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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EDI CON USA Announces 2nd Expansion, Registration Open
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 it sold-out its show floor, with a total of 138 exhibiting companies from the RF, microwave, and high-speed digital industries. As a result, the show management has issued a second floor expansion. There is also limited availability for a demo pod in the Signal Integrity Zone. The EDI CON USA 2016 show floor and exhibitor list can be found online ...
Cryogenic Superconducting Technologies for SIGINT
"Two U.S. research companies are helping the U.S. Navy develop breakthrough cryogenic super-cooled superconducting RF and microwave technologies for future tactical signals intelligence (SIGINT) systems. Officials of the Space and Naval Warfare (SPAWAR) Systems Center Pacific in San Diego announced contracts this week to Out of the Fog Research LLC in Mountain View, Calif., and to Hypres Inc. in Elmsford, N.Y., for the Emerging Cryogenic devices ..."
The Great Pickett Slide Rule Apollo Conundrum
Long after shirt pocket sized electronic calculators and glass cockpits became the norm for both professional and recreational aviators, Colonel J. Michael Gibson, a career pilot and navigator with the Canadian Civil Aeronautics Search and Rescue (now retired) carried a Pickett N600-ES slide rule in his flight jacket. Its diminutive size (only 5" long), sharply marked scales, and sturdy construction made it a favorite for on-the-go users. A special purpose Pickett N700-T USAF Aerial Photo slide rule lived in his flight suit sleeve pocket. Colonel Gibson is passing along his appreciation for the art of slide rule usage to his granddaughter. She routinely uses her Pickett 1010 model ...
Apollo 11 Guidance Computer Source Code on GitHub
With the 47th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing coming up on July 20, a number of sources have written about NASA having released the Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC) source code into the public domain. Chris Wiltz, at Design News, included this photo of Margaret Hamilton of MIT's Draper Labs standing with her team's code printout. Women engineers take note - that was in 1969!
I highly recommend the NASA Apollo 11: Owners' Workshop Manual, published by Haynes. It has an incredible amount of 'insider' info about the development of both hardware and software.
Sonnet of a Ham
I have never been a fan of "free verse" poetry, be it in the form of a sonnet or otherwise. In my humble opinion, poems that do not both rhyme and have some degree of meter represent laziness on the part of the 'poet.' Without requiring poetry to rhyme, all that is required to declare anything a poem is to break the writing into poem-like lines, et voilà - you have a poem. It is like slinging a brush-load of paint onto a canvas and calling it art. I proclaim the above to be a poem ...
Terahertz Amplifiers Could Open New Frontiers in RF Communications
"Pentagon researchers are sponsoring a competition of sorts that could open an area off the electronic spectrum to high-capacity radio communications. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is already making some progress with its Terahertz Electronics Program, which currently has two contenders, both made by Northrop Grumman: the Solid State Power Amplifier and the Traveling Wave Tube Amplifier. This isn't a case of just speed for speed's sake. The military has been looking to make ..."
Thanks to Federal Custom Cable for Supporting RF Cafe ! ! !
Please welcome Federal Custom Cable as the newest advertiser on RF Cafe. Federal Custom Cable is your direct source for RF & Microwave and Contract Manufacturing (CM), cable prepping, kitting, labeling, rack & panel, modular assemblies, delay lines, inductors and toroids, semi rigid, stripping and bending, custom molding, Ø-matched, power and multi-conductor and shielded cables. Please visit them today to see if they can help you with your project ...
3 More Radio Service Data Sheets for Vintage Sets
3 more Radio Service Data Sheets for vintage vacuum tube radios have been added to the growing collection (135 so far). Radio-Craft and Radio-News, both publications of Hugo Gernsback, published these monthly for the benefit of both professional service shops and private tinkerers. • Stromberg-Carlson Nos. 62 and 63, 8-Tube High-Fidelity Chassis • RCA Model 103, 4-Tube A.C. Compact Dual-Wave • General Electric Models A82 and A87, 8-Metal-Tube All-Wave A.C. Superheterodyne
Empower RF Systems Remote Live Demo at EMC 2016
Empower RF Systems is conducting remote live demos of our broadband, high power amplifier at the IEEE EMC Symposium at the Shaw Centre in Ottawa July 26 – 28th , 2016, Booth 322. The amplifier will be housed in Los Angeles while viewed in the Ottawa exhibit venue with live streaming video while controlling the amplifier from the exhibit floor through a standard web browser. What you will see is a demonstration of remote operation of the Empower 2170 1KW RF amplifier in a test setup ...
Electronic Design Magazine's 2016 Leaders in Electronics Issue
A day or so ago I posted about Electronic Design magazine's latest Salary Survey (which is also part of this report). Now, here is their annual Leaders in Electronics issue. It appears to be largely an infomercial for their advertisers, not a personal interview with company 'leaders' offering industry insights like the title might suggest. Nevertheless, there is a lot of good information as well, including the report on the Internet of Things (IoT). You need to sign in for this one, too ...
Dense Yet Transparent Materials Control Light
"Researchers recently made the surprising discovery that a special class of materials called 'hyperuniform materials' can be both dense and transparent. This work demonstrates a new way to control light and could lead to novel materials for many light-based applications including solar photovoltaics. These so-called 'hyperuniform materials' can be made of plastic or glass that contains light-scattering particles spaced in a disordered, but not completely ..."
Saelig Introduces New Mil-Spec High Reliability Crystal Oscillators
Saelig Company has announced two new ranges of military specification crystal oscillators, designed for use in applications that demand high reliability. Available in industry standard dual-in-line packages, the new EQXO-1000BMK and EQXO-3000BMK clock oscillators feature a custom-designed quartz crystal and a CMOS/TTL compatible hybrid circuit mounted on a ceramic substrate. Manufactured using the latest advances in production technology, these oscillators ...
BAE Claims Aviation 1st with Laser Airspeed Sensor
"The Laser Air Speed Sensing Instrument (LASSI) which is being exhibited at this year’s Farnborough International Airshow sets itself apart from conventional methods as it accurately measures velocity even at low speeds. Air speed is normally determined using pitot tubes – which protrude from aircraft and sense variations in air pressure with speed. Although usually heated, these tubes are vulnerable to blockage in icy conditions. They could also be damaged by collisions with birds and when the aircraft is on the ground. Operating on the same principle ..."
LNAFIN Added to PCB & Substrate Vendors & Services Webpage
LNAFIN Oy, located in Helsinki, Finland requested to be added to the PCB & Substrate Vendors & Services and Product Design & Development pages on RF Cafe. PCB layout design, printed circuit boards (PCB), PCB assembly (PCBA), ASIC design, electronics R&D and wire bonding services (IC assembly). They also do demanding RF and MMIC designs.
177,000 Coaxial Connector Adapter Combinations from CoaxSol
How many times have you dug through a drawer of coaxial connector adapters and found what seemed like every possible combination of TNCs, Ns, SMAs, TNCs, UHFs, SMBs, and <fill in the blank>s except the one you really need? Sometimes the reason is simply because all on hand are being used for something else and cannot be 'borrowed' for your use. Other times it is because the need never existed before. Usually, a quick search on the Internet will turn up exactly want you want, but for a decent quality adapter you will pay a stiff price - especially if it is a rare combination of connector types ...
"73" in Garfield Comic Strip
I noticed in this Sunday's Garfield comic strip that he utters "73" after Jon runs by with a swarm of fireflies after him. My first thought was amateur radio's Morse code "73," meaning "best regards." However, I also counted exactly 73 fireflies chasing Jon. Not surprisingly, there is a discussion on the website about the meaning of "73." A search did not turn up anything regarding whether artist Jim Davis is a Ham ...
