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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China Keeps Pole Position in Electromobility
"Despite a considerable hype around electromobility among German carmakers, the Chinese market holds an unassailable lead in terms of units. If one looks at the growth figures, Germany also lags far behind any comparable economy. Market researcher Center of Automotive Management (CAM) this week came up with the latest figures ..."
Mac's Radio Service Shop: TV and the Little Guy
"Unfortunately, good technical ability and good business ability do not always grow naturally on the same tree." That line by "Mac," (Mac McGregor) is all too true for lot of us, and I definitely include myself as part of 'us.' I have often paraphrased the line by Dr. McCoy on Star Trek as, "Dammit, Jim, I'm an engineer, not a salesman." Part of the reason RF Cafe has pretty much remained at the same level of income over the years is due to my unwillingness to make performance guarantees to anyone in return for pay - other than to not do anything intentional that will harm them. My advertisers ...
Triad RF Systems Intros 4.4-5.0 GHz Bidirectional Amplifier
Triad RF Systems has introduced the TTRM1008 - 4.4 - 5.0 GHz, 25W, Bi-Directional Amplifier. The TTRM1008 is compatible with nearly all military and commercial radio systems operating in the 4400-5000 MHz band. It offers 25W of peak power for signals such as QPSK/BPSK, but is also linear enough to provide 4-5W of power with more highly modulated signals such as 64QAM ...
DARPA Invites Next Wave of EW, Sensor Tech
"The Pentagon is looking for the next wave in warfighting technologies, inviting industry to offer ideas in key areas, such as dealing with the electromagnetic spectrum and ways to manage the flood of data collected by its growing number of sensors. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is staging a Proposer's Day Sept. 20 to solicit information on what it calls 'revolutionary advances' for its Microsystems Technology Office ..."
Qorvo Smart Home Earns Industry's 1st ZigBee 3.0 Certification
"Qorvo announced that its Low Power Wireless business unit (formerly GreenPeak Technologies) is the first in the industry to receive the ZigBee 3.0 certification for its smart home gateway platform. A certified ZigBee 3.0-ready platform enables software developers to quickly integrate the standard into their smart home applications. ZigBee 3.0 combines ..."
September 11, 2001 - Never Forget
Incredibly, 15 years has passed since the extremist Islamic attack on American soil. Nearly 3,000 citizens died that day. World leaders have embarked on a path of colonizing our homelands with groups of people that are known to harbor sympathies for the terrorists. They dwell among us now and mean to do us harm when opportunity presents itself - which it has on numerous occasions in the past few years. Never forget the people who died in the burning towers, the Pentagon, and the airplanes, and those left behind to grieve and get on with life. Never forget the police and military members who fought - and some died - keep us safe and free. Never forget the rotten politicians who imperil our existence with their selfish agendas.
EMC Shields Only a Few Micrometers Thick
"Instead of relying on thick metals or layers of conductive coatings with limited shielding effectiveness, the researchers relied on layers of two-dimensional titanium carbide, a 2D material only a few atoms thick that conducts like metals and graphite. The novel nanomaterial, part of the MXene family of 2D transition metal carbides only recently discovered ..."
Notable Tech Quote: John Wheeler
"Spacetime tells matter how to move; matter tells spacetime how to curve." - John A. Wheeler, astrophysicist who coined the terms 'black hole' and 'wormhole.' Quote taken from his book Geons, Black Holes, and Quantum Foam: A Life in Physics.
Swiss Researchers Investigate Petahertz Electronics
"Electronic components have become faster and faster over the years, thus making powerful computers and other technologies possible. Researchers at ETH Zurich have now investigated how fast electrons can ultimately be controlled with electric fields. Their insights are of importance for the petahertz electronics of the future. Speed may not be witchcraft, but it is the basis for technologies that often seem ..."
Vishay Ferrite Bead Calculator
Over the last decade or two, Vishay has acquired a slew electronics components companies many of us grew up with, among them Dale, Sprague, Vitramon, Siliconix, General Semiconductor, and BCcomponents. Vishay has a handy Ferrite Bead Calculator that suggests one of its surface mount models based on your frequency and current inputs ...
Passing the Government Examination for Amateur Operator's License
Did you know that the examinations for Amateur Radio Operator licenses were originally conducted by the Commerce Department, and not the FCC? The FCC was established with passage of the Communications Act of 1934, which abolished the Federal Radio Commission and replaced it with the FCC. The 'Act' combined and organized federal regulation of telephone, telegraph, and radio communications. That's right, bureaucracies were renaming and reorganizing themselves even back then in order to expand and increase control and regulatory power. After all, the more segments of society ...
RF Stencils for Visio v3 Now Available!
With more than 700 custom-built symbols, this has got to be the most comprehensive set of Visio Stencils available for RF, analog, and digital system and schematic drawings!
Every object has been built from scratch to fit proportionally on the provided A- and B-size drawing page templates (you can use your own page if preferred). Components are provided for equipment racks (EIA and ETSI) and test equipment, system block diagrams and conceptual drawings, and for schematics ...
Carbon Nanotube Transistors Finally Outperform Silicon
"Back in the 1990s, observers predicted that the single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) would be the nanomaterial that pushed silicon aside and created a post-CMOS world where Moore’s Law could continue its march towards ever=smaller chip dimensions. All of that hope was swallowed up by inconsistencies between semiconducting and metallic ..."
NI AWR Demos, Presentations and Workshops at EDI CON USA
NI AWR Design Environment technologies and features will be highlighted in activities at EDI CON USA 2016, being held September 20-22 in Boston. In its first year in the U.S., EDI CON brings the high frequency electronic and high speed digital design communities together to address the engineering and manufacturing issues that face today’s design engineers ...
TeleWorld Launches Online Marketplace for Small Cells
"TeleWorld Solutions launched an online marketplace aimed at matching property owners with carriers looking to deploy small cells. SmallCellSite.com, which is scheduled to go live this morning, uses an interactive mapping and photo-based interface enabling property owners to upload listing information, receive suggested pricing based on algorithms, and market their space to major carriers. Operators can use the site to search for property ..."
The Wavelength Factor - III
Part 3 of this 3-part "The Wavelength Factor" series, titled "Choice of Frequency Bands for Civil Defense and U.H.F.," appeared in the August 1952 issue of QST. Part 2 appeared in the February edition. In this series, author Yardley Beers reviews transmitter and receiver powers, antenna gain, and system range that can be expected based on the presented equations ...
Germany's Engineering Gap Increasing Fast With Rise of New Technologies
No problemo, Merkel's providing lots of new potential engineers with refugees. "Between 2016 and 2026, Germany will need 100,000 more engineers in electrotechnology, electronics, and computer technology than will graduate from that nation's universities and technical colleges. The report, published by the German Association for Electrical, Electronic, and Information Technologies (VDE), bases this estimate on employment figures obtained for the period beginning in 2005 and ending ..."
Webinar: Automating In-Building Wireless RF Testing for Maximum Reliability
September 20, 2:00 PM ET. Manual testing of the passive RF components of an In-Building (DAS) antenna system can be a lengthy and expensive process, particularly if retesting becomes necessary. The manual testing process used for tower work does not scale well for the much more complex DAS installations. Automation of the field RF testing process can dramatically reduce common testing errors, cut testing time up to 90%, virtually eliminate mislabeled traces ...
Transformative Leap in Sending and Receiving Wireless Messages
"In a vision shared by innovators, entrepreneurs, and planners in both defense and civilian contexts, the skies of the future will be busy with UAVs. Unseen but central to the realization of this vision is that wireless communication within and between these future fleets of UAVs should be reliable and resistant to both unintentional and ill-willed interference. According to Josh ..."
Electronics-Themed Comics - December 1932 QST
As you can see by these 1930s vintage electronics-themed comics from an edition of QST magazine, only the technology has changed - not the style of humor. Both were drawn by the fabled Phil Glidersleeve (aka 'Gil'), W1CJD. Enjoy ...
