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 2 of the September 2015 homepage archives.
Crystal Diodes in Modern Electronics
Diode characteristics and their applications have not changed fundamentally since this article was published in 1952. Sure, the die are smaller, power handling and frequency range has increased, package styles are greatly expanded, and the cost per unit is way down, but if you are looking for some basic diode information, you will find it here in this 4th installment of a multi-part series in Radio & Television News magazine. Don't let the vacuum tubes in schematics scare you off and think that it makes the story irrelevant for today's circuits. For purposes of illustration substitute a transistor's collector (or drain) for the tube's plate, a transistor's base (or gate) for the tube's screen grid, and a transistor's emitter (or source) for the tube's ...
The Challenge of Mobile Phone and IoT Antennas
"Antennas are a crucial component of any connected device such as a mobile phone or IoT product. But choosing the right antenna for an application presents a key design challenge. Wireless devices use several radio bands, and reliable radio links are important. Creating effective antenna performance in mobile phones ..."
Clairvoyant Dr. Fox
Mystery stories were broadcast on radio stations in the days before television - and for quite a while after TV was available for that matter. During that era, it was common also for electronics magazines, which focused largely on radio communications, to experiment with printed dramas that had a radio-centric theme. Here is the first of a series tried by Radio-Craft in the late 1930s. A couple decades later the Carl & Jerry adventures were run in Popular Electronics, but other than that I don't recall seeing a lot of these things. If you're a mystery fan, then here you go ...
Quantenna Announces World's First 802.11ac 10G Wave 3 Wi-Fi Product Line
Quantenna Communications, the leader in ultra-high performance Wi-Fi, today announced the availability of the industry's first 10G Wave 3 Wi-Fi product family. The products are built on Quantenna's True 8x8™ QSR10G Wi-Fi platform with multi-user MIMO (MU-MIMO) technology for home wireless access points and residential gateways. Quantenna's up-to-12-streams 10G Wave 3 product family delivers unprecedented Wi-Fi performance, reliability and capacity for high-density environments, and can address both the service provider and retail market segments. 10G Wave 3 is a revolutionary new way for Wi-Fi networks to operate ...
Russian Hacker Group Taps Satellite Links for Attacks
They are called advanced persistent threat groups and according to a new forensic analysis, they are descending from the sky to potentially threaten counter-intelligence agencies, using the weak security in some satellite communications to cover their tracks. Among the major hurdles for so-called APT operators such as the Turla ...
The Renode - A New Gridless Tube
Competition amongst countries and businesses existed long before the advent of radio receivers. Here is an interesting story which demonstrates how international politics and corporate policies has been part of the electronics industry since its inception. In order to circumvent what were considered to be outlandish patent licensing fees, Danish engineer Carl Arne Scheimann Jensen developed a new 'gridless' type of vacuum tube (aka valve) which was called the 'Renode.' Rather than using a screen grid in the path between the cathode and plate, the Renode employed two sets of beam concentrator and deflector plates on either side of the electron beam's path to modulate the conduction. According to measurements it provided a slight improvement in both linearity and selectivity. The article's ...
Realizing Carbon Nanotube ICs
Individual transistors made from carbon nanotubes are faster and more energy efficient than those made from other materials. Going from a single transistor to an integrated circuit full of transistors, however, is a giant leap. "A single microprocessor has a billion transistors in it," said NW Engineering's Mark Hersam. "All billion ...
Black Oak Group Measures Real Relative Permittivity and Conductivity of Air
The Black Oak Group has measured the broadband complex permittivity of air. Maximum excursions over 50 MHz to 500 MHz for the real relative permittivity were +0.016 and -0.016 compared to one (1) and for the conductivity +0.0 and -0.00064 Siemens per meter compared to zero (0). The measurement set-up is particularly well suited for commonly encountered low-loss bulk complex permittivities found in dry wood products for the lumber industry, dry grains and cereals for agriculture and the food industry, sifted homogeneous soils for agriculture and machinable homogeneous dielectric samples around 3 x 3 x 3 inches in size ...
ARRL President Defends Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 from 'Untruths'
ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN, has taken strong exception to certain claims being made by community association organizations about the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 — H.R. 1301 and S. 1685. In an interview with Ham Radio Now host Gary Pearce, KN4AQ, during the ARRL Roanoke Division Convention over Labor Day weekend, President Craigie stressed that passage of the legislation is critical to ensuring the future of Amateur Radio. And she described as 'false' recent assertions that the bills’ passage would prevent community associations from ...
RF & Microwave Companies Crossword Puzzle for September 13, 2015
This week's RF & Microwave Companies crossword puzzle includes the names of all my current advertisers and a few others that will be familiar to many of you (clues labeled with asterisk *). These kinds of puzzles take a particularly long time to create because of needing to force words into certain positions. That leaves the software with fewer options for fitting the other words. All the words in RF Cafe crossword puzzles are relevant to engineering, science, mathematics, etc., stored in a hand-built (over more than a decade) lexicon of thousands of terms and clues. Enjoy ...
Qualcomm Demos Mini Drone Using Snapdragon Processor
First public demo of Snapdragon Flight robotics dev platform in one of world's smallest 4K drones. "We believe that robotics can be brought to a whole new level by using highly integrated and optimized heterogeneous mobile compute platforms. To that end, we're proud to announce Qualcomm Snapdragon Flight, a next-generation development platform designed to help manufacturers build the future of consumer robots and drones ..."
The Television Test Pattern
Remember the test patterns that used to be broadcast by over-the-air broadcast stations that were used to align the electron beam defection circuitry in CRT-based televisions? That pattern of squares, circles, parallel and radial lines was generated by a special tube called a "Monoscope" on the transmitter end. Focus, 4:3 picture aspect ratio, linearity, frequency response, and contrast and brightness were all tweaked to optimize the pattern on the TV receiver circuitry. Of course not all sets were capable of obtaining a perfect alignment due to inferior design and/or a scheme by the manufacturer to provide a lower cost model with the tradeoff being a poorer picture - that it the type of TV we always had in our household as ...
MACOM Intros 4th Generation 100 W GaN on Silicon Wideband Transistor
M/A-COM Technology Solutions, a leading supplier of high performance analog RF, microwave, and optical semiconductor products, today announced the new MAGX-100027-100C0P, a wideband transistor optimized for DC-2.7 GHz operation and built using proprietary 4th generation GaN on Silicon (GaN on Si) process is sampling today. This GaN on Si HEMT D-Mode transistor is ideally suited for defense communications, land mobile radio ...
Smartphone Demand Collapse Hits Foundry Orders
The collapse in demand for smartphones has caused a severe drop in foundry orders for mobile SoCs. TSMC saw sales drop from $2.48B in July to $2.06B in August – a fall of over 17%. At UMC August sales were down 4% and the company said its Q3 wafer shipments may fall sequentially by as much as 5%, while its ASP may fall 3% ...
Ofcom Eyes 10 MHz of Spectrum for Long-Range IoT Services
"Ofcom this week launched a consultation with the aim of fostering investment in Internet-of-Things (IoT) services targeted at rural and remote locations. 'We want to encourage IoT investment and innovation in particular at 55 MHz-68 MHz, 70.5 MHz-71.5 MHz and 80 MHz-81.5 MHz,' the regulator explained in its consultation paper, published on ..."
"Do You, Google Earth, Swear to Tell the Truth?"
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 IP is being contested. This article by Annie Dike, writing for IMS ExpertServices, points out a case where the use of a Google Earth image was admitted as evidence in a criminal case even after the defense attempted to have it dismissed as 'hearsay' evidence. The judge's reasoning for qualification is interesting. It seems to me there is fundamentally no difference between allowing a Google Earth image and those obtained from private and commercial security cameras ...
14 Years Since the Islamic Extremist Attack on the USA!
"Our plane has been hijacked. Flight attendant #1 stabbed. Flight attendant #5 stabbed. A business class passenger's throat has been slashed and he is bleeding severely and may be dead. The captain is not flying the aircraft. Something's terribly wrong. I see the water. I see the buildings." After a short pause, she says, "We are flying low. We are flying very, very low. We are flying way too low! Oh my God!" The phone went dead. "A colleague relayed this information to us on a conference call at approximately 10:30 a.m. central time at American Airlines headquarters in Ft. Worth ..." ISIL, Al Qaeda, Muslim Brotherhood ('jihad is our way'), Iran, they're all thriving and swearing to destroy the USA while we conduct a politically correct campaign against them - even inviting them into the country as 'refugees.'
Drones - Put R/C into War Games
The term 'drone' these days for most invokes the image of a little plastic spider-looking thing with propellers mounted at the ends of the arms - usually with a toothless bumpkin at the controls. Those same people often think drones are relatively new devices. People with a just a little more information automatically classify all radio control (R/C) models, be they traditional fixed-wing aircraft or helicopters, as drones. . Pilots of the aforementioned models are even likely, per observers, to have all their teeth and bathe regularly. I happen to be one of the latter type R/C modelers and while I no longer possess all 32 teeth I had at birth, I do bathe regularly. Drones have been around since World War I where they were used for target practice by ground-based mark ...
Wi-Fi @ 25: A Look Back
"Twenty-five years ago a couple dozen engineers gathered in a hotel meeting room to define a wireless technology with the obscure name IEEE 802.11. Today the resulting Wi-Fi is a data network that rivals cellular, found in notebooks, tablets, hotel rooms, corner cafés and even airplanes. It's a story of people and their products that made the unlikely journey from crude prototypes to widespread popularity. After an unlikely start in Washington D.C., the story shifts to the Netherlands and ultimately Cupertino ..."
Clarion Model AC-160 A.V.C. Superhet Radio Service Data Sheet
This Radio Service Data Sheet for the Clarion "Replacement" Chassis, Model AC-160 A.V.C. Superhet is an example of the dozens of similar schematic and alignment instruction sheets that have been posted on RF Cafe over the years. Obtaining technical information on most things, even readily available items, prior to the Internet era was often very difficult - if not impossible. Service centers had what was need provided by manufacturers and distributors, but if you wanted to find a part number or service data on a refrigerator, radio, lawn mower, garage door opener ...
New Horizons Sends Incredible Images of Ice Flows, Valleys, and Dunes
"NASA's Pluto experts have revealed new high resolution close up images of the surface of Pluto - and admit they are stunned by the planet. They reveal a 'bewildering variety of surface features' that have scientists reeling because of their range and complexity. 'If an artist had painted this Pluto before our flyby, I probably would have called it over the top ..."
VHF-UHF Mountaintoppers, Rovers Asked to Observe Radio Quiet Zones
"The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) at Green Bank, West, Virginia, has asked that hams notify the facility if they plan to operate within 10 miles of either the Green Bank Telescope (GBT) or the Sugar Grove Research Station in Sugar Grove, West Virginia. The internationally renowned scientific research facilities ..."
Triad RF Systems Intros 400-450 MHz Bi-Directional Power Amplifier
The TTRM1076 is a high linearity bi-directional SSPA suitable for use with any modulation and signal type. It is currently utilized in UAV data links and long range point-point COFDM video links. High speed T/R switching and sequencing of the PA, LNA, and switch driver circuitry is performed by an on-board CPLD, where switching timing can be adjusted in firmware based on system requirements. The transmit section produces over 25 Watts of BPSK power, and over 6 Watts of 64 QAM. The unit also features a three color status LED on the front panel that shows if the SSPA is in transmit or receive mode ...
Guerrilla RF's High Linearity Gain Blocks w/Broadband Compressed POut
Guerrilla RF, a leading provider of high performance MMICs, today introduces a new addition to the company's family of high linearity gain blocks featuring a unique combination of simple-application schematic, flat gain and high compressed output power which operate from near DC up to 4 GHz. The GRF2012 and GRF2013 are ideal as cost-effective pre-drivers for today's state-of-the-art broadband GaN high power amplifiers as well as a multitude of general purpose, high-performance gain block applications. Their flat gain and flexible biasing allow for high levels of re-use both within a single design and across platforms ...
FCC Cooking up AM/FM Translator Plan
"As reported in recent days, there has been a serious lobbying effort by AM broadcasters to open a window for FM translators exclusively for them. It's an idea FCC Chairman Thomas Wheeler does not support. It appears the FCC has come up with a different plan for AM broadcasters and is pushing it vigorously both ..."
Here are a couple more electronics-themed comics from Electronics World to add to your collection. These comics make good fodder for opening your technical presentations ...
Military Technology Exporter Admits to Spying for Moscow
"The founder of a Houston-based technology company admitted to spying for Russia while in the U.S. and conspiring to export microelectronics to Russian military and intelligence agencies. Alexander Fishenko, a dual Russian-U.S. citizen, was scheduled to go to trial this month on charges of scheming to illegally supply Russia with computer chips and other ..."
Theory and Construction of Attenuators, Line Filters and Matching Transformers
It seems most of the articles we see on the subject of attenuator pads are based on signal reduction in terms of decibels for units of power. Although it is a simple matter to convert power decibels to voltage decibels, it would be more convenient if you are working with voltage to have formulas and tables of values based on voltage ratios. This article does just that. As a reminder, the decibel representation of a ratio is always 10 * log10 (x). If you have a voltage ratio of V1/V2 = 0.5, then 10 * log10 (0.5) = -3.01 dB. If you have a power ratio of P1/P2 = 0.5, then 10 * log10 (0.5) = -3.01 dB. Does that mean that -3.01 dB of voltage attenuation is the same as 3.01 dB of power attenuation? Confusingly, no ...
Qualcomm Announces Mobile Anti-malware Technology
"Qualcomm says that its forthcoming chips will include a real time, on device machine learning designed to support detection of zero day malware threats. Snapdragon Smart Protect is also the first application to utilize Qualcomm Zeroth technology, augmenting conventional anti-malware solutions by supporting on device real-time malware detection, classification and cause analysis using an advanced cognitive computing behavioral engine. Snapdragon Smart Protect complements existing ..."
Government Employees Outnumber Manufacturing Employees 1.8 to 1
"Those employed by government in the United States in August of this year outnumbered those employed in the manufacturing sector by almost 1.8 to 1, according to data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There were 21,995,000 employed by federal, state and local government in the United States in August, according to BLS. By contrast, there were only 12,329,000 employed in the manufacturing sector ..."
Keysight Webcast: Design Broadband Impedance Matching Networks
Broadband Impedance Matching Networks are always difficult and time consuming to design. This webcast discusses how to deal with matching frequency-dependent complex source or load impedances to unstable, non-unilateral devices as well as designing non-50 ohm inter-stage matching between devices. Unlike traditional discussion on impedance matching using smith charts and complex math, you'll learn practical methods of quickly synthesizing and realizing lumped or distributed matching networks for difficult broadband applications ...
The Whole Ohm Family - R, X and Z
Here is yet another treatise on the subject of reactance and resistance. Considering that the date on this article is 1931, it was probably amongst the first to publically discuss such 'newfangled' topics outside of a formal university setting. The layman just was not accustomed to being bothered with such esoteric concepts. After all, not many decades previous a person might be burned at the stake for exercising such witchcraft as speaking of 'imaginary' numbers as is required for a complete analysis of alternating circuits. This article, however, does not actually get into complex number, but future ones did ...
Efficient Combination of Quantum Cascade Laser and Detectors
Technische Universität Wien (TU Wien) in Austria has improved its bi-functional 6.8μm quantum cascade laser and detector (QCLD) technology. It is hoped that monolithic integration of quantum cascade lasers (QCLs) and quantum cascade detectors (QCDs) could lead to compact spectroscopy systems for environmental monitoring and medical applications in the form of trace gas sensing, blood serum analysis, etc ...
Radio Service Data Sheet
for the Sparton Model 40
This Radio Service Data Sheet for the Sparton Model 40 6-Tube T.R.F. Automotive Receiver is an example of the dozens of similar schematic and alignment instruction sheets that have been posted on RF Cafe over the years. Obtaining technical information on most things, even readily available items, prior to the Internet era was often very difficult - if not impossible. Service centers had what was need provided by manufacturers and distributors, but if you wanted to find a part number or service data on a refrigerator, radio, lawn mower, garage door opener ...
Microwave Applications Phase Shifters Chosen for E-Scanned Radar
Officials of the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Lakehurst, N.J., announced a $10.2 million contract to Microwave Applications last week for 1,800 ferrite phase shifter RF and microwave modules, which researchers will use to develop a closed-loop passive electronically scanned array radar system ...
The Radio Manufacturer Has His Say
For a few years I have been occasionally posting radio service data sheets for vintage radio sets, all of which appeared in electronics industry and hobby magazines such as Radio-Craft and Radio News. Unlike the last decade and a half, procuring service information on commercial products could be very time consuming, and often resulted in not even obtaining what you needed. Thanks to the Internet being populated with schematics and mechanical drawings for seemingly everything ever made, we no longer need to call or mail order for information needed to repair your radio, television, cellphone, lawn mower, toaster, or anything else. Granted, most people these days toss out broken items and just ...
Bharti Airtel Selects Ericsson to Roll out 4G in Delhi
India's Bharti Airtel has chosen Ericsson to roll out 4G (LTE FDD) network for its subscribers in Delhi. This four year agreement marks the first LTE FDD rollout by Ericsson in Delhi. Ericsson will enable Bharti Airtel to meet growing customer demand for mobile broadband services while delivering superior network performance. On 4G, Airtel subscribers will be able to enjoy an improved smartphone experience, with faster web ...
Z-Comm Broadens Product Portfolio with New High Gain Power Amplifiers
Z-Communications, Inc., a worldwide leader in the design and manufacturing of RF and microwave components, is pleased to introduce a new series of RF amplifier products with the release of the PAC18700T and DRC23000M. Operating in the K-band, the PAC18700T and DRC23000M provide a unique advantage by allowing quick and simple installation into systems with their integrated supply circuitry allowing to be operated from a single power source and availability in a SMA connectorized module package. These remarkable new RF amplifiers are further heightened by their high output power, high gain, and superior linearity ...
Laser Can Disable Self-Drive Car
A homemade gadget can disable the systems that allow self-driving cars to see where they are going, a security researcher has said. Jonathan Petit demonstrated how a modified, low-cost laser could create ghostlike objects in the path of autonomous cars. The cars slowed down to avoid hitting them ...
Gowanda Electronics Needs an RF/Microwave Filter Design Engineer
Gowanda Electronics/TTE Filters is recruiting for an experienced Design Engineer for our RF / Microwave filter product line. Our company is rapidly growing, resulting in this new position at our Arcade NY facility. Exciting opportunity for a Design Engineer with 3 – 5 years relevant experience with RF/ microwave filter design. Reports to the President, TTE Filters, Arcade NY. Relocation assistance is available. Requires BS EE or other relevant degree. We offer a competitive salary DoE with a comprehensive benefit program, including 401(k) w/match, health, vision, Long Term Disability, Holidays ...
Airless Space Weathering Duplicated in Lab Environment
"Using laboratory instruments typically used to make semiconductor devices, space weathering of airless bodies in the Solar System has been simulated, allowing researchers to better determine the ages of their surfaces, states a new paper by Kimberly R. Kuhlman of the Planetary Science Institute. 'Space weathering' is a catch-all term for what happens to surfaces exposed to the environment of space over time. This includes the micrometeorite impact damage ..."
Free Engineering White Papers for September 2015
It has been quite a while since I looked through TradePub's list of white papers. For along time there had not been many relevant topics that struck me as useful enough to pitch to RF Cafe visitors. The ones listed here are a small sample of a lot of new papers, articles, and booklets available. You might want to take a couple minutes to see what's new there. They are all free downloads ...
