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Homepage Archive - April 2020 (page 4)

See Page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | of the April 2020 homepage archives.

Friday 1

Mac's Radio Service Shop: Barney's Dog Show

Mac's Radio Service Shop: Barney's Dog Show, May 1954 Radio & Television News - RF CafeWhether you are a DIY'er, tinkerer, hobbyist, experimenter, roustabout, odd-jobber, handyman, jack-of-all-trades, innovator, or any sort of electronics dilettante to any degree of adeptness from mere abecedarian to seasoned professional polymath, chances are you can learn something useful from just about all of John T. Frye's "Mac's Radio Service Shop" techno-drama stories. They appeared on a monthly basis in Radio & TV News magazine, and then continued when it became Electronics World in 1959. The varied collection of "dogs" that piled up on Barney's bench while Mac was on vacation provided a convenient excuse to touch on a wide variety of equipment types, from record players to radios, including sets that had fallen victim to "home-talentitis" at the hands of a not-so-capable owner...

Fairview Microwave Debuts Waveguide Shorts and Shims

Fairview Microwave Debuts Series of Waveguide Shorts and Shims - RF CafeFairview Microwave, an Infinite Electronics brand and a leading provider of on-demand RF, microwave and millimeter wave components, has launched a new series of waveguide shorts and shims that are ideal for use in test and instrumentation, wireless communication, satellite communication and radar applications. Fairview's new line of waveguide shorts and shims includes 36 models offered in waveguide sizes ranging from WR-430 to WR-10. This new line is ideal for use in RF test and measurement applications and provides superior RF performance. Waveguide shims and shorts, or shorting plates, are commonly included in calibration kits and they are used in calibration applications. Waveguide shims can also be used to bridge gaps between waveguide components. These waveguide shims and shorts are compatible with square and round UG cover and CPR-style flanges...

Atomichron - World's Most Accurate Clock

Atomichron - World's Most Accurate Clock, January 1957 Radio & Television News - RF CafeThe National Company, of Malden, Massachusetts, which made this cesium-based Atomichron in the mid-to-late 1950s, began life as a toy manufacturer. It had an output frequency at the nominal resonance frequency of cesium - 9192.631830 MHz - and was accurate to better than a second in 600 years. The unit was 7 feet tall and weighed 500 pounds. Modern cesium standards are more stable and are portable. As of January 2013, the NIST-F1 cesium fountain primary frequency standard is accurate to within one second every 100 million years! That's a tad better than the Atomichron, non?

Space Development Agency to Solicitation Development Mesh Network of 20 Satellites

Space Development Agency to Solicitation Development Mesh Network of 20 Satellites"The Space Development Agency plans to award contracts for a mesh network in space this August, with the expectation that an initial batch of 20 satellites will be placed on orbit during summer 2022. The agency expects to release a request for proposals for the contracts May 1. The announcement came during an industry day the agency hosted over the phone April 2. The industry day was originally slated to take place during the 36th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs April 2, however, after that event was cancelled due to the circumstances with COVID-19 the agency opted to hold a virtual industry day instead. According to SDA Director Derek Tournear, 580 people called in for the event. That first batch will include 20 satellites and will comprise what Pentagon leaders are calling Tranche 0 of the SDA's Transport Layer, a mesh network of satellites operating primarily in low earth orbit..."

RF Characteristics of Ge-doped Vanadium Dioxide Thin Films

RF Characteristics of Ge-doped Vanadium Dioxide Thin Films - RF Cafe3D Smith chart progenitor Andrei Muller and some of his associates have published a paper on the ACS website entitled, "Radio-Frequency Characteristics of Ge-doped Vanadium Dioxide Thin Films with Increased Transition Temperature." It begins: "This work investigates and reports on the radio-frequency (RF) behavior in the frequency range of 5−35 GHz of germanium-doped vanadium dioxide (Ge-doped VO2) thin films deposited on silicon substrates via sputtering and pulsed laser deposition (PLD) with estimated Ge concentrations of 5 and 5.5%. Both films exhibit critical transition temperatures (Tc) of 76.2 and 72 °C, respectively, which are higher compared to that of the undoped VO2 which undergoes reversible insulator-to-metal phase transition at 68 °C. Both types of Ge-doped films show low hysteresis..."

Axiom Test Equipment: Rent, Buy, Trade & Repair

Axiom Test Equipment - RF CafeAxiom Test Equipment allows you to rent or buy test equipment, repair test equipment, or sell or trade test equipment. They are committed to providing superior customer service and high quality electronic test equipment. Axiom offers customers several practical, efficient, and cost effective solutions for their projects' TE needs and is committed to providing superior customer service and high quality electronic test equipment. For anyone seeking a way to offload surplus or obsolete equipment, they offer a trade-in program or they will buy the equipment from you. Some vintage items are available fully calibrated. Please check out Axiom Test Equipment today!

Thursday 30

Radio Data Sheet 346 General Electric Farm Radio Model 280 

Radio Data Sheet 346 General Electric Farm Radio Model 280, May 1947 Radio-Craft - RF CafeFor many years, I have been scanning and posting schematics & parts lists like this one that appeared in radio and electronics magