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See Page 1 | 2 | 3 of the September 2017 homepage archives.
ConductRF Low PIM RF Cable Assembly Solutions for DAS and Cellular
ConductRF offers straight and right angle low PIM connectors for 7/16, N, SMA, QMA, 4.1/9.5 and 4.3/10 interfaces. PIM levels vary depending on cable and configuration. We also offer coaxial adapters. Download our datasheets by clicking the pictures above for more detail of call us at +1 978 374 6840 ...
Electronics-Themed Comics from Vintage Magazines
It has been a while since I posted some of the electronics-themed comics I find in my vintage electronics magazines. A few from Popular Electronics and Electronics World are included here. For some reason, it is rare to find such comics in modern technical publications. About the only one that comes to mind is the "Cartoon Caption Contest" held each month by EE|Times. A big list of other comics are at page bottoms ...
SpaceX to Ferry Passengers Between Earth Cities Using Rockets
SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk plans to use his "BFR" technology to ferry Earth travelers between major cities via VTOL suborbital rockets. New York to Shanghai in 39 minutes. London to Dubai in 29 minutes. Passengers might worry a bit about their commuter craft being mistaken for an inbound ICBM. Antimissile radars might have difficulty discerning between types of "big f'ing rockets." A BFR would be a great Trojan Horse for a nuke ...
Everything Warehouse Added to Workbench & Shelving Vendors
Mr. Ryan Toner contacted me asking to have Everything Warehouse added to the Shelving, Cabinet, Workbench & Workstation Resources vendor page here on RF Cafe. They specialize in new and used warehouse equipment such as shelving, pallet racks, mezzanines, forklifts, pallet jacks, and warehouse installation services. I normally restrict vendor page entries to actual manufacturers, but these items are generally sold through distributors ...
Triad RF Systems Intros a 700-6,000 MHz 20 W SSPA
Triad RF Systems announces the TA1164, a broadband GaN solid state power amplifier (SSPA) designed for general-purpose RF test and military jamming applications. Internal DC conversion allows for a 12-36 Vin supply voltage. CW output power is 10 W min, 20 W typical across the band. This class AB GaN module is designed for both military and commercial applications. It is capable of supporting any signal type and modulation format, including but not limited to 3 - 4G telecom, WLAN ...
Navy Upgrades P-8s with Wideband Satellite Communications Radomes
"The U.S. Navy and Boeing are working to upgrade P-8 surveillance planes by installing Wideband Satellite Communications (WBSC) radomes and the necessary supporting infrastructure in each aircraft. The integration, which upgrades P-8s to P-8As, will install a WBSC high-capacity satellite communications system. WBSC satellites are compatible with the Defense Satellite Communications System (DSCS) and Global Broadcast Service satellites. Eventually ..."
A Bluffers Guide to Evaluating Scientific Results
I like to remind people who quote the statistical [im]probability of an event occurring as evidence that it almost certainly will not happen (e.g., a giant meteor hitting the Earth), that a million-to-one chance has as much likelihood of happening on the first trial as it does on the millionth. Probability is merely the number of trials between similar occurrences, not the point in the trials at which the event will occur.
There was no shortage in the 1970s of articles recommending how to choose and install the perfect television antenna. People would swear by the advice given. This piece by Mr. Harvey Swearer is a good example. Of the four manufacturers with pictured antennas - Gavin, Channel Master, Lance, and Jerrold - only Channel Master still exists today. Lance Industries made the ColorMaster TV antennas, and has appears to have been out of business since around 2003. Gavin Electronics seems to be gone as well. I found an ad for the Gavin ...
Ultra-Light Aluminum Breakthrough in Material Design
"Chemists report a new, metastable, ultra-light crystalline form of aluminum has been computationally designed using density functional calculations with imposing periodic boundary conditions. If you drop an aluminum spoon in a sink full of water, the spoon will sink to the bottom. That's because aluminum, in its conventional form, is denser than water says Utah State University chemist Alexander Boldyrev. But if you restructure the common household metal at the molecular ..."
Anatech Electronics Newsletter for September 2017
Anatech Electronics, a manufacturer of RF and microwave filters, has published its August newsletter. In it, Sam Benzacar discusses an ambient electrical noise problem that neither his filter company nor anyone else's filter company can do anything about - signals beginning in the super low frequency (30 Hz - 3 kHz) generated by or as a result of operation from AC line voltages. That includes everything from bedside clocks to smart refrigerators. The problem is growing rapidly. Ironically, just yesterday I posted an article titled "Electronic Pollution ..."
