ernst Frederick Werner Alexanderson (1878-1975) might not seem overly familiar to you, but he is credited with designing the first high frequency alternator for transmitting longwave audio modulation over long distances. His device preceded the spark and arc type transmitters that infamously spewed harmonics and noise all over the spectrum and were therefore a great nuisance when broadcast at high power levels. It was a relatively (for the time) narrowband scheme that permitted more stations to be co-located in a given service area. He went on the develop one of the first successful television projectors as well. Read a short biography on Mr. Alexanderson in the "Men Who ...
432-Mc. Solar Patrol
NASA (and its predecessor NACA), and private and public operators have been monitoring solar events in the optical realm for many decades while attempting to correlate terrestrial phenomena with it. Auroral light displays in the extreme polar regions have long been known to be caused by solar flare and coronal mass ejections (CME). With the advent of radio, the electrical nature of the upper atmosphere became evident when static (AM) and long range propagation affected long range communications. Extreme CME activity eventually was associated with behavior of the electrical power grid; indeed, massive blackouts ...
Designing X-Band PAs Using SMT Plastic Packaged GaN Transistors
Designing X-Band PAs Using SMT Plastic Packaged GaN Transistors, a free Webinar by Keysight Technologies and Microwave Journal. The use of over-molded SMT plastic packaging greatly simplifies handling and assembly and reduces unit cost. However, as operating frequencies and RF output power increase, so do the challenges of using SMT packaging. This webcast describes the design of PAs at X-band using plastic packaged SMT GaN transistors. The design approach is illustrated with a detailed description of the design, layout, EM simulation ...
USAF Air Traffic Controller Randy Herrell Checks In
Randy Herrell bears the distinction of being the first former USAF air traffic control operator to be added in the Radar Shop list. Everyone else was a radar maintenance technician. Randy wrote regarding an issue during his service at Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base on the MPN-13 radar system back in the 1970s, so it seems fitting to include him. Please welcome Randy into the fold ...
Saelig Debuts PicoSource PG900 Series Differential Pulse Generators
Saelig Company announces the availability of PicoSource PG900 Series Differential Pulse Generators - high-speed, low-cost, fast-transition instruments that can test transmission paths with a fast pulse, instantly simulating a wide-spectrum signal. These generators are ideal for high-speed broadband measurements such as time-domain reflectometry, semiconductor testing, gigabit port testing, and radar systems. The PicoSource PG900 Series Pulse Generators are capable of creating ...
Stenode's Selectivity Revolutionary
By the early 1930s, commercial broadcast stations were still working out what would be the best combination of channel bandwidth and spacing to enable a maximum number of adjacent transmissions while achieving sufficient selectivity to enable acceptable reception. 5 kHz was deemed reasonable to reproduce the human voice as well as musical instruments... A debate within the engineering community existed then regarding the usefulness of and need for upper and lower sidebands. The Stenode's success was dependent upon being able to design a receiver circuit with the ...
Many Thanks to Centric RF for Their Continued Support
Centric RF is a company offering from stock various RF and Microwave coaxial components, including Attenuators, Adapters, Cable Assemblies, Terminations, Power Dividers, and more. They believe in offering high performance parts from stock at a reasonable cost. Their parts operate in the frequency ranges of 0-110 GHz, and at power levels from 0.5-500 watts. "Order today, ship today!" BTW, the proprietor of Centric RF is the former owner of a major RF component distributor company who decided to do it all over again from the ground up, so you'll be in good hands.
Radio Receiver Technology: Principles, Architectures and Applications
Radio Receiver Technology: Principles, Architectures and Applications, by Ralf Rudersdorfer, covers the principles, architectures, applications, specifications and characterizations of radio receivers In this book, the author introduces the reader to the basic principles and theories of present-day communications receiver technology. The first section of the book presents realization concepts at the system level, taking into consideration the various types of users. Details of the circuitry are described providing the reader with an understanding of fully digitized radio receivers, offering an insight into the state-of-the-art. The remaining sections address radio ...
Please Welcome KR Electronics as RF Cafe's Newest Sponsor !
KR Electronics has been providing innovative filter solutions for over 40 Years. KR Electronics designs and manufactures high quality filters for the commercial, medical, communications, radar, navigation, PTC, and military markets. KR Electronics manufactures all filter types and individually synthesizes filters for special applications. Contact them today (732-636-1900) with your custom filter requirements, or select from a catalog of standard designs. ISO 9001:2008 certified ...
