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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Here is Page 1 of the August 2016 homepage archives.
Why Engineers Are More Important Than Everyone Else
"We're not being cocky, engineers are really better than everyone else. Well, technicians and designers are still cool too, but engineers are on top. Other than just saying that, what are some ways in which we can actually prove that engineers are better than everyone? Engineers are a unique breed of human, our ability to process data and work together on teams is unique to our profession as a whole. That 4 to 6 years of ..."
F-104 Starfighters to Launch CubeSats into Space
"Launching satellites could be get a whole lot easier and cheaper if one Californian firm gets its way. Rather than using a traditional rocket to take payloads into space, Mountain View-based firm CubeCab wants to fire microsatellites into orbit from to high altitude [F-104 Starfighter] jets. By packing tiny CubeSats into a rocket-like canister and launching them at more than 100,000 feet, the space firm claims it will slash the costs of sending lightweight space tech into low Earth orbit ..."
Chip Checks for 'Trojan Horse' Malicious Circuitry
"With the outsourcing of microchip design and fabrication a worldwide, $350 billion business, bad actors along the supply chain have many opportunities to install malicious circuitry in chips. These “Trojan horses” look harmless but can allow attackers to sabotage healthcare devices; public infrastructure; and financial, military, or government electronics ..."
Biz Quiz - Test Your Sales Ability
Well, at least I know now why my efforts to sell things usually don't work out too well. A salesman I ain't - neither by c1947 standards or by contemporary standards. I have a hard time even giving things away based on the low response rate on notifications for winning free books each month. My score on this test was around 50% (on the low side), but that was probably due to being subconsciously biased to answer what I thought the creator would expect for a good salesman. It would probably be embarrassing to have a professional assessment of my true personality, assuming that professional is not a quack with an agenda. Oooh, that added ...
5 Communications Skills Needed to Advance an Engineering Career
Mitch Maiman, of Intelligent Product Solutions, offers these sage words regarding communications skills engineers need for success (hope he doesn't mind the montage). "There was a time when engineers could work within companies and have minimal (or even bad) communication skills. While it is not necessarily important for engineers to become great public speakers or authors, it is increasingly important for them to possess effective communication skills ..."
Nanoscale Wireless Communication Operates at Visible Wavelengths
"Currently, wireless optical communication on computer chips occurs at near-infrared wavelengths. But if visible light could be used in these on-chip optical communications, the chips could be miniaturized significantly because the wavelengths in that portion of the spectrum are much smaller. Now researchers at Boston College have developed a nanoscale wireless communication system that does just that. The key to the technology, as described ..."
Anatech Electronics Intros 3 New Filter Designs
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 introduced 3 new filter designs: a 2-10 GHz highpass filter with "N" connectors, an 890-915 MHz and 935-960 MHz cavity duplexer with SMA connectors, and a 7000 MHz stripline bandpass filter with SMA connectors. Custom design are available ...
Notable Tech Quote: Andrew Strominger
"String theory may not be the fabled theory of everything, but it is definitely a theory of something." - Andrew Strominger, Harvard University theoretical theorist, in the June 2016 Discover magazine article "The Fall and Rise of String Theory." The mathematics of String theory, originally concocted to create a unified theory of everything in the universe, is now being appropriated by other realms of physics as well as by practitioners of pure mathematics to solve longstanding conundrums in geometry.
People Freak out at Driverless Tesla
This Magic of Rahat video is a riot!. He disguises himself as a bucket seat to fool fellow travelers into thinking his Tesla has no human driver. Remember the next time you think you are witnessing something remarkable that you, too, might be the victim of prank ...
IPDiA launches a new Broadband Silicon Capacitor Line at 40 GHz
"The BBSC capacitor series from IPDiA provide superior broadband performance, stability and reliability for all broadband optoelectronics and high speed data systems. The BBSC capacitors are suitable for DC blocking, coupling and bypass grounding applications in all broadband microwave / millimeter-wave applications. The BBSC capacitors provide broadband performances better than 0.4 dB of insertion loss up to 40 GHz ..."