How to Make Half-Metals That Contain No Metals
"A new type of material called a "spin-valley half-metal" has been predicted by calculations done by physicists in Russia, Japan and the U.S. While the material has not yet been characterized in the laboratory, the team says it could find use in new types of biocompatible and carbon-based electronics. Half-metals are materials in which only electrons with a specific spin polarization (spin-up, for example) participate in electrical conduction. These materials can therefore create currents ..."
NI AWR Design Environment V13 Videos on AWR.TV
Short, informative videos highlighting new features and user productivity enhancements in the V13 release of NI AWR Design Environment are now available for viewing on the AWR.TV found within the V13 Playlist. Specific videos within the playlist include: EM Ports and Integration Additions, Measurement and Layout Improvements, Simulation Results and Enhanced Markers Optimization, Synthesis Wizards, Embedded Sweeps and More ...
Superaccurate GPS Chips Coming to Smartphones in 2018
"We've all been there. You're driving down the highway, just as Google Maps instructed, when Siri tells you to 'proceed east for one-half mile, then merge onto the highway.' But you're already on the highway. After a moment of confusion and perhaps some rude words about Siri and her extended AI family, you realize the problem: Your GPS isn't accurate enough for your navigation app to tell if you're on the highway or on the road beside it. Those days are nearly at an end. At the ION GNSS+ conference in Portland ..."
Electronic Pollution ... An Impending Crisis
This type of electronic pollution is not e-waste as you think of today, but electrical noise pollution. Ever-rising ambient noise floor levels have been an issue since the inception of electronics. In excess, it can render both analog and digital circuits useless, or at best annoying to use. Addressed in the article are the phenomenon of unintentional heterodyning and signal to noise ratio degradation, from both natural and man-made sources. Author Garrison touches on the intentional generation of noise for electronic warfare applications. I did a quick Internet search looking for plots of typical background noise levels in an urban environment for today and from the middle ...
IPP Intros Surface Mount Dual Directional Coupler
Innovative Power Products introduces their new model IPP-8057, a 150 watt, 33 dB, Surface Mount Dual Directional Coupler that operates from 500 – 2500 MHz. The IPP-8057 is a broadband design which provides separate coupled ports for both forward and reflected signals with internal terminations. This unique coupler is produced in a Surface Mount (SMD) package size of 0.500(W) x 1.000(L) x 0.139(H) inches and was designed to reduce the size, weight and cost ...
PCB Directory Website by everythingRF
The folks at everythingRF have create a brand new website titled PCB Directory. It has created the industry's first quotation tool that lets you get quotations from multiple manufacturers by filling out a single form. PCB Directory is the largest directory of PCB manufacturers and fabricators on Internet. They have listed the leading printed circuit board manufacturers around the world and made them searchable by their capabilities - laminates types, board thicknesses, number of layers, etc. If you are a PCB manufacturer and would like to add your company to this directory, click here.
Stepping up Security in Chip Design
"Headquartered in Valbonne, South of France, start-up Texplained is on a mission to render chip-level reverse engineering a dead-end for IC counterfeiters. Although today's Common Criteria Certification schemes for secure chips consider laboratory-grade invasive attacks as a negligible threat, Texplained's CEO Clarisse Ginet is here to prove otherwise. 'It used to be the case, maybe 15 years ago, that invasive attacks (chemically and physically removing layers to read optically through a chip's architecture) were too technical and too costly ..."
Notable Tech Quote: Robert Lanza & Bob Berman
"Light is strange, but you can get used to it." - Robert Lanza and Bob Berman in Beyond Biocentrism. The authors discuss some of the stranger aspects of quantum physics including the dual particle and wave nature of light, and the "spooky action at a distance," as Einstein called it, of entanglement. The biocentrism theme is kind of weird, but the book has a good review of quantum theory ...
Very Cool! Saelig Introduces Wireless 30 MHz Scope-In-A-Probe
"As soon as we were inside, one introduced himself as an FBI agent and showed me his identification. He introduced the other man as a law officer from one of the northern counties. Maybe you think I wasn't hastily reviewing my most recent sins as we sat down!" That line from Mac McGregor cracked me up! He was telling stories of his earlier Ham radio days to Barney during a lull in business in the electronics repair shop. The last anecdote concerns his service as an Amateur helping to establish and run a communications net during a spate of tornadoes in the Midwest - a scenario familiar to us now with the massive damage done by major Atlantic hurricanes this year ...