Crosley 'Fortyfive' Tabletop Radio Advertisement
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Inflation Calculator, this Crosley 'Fortyfive' tabletop radio that cost $45 in 1932 would cost $781.22 in today's dollars. That's a lot of money for a radio. "The Crosley Fortyfive is the last word in radio design and performance. The beautiful front panel is finished in Adam brown. A pleasing two-tone effect is accomplished by an overlay of stump walnut veneer which decorates the front panel. Fluted ..."
Femtosecond Lasers Drive a New Generation of VNAs
"A new kind of vector network analyzer, driven by a femtosecond laser, offers low cost, high resolution, and 'incredibly broad...bandwidth.' Researchers at the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB, the German national standards institute in Braunschweig) have used lasers to improve on a widely used and extremely precise instrument for measuring signal strength and phase in electronic components. The new laser-driven terahertz vector network analyzer (VNA) could offer broader frequency coverage and higher resolution at a lower cost ..."
Notable Tech Quote
"Sometimes someone would stand behind the airplane and start whistling through the tailpipe like the engine was starting and you'd scramble out of there real quick!" - John Borry, a plane captain and jet mechanic with VF-13 aboard Shangri La, who didn't like crawling down the Vought F-8 Crusader engine intake (October 2015 Air & Space magazine).
WINMOR Technical Sales Added to Vendor Pages
WINMOR Technical Sales is a premier electronic sales representative firm specializing in the sales and marketing of components and engineered electronic solutions to the Southeast and Chesapeake geographies. Offerings include RF connectors, cable assemblies, and power amplifiers; flex circuits; cable ferrites; membrane switches and keypads; PCBs & PCB Assembly. They have been added to my Manufacturer's Reps and Distributors pages.
Many Thanks to Centric RF for Its Renewed Sponsorship
We're a company offering from stock various RF and Microwave coaxial components, including attenuators, adapters, cable assemblies, terminations, power dividers, and more. We believe in offering high performance parts from stock at a reasonable cost. Our parts operate in the frequency ranges of 0-110 GHz, and at power levels from 0.5-500 watts. Order today, ship today! Currently we're looking for vendors to partner with us. If interested please email expressing an interest to email@example.com.
Photons on a Chip Set New Paths for Secure Communications
"Researchers from RMIT University in Melbourne have helped crack the code to ultra-secure telecommunications of the future in an international research project that could also expedite the advent of quantum computing. A team co-led by RMIT MicroNano Research Facility Director Professor David Moss has added a new twist to create photon pairs that fit on a tiny computer chip. The breakthrough, published in Nature Communications, heralds the next-generation of integrated quantum optical technology, being ..."
What's a Stereo System, Anyway?
By pure coincidence, after posting the article on audio system filters and volume controls, Melanie sent me this piece by EDN's Martin Rowe about a vintage stereo shop in Newton, Mass., called West Suburban Electronics. A discussion ensues by readers about stereos; maybe you'll want to join in. I like the quote by owner Boris Smolyar: "At home [as a teenager], my father would tell me to turn the music down. Today, it's my teenage daughter who tells me to turn the music down." I could not find a website for them. BTW, I still on a daily basis use the Reader's Digest Model 800-XR AM/FM Radio + 8-Track Tape Player that I bought in highschool.
Theory and Construction of Line Filters and Matching Transformers
Here is Part 1 of a two-part article on attenuator pad and impedance matching articles that appeared in Radio-Craft magazine. Although the focus is on audio frequencies, the principles apply in general. It is interesting to read about wavelengths expressed in units of miles versus feet and meters like we are used to seeing for radio frequencies. Keep in mind that most of the decibel formulas used here are for voltage and not for power. Part II appeared in the May 1932 issue of Radio-Craft ...
Please Thank Saelig Company for Their Continuing Support!
Saelig Company, Inc. is a New York State corporation operating as a Sales and Marketing Agent and Distributor for more than 100 manufacturers from all over the world. Founded in 1988 by Alan Lowne, Saelig has earned a growing reputation for having notable products not found elsewhere. "Saelig" is an Olde English word which means "happy, prosperous, blessed." We sell and support a wide range of electronic control and instrumentation equipment and components to customers ranging from Fortune 500 industrial users, military, educational institutions and hospitals to individual end-users ...