Samsung's 360° Wireless Speakers Take Aim at Sonos
"Samsung's biggest announcement at IFA 2015 was the Gear S2, its long-rumored round smartwatch. But, as expected, that's not the only thing the company is showing off in Berlin, Germany. The R1, R3 and R5 are new wireless, multi-room speakers designed to take on Sonos. What makes them different than most of the competition, though, is their 360° enclosure ..."
Television Tubes by the Thousands
In the early days of television, what we today refer to as cathode ray tubes were called kinescopes. The kinescope on the receiving end displayed images generated by a tube called an iconoscope on the transmission end. Kinescopes had round faces onto which a rectangular picture was electronically drawn. Once manufacturing technology evolved sufficiently, it became possible to make them rectangular in order to save on material and to fit a larger picture in a smaller area. The real story in this article from my perspective is appreciating the ingenuity of the manufacturing engineers for an ability to develop machines that handle very complex operations. They were wonders of electromechanical manipulation. There were still some operations that needed human dexterity and ...
Physicists Claim 'Loophole-Free' Bell-Violation Experiment
"The first 'loophole-free' measurement of the violation of Bell's inequality by a quantum system has been claimed by physicists in the Netherlands, Spain and the UK. Their experiment involves entangling spins in diamonds separated by 1.28 km and then measuring correlations between the spins. The large separation between the diamonds and the relative ease with which the spins can be measured ensures that the experiment is performed properly ..."
Simple Mathematics for the Service Man
If you are from a family of electronics hobbyists and/or professionals, then there is a good chance your grandfather and possibly even your father kept a handy-dandy list of common circuit design formulas handy. The list certainly included the formulas on this page. There was not 'app for that' back in those days. Prior to a smartphone in every pocket, notes were pinned to a lab wall or kept in a hand-written notebook ...
Keysight Buys UK-Based Asset Management Firm
"Keysight Technologies continues to build its test equipment support services business and it has bought a UK-based repair and asset management services company. The test services business is new focus for Keysight following last year’s separation from Agilent Technologies life sciences businesses. Electroservices Enterprises, which is based in Telford ..."
Notable Quote: William Gibson
"When you want to know how things really work, study them when they're coming apart." ― William Gibson, Zero History. Gibson is a high tech science fiction writer who focuses on artificial intelligence and the government's and corporate world's ability to track your every move - sort of modern day 1984 stuff only now it's already real.
Global Chip Sales Dip on Soft Demand
"Softening demand has caused the three-month average of global chip sales for July to decline in comparison with the same month a year ago, according to numbers from World Semiconductor Trade Statistics. The growth of year-to-date global chip sales is still positive at 2.7 percent but given ..."
Apple and Other Tech Companies Tangle with U.S. over Data Access
In an investigation involving guns and drugs, the Justice Department obtained a court order this summer demanding that Apple turn over, in real time, text messages between suspects using iPhones. Apple’s response: Its iMessage system was encrypted and the company could not comply. Government officials had warned for ...
Air Force Looks to Boost its EW Capabilities
"In an attempt to catch up with the technologies being employed in electronic warfare, the Air Force has issued a solicitation looking for an electronic warfare test kit in which it can test and simulate certain EW prototypes. The tests will involve evaluating certain waveforms and record jammer responses ..."
Men Who Made Radio - Frank Conrad
The name Frank Conrad probably does not sound familiar to most people in the electronics communications field today, but at one time he was the assistant chief engineer to the Westinghouse Company. Back when voice radio (as opposed to Morse code, aka CW) was being pioneered, Mr. Conrad was widely known for his efforts in commissioning the country's first commercial broadcast installation - KDKA in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His arranging for live coverage of election night results in 1920 is credited for launching a huge interest by consumers in purchasing radio sets for their homes (Warren Harding beat James Cox that night, BTW). Toward the end of his career, Conrad was active in helping develop ...
Steve Jobs Just Wanted to Be Important - The Woz
"'Steve Jobs played no role at all in any of my designs of the Apple I and Apple II computer, and printer interfaces, and serial interfaces, and floppy disks and stuff that I made to enhance the computers. 'He did not know technology. He wanted to be important, and the important ..."
Mobile App for NI AWR Software Events Announced at EuMW 2015
European Microwave Week, Booth #E112 – NI (formerly AWR Corporation) announces that NI AWR software events will be showcased on its own mobile app beginning with European Microwave Week (EuMW) 2015 in Paris on Sept 8-11. "There's an app for just about everything these days and the NI AWR software event mobile app will bring the EuMW experience to a new level," said Antti Lautanen, senior marketing manager for AWR Group, NI. "Attendees will be able plan their activities real time right from their mobile device ...
FO-29 Satellite Contact Claims Distance Record
"Dave Swanson, KG5CCI, of Little Rock, Arkansas, and Christophe Lucas, F4CQA, in Trouy, France, appear to have set a new contact distance record on the FO-29 satellite. The contact occurred on August 27 at 1732 UTC. 'This was not a scheduled contact,' Swanson explained. 'I simply answered Christophe's CQ. I knew it was a good contact at the time ...