Webinar: Building an RF Lab at a University
Copper Mountain Technologies is hosting a webinar titled "Building an RF Lab at a University" on Wednesday, September 27 at 1 pm EST. Dr. Allen Katz will present how his lab at the College of New Jersey uses USB VNAs. Interested in hearing more about Dr. Katz and his RF program? Join us for this webinar as he discusses 2-port measurements, S-parameters, impedance matching and the design projects his students participate in ...
ARRL & American Red Cross Seeks Operators for Puerto Rico Relief
Deployable volunteers urgently needed! Must hold at least a General license and be experienced in emergency operations. The American Red Cross (ARC) has asked ARRL for assistance with relief efforts in Puerto Rico. In the nearly 75-year relationship between ARRL and ARC, this is the first time ARC has made a request for assistance on this scale. Hurricane Maria has devastated the island's communications infrastructure. Without electricity and telephone, and with most of the cell sites out of service, millions of people are cut off from communicating. Shelters are unable to reach local emergency ...
Low-Power Devices Use Backscatter to Transmit Data Several Kilometers
"As the Internet of Things grows, sensors and other devices must collect and transmit data while consuming as little power as possible. One way to do this is to take advantage of backscatter by having IoT devices reflect radiofrequency signals transmitted to them. Tuned properly, these waves can deliver information over short distances. A team from the University of Washington, with the Internet of Things in mind, has expanded the range of backscatter to several kilometers. Last week ..."
Radiation-Tolerant Plastic ICs Target Small Satellite Mega-Constellations
Intersil has released the first three members of its new family of radiation-tolerant plastic-package ICs designed to support the emerging field of small satellites. Intersil's rad-tolerant plastic parts include the ISL71026M 3.3V controller area network (CAN) transceiver, ISL71444M 40V quad precision rail-to-rail input and output (RRIO) op amp, and the ISL71001M 6A point-of-load (POL) voltage regulator. These ICs deliver rad-tolerance performance at a much lower cost point versus radiation assurance tested Class V (space ...
Triboelectric Energy Harvesting Gets Detailed Analytical Model
"Triboelectricity, which is defined as small-scale static-electricity charges generated by contact and motion between surfaces, seems like a winning 'something for almost nothing' scenario. It can be used to generate energy that's harvested and stored, and then used to power extremely low-power sensors and electronics. Now there's a rigorous analysis and model-based framework, developed by a team of researchers at three UK-based ..."
Connectors for PC Boards
Here is another in a collection of article on printed circuit board technology that appeared in the October 1969 edition of Electronics World. Amphenol has been making and driving the evolution of electrical cable, sockets, and connectors since 1932. I have seen their advertisements in many of my vintage electronics magazines, including this on that appeared in these Radio News issues from January and October 1945. A lot of the innovation was driven by military and aerospace quality, reliability, pin density, and weight requirements, and as is always the case, a lot of the benefit redounded to the commercial realm as well ...
NI AWR Sets Agenda and Registration for ADF 2017 Russia Venues
Agendas are set and registration opened for the Russia leg of AWR Design Forum (ADF) 2017, an open forum that aims to bring together NI AWR Design Environment customers, partners and engineering professionals to learn, network and collaborate on the design of today's RF/microwave circuits and systems. ADF 2017 will visit three cities in Russia: St. Petersburg on October 3, Moscow on October 4 and Zelenograd on October 5 ...
1st Observation of Electron Spin Nernst Effect
"Spin separation caused by the thermal flow of electrons has been observed by an international team of physicists. Called the "spin Nernst effect", the phenomenon involves the separation of spin-up and spin-down electrons without the application of a magnetic field. The research could help with the development of new technologies including spintronics – circuits that store and process information using spins – and devices that convert heat into ..."
RF Cafe Engineering Crossword w/Weekly Headlines September 24
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. At least 10 clues in this puzzle with an asterisk (*) are pulled from this past week's (9/18 - 9/22) "Tech Industry Headlines" column on the RF Cafe homepage (see the Headline Archives page for help). Enjoy! ...