What the Paycheck of a 2016 Engineering Grad Will Look Like
Rob Spiegel, at Design News, has a short report on the engineering grads from the class of 2016 can expect to be paid. The numbers are amazing. His numbers come from According to the 2016 Salary Survey from The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the average across all realms of engineering degrees is around $63k. Petroleum engineers top the list once again at $98k. Electrical engineers can expect a mere $65k - same as our mechanical and sofware engineer brethren. Aerospace engineers will make a kilobuck less ...
Free Engineering Books for Just a $35 S&H Charge
For a limited time, I am offering some of the brand new engineering books provided by Artech House for FREE for only a $35 shipping & handling charge to anyone in the lower 48 states. They will be sent via the USPO's Media Mail method. There is a limit of one book per person ...
This Crystal Could Change Laser Design
"Laser applications may benefit from crystal research by scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and China's Shandong University. They have discovered a potential way to sidestep longstanding difficulties with making the crystals that are a crucial part of laser technology. But the science behind their discovery has experts scratching their heads. The findings, published today in Science Advances, suggest that the relatively large crystals used ..."
NIST's Ampere Unit Definition Changes in 2018
"Very soon the ampere - the SI base unit of electrical current - will take on an entirely new identity, and NIST scientists are at work on an innovative, quantum-based measurement system that will be consistent with the impending change. It won't be a minute too soon. The ampere (A) has long been a sort of metrological embarrassment embarrassment. For one thing, its 70-year-old formal definition, phrased as a hypothetical, cannot be physically realized as written ..."
What's Ahead for You in Engineering?
Said Jimmy Stewart's character in "It's a Wonderful Life," George Bailey, "I'm shakin' the dust of this crummy little town off my feet and I'm gonna see the world. Italy, Greece, the Parthenon, the Colosseum. Then, I'm comin' back here to go to college and see what they know. And then I'm gonna build things. I'm gonna build airfields, I'm gonna build skyscrapers a hundred stories high, I'm gonna build bridges a mile long..." It was common dream for an era when Americans were tired of the struggling economy of The Great Depression and great advances were being made in technology. The world was still a mystery to most people whose familiarity with foreign lands ...
Electrons at the Speed Limit
"Speed may not be witchcraft, but it is the basis for technologies that often seem like magic. Modern computers, for instance, are as powerful as they are because tiny switches inside them steer electric currents in fractions of a billionth of a second. The incredible data flows of the Internet, on the other hand, are only possible because extremely fast electro-optic modulators can send information through fibre-optic cables in the shape of very short light pulses. Today's electronic circuits ..."
Conducting Polymers Could be Used to Develop Soft, Flexible Electronic Devices
"Polymer semiconductors, which can be processed on large-area and mechanically flexible substrates with low cost, are considered as one of the main components for future plastic electronics. However, they, especially n-type semiconducting polymers, currently lag behind inorganic counterparts in the charge carrier mobility – which characterizes ..."
Saelig Introduces Versatile 1-Ch & 2-Ch 25/50 MHz True Pulse Generators
Saelig Company has announced the TGP3100 series of true pulse generators that can generate precision pulses from 1 mHz up to 50 MHz with pulse width and delay resolutions of 100 psec. Single and dual channel models are available, both featuring large graphic LCDs for simultaneous text and waveform information. The TGP3100 Series are true pulse generators using all-digital techniques, but they can also act as high performance noise generators and as function/arbitrary generators - making them truly universal waveform generators. Unlike DDS function generators that also ...
Microsoft Excel Blamed for Gene Study Errors
Here is an example of smart people doing dumb things and blaming it on anything other than themselves. I would be so embarrassed for being such a dummkopf who didn't understand a simple feature of the software, that I would never take it public and blame Microsoft. "Researchers trying to raise awareness of the issue claim that the spreadsheet software automatically converts the names of certain genes into dates. Gene symbols like SEPT2 (Septin 2) were found to be altered to 'September 2.' Microsoft said the gene renaming ..."
Amateur Radio Crossword Puzzle for August 28
This week's Amateur Radio crossword puzzle contains the usual collection of science, math, and engineering terms, and amateur radio. Words specifically pertaining to Ham radio have clues marked with an asterisk (*). You'll never be 'challenged' to know terms relating to movie stars, leaders of obscure countries, or archaic pottery making terms. Enjoy ...
CW Room-Temperature Indium Arsenide Quantum Cascade Laser
"University of Montpellier in France claims the first continuous-wave (cw) operation at room temperature of a 15μm indium arsenide (InAs) quantum cascade laser (QCL) [Alexei N. Baranov et al, Optics Express, vol. 24, p18799, 2016]. "To our knowledge, the longest emission wavelength of RT cw operation for QCLs fabricated from other materials is 12.4μm," the team reports. The thresholds are ..."
VidaRF Intros 1 to 12.4 GHz 90° Degree 3dB Hybrid Coupler
VidaRF offers a new high performance hybrid coupler Model: VHC-10124A operating frequency 1-12.4 GHz. Type VSWR 1.30:1, Insertion Loss 1.0 dB and Isolation 20 dB minimum. Power handling Average ≤50 watt ; Peak ≤1 kW with SMA connectors, operating temp -55 to 85 °C. If required we could seal and paint to meet IP65 standards ...
Advances Get a Grip on Single Photons & Molecules
"The Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) is probing cutting edge diamond technologies to emit single photons (for uncrackable cybersecurity) and graphene to detect single molecules . While experts around the world are also addressing these angstrom scale problems, few laboratories are making headway in both. Dmitry Fedyanin, a researcher from MIPT's Laboratory of Nano ..."
EDI CON USA Announces Amplifier Design Content
EDI CON USA 2016, a conference that brings together engineers working on high-frequency analog and high-speed digital designs, taking place September 20-22 in Boston, Mass. at the Hynes Convention Center, announces its RF Amplifier Design track for this year's conference and exhibition. The exhibition will host more than 138 exhibiting companies from the RF, microwave, and high-speed digital industries, including demonstration pods in the Signal Integrity Zone. Featured keynote microwave and millimeter wave power amplifiers: technology, applications, benchmarks ...
Radio Controlled Flight
Even though the U.S. Army Air Force and other research agencies around the world were at the forefront of experimenting with remote control airplanes, helicopters, and rockets, hobbyists were forging their own paths in the electronic art. I did not know until reading this article that drones were flown through the radiation field at the Bikini Atoll atom bomb test site for data collection. In fact amateur radio operators have long had the privilege of broadcasting for the purpose of remotely controlling a vehicle - the only scenario of Earth-based* transmission whereby the 'control operator' is not required ...
ARRL Labs Called upon to Find Source of Strange RFI
"After a strange series of reports were received regarding malfunctioning key fobs and disabled cellphone use all within an isolated area, city officials in Evanston, Illinois turned to the ARRL lab for help in investigating the cause of such odd interference. Originally, officials turned to the FCC with their concerns of intentional radio frequency interference (RFI) but because key fob malfunctions are considered the responsibility of the automaker the issue was not of ..."
Covalent Organic Frameworks Promise Huge Energy Storage Potential
"A powerful new material (COF) developed by Northwestern University chemist William Dichtel and his research team could one day speed up the charging process of electric cars and help increase their driving range. 'Our material combines the best of both worlds - the ability to store large amounts of electrical energy or charge, like a battery, and the ability to charge and discharge rapidly, like a supercapacitor ..."
Locating Your New Store
Location, location, and location. Those are always half-jokingly cited as the most important three factors to consider when deciding where to best set up a retail business. Unfortunately, the days of scouting out a spot to set up an electronics sales and service shop are long gone. Except for a cellphone screen replacement service at a mall kiosk and maybe the Geek Squad desk at the Best Buy store, there are not many places left that do consumer electronics repair - at least as a primary vocation. This story makes a good read for anyone contemplating setting up shop where serving the local population is a prime objective ...
Analog DNA Circuit Does Math in a Test Tube
"Often described as the blueprint of life, DNA contains the instructions for making every living thing from a human to a house fly. But in recent decades, some researchers have been putting the letters of the genetic code to a different use: making tiny nanoscale computers. In a new study, a Duke University team led by professor John Reif created strands of synthetic DNA that, when mixed together in a test tube in the right concentrations, form an analog circuit that can add, subtract and multiply as they form and break bonds ..."
Skyworks' New Wi-Fi, Bluetooth®, ZigBee® RF Switches
Skyworks is pleased to introduce two new Wi-Fi switches that are ideal for WLAN networks, repeaters, ISM band radios, Bluetooth® systems, smartphones, and connectivity modules. The SKY13585-679LF is a single-pole, double-throw (SPDT) switch intended for 1 to 6 GHz applications. Using advanced switching technologies, this switch maintains low insertion loss and high isolation for all switching paths. The SKY13586-678LF is a single-pole, triple-throw (SP3T) antenna switch for 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi applications ...
Where the Tech Jobs Are: 2016
"The Class of 2016 will enter the most welcoming U.S. job market in nearly a decade: Sixty-seven percent of employers say they plan to hire recent college graduates this year, the highest number since 2007, according to job site CareerBuilder's annual forecast. Second only to business majors, freshly minted engineers are set to enjoy most of that hiring goodwill as the U.S. economy continues its slow-but-steady post-recession growth. According to a survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, at the end of last year, 2/3 of company respondents were planning to hire engineers ..."
China Raises Cyber Stakes with Quantum Satellite
"China's successful launch of what is billed as the world's first hack-proof communications satellite promises to transform experimental ground networks into ultra-secure global links as China raises the stakes in its ongoing cyber rivalry with the west. The recent launch of the 1,400-pound quantum satellite aboard a Long March-2D booster opens the door to a new era of secure communications that leverages the ephemeral properties of quantum physics, including the mysterious phenomenon known as quantum entanglement ..."
Infineon Enables NFC Payment Ring
"The ring is made by NFCring. 'Proximity payments based on NFC technology are clearly on the rise – and payment solutions with smart wearables will accelerate this trend,' says Infineon's Thomas Rostek. The global standard EMVCo facilitates worldwide interoperability and acceptance of secure payment transactions. Management of specifications and related testing processes is driven by EMVCo's 6 member organisations American Express, Discover, JCB ..."
The Neglected Current-Squared Galvanometer
Galvanometers are the basis for most analog type meter movements - remember those things? They work by having the current flowing through a fine wire coil armature generate a magnetic field that displaces an attached needle. Most galvanometers respond nearly linearly to applied current, and therefore are used in voltmeters and ammeters with simple resistor series and parallel configurations. The current-squared galvanometer, on the other hand, responds roughly linearly to power values. It can therefore be used in a transmitter output monitoring circuit, for instance, or within amplifier ...
'Artificial Atom' Created in Graphene
"In a tiny quantum prison, electrons behave quite differently as compared to their counterparts in free space. They can only occupy discrete energy levels, much like the electrons in an atom - for this reason, such electron prisons are often called 'artificial atoms.' Artificial atoms may also feature properties beyond those of conventional ones, with the potential for many applications for example in quantum computing. Such additional properties have now been shown for artificial atoms in the carbon ..."
Aemulus and Peregrine Collaborate to Advance High Frequency Testing
Aemulus, a leader in automated test equipment (ATE) solutions, and Peregrine Semiconductor Corp., founder of RF SOI (silicon on insulator) and pioneer of advanced RF solutions, announce their strategic partnership in the development of a new microwave frequency tester. Building on the success of Aemulus's Amoeba™ AMB7600 RF tester, this next-generation test solution will extend its support into microwave frequency bands and enable more complex testing. "This Aemulus microwave tester is the latest ...
Laser Slicing to Slash SiC Wafer Production Costs, Increases Yield
"Dubbed KABRA (for Key Amorphous-Black Repetitive Absorption), the patent-pending process uses a focused laser to form an amorphous layer of SiC decomposed into its constituents silicon (Si) and carbon (C), which becomes the base point for separating the wafer through cleavage. While today's wafer production typically involves the use of multiple diamond wire saws, taking several days to slice through an ingot and producing ..."
Engineering Career and Job Hunting Advice for August 24, 2016
Lots of new
job hunting, job improving, and job retention
articles have been published since my last round-up in early July. The vast majority of articles are,
IMHO, useless and appear to be written by people whose only job experience is writing employment advice
for people who actually work. I'm guessing they'll
- Communications Skills Needed to
Advance an Engineering Career
- How to Avoid the Job-Search
- How Einstein and Edison Solved
- Problems in Their Sleep
- Quick and Easy Tips for Writing
Attention Getting Emails <more>
Build this Radioman's R-C Bridge
While not many people are likely to build this R-C bridge circuit with vacuum tubes, the article has a good basic description of operation of any calibrated bridge circuit used to measure an unknown value. Interestingly, a 'magic eye' or 'cat's eye' tube is used in lieu of a meter movement to give a visual indication of an open, short, intermittence, poor power factor, and low 'Q', as well as when the selected switch position correctly identifies the value of the resistor or capacitor under test ...
