If you are a fan of John T. Frye's "Mac's
Service Shop" series of technodramas, then you might also appreciate this short-run stories
by Bob Eldridge titled, "Another
Day in the Shop." Up through maybe the early 1980s, every town had at least one electronics
service shop for taking care of televisions, radios, record players, tape recorders and
players, cameras, computers, and just about anything else that might be fixed at less
cost than buying a replacement unit. In the 1940's through the 1960's, there was often
good money to be made not only with in-shop repair but also with doing house calls for
repair and installation. Electronics magazines of the era were filled with both self-help
and tips for the professionals regarding troubleshooting, use of test equipment, how
to deal with customers, etc. Electronics World even ran for a while a feature
that suggested types and quantities of replacement tubes, capacitors ..."
For as long as I can remember, having the title
of "engineer" without also holding some sort of 4-or-more-year degree meant that those
who do have the degree considered the
"non-engineer" engineer to be illegitimate. It used to be - and might
still be - that some government contracts (defense, aerospace, etc.) required anyone
listed as an engineer to have at least a 4-year degree. Lou Freznel has a new article
address in the topic. "Jobs are out there to be had, but if you don't have a certain
type of degree, it's very unlikely you'll land one. Lou Frenzel says it's high time to
look beyond that vaunted piece of paper. Is it possible for a person to do actual electronic
engineering work without a college degree? I say yes. It's been done ..."
"In August 2017, London's first hybrid black cabs
hit the streets ahead of new legislation that came into effect this year, requiring all
new cabs to be 'zero emissions capable.' The TX can operate for around 70 miles on battery
power alone, with a petrol range extender allowing it to clock up around 400 miles before
refueling. But London's very first electric cabs actually came into service exactly 120
years earlier. 'Mr W H Preece inaugurated a service of electrical cabs which are to ply
for hire in the streets of London in competition with the ordinary hackney carriages,'
wrote The Engineer in August 1897 ..."
Rohde & Schwarz USA (R&S USA) is now offering
this free "Key Characteristics of Signal Generators and Modulation Methods: Pocket
Guide." Register for this pocket guide to receive fundamental information on analog
and digital modulation methods. The Pocket Guide is available as a spiral bound hard
copy (no PDF for download at this time). The guide also provides important signal generator
specifications and parameters that should be considered when choosing a signal generator.
This is another in a series of Pocket Guides being offered by R&S. The "RF Component
Pocket Guide," introduced earlier this year, is still available. Rohde & Schwarz
also has a downloadable PDF file titled, "Modulation and Signal Generation with R&S®
Signal Generators Educational Note Products" ...
"The Defense Department - and possibly any iteration
of a 'Space Force' - could benefit from having commercial satellite providers host its
sensors and communications payloads, according to the Government Accountability Office.
In a July 30 report submitted to Congress, GAO endorsed the Defense Department's use
of commercially hosted military payloads a way to save money and recommended it consolidate
the current decentralized program data. DOD has used three commercially hosted payloads
with another three planned or underway through 2022. In a letter to House Armed Services
Committee, GAO auditors ..."
Innovative Power Products (IPP) has over 30 years
of experience designing & manufacturing RF & microwave passive components. Their
high power, broadband couplers,
combiners, resistors, baluns, terminations and attenuators are fabricated using the
latest materials and design tools available, resulting in unrivaled product performance.
Applications in military, medical, industrial and commercial markets. Take a couple minutes
to visit their website and see how IPP can help you today ...
"At Black Hat conference in Las Vegas, researcher
says theoretical threat to ships, planes and military is 'no longer theoretical.' The
satellite communications that ships, planes and the military use to connect to the internet
are vulnerable to hackers that, in the worst-case scenario, could carry out 'cyber-physical
satellite antennas into weapons that operate, essentially, like microwave
ovens. According to research presented at the Black Hat information security conference
in Las Vegas, a number of popular satellite communication systems are vulnerable to the
Dang, I swapped two answers and scored an 80%.
Haste makes waste, as the saying goes. Don't rush through this 1967 Popular Electronics
Angle Quiz" like I did and you'll probably ace it with the greatest of ease - especially
if you have been in the electronics realm at least since the 1980s. Generation X'ers
can have a two-question handicap (might never have seen real-life example of drawing
"A" or "E") and Millennials (might never have seen drawing "A," "B," "D," or "H") get
a four-question handicap ...
With more than 780 custom-built symbols, this
has got to be the most comprehensive set of
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
Messrs. Ben Thomas and Scott Vasquez, both with
Qorvo (formerly RFMD), write about "Evolving 5G Landscape Creates New RF Challenges," in the July 2018
issue of Microwaves & RF magazine. A bevy of new technology -
beam steering, massive MIMO, high linearity, etc. - has been and/or is in the process
of being invented in order to accommodate extreme performance specifications. Phones,
base stations, and small cells must all interact in concert for the 5G scheme to work.
The industry hype has been huge. Say the authors, "5G is approaching rapidly, with the
first deployments expected in 2019. Initially, mobile operators are targeting specific
applications where they see considerable potential demand and opportunity. However, 5G
will expand the global uses of wireless communications. A second wave of applications
in 2020 and beyond will include automotive communications ..."
Once World War II and the Korean War were
through consuming a large percentage of the world's material and labor resources, technology
focus shifted largely toward inventing and manufacturing consumer goods. It was a period
similar to the Roaring Twenties, after World War I where innovation and high employment
fueled good times for a lot of the population. Creature comforts like indoor plumbing,
refrigerators, electric toasters and can openers, radio, affordable automobiles, were
appearing in the majority of homes. Unfortunately, not all countries enjoyed the upturn
during those eras, usually because of continued war and/or oppressive Communist / Socialist
/ Marxist regimes.
Israel did not formally become a country again until 1948, having been ruled ...
2003, Bittele Electronics has consistently provided low-volume, electronic contract manufacturing
(ECM) and turnkey PCB assembly services. It specializes in board level turnkey
for design engineers needing low volume or prototype multi-layer printed circuit boards.
Free Passive Components: Bittele Electronics is taking
one further step in its commitment of offering the best service to clients of its PCB
assembly business. Bittele is now offering common passive components to its clients FREE
of Charge ...
"The physical structure of
liquid metal is altered by incorporating a conductive nano- or micro-nickel
filler. Liquid metal printing is integral to the flexible electronics field. Additive
manufacturing enables fast fabrication of intricate designs and circuitry. The field
features a range of products including electrically conductive textiles; bendable displays;
sensors for torque, pressure, and other types of strain; wearable sensor suits, such
as those used in the development of video games; antennae; and biomedical sensors. Soft
robots, flexible computer screens, and other stretchable electronic devices also can
be created ..."
"Discovery may herald high-performance computer
hard disks where lack of friction enables greater data storage. It has long been known
that layered solid materials, particularly graphite, can act as lubricants. A joint project
between Tel Aviv and Tsinghua Universities has now found that the interface between graphite
and a two-dimensional material, hexagonal boron nitride, exhibits a property known as
superlubricity where friction between two surfaces virtually disappears
altogether. 'Superlubricity is a highly intriguing physical phenomenon, a state of practically
zero or ultra-low friction between two contacting surfaces,' said Prof Oded Hod ..."
Windfreak Technologies designs, manufactures,
tests and sells high value USB powered and controlled radio frequency products such as
RF signal generators, RF synthesizers, RF power detectors, mixers, up/downconverters.
Worldwide customers include Europe, Australia, and Asia. Please contact Windfreak today
to learn how they might help you with your current project
pSemi Corporation (formerly Peregrine Semiconductor),
introduces the world’s first monolithic, silicon-on-insulator (SOI) Wi-Fi front-end module
(FEM)—the PE561221. Ideal for Wi-Fi home gateways, routers and set-top boxes,
this high-performance module uses a smart bias circuit to deliver a high linearity signal
and excellent long-packet error vector magnitude (EVM) performance. The PE561221 combines
the intelligent integration capabilities of pSemi's SOI technology and Murata’s expertise
in Wi-Fi connectivity solutions and advanced packaging. This 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi FEM integrates
a low-noise amplifier (LNA), a power amplifier (PA) and two RF switches ...
Maybe at one time I knew this, but the claim by
Fairchild Semiconductor in this 1965 Electronics magazine advertisement took
me by surprise. They claim to have invented the
dual-inline-package (DIP) format. According to Wikipedia, a trio of chaps - Don Forbes,
Rex Rice and Bryant Rogers - all Fairchild engineers, developed the DIP package in 1964,
a year prior to the ad. Previously, a round can designated TO# (Transistor Outline) with
# (number) leads around the perimeter was used for integrated circuits, but as the I/O
pin count increased, that form factor became unwieldy. An extensive search for a patent
on the DIP, assigned to Fairchild and/or the three inventors, did not turn up anything ...
"Researchers in the U.S. have developed a way to
manipulate and mix droplets of fluids by having them surf on
waves in oil. The group, from Duke University in North Carolina, claims that the
technology could form the basis of a reusable and programmable biomedical chip for applications
ranging from diagnostics to laboratory-based research. So-called lab-on-a-chip systems
have played an increasingly important role in the biomedical and pharmaceutical sectors,
but because these devices rely on solid surfaces their application has been hindered
by problems related to surface absorption ..."
Color television was a big hit with homeowners
and was adopted fairly rapidly in the 1960s even considering the relatively high cost
and low number of network color broadcasts in the beginning years. The enthusiasm underwent
a severe reduction when word got out that large doses of
x−rays were streaming out of the front of the CRT for sets that did not take precautions
to prevent it (which was the majority of sets initially). The major cause was extremely
high voltages applied between the electron gun and phosphorescent raster grid - in the
neighborhood of 35 kV or more - when the high voltage regulator circuit malfunctioned.
Note that even when everything was working properly ...
Pasternack, a leading provider of RF, microwave
and millimeter wave products, has unveiled a new line of
SPDT high-power PIN diode RF switches that offer desirable performance for transmit
and receive signal routing applications. Typical applications can involve use in radar
systems, EW applications, base station infrastructure, repeaters, military/microwave
radios, public safety/land mobile radios, UHF/VHF radios, and test and measurement applications.
Pasternack's new line of SPDT high-power PIN diode switches consists of 7 different models
that offer excellent power handling and isolation with broadband performance and fast
switching speed. Ideal for transmit and receive applications, these solid state PIN diode
Believe it or not, there was a time when the Internet
did not exist and getting quality information could be difficult. Offices, cubicles,
laboratories, company technical libraries, even hallways, were piled high with reference
books, magazines, component books, applications notes, datasheets, white papers, and
every other form of information that might be useful.
Watkins-Johnson Tech-Notes were particularly notable for their practical
design and application content. Thanks to Mr. Larry Jugler for providing these three
new Watkins-Johnson Tech-Notes for adding to my collection of PDF files:
Competitive Receiver Technologies
RF Signal Processing Before the Receiver
Software Design of Microprocessor-Controlled Receivers
This news tidbit appeared in a 1953 issue of
Radio-Electronics along with an editorial by Hugo Gernsback titled "Transistor
Transition." RCA had just developed its first
fully solid state - except for the cathode ray tube (CRT) - television. Note that
at the time the CRT was still often referred to as a kinescope. In fact, the word "kinescope"
was coined and trademarked by RCA, so they had a vested interest in perpetuating its
usage. Jerry Herzog, shown in the photo, was one of the engineers responsible for the
design and construction of the television ...
SF Circuits' specialty is in the complex, advanced
PCB fabrication and assembly, producing high quality multi-layered
PCBs from elaborate layouts. With them, you receive unparalleled technical expertise
at competitive prices as well as the most progressive solutions available. Their customers
request PCB production that is outside the capabilities of normal circuit board providers.