KR Electronics Intros 220 MHz BPF for Positive Train Control
KR Electronics part number 3012-220 is a 220 MHz bandpass filter designed for Positive Train Control (PTC) applications. Encapsulated for enhanced shock and vibration resistance, 50 Ω source and load, N(F) to N(M) connectors. The filters are encapsulated/ruggedized for enhanced shock and vibration resistance. Thousands are currently installed and operating successfully in the field with major rail companies. Other frequencies and bandwidths are available ...
MWJ Webinar: Mixers and Frequency Conversion
RF/Microwave Training Webinar Title: Mixers and Frequency Conversion | Date: September 28, 2017 |Time: 8am PT / 11am ET | Sponsored by: National Instruments Presented by: Allen Podell Outline: Frequency conversion is a critical function in all wireless systems. A key component used to accomplish this is the mixer. Designers need to understand different mixer topologies and specifications in order to meet their system requirements. This webinar provides a brief overview of frequency conversion ...
Nuclear Radiation & Detection
Part 1 of this 3-part series discussed the basics of radiation, and now author Ello delves into various methods of detecting and measuring radiation levels. Ionizing radiation measurement capability is needed for the safety of life forms due its ability to knock electrons away from their host atoms, thus generating ions that cause molecules to form that might not otherwise do so. If those molecules happen to part of a self-reproducing living cell, then a mutant - or cancerous - cell is the result. With luck, body defense cells will hunt down and kill it, but if not, a tumor will develop - maybe benign, but maybe malignant ...
Top 15 Engineering Schools by Salary
Pay Scale has published their 2017-2018 list of college rankings, along with average starting salaries. For engineering pay levels, MIT tops the list at $84.7k, followed by Marietta College and Stanford. The U.S. Naval Academy ranks #6 at $79.9k (and free tuition). Harvard comes it at #8, and Mr. Einstein's' home of Princeton is #16. West Point, another institution with free tuition, is at #18. The score of my alma mater, UVM, is too embarrassing to mention, but it does go a long way toward explaining my rather lackluster financial status. See the entire list here ...
Withwave Intros High Precision Flexible Microwave Cables
Withwave's W-Test cable assemblies are complete line of high precision flexible microwave cable assemblies, specially for stable phase testing. These WT series are designed by excellent microwave interconnection technologies. The WT500 & 670 cable assemblies, operating to 50 GHz and 67 GHz, respectively, have excellent insertion loss, high phase/amplitude stability in relation to temperature ...
New Way Found to Manipulate Magnetism
"In a pioneering effort to control, measure and understand magnetism at the atomic level, researchers working at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have discovered a new method for manipulating the nanoscale properties of magnetic materials. The ability to control these properties has potential applications in creating and improving the magnetic memory in consumer electronic devices, and developing a sensitive detector for magnetic nanoparticles. The discovery ..."
Free eBook for Precision Antenna Measurements
According to Microwave Journal Editor Patrick Hindle, "Antenna measurements are difficult to make due to their multi-directional nature, their cables / connections to equipment and interfering signals in the environment. The measurement setup, surrounding environment and physical connections all need to be carefully specified and setup, paying close attention to the instruments and materials used." Copper Mountain Technologies collaborated with Microwave Journal to offer you this free eBook, Precision Antenna Measurements, on precision antenna measurements ...
Mystery RF Transistor ID Challenge
RF Cafe visitor Richard P. posted this challenge on my Facebook page. He would like a positive Id on the device in order to re-bias it for higher voltage operation. It is in a HF amplifier he bought on eBay. The package marking is smudged so that the full part number is indiscernible. I labeled the image with the limited info I could make out. The company logo is Freescale, which was once Motorola and is now NXP, so it is not a new device. The ceramic flanged package appears to be for an LDMOS transistor. I spent more than an hour searching, but had, in Richard's words, "no joy." If you can ID it, please shoot me an e-mail ...
Conformal Coatings for Printed Circuits
During my tenure in the early-to-mid 1980s as an electronics technician at Westinghouse Electric's Oceanic Division, in Annapolis, MD, I assembled many a Mil-Spec printed circuit board. An initial week-long soldering class and then periodic refreshers were required to get NASA-certified for the type of critical work we did there. I have written before about the rigid inspection process that each PCB, cable harness, wire-wrap board, etc., was put through. Many of the assemblies for use in underwater vehicles and ship-based controllers needed to be conformably coated for protection against the corrosive salt water environment. The first step ...