Pasternack Radar Demo Kits Covering 2.4 GHz ISM Band
This looks like a variation of the soup can & string phone system! It is actually a pretty cool radar demo system. Pasternack, a leading provider of RF, microwave and millimeter wave products, unveils the brand new PEM11000-KIT and PEM11002-KIT radar demonstration kits covering the popular 2.4 GHz ISM band with no special licensing required. These demonstration kits offer a convenient educational resource to study ...
Electronic Circuits Printed at 1 Micron Resolution
"A research team has developed a printing technique for forming electronic circuits and thin-film transistors (TFTs) with line width and line spacing both being 1 μm. Using this technique, the research team formed fully-printed organic TFTs with a channel length of 1 μm on flexible substrates, and confirmed that the TFTs operate at a practical level ..."
Legal Lingo Part 3 - Case Law and Expert Opinions
Writing for IMS ExpertServices, Wendy Pearson, of the Pearson Research Group, offers this third installment in a series of articles advising people new to the expert witness realm on how to prepare for the process. Being an authority in your professed field is not always enough to assure success in the courtroom - or even for making it as far as a courtroom. Part 3 discusses "case law," which is where courts cite precedence by higher courts when deciding cases. Whether or not you consider it a legitimate tactic, your duty as an "expert" includes being aware of applicable instances and being prepared to reaffirm or discredit its use to the advantage ...
Printed Graphene Treated with Lasers Enables Paper Electronics
"Graphene is a wonder material: The carbon honeycomb is just an atom thick. It's great at conducting electricity and heat; it's strong and stable. But researchers have struggled to move beyond tiny lab samples for studying its material properties to larger pieces for real-world applications. Recent projects that used inkjet printers to print multi-layer graphene circuits ..."
National Company Advertisement
"It is anybody's guess as to what modulation system the amateur of 1975 will be using." That forward-looking line appeared in this 1947 QST magazine infomercial by the National Company. The writers probably had no real idea how different electronics would be 25 years in the future, especially since John Bardeen et al would not invent the transistor until two more months (December 1947) after the publication of this issue. In their traditional style, this full-page advertisement was heavy on text and light on images. The company invested in customer education with the hope being a well-informed and appreciative hobbyist would reward them with patronage.
Researchers Develop a New Way to Achieve Antenna Beam Steering
"Antennas used in radars are often required to rotate to provide a 360 degree view of the surroundings. Traditionally this is achieved by physically rotating the antennas to provide a complete view. Over time physically rotating antennas were related by phased array antennas. Phased array antennas are flat panels made up of miniature transmitters that each emit ..."
Plastic Crystals Could Improve Fabrication of Memory Devices
"Applying an electric field to some materials causes their atoms to 'switch' their electric polarization from one direction to another, making one side of the material positive and the other negative. This switching property of 'ferroelectric' materials allows them to be used in a wide range of applications. For example, ferroelectric capacitors are used ..."
RF Engineering Crossword Puzzle for September 4, 2016
Take a break and work this week's RF Engineering-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 ...
Folded Dipole FM and Television Antenna
Folded dipole antennas, as the name suggests, are about half the length of a regular dipole, and work just as well for many applications. I have had one attached to my FM radio receiver for many years and it does a great job pulling in stations from as far away as Toronto, Canada, and Detroit, MI (I'm located in Erie, PA). Receiver sensitivity and oscillator stability has been able to obviate the need in most cases for super performance antennas in modern receivers, as evidenced by ear bud wires and even conformal patch antennas in smartphones sufficing in lieu of a 'real' antenna ...
Free Engineering Magazines & White Papers
The free whitepapers, pamphlets, books, magazines, and chapter examples listed here are a small sample of a lot of new items that are offered for FREE through TradePub. The publishers make them available to qualifying people as a promotional campaign for their full line of offerings. Note: I earn a few pennies (literally) when you download one of these or the many other pubs available, so please ....
Facebook Satellite Burns on SpaceX Launch Pad Explosion
Subatomic Microscopy Key New Classes of Materials
"Researchers at Penn State and the Molecular Foundry at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are pushing the limits of electron microscopy into the tens of picometer scale, a fraction of the size of a hydrogen atom. The ability to see at this subatomic level is crucial for designing new materials with unprecedented properties, such as materials that transition from metals to semiconductors or that exhibit superconductivity ..."
Congrats to August Book Drawing Winner Mark A. !
Mark A., of Carpentersville, Illinois, is a winner in the August Book Drawing. Mark wisely selected The Art and Science of Ultrawideband Antennas, by Hans G. Schantz (Graciously provided by Artech House). Each month I randomly draw one or two names from the list of people who contact me during the period and offer to ship a free top tier engineering book to them. ...
'Radio Whispering' Promises Great Leap in Wireless Communications
"The DoD's Electromagnetic Spectrum Strategy outlines goals for accommodating the ever growing number of military devices—from UAVs to embedded sensors and smart devices of all kinds. HERMES, which stands for Hyper-wideband Enabled RF Messaging, was started in 2014 to find way to solve jamming and signal fratricide problems with wideband spread-spectrum communications ..."
Space Debris Blows 40 cm Hole in European Satellite
Imagine if this happened to the ISS crew module! "A tiny piece of debris has punched a gaping hole in the solar panel of one of its Earth observation satellites. ESA says a tiny particle has knocked a gaping hole in a solar panel on one of its Earth observation satellites. This image shows Sentinel-1A's solar array before (left) and after (right) the impact of a millimeter-size particle on the second panel ..."
The first facsimile (fax) machines for home use were receive only, and got their data not from the telephone line but from a commercial broadcast radio receiver. Radio Corporation of America (RCA) and Finch Telecommunications were two of the earliest entrants into the realm. As opposed to modern digital fax machines, these analog systems used a scanning raster light beam and a photodetector to read and encode the original document image, and then a complimentary scanning method on the receiving end literally burned the image into special ...
New Digital Antenna Could Revolutionize Mobile Phones
"Aalto University's Radio Science and Engineering researchers have developed a method that allows antennas to make the shift from the analogue to the digital world. The antennas currently in use are mostly based on technology developed half a century ago. 'Traditionally one antenna works with either one or a few different frequencies. Now we can take advantage of advanced digital electronics and combine several small antenna elements to work ..."
Triad RF Systems Intros Bi-Directional SSPA for UAS Applications
Triad RF Systems has introduced the TTRM1010 - 30-3000 MHz, 3 W, bi-directional amplifier. The TTRM1010 is a bi-directional SSPA for small to medium size UAS applications. In addition to its broad frequency range it also contains internal DC conversion circuitry that allows it to be powered by an input voltage range of 9-36 VDC. This class A GaAs module is designed for both military and commercial applications. It is capable of supporting any signal type and modulation format, including ...
Device Controls 'Color' of Electrons in Graphene
"A device made of bilayer graphene, an atomically thin hexagonal arrangement of carbon atoms, provides experimental proof of the ability to control the momentum of electrons and offers a path to electronics that could require less energy and give off less heat than standard silicon-based transistors. It is one step forward in a new field of physics called valleytronics. "Current silicon-based transistor devices rely on the charge of electrons ..."
Radio Data Service Sheets for Crosley 120 & Westinghouse Columnaire
Westinghouse's motive for dubbing the Model WR-8 the 'Columnaire' is apparent when you see a photograph of it. This model also had a -R version with remote control. The remote, though, has a cable attached to it; it's not wireless like today's remotes. The Radio Service Data Sheets for it and the Crosley Model 120 Senior 'Pliodynatron' superheterodyne receivers ...
Upper Limits of Electron Speed Tested
"The fastest electronic devices currently send information at speeds of several gigahertz, a billion oscillations per second. Some fiber-optic cables feature frequencies approaching a terahertz, a thousand billion oscillations. But the need for speed is never-ending, and researchers are beginning to experiment with how technology might move information-carrying electrons even faster. The next benchmark is the petahertz ..."