Please take a moment to visit San Francisco Circuits today ...
"ABI Research estimates the smart home segment
could potentially be worth in the region of $11.2B by 2022, but the diversification question
still remains for the telcos. The smart home is a concept which has been on the horizon
for some time, we've been debating the merits of talking fridges for years, but until
recently it has perhaps been little more than a gimmick. The advantages of the expensive
upgrades were limited, and in all honesty, there seem like little point in connecting
your toilet to the internet. That said, during the last 12-18 months applications and
services have started to appear to make the prospect genuinely interesting..."
Test sells used / refurbished
test equipment, we offer short- and long-term rentals. They also offer repair, maintenance
and calibration. Prices discounted up to 80% off list price. Agilent/HP, Tektronix, Anritsu,
Fluke, R&S and other major brands. A global organization with ability to source hard
to find equipment through our network of suppliers. Please visit Allied Test Equipment
today to see how they can help your project ...
Hugo Gernsback was well-known not just for his
technical prowess, but for an uncanny ability to predict future developments in electronics,
transportation, and production methods. Barely three years had passed since Messrs. Bardeen,
Shockley, and Brattain, announced their invention of the transistor when this editorial
Transition" appeared in Radio-Electronics magazine. Gernsback mentions the
concept of "appliqued circuits" (i.e., printed circuits) and "roll-up display" transistor
picture tubes (i.e., flexible displays), and "pocket radios" that can be held up to the
ear. Production prices for transistors at the time were about $8 apiece, which is the
inflation-adjusted equivalent of $76 in 2018. At that price point, who could blame the
pro-tube, never-transistor crowd from denying the possibility of transistors ever replacing
Rohde & Schwarz as RF Cafe's newest Banner Advertiser in a 160x600−px
slot! R&S has been a long-time supporter. Dr. Lothar Rohde and Dr. Hermann
Schwarz founded the company Munich, Germany, in 1933. Per a Wikipedia entry, R&S
received a electronics equipment depot maintenance contract in 1945 from the U.S. Army,
which might be their first presence here in the U.S., providing serious competition to
Hewlett Packard. I found this
Rohde & Schwarz ad in a 1965 issue of Electronics magazine. Rohde &
Schwarz is now a premier player in the communications test equipment realm. Lab benches
and production test stations have taken on a noticeably blue hue thanks to all the R&S
equipment in use ...
If the December 13, 1965, edition of Electronics
magazine had a theme, it was undoubtedly reporting on the current state of
Japanese technology. The cover photo is a shot of a microwave antennas dominating
Tokyo's skyline. Japanese technology companies worked hard to overcome the largely undeserved
negative connotation that a "Made in Japan" label carried in the day. Do you remember
the scene in the movie "Back to the Future Part III" where Doc, having traveled back
in time from the 1950s, is trying to fix his DeLorean time travel car and discovers a
burnt out circuit and claims, "No wonder this circuit failed, it says made in Japan?"
Marty, who travelled from the 1980s, replied, "What do you mean doc, all the best stuff
is made in Japan." There is no denying the Japanese people succeeded at their goal ...
Greg Boone was in technical school at Keesler AFB,
MS, during my time there in 1989. We were both AFSC 303x1 radar maintenance techs, although
he began a couple months before I arrived. His service info is now in the
USAF Radar Techs list.
Greg was part of a group of guys, including
Jim Flinn and me, who used to take stashes of firecrackers and bottle rockets to
a road construction site in the Biloxi, Mississippi, area and play "war games" against
opposing sides. As far as I know, none of us ever face any real fire while in the service.
At least back in the era, a commonly repeated saying was that the Air Force is the only
branch of service where the officers are sent into the heat of battle while the enlisted
stay safely behind the lines ...
Call to action - contact NIST to continue
WWV and WWVH broadcasts. "The National Institute of Standards and
Technology (NIST) FY 2019 budget request includes shutting down NIST radio stations in
Colorado and Hawaii - in other words, WWV and WWVH. Radio amateurs, HF listeners, and
others around the world routinely make use of the time and frequency standard signals,
which also include propagation information. NIST said eliminating funding currently 'supporting
fundamental measurement dissemination' would include putting WWV and WWVH off the air
for a saving of $6.3M. The NIST FY 2019 budget request for efforts related to Fundamental
Measurement, Quantum Science and Measurement Dissemination is $127M ..."
"The Aerospace Corporation announced a milestone
with the Optical Communications and Sensor Demonstration (OCSD) mission. The laser communication
system, carried by the two low-Earth-orbiting OCSD
CubeSats also known as AeroCube-7B and Aerocube-7C, successfully
transmitted data at a rate of 100 megabits per second which is 50 times greater than
typical communication systems for this size spacecraft. 'This is a significant achievement,
given that high speed laser communications is mostly done from larger satellite systems,'
said Steve Isakowitz, Aerospace president and CEO ..."
EDI CON USA, the industry event that brings together
RF/microwave and high-speed digital design engineers and system integrators, announces
its plenary keynote speakers -
Ovi Jacob and
Ransom Stephens - for the 2018 conference, which will be held in Santa Clara, CA
October 17 and 18. All pass holders will be eligible to see these talks, each happening
at 11:30AM. On Wednesday, October 17, 2018, Ovi Jacob, Director of Business Development
at Vayyar Imaging, will provide a fascinating glimpse at technology that is changing
the world, and our ability to survive in it. In his talk, "Looking Deeper: Using Radar
to Save Lives and Improve the World" Jacob will address how radar is being used for life-saving
cancer detection, as well as in everyday applications ...
Electrocution has always been - and always should
be - a hot topic (pun intended) in the realm of electrical and electronics servicing
and usage. Trade and hobby magazines have dedicated many column inches to it over the
years. A lot of people are deathly (there I go with the puns again) afraid of being anywhere
in the proximity of an exposed electrical connection. My father, a newspaper classified
advertising manager, was one of those people. He would cringe when I took the cover off
the fuse panel in the house to work on it. He could barely bring himself to replace a
blown fuse, which was not a completely unjustified fear given the low standards of older
electrical wiring. Those screw-in fuses had a threaded metal perimeter around the bottom
portion with a button connection at the bottom center. Theoretically, that threaded metal
perimeter is at ground potential ...
RF Cafe typically receives
10,000-15,000 website visits
each weekday and about half that on weekends. RF Cafe
is a favorite of engineers, technicians, hobbyists, and students all over the world.
With more than 7,000 pages in the Google search index, RF Cafe returns in favorable
positions on many types of key searches, both for text and images. New content is added
on a daily basis. Items added on the homepage are broadcast on LinkedIn, Facebook, and
Twitter. Banner advertising begins at $150/month ...
At VidaRF, the phrase 'Providing Simple Solutions
for Complex Connections' is more than just a slogan – it's a mindset, a mission, and
a driving force behind everything we do. Their pledge is to design and distribute high
performance, cost effective
Microwave products to fit each customer's unique applications. Please visit VidaRF
today to see how their lines of attenuators & terminations, directional couplers,
power dividers, coaxial connectors, and circulator & isolators can be of use to your
project. "When the standard just will not do, VidaRF has the solution for you!"
"Topology is a global aspect of materials, leading
to fundamental new properties for compounds with large relativistic effects. The incorporation
of heavy elements gives rise to non-trivial topological phases of matter, such as topological
insulators, Dirac and
Weyl semimetals. The semimetals are characterized by band-touching
points with linear dispersion, similar to massless relativistic particles in high energy
physics. The interplay of symmetry, relativistic effects and, in magnetic materials,
the magnetic structure, allows for the realization of a wide variety of topological phases
through Berry curvature design. The Berry curvature describes the entanglement ..."