USAF Reveals Plan to 'Bomb the Sky' to Improve Radio Reception
"A fleet of tiny satellites could one day be used to detonate plasma bombs in Earth's upper atmosphere to improve the range of radio communications. The U.S. Air Force has granted contracts to three research teams to develop the technology needed to do this, with hopes that CubeSats could carry massive amounts of ionized gas to the ionosphere to create radio-reflecting plasma. The ionosphere begins roughly 40 miles above the surface and becomes denser with charged particles at night, allowing signals to travel ..."
3 Companies Agree to Plead Guilty for Fixing Prices of Electrolytic Capacitors
Here's a weird headline: "The U.S. Department of Justice announced this week that three companies have agreed to plead guilty for their roles in a conspiracy to fix prices for electrolytic capacitors sold to customers in the U.S. and elsewhere. The companies are Rubycon Corporation, Elna Co Ltd, and Holy Stone Holdings Co Ltd. 'The Antitrust Division has now charged five companies and one individual for their participation in this international price-fixing conspiracy,' Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brent Snyder . 'The electrolytic capacitors conspiracy affected millions of American consumers ..."
A Hyperbolic Compact Generalized Smith Chart
No, this is not yet another depiction of the event horizon of a black hole. It is, however, a new way of visualizing information on the Smith Chart, as conceived by the originator of the 3D Smith Chart, Andrei A. Muller, with co-author Esther Sanabria-Codesal. The similarity to relativity is not so unexpected. Both involve the 2D projection of a 3D surface, both involve a scientist / engineer enlisting the assistance of a mathematician, and both involve the work of Poincaré. "The hyperbolic Smith chart maps the circuits with positive reactance above the horizontal (real line) of the ρh plane and the circuits with negative reactance below the real line of the hyperbolic reflection coefficients plane." Got that? ...
Pasternack's New Line of Coaxial Voltage Variable Attenuators
Pasternack, a leading provider of RF, microwave and millimeter wave products, introduces an all new line of voltage variable attenuators offering up to 60 dB of attenuation across broad frequencies from 400 MHz to 18 GHz. This line of voltage variable attenuators is most commonly deployed in applications such as electronic warfare, instrumentation, point-to-point and point-to-multipoint radios, fiber optic and broadband telecom, microwave radio and VSAT, military radios, radar, ECM, SATCOM and sensors, and R&D. In most communications ...
Radio Training Association of America Advertisement
Whenever I see advertisements for electronics training courses, I think of the line in "Duel in the Snow, or, Red Ryder Nails the Cleveland Street Kid," where it mentions how during the Great Depression years the magazines were filled with ads "promising successful careers repairing radios." That story, which ultimately became the book and movie A Christmas Story, was contained in Gene Shepherd's book In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash. Jean Shepherd was a radio ...
What Is Li-Fi and How Can It Improve 5G Communications?
"Nowadays there are many ways in which cell phones can connect to Internet by switching between the 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi services. However, these systems can be easily saturated in places where there is a high user density. Li-Fi is a complementary system that has been studied for more than 100 years and data would be transmitted in frequencies between the 400 and 800 THz, the visible light spectrum. The aim of Li-Fi is to send information through conventional lighting elements (LEDs) at the same ..."
Painless Reconversion - Establishing Hobby Relations on a Firm Footing
When the FCC forbade amateur radio operators (with a few exceptions) from transmitting during the years encompassing World War II, many Hams who were very active in the hobby went a bit stir crazy and began looking for other pastimes. They could still listen to other broadcasts, but no CW or phone transmissions were allowed. Author Chester Cunningham recounts here his chosen replacement avocation - aviation. His humorous story demonstrates one way Hams, whose curtailed radio activities resulted in equipment that had atrophied ...
Nuclear Puzzle May Be Clue to 5th Force of Nature
"In a new paper, University of California, Riverside theoretical physicist Flip Tanedo and his collaborators have made new progress towards unraveling a mystery in the beryllium nucleus that may be evidence for a fifth force of nature. Earlier this year, an experiment in Hungary reported very unusual behavior in the decays of beryllium-8 nuclei. The experimental collaboration suggested that their results may come from the effects of a new ..."