'Hidden in Plain Sight' Concealment Facilitates Smart City Transformation
"American Tower and Phillips Lighting partner on connected light poles to add network density for smart city applications Siting of wireless infrastructure in urban spaces is often a tricky proposition for wireless carriers and neutral host providers. Regulations vary between jurisdictions, which makes developing a scalable deployment model difficult and, in turn, drives up costs and extends project timelines. In the context of a smart city, ultra-dense network ..."
Chinese Village Builds Giant Air-Viewable QR Code with Trees
"Officials in Xilinshui, in the city of Baoding, Hebei province, created the scannable [QR] code, which measures 227 m along each side, using about 130,000 Chinese juniper trees, Xinhua reported on Thursday. The evergreen trees, which are native to northeast Asia, are all between 80 cm and 2.5 m in height. While difficult to do, anyone who scans the greenery using a smartphone or tablet will be connected to the village's public WeChat account for tourism ..."
Wavelength Electronics Intros Laser Diode Power Source
The LDMOUNT is ideal for pump and communication diode lasers. The LDMOUNT from Wavelength Electronics is designed for optoelectronic modules in a 14-pin butterfly package that require up to 5A. With integrated heatsinking, built-in safety features, and easy connection to eight different high performance Wavelength controllers, the LDMOUNT can be used in a variety of applications, mounted on an optics table or to a chassis ...
Skyscraper ICs That Beat Moore's Law
"Revolutionary, tower-style computer chips could boost microprocessor performance a thousand-fold. In the age of big data, cloud and the internet of things, our thirst for computing power has never been greater. Many of our readers will be familiar with Moore's law, the observation that predicts a doubling of computing capability every two years, as integrated circuits are packed ever denser with ..."
ConductRF Offers Phase Matching Cable Solutions
ConductRF's skill in the manufacturing of Phase Matched RF Cable Solutions is second to none. We have phase matched a diverse array of solutions from Low Frequency RG and LMR Cables to more premium exotic cables up to 70 GHz. Flexible, conformable & semi-rigid, phase & amplitude stable, low loss & high power, phase differential as low as ±0.2 °/GHz, many connector types, indoor & outdoor solutions. A broad base of standard connectors and cables in stock, we turn solutions around fast ...
Self-Folding Electronics Could Enable Advanced Robotics
"As demand grows for more versatile, advanced robotics and other technologies, the need for components that can enable these applications also increases. Producing such components en masse has been a major challenge. But now, in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, researchers report that they have developed a way to help meet this need by printing electronics that can fold themselves into a desired shape. Creating small electronic pieces with specific architectural designs can now ..."
Each month (unless I forget) I post a list of articles with advice on career enhancement including tips on preparing resumes, conducting yourself properly at interviews, getting along well with co-workers, handling a difficult boss, etc. I also post links to polls and studies done on career satisfaction, pay rates, education and experience levels, years in the field, etc. Those types of articles have been around since Johannes Gutenberg invented the movable type printing press. In the 1970s, Popular Electronics rand a series of articles titled "Opportunity Awareness" that offered such advice, much of which in principle is still valid today. One of the biggest advantages you can give yourself ...
Notable Tech Quote: Kat McGowan
"There, his new specimens joined his collection and waited patiently as only rocks can until he could find time to analyze them." - Kat McGowan, "Where Did It Begin?" September / October 2017 Popular Science (p41).
Circularly Polarized Antennas Explained, Without the Math
Glenn Robb, owner / engineer from Antenna Test Lab Company sent me this very excellent whitepaper he just wrote titled "Circularly Polarized Antennas Explained, Without the Math." As promised, his tutorial introduces the concept of circular polarization in electromagnetic waves and then describes how he measures and reports results in a spreadsheet using automated antenna positioning and frequency sweeping. Antenna Test Lab Co's evaluation service includes fully circular polarization antenna evaluations at no extra charge. Practical antenna evaluations with 2D or 3D patterns in hundreds of test directions (and frequencies) are available for $450 ...
AlGaN Transistors on Silicon-on-Insulator Substrate
"Chang Gung University and Episil-Precision in Taiwan claim the first demonstration of in-situ silicon nitride (SiNx) gate dielectric aluminium gallium nitride (AlGaN) barrier metal–insulator–semiconductor high-electron-mobility transistors (MISHEMTs) on 6-inch silicon on insulator (SOI) substrates. The devices showed improved DC, dynamic and radio frequency (RF) performance over the same structures grown on HR Si ..."
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