MECA Intros Multi Band 2-,4-, 8-, 16-Way RF Power Dividers 500 MHz – 6 GHz
MECA is pleased to announce its latest addition to our broad band line of Power Dividers with the type N model (80X-4-3.250WWP). Available in; 2, 4, 8 & 16-Way, 30W Wilkinson Power Dividers, optimized for excellent performance with industry leading specifications from 500 MHz – 6.00 GHz IP67 rated and suited for indoor and outdoor applications. Offering typical VSWR’s ranging from 1.20:1 to 1.30:1, Isolation of 17-20dB minimum while offering phase and amplitude balance typically only seen in narrower/octave band models ...
U.S. Tightens Mobile Phone Tracking Rules
"The U.S. justice department says federal agencies will have to obtain search warrants to use technology that tracks mobile phones under new guidance. Until now agencies such as the FBI had not needed a warrant to use machines called cell-site simulators that track the locations of phones in the area ..."
The New "Mystery Ray"
The announcement and public demonstration of Senatore Guglielmo Marconi's 'death ray' device was the coming true of some of the worst fears of science fiction aficionados. Application of these newly created centimeter wave 'beams' could roast the flesh of man or beast when generated with great enough power. The diminutive wavelength not only would heat liquids, but also provided a means of detecting and measuring energy reflected off of 'targets' such as aircraft and boats. It applications were endless. Although not called so, one of the article's diagrams looks to be an example of a bistatic radar system. The early magnetron implementation is quite different ...
Graphene Made Superconductive by Doping with Lithium Atoms
"A team of researchers from Germany and Canada has found a way to make graphene superconductive—by doping it with lithium atoms. In their paper they have uploaded to the preprint server arXiv, the team describes the process they used and the results they obtained when testing it ..."
How Metal Tubes Are Made
In the mid 1930s, hand-assembled products were by far the rule rather than the exception for most products be they electronics, furniture, appliances, automobiles, or toys. Many people lament - even curse - the advent of machine automation in production, but the fact is for the vast majority of things the consistency and quality of the finished component is typically much greater. Toiling at the same task, in the same location, day after day, gets unbearable very quickly for someone like me who likes to accomplish a particular job and then move on to something new - even if 'new' is defined as the same type of endeavor but with different materials. There are many people, thankfully ...
$50SAT Goes Silent
"It appears that the $50SAT Amateur Radio 'PocketQube' microsatellite — also known as Eagle 2 (MO-76) — has finally gone silent, a couple of days short of 20 months in orbit. The satellite, which did not carry an Amateur Radio transponder, transmitted on 437.505 MHz at a power of 100 mW ..."
Amateur Radio Crossword Puzzle
This week's Amateur Radio crossword puzzle contains the usual collection of science, math, and engineering terms, and also includes special words related to Amateur Radio (clues labeled with asterisk *). These custom puzzles take more than an hour to create. Enjoy ...
Fears Rising over Traffic Jam in Space
"The growing number of satellites, spent boosters and space junk in low-Earth orbit has prompted a number of efforts to keep closer track of all these objects in order to avoid collisions that would generate dangerous orbital debris fields ..."
Visit PMI at EuMW 2015, Stand 107
Planar Monolithics Industries, Inc. invites you to visit them at Stand 107 of the European Microwave 2015 show in Paris, France, from September 6-11. PMI offers just about any RF/Microwave component, module, or sub-system for both industrial and military based requirements. Components and modules can be modified to meet your exact requirement ...
B&K Dyna-Quik Model 650 Vacuum Tube Tester
While working as an electronics technician at the Oceanic Division of Westinghouse in Annapolis, MD, in the 1980s, I received a vintage 1941 Crosley model 03CB console style radio for Christmas from Melanie. It was in poor condition, having spent the previous few decades sitting in a barn on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Due to the era of manufacture, vacuum tubes rather than transistors provided all the necessary amplification. One of the engineers I worked for at Westinghouse (Mr. Jim Wilson, engineer extraordinaire) was a Ham radio operator and had been from boyhood in Pittsburgh, PA. After learning of my Crosley, he gave me his B&K Dyna-Quik Model 650 tube tester for use in restoring the radio. The Model 650 was a rather high-end portable tube ...
VNA Antenna Analyzer
New MFJ-226 introduces the MFJ Times Technology series of advanced Antenna Analyzers! This groundbreaking VNA antenna analyzer -- MFJ-226 Antenna Expert -- delivers OSL calibration and true reactance including its sign from 1 MHz to 230 MHz with 1-Hz frequency resolution! Incredibly Powerful MFJ-226 is the first and only low-cost handheld VNA to feature OSL (open/short/load) calibration for super accuracy and sign of reactance to positively identify inductive or capacitive reactance. These two features, normally only found on lab instruments, place incredible diagnostic power in ...