Webinar: How to Design Phased Arrays for 5G, Radar, and Satellite
Multi-channel phased arrays using beamforming and MIMO are key enablers in the next generation of 5G, Radar, and Satellite communications systems. However, phased array design and verification is complex and crosses multiple engineering disciplines & tools domains. Viewers will learn tools and techniques to connect baseband, RF, and antenna domains into a predictive, model-based engineering flow from spreadsheets to test. This webcast starts at the system-level perspective and considers both transmitters and receivers ...
Genetically Modified Bacteria Conduct Electricity
"Researchers at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst have genetically modified common soil bacteria to produce nanowires capable of conducting electricity at a level that surprised even the scientists themselves. After years of skepticism that this was even theoretically possible, the practical demonstration could lead to a new generation of 'green' electronics in which nanowires could be produced in plant waste, without the need for toxic chemicals. The research ..."
Saelig Intros TEA6000-95 0.1 to 6 GHz Digital Attenuator
Saelig Company announces the availability of the TEA6000-95 0.1 to 6 GHz Digital Attenuator. This new RF signal attenuator operates over a 0.1 to 6 GHz frequency range and can reduce input signal amplitudes by up to 95 dB in 0.5 dB steps. It features excellent solid-state repeatability and performance, and the output signal is uninterrupted when changing attenuation values. It is powered and controlled using a USB interface. With a power rating of +23 dBm and a maximum switching speed of 1 μsecond ...
Wireless Engineering Crossword Puzzle for August 21, 2016
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! ...
'Interscatter' Tech Lets Implants Talk Wi-Fi
"University of Washington researchers have developed what they call 'interscatter communication' technology that backscatters (or reflects) existing signals like Bluetooth in the air, transforming wireless transmissions from one technology to another. Specifically, the team of UW electrical engineers and computer scientists has demonstrated for the first time that Bluetooth transmissions can be used to create Wi-Fi and ZigBee-compatible signals. As a result ..."
National Company Infomercial
National Company, headquartered in Malden, MA, was a manufacturer of radio receivers for military and amateur use in the mid part of last century. They ran many full-page advertisements that were actually infomercials in that much more of the content presented generally useful technical information than pitched a product. This particular installment, which appeared in a 1951 issue of QST magazine, describes how extensive experimentation and testing on their HRO-50 receiver by a Ham radio guy led to a circuit change in future production models. It involved ...
Blue–Violet InGaN Laser Diode Operates at Room Temperature
"In a paper recently published in Nature Photonics Letters titled 'Room-temperature continuous-wave electrically injected InGaN-based laser directly grown on Si,' they describe how a carefully engineered Al-composition step-graded AlN/AlGaN multilayer buffer between the Si and GaN successfully eliminated crack formation while also reducing the dislocation density. Often, one way to circumvent the large lattice mismatch between GaN and Si (around 17%) is to ..."
New! Raychem Matched Impedance Splices (TE Connectivity)
As one of a dwindling number of people who still read paper print versions of our electronics trade magazines, I find it more convenient to scan for noteworthy new products and articles to report about on RF Cafe. I tear out pages and put them a stack for eventual reference. The April 2016 issue of Microwaves & RF had a feature on a new line of Raychem (TE Connectivity) heat-shrink matched-impedance splices. I have used Raychem's heat-shrink splices ...
Tech Giants Gobble Start-Ups in Antitrust Blind Spot
"Walmart's $3.3B acquisition of Jet.com can be expected to sail through antitrust review, eliciting barely a peep of objection from the federal government. Like Facebook's acquisition of WhatsApp, the Walmart deal will probably end up being another example of an upstart internet company being swallowed up to preserve the stranglehold of a giant. This happens because antitrust regulators are stuck in an outdated view of the world, while the internet giants are more attuned to their nascent competitive threats. The deal for ..."
Anatech Electronics' August Newsletter Now Available
Anatech Electronics, a manufacturer of RF and microwave filters, has published its August 2016 newsletter. As always, it includes both company news and some tidbits about relevant industry happenings. This month, Sam Benzacar discusses the topics of "IoT Connectivity: The Next Interference Challenge," Facebook's OpenCellular, Passive WiFi, and "AT&T Dreams BIG." Anatech's business is to make certain that system and circuit designers have capable filters available to assure successful implementation ...