Electronics Technology Crossword Puzzle
Take a break and work this week's electronics technology themed crossword puzzle. All the words are pulled from a hand-built list of terms, names, and abbreviations that have only to do with science, mathematics, and engineering. If you want a crossword with names of movie stars and obscure countries, try the local newspaper. If you want to exercise your nerd knowledge, this is the one for you ...
Carl & Jerry: Eeeeelectricity!
Wikipedia lists 348 species of electric fish. Jerry tells fellow electrical and electronics experimenter Carl that the electric eel is not an eel at all, but a fish. Actually, the eel is a fish (a knifefish); however - and I needed to look this up - a true eel is a member of the fish order Anguilliformes, which the electric eel is not. Having no expertise in the field of eels, I'll leave it at that. Jerry's uncle, who is an active duty Navy guy, somehow managed to ship an electric eel to him for experimentation purposes. Doing so might have been possible ...
Highland Technology Intros Model D200 Laser Diode Driver
The D200 is the latest in Highland Technology's line of high-performance compact precision laser drivers. A DC-coupled trigger signal produces fast, 2 nanosecond transitions. Up to 4 amps of regulated drive current supports lasers with forward voltages up to 9 volts. The built-in edge-triggered pulse generator provides up to 1us pulse widths. A pulse-follower mode is also provided, accommodating externally-defined trigger widths up to 100% duty continuous-wave ...
Faraday Cage Wet Suit Gets Divers Close to Marine Animals
"Marine animals use electroreception to detect humans by their muscle movement, warning them to stay away. HECS Aquatics has built a Faraday cage into a wetsuit, blocking electrical signals from being sent out. The technology blocks 95 per cent of the electrical signals given off by muscle movement, the company says. The wetsuit was tested by marine biologist Ricky Elliott during a research trip in Hawaii, who was featuring in a series of stunning photographs showing him up close with a variety of animals ..."
RF & Microwave Engineering Articles for July 2016
Although July seems to be a little slow, some great new RF-related magazine articles have appeared in the trade magazines since last posting a list like this a month ago (tempus fugit!). Since the majority of people no longer receive paper copies of the magazines - or if they do, never read them - I try to drive a little traffic to the websites by ...
Engineered 'Sand' May Help Cool Electronic Devices
"Baratunde Cola would like to put sand into your computer. Not beach sand, but silicon dioxide nanoparticles coated with a high dielectric constant polymer to inexpensively provide improved cooling for increasingly power-hungry electronic devices. The silicon dioxide doesn't do the cooling itself. Instead, the unique surface properties of the coated nanoscale material conduct the heat at potentially higher efficiency than existing heat sink materials. The theoretical physics behind the phenomenon is complicated ..."
Notable Tech Quote: David Grinspoon
"We have to be comfortable with the uncertainty of not knowing, resist easy answers, and keep exploring the universe with open minds and all the tools and techniques we can muster." - David Grinspoon, astrobiologist, "No Need to Feel Lonely," January 2016 Sky & Telescope magazine. That cited quote won a coin toss with another line in the same article for being the Notable Tech Quote: "...people tend to get attached to certainty and start to believe they know the answer." Hmmm, can you think of any contemporary examples of political, sociological, or scientific topics where hard facts seem to be getting in the way of rigidly held opinions? The ignorant ...
Many Thanks to Anatech Electronics for Their Continued Support!
Anatech Electronics (AEI) manufactures and supplies RF and microwave filters for military and commercial communication systems, providing standard and custom RF filters, and RF products. Standard RF filter and cable assembly products are published in our website database for ease of procurement. Custom RF filters designs are used when a standard cannot be found, or the requirements dictate a custom approach. Please visit Anatech today to see whether they can assist you with your project ...