Having never been a sports aficionado, I have not spent much money or time at baseball, football, or soccer fields, hockey rinks, bowling alleys, curling sheets, or basketball courts. When an air show comes to town, however, I'm there. I'll stand in line for 45 minutes to tour the inside of a DC-3, B-25, B-17, PBY-5, or just about anything that will admit me. What is particularly enjoyable is inspecting the radio equipment racks and bays. The sight and smell (I consider it an aroma) of the old UHF and VHF sets, recording equipment, power supplies, generators, synchros, and the associated wiring and connectors is something I never tire of experiencing. I always imagine the men who operated and maintained everything doing their assigned duties to keep those wonderful machines flying. Maybe you know of what I write. This article provides a nice overview of the state of the art for airborne electronics in the post ...
My Favorite PSAs by The Ad Council
I listen to a lot of radio - all day, every day - while pounding away at the computer keyboard publishing RF Cafe and Airplanes and Rockets websites. During those many hours a lot of commercials get aired. Most I can't stand, some are tolerable, and there are a precious few that I actually enjoy hearing. Although as a rule the vast majority of public service commercials produced by the Ad Council run the gamut from inane to downright insulting, they do on occasion come up with a really good ad. Chance: One of my all-time favorites titled Chance is from their "The Grads of Life" campaign that encourages companies to not hold rigidly to an employee background requirement of a college degree. It essentially gives legitimacy to those whose bona fides include being ...
Advanced Test Equipment Corporation Needs a Calibration Technician
Advanced Test Equipment Corp is a nationwide company that focuses on the rental of a wide variety of equipment working in a fast paced environment. We are looking for someone to calibrate, troubleshoot, and repair a wide variety of equipment, including but not limited to: Analyzers, GPTE, fiber optic, scopes, meters, power supplies and more. ATEC has an immediate need for a Calibration Technician who meets the following minimal requirements: 5 years experience as a technician, knowledge of high voltage calibration is a plus, experience in troubleshooting and repair, amiliar with ISO/IEC 17025 & A2LA accreditation, ability to read schematics and diagrams, must ...
Congrats to August Book Winner Joe G. !
Joe G., of Gibbstown, NJ, is one of two winners of the August RF Cafe Book Drawing. Joe wisely selected The Homeowner's DIY Guide to Electrical Wiring, by David Herres (graciously provided by McGraw Hill). Winner #2 has not checked in yet. History suggests he never will, and will lose an opportunity. I have sent the second notice. If you have been entered in the drawing, please check your e-mail to see if you are the second winner ...
P1dB, Inc., Announces New Website Design
P1dB, Inc., a supplier of RF and microwave components, launched its new e-commerce website, www.p1db.com, whose focus is product availability and fast shipment to its global customer base. "P1dB is committed to providing its customers with RF and Microwave products on a timely basis" says Gerry Camacho, P1dB GM and COO. "Our updated website is the first step to meeting our commitment of offering RF and Microwave components to the industry from stock or very short delivery." The P1dB Website has been designed to meet customer demands for an easy product search and consumer level e-commerce check-out and 24/7 availability ...
Engineering Career and Job Hunting Advice for September 3, 2015
The DailyJobCuts website tracks the number of people affected by layoffs, bankruptcies, and business closings on a daily basis. It does not tally the huge number of jobs that are converted from full-time to part-time positions in order to avoid oppressive government rules about health care, maternity leave, etc. Below is a chart I just generated on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website showing the number of people age 18 and over who are not in the labor force. Part of the number includes retirees and those who would like to work but cannot, but the well-documented primary cause of the huge increase is that the ...
Mac's Radio Service Shop: Barney Plays "Twenty Questions"
"The Whistler and His Dog" is one of those tunes that you have probably heard dozens of times but never knew the title of it (video at bottom of page). It is mentioned in this installment of "Mac's Radio Service Shop" from a 1948 edition of Radio & Television News magazine. Barney is said to have been whistling it while replacing an output transformer on a receiver-recorder... a wire recorder at that. The "20 Questions" theme is from the game where the player attempts to guess the answer by asking a series of questions that narrows the possible results until only the correct one is left - aka deductive reasoning. BTW, I'll bet "The Syncopated Clock" is another tune you've heard many times but didn't know the title of it ...
ATEC & NH Research Announce 9200 Battery Test System Rental Agreement
Advanced Test Equipment Rentals (ATEC) and NH Research (NHR) today announced an agreement for ATEC as an authorized rental partner of the NHR 9200 Battery Test System. The 9200 provides automated characterization, power cycling & life-cycle testing of battery modules & packs. NHR is a leader in power electronics test instruments and complete turn-key test systems for universities, military, and companies involved in space, defense, battery manufacturing/research and other applications. The NHR 9200 Battery Test System is designed for all battery chemistries including lead-acid, nickel-cadmium and lithium-ion. The 9200 is configured with independent, 12 kW DC bi-directional loads that can be dynamically ...
10 PCBs That Merge Function and Art
This report by EE Times' Cabe Atwell presents a collection of PCBs where the designers decided to include a bit of artistic license to the metal trace pattern. Doing so doesn't add to the production cost, although hard core bean counting officers might complain about the 'waste' of company time spent in the implementation. You might argue that such an effort is wasted since most people will never see it, but that never stopped IC designers from adding 'chip art' to die. Unfortunately, you have to click through 10 pages to see them all. Enjoy ...
Anatech Electronics Intros Crystal & Ceramic Bandpass Filters
Anatech Electronics offers the industry's largest portfolio of high-performance standard and customized RF and microwave filters and filter-related products for military, commercial, aerospace and defense, and industrial applications up to 40 GHz. Anatech has released three new designs: a surface mount 455 kHz crystal bandpass filter, a connectorized 1800 MHz cavity bandpass filter, and a surface mount 1650 MHz ceramic bandpass filter. All can be ordered directly through their AMCrf web store ...
Microscope and Oscilloscope Attachments for Smartphones
It seems like these days you can get software or hardware for just about any task. This Carson Intermediate 100x-1000x Compound Microscope with Universal Smartphone Optics Digiscoping Adapter is a prime example of that which I write. This would be a great addition to your lab or hobby bench to assist during assembling or reworking PCBs with fly spec size components as well as for inspection during troubleshooting or even quality control for small scale manufacturing operations. With all the USB-based test instruments available for electrical test, it is no wonder that we are now seeing things like this plug-in oscilloscope for smartphones. The Oscium iMSO-204L oscilloscope sports 2 analog ...
FEKO Student Competition 2015
The FEKO Student Competition is an international contest organized annually by the FEKO team in support of engineering education. Open to students of colleges and universities from every country in the world who are aged 18 years and older at the time of entry, except for students in countries or at universities subject to a ban on receiving U.S. technology exports. Submission should highlight the problem solved with FEKO, including details on simulation setup, solution method used, results and result interpretation. The Competition will begin on April 1, 2015. Deadline for submissions is September 30, 2015. Entrants must use and complete the online registration form.
RCA Radio Tubes Advertisement
RCA, the Radio Corporation of America was not merely a manufacturer of radio, television, and phonograph equipment for home entertainment. The company also made vacuum tubes for all sots of electronic equipment, and produced a weekly radio broadcast called "Magic Key" on the NBC Blue Network. Sticking to their communications roots, RCA today markets televisions, microwave ovens, Android-based tablet computers, DVD / Blu Ray drives, telephones, 2-way radios, radios, clocks, antennas, and many other devices - with no tubes in sight, not even in their TV displays ...
everythingRF Has Web's Largest Database of Waveguide Components
everything RF has recently updated its Directory for Waveguide Products & Manufacturers. There are over 20 waveguide component categories listed on everything RF. Users can search for products across multiple manufacturers using parametric search tools to narrow down on products based on waveguide size and other parameters based on the selected category. everything RF is working closely with a number of manufacturers to get all their product data listed on the site. It is a free service, so we encourage manufacturers to contact us to get ...
Electronic Realism in Disneyland
Disneyland opened its gates in Anaheim, California on July 17, 1955. It was billed as the most high-tech theme park in the world, with a 'wow' factor on par with the World's Fair extravaganzas. One of its much-ballyhooed features was the 'realistic' jungle safari tour with life-like animal automatons and authentic 3-D jungle sounds. This article, published less than a year after opening day, highlights some of the equipment and methods used by artists and engineers to achieve the effects ...
ADF 2015 Taiwan - Agenda Finalized and Registration Opened
NI (formerly AWR Corporation) announces that the agenda has been set and registration opened for the AWR Design Forum 2015 (ADF) in Hsinchu, Taiwan on Tuesday, Sept. 22. Highlights of ADF 2015 Taiwan include the following technical presentations featuring NI AWR Design Environment software as well as customer design successes: Overview of NI AWR Design Environment V12, Module and Connector Design, Using Microwave Office and Analyst Software, LTCC Design and Verification with Microwave Office, Efficient Implementation and Design of ...
Sivers IMA Launches New E-Band Converter
Sivers IMA today announces its launch of the next generation converter for E-band radio links. The new generation converter is based on the company’s proprietary SiGe chip and offers a cost-effective and high-performance solution for those who develop and market radio links or test and measurement equipment for manufacturing of radio links and devices. The new converter from Sivers IMAs is designed to support very advanced modulation schemes, which enables record breaking capacities of up to 10 Gbps ...
Notable Quote: Putt's Law
"Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage and those who manage what they do not understand." - Archibald Putt, Ph.D., from Putt's Law and the Successful Technocrat. Per the publisher, John Wiley & Sons, "'Archibald Putt' is the pseudonym of a man whose contributions in science, engineering, and R&D management are well known. He has served on government advisory committees, managed basic and applied research, and held executive positions in a large multinational corporation. He received his PhD degree from a leading institute of technology and has served as president of an international technical society. He is the author of numerous books and scholarly articles."