Video: Mercury and Gallium Totally Destroys Aluminum Heatsink
"In a process called amalgamation, ductile metals become brittle after being exposed to certain chemical environments. Most notable is the dramatic effect through the physical reaction ensuing after solid metal is exposed to liquid metals. Aluminum with mercury or gallium provides a specifically fascinating combination in which sees aluminum get completely destroyed by even a small amount of Al or Hg. Although pure aluminum is highly reactive ..."
Qualcomm Finds Wi-Fi Doesn't Share Spectrum So Well
"As the debate continues over whether Wi-Fi and LTE-U can be good neighbors in unlicensed spectrum bands, Qualcomm has found that Wi-Fi access points don't always share spectrum well either. According to EE Times, Qualcomm, while researching test parameters for Wi-Fi and LTE-U coexistence, found that Wi-Fi access points can stray far from the ideal 50/50 spectrum sharing scenario. Mingxi Fan, vice president of engineering at Qualcomm, said three brands of high-quality access points vary from 10% to 90% in sharing ...
Carl & Jerry: Geniuses at Work
In typical Carl & Jerry style, the teen experimenters ('makers' or 'DIYers' in contemporary lingo) spent another summer vacation day cobbling together an electromechanical contraption or even purely electronic device with a specific goal in mind. Whether designing and building a circuit for tracking down the cause of strangely acting synchronized wall clocks ("The Crazy Clock Caper") or devising a system for catching a vandal in the act of vandalizing ("Geniuses at Work" - this story), creator John T. Fry provides a mix of developing personalities, describing the task at hand, and maintaining a degree of suspense regarding how the adventure will end.
New NI AWR Software Videos on AWR.TV YouTube Channel
An International Microwave Symposium 2016 (IMS2016) MicroApps presentations playlist has been added to the AWR.TV YouTube channel. These videos showcase the latest features in NI AWR Design Environment for load pull, radar systems and antenna design. The videos contained within the playlist include: Advances in System-Level Modeling of Large Phased-Array Simulations, Phased-Array Antenna Simulation for 5G, Advances in Integration of EM Simulation Within a High-Frequency Circuit Design ...
USAF to Improve Military Code GPS Receivers
"The Air Force is continuing to upgrade its Global Positioning System performance with a $52.6M contract awarded to Raytheon for modernization of the Miniature Airborne GPS receiver 2000, known at MAGR-2K. The work will involve the testing and delivery of a Military Code (M-Code)/automatic dependent surveillance and broadcast-capable system. Under the terms of the deal, Raytheon will also account for future upgrades, designing out anticipated obsolescence issues while providing for open systems architecture approaches, according ..."
US Radar Added to Radar Systems Vendors Page
US Radar is a manufacturer of ground penetrating radar (GPR) systems and software, located in Matawan, NJ. GPR units are compact and lightweight and operate without disturbing the environment. Applications include buried utility infrastructure components, archeological discovery, geophysical layering, structural integrity determination, and much more. Operator training available. US Radar has been added to the Radar Systems vendors & services page. Check out US Radar to see whether they can assist your project.
F-35Cs Undergo EW Tests Aboard USS George Washington
"'It makes it real.' That's what Tom Briggs, acting chief of test for the Navy, said as he watched F-35C after F-35C launched from the ship's steam catapults during a long Monday. 'For those of us who have been with the program for a while, this is fantastic.' They'll be testing the plane’s Electronic Warfare capabilities and its ability to land and take off in crosswinds and with asymmetric bomb loads. The pilots are checking out the third generation helmets to ensure ..."
Vintage Electronics Magazines for Sale
My collection of vintage electronics magazines has grown very large. They are where I get the articles that I scan and post here on RF Cafe. I buy them on eBay for around $3-$4 - sometimes nearly $5 - apiece. There are others I would like to bid on, but will not until I can clear out some of my existing inventory of a few hundred. It is really cool to peruse the pages of these old magazines and see what was considered leading edge technology and what was popular in the day. The war years often had some of the best features, but there was always something new and exciting ...