Power-Splitting Device for Terahertz Waves
"A team of researchers at Brown School of Engineering has developed a new power-splitting device for terahertz (THz) waves. Capable of operating over almost the entire THz range, this basic component shows promise for wireless and broadband THz applications. As the demand for wireless communications increases and bandwidth decreases, access of the THz frequencies will unlock new faster methods of data transfer. One of the big thrusts in terahertz technology is wireless communications ..."
SMA Finger Wrenches Being Given Away by Bracke Mfg.
Not so long ago, it was impossible - literally - to find a company offering these SMA finger wrenches that used to be handed out like candy at RF & microwave industry shows. I always found them to be extremely handy for getting SMAs on and off in situations where precision torqueing is not mandated. I wrote about it back in February of 2014, then Bracke Manufacturing responded in April saying they had just begun making them, and offered samples (up to 5) for free. Their latest catalog just arrived with mention of the giveaway offer on the back cover, so I figured I'd let you know again ...
New Record in Microwave Detection
"Aalto University scientists have broken the world record by fourteen fold in the energy resolution of thermal photodetection. The record was made using a partially superconducting microwave detector. The discovery may lead to ultrasensitive cameras and accessories for the emerging quantum computer. The first of the two key enabling developments is the new detector design consisting of tiny pieces of superconducting aluminum and a golden nanowire ..."
Vintage DeForest Radio Ad in QST
The Klondike / Yukon Gold Rush is generally credited with opening up the Alaskan territory to exploration and habitation. Gold was first reported in August of 1896, just three decades prior to this advertisement by the De Forest Radio Company extolling its domination of the region with radio communications stations. Company founder Lee De Forest was very successful in exploiting the virtues of his famous Audion amplifier tube. A back-handed swipe is taken at Government installations that used "whatever tubes the Government has" ...
Electronic Design's 2015 Engineering Salary Survey
This report details results of the Electronic Design's 2015 Salary Survey. Nearly 3,000 engineers responded. Without giving away the numbers, I'll let you know most have a Master's degree, and have been with their present employer less than a decade. The average engineer's age is getting older with most having lived more than century/2. Average pay is north of $100k (multiply by 0.74 to adjust for average hours worked/week relative to 40), with IC designers topping the chart. The 4th largest gripe is underfunded projects. Most engineers rely on whitepapers, magazines, and webinars to keep current. There's lots more. The report is FREE, but you need to sign up or sign in for access ...
Army Researchers Picture a New GPS Alternative
"The military services have been exploring a number of ways to ensure navigation when GPS signals are jammed or otherwise disruption. Army researchers have come up with another way—using their eyes, albeit with an advanced, very sensitive camera that allows a user to determine much the camera has moved in relation to an object. The Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC) is using miniature cameras that can capture the tiniest movement, allowing ..."
Chemical Institute of New York Advertisement
At first I was going to comment that using a wizard in an astrologer's robe to promote chemistry as an example of a career option does not seem like a good choice for appealing to serious prospects. However, given the weirdness of a good portion of the population, it might be as effective today as it evidently was nearly a century ago when the Chemical Institute of New York ran this ad in Radio-Craft magazine. Dr. T. O'Conor Sloane, reputed head of the Institute, published such tomes as The Standard Electrical Dictionary, How to become a Successful Electrician, Arithmetic of Electricity ...
Saying Goodbye to BlackBerry's Iconic Original Keyboard
"The days of peak BlackBerry in the U.S. capital are hard to forget. The swift clackety-click of the keyboard and the soft trrrrrrr of the trackpad scroll invaded every corner of Washington: You'd hear it on the Metro and in building hallways, at dinner tables and in bars, in elevators and, yes, even bathroom stalls. OK, it wasn't just D.C. actually. For a while, everyone seemed to have a BlackBerry. The true 'crackberry' craze phase has subsided over the past few years as BlackBerry's smartphones lost out to iPhones and Android devices. And now, BlackBerry is bidding ..."
Anatech Electronics Intros 2 Bandpass Filters & 1 Duplexer
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 2 new bandpass filter designs: a 900 MHz cellular bandpass filter with "N" connectors, a surface mount 900 MHz ceramic bandpass filter, and a 885-909 MHz/930-954 MHz cavity bandpass filter with SMA connectors. Custom design are available ...
Stretching the Junk Box
We live in days of plenty of everything. People throw away and stash away items that our parents - and particularly grandparents - could only dream of having available. Even households that have never seen a penny of earned income in decades are overflowing with stuff. Shopping carts in Walmart, K-Mart, and Target are filled to overflowing when I am there with toys, shoes and clothes, electronic gadgets, sporting goods, automotive accessories, pet food (Target has reefers with fresh meat for dogs) and accessories, lawn and garden implements, hand tools, DVDs and Blu-rays, televisions, disposable diapers, snack cakes and ...
Keysight Intros All-in-One 5G Candidate Waveform Generation Software
Keysight Technologies today introduced its Signal Optimizer software—the industry's first and only all-in-one software for calibration, signal creation and signal analysis of 5G candidate waveforms. By simplifying calibration and the critical design tasks related to 5G signal creation and analysis, the software enables R&D engineers to focus more time on being first-to-market with their own designs. Calibration is essential to making accurate measurements of 5G signals; however, calibrating wideband channels at RF ...
5 Reasons to Study Engineering Abroad
"You are contemplating beginning the journey of becoming an engineer, or perhaps you are already on route. No doubt, it will be a daunting task, and it will not be easy. Along the way, you will discover that the road to success is not straight, and you likely will not end up where you planned. However, many engineers did it before, and many will do it after. You can do it too. The journey begins at school, and choosing the right one can seem a little difficult at first. However, choosing to study abroad could be the best choice you can make; Here are 10 reasons why 1. Break the 'Antisocial' ..."
Vintage RCA Advertisement in QST
Up until around the 1960s, company advertisements in printed media were equally likely to be drawings (like this Radiotron UV-861) or photographs. Maybe a skilled artist could produce a finely detailed rendition of the subject more efficiently than with staging for a good photo and then performing the chemical developing procedure. Of course part of the motivation might have been an ability to easily 'enhance' features not necessarily present on the original subject. In fact, a physical model is not required at all for a drawing. I know from looking at many vintage ads using drawings that the food paintings usually looked ...
Telecoms Companies Unite to Sign 5G Manifesto
"Some of the world's largest telecoms companies have signed a 5G manifesto, aimed at driving forward the deployment of next-generation mobile networks. The manifesto pledges to launch fast 5G mobile networks in every country within the European Union by 2020. However, it also says current net neutrality regulations could hamper innovation and cause "significant uncertainties". The signatories include BT, Nokia, Orange, Vodafone and Deutsche ..."
'Water-Resistant' Samsung Galaxy S7 Active Fails Test
"The Samsung Galaxy S7 Active stopped working after being put in a tank that simulated the effect of being about 5ft (1.5m) underwater. Consumer Reports repeated its test on a second model, which was also damaged. Samsung said it was possible defective devices were 'not as watertight' as they should have been. When removed after half an hour, the first phone's display was non-responsive and marred by green lines. Bubbles had also formed in its two camera lenses. The second handset subjected to the same ..."
Southwest Antennas Small Form Factor 802.11g/n Wi-Fi / ISM Panel Antenna
Southwest Antennas is pleased to announce the release of a new small form factor panel antenna designed specifically for IEEE 802.11g/n Wi-Fi or other ISM applications in the 2.4 - 2.5 frequency band. The antenna is designed to handle up to 10 Watts of RF input power, has a maximum gain of 7.8 dBi, and is vertically polarized. Measuring only half an inch thick, this antenna is ideal for use as a stand-alone solution for providing Wi-Fi / ISM band coverage within a building or other structure while remaining unobtrusive. The thin form factor also allows this product to be integrated into other products and enclosures ...