AT&T Blames FM Stations for Low-Band Wireless Services Interference
"AT&T said that its wireless network is suffering from interference generated by a range of electronics operations, including large scale video displays, industrial lighting systems, LED lights and FM radio stations. 'Lighting systems, including CFL ballasts and LEDs, such as those used in sports scoreboards, billboards, and other large scale video displays, can wreak havoc with uplink signals to nearby cell sites operating in the Lower 700 MHz and 850 MHz Cellular services and will likely impact soon-to-be- auctioned 600 MHz spectrum ..."
Data Speeds up to 2 Gbps Demonstrated Using White Light
"While Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are now well established technologies, there are several advantages gained by shortening the wavelength of the electromagnetic waves used for transmitting information. So-called visible-light communication (VLC) makes use of parts of the electromagnetic spectrum that are unregulated and is potentially more energy-efficient. VCL also offers a way to combine information transmission with illumination and display technologies - for example, using ceiling lights to provide ..."
Exit Heterodyne QRM
'QRM' is the Q-code in Ham-speak for unwelcomed manmade inband electrical interference. Interference is not just random signals like noise from motor brush arcing, intermittent electric distribution system connections or inter-conductor arcing. An improperly tuned or ineffectively filtered radio transmission, or EM energy leaking from a poorly shielded electronic device is also QRM. I distinguish such noise as unwelcomed because what might be considered as noise by one person could be a desired signal by another. 'QRN' stands for electrical noise generated in nature such as lightning bolts, solar storms, or even, as discovered by Drs. Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson, the 160 GHz Cosmic Microwave Background ...
NASA's Van Allen Probes Glimpse Supercharged Radiation Belt
"Our planet is nestled in the center of two immense, concentric doughnuts of powerful radiation: the Van Allen radiation belts, which harbor swarms of charged particles that are trapped by Earth's magnetic field. On March 17, 2015, an interplanetary shock - a shockwave created by the driving force of a coronal mass ejection, or CME, from the sun - struck Earth's magnetic field, called the magnetosphere, triggering the greatest geomagnetic storm of the preceding decade. And NASA's Van Allen Probes were there to watch the effects on the radiation belts. One of the most ..."
Europe-Wide Project for NB-IoT Product Development
"To accelerate NB-IoT market adoption now the Narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT) standard has been set, Deutsche Telekom is developing cutting-edge prototypes at its NB-IoT Prototyping Hub together with selected partners and startups to ensure a swift and easy time to market. The Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) technology Narrowband-IoT is driving some of the hottest innovations for the Internet of Things (IoT). It has great potential as ..."
Let's Keep It Simple - Adjusting the Novice Antenna
If I had a copy of EZNEC software, I would try modeling an end-fed "sky wire" antenna like the one described in this article and see how it functions when driven from a location high above terra firma when the transmitter and receiver are connected to Earth ground via some sort of wire. Author Norman Rowe operated from his attic as did (and do) many Hams. Although almost any reasonable mismatch can be accommodated with a proper matching circuit, that has no major bearing on what the antenna radiation pattern looks like ...
Visible Light Superlens Made from Nanobeads
"A paper in Science Advances provides proof of a new concept, using new solid 3D superlenses to break through the scale of things previously visible through a microscope. Illustrating the strength of the new superlens, the scientists describe seeing for the first time, the actual information on the surface of a Blue Ray DVD. That shiny surface is not as smooth as we think. Current microscopes cannot see the grooves containing the data- but now even the data itself is revealed ..."
Morse Code vs. Texting Contest on the Jay Leno's "The Tonight Show"
On the May 13, 2005 episode of The Tonight Show, Jay Leno held a speed contest between two Ham Radio operators using Morse code and two Millennials using their smartphones for texting (SMS). At least one member of the audience thought texting would win. Mr. Chip Margelli (K7JA) did the sending. He declares, "Let me assure you that we never saw that message before I flipped the blue card over. Each message, in rehearsal, was different. The character count was the same as the one during dress rehearsal ..."
AT4 Wireless to Test Unlicensed LTE Coexistence with Wi-Fi
"The development and deployment of LTE-U devices, which utilize 4G LTE radio communications technology in the unlicensed spectrum, introduces the possibility of interference with Wi-Fi equipment operating in the same bands. Small deviations in LTE-U design requirements may affect Wi-Fi performance when working in proximity and in the same frequency band. AT4 wireless will conduct independent testing based on objective tests and an industry-approved methodology to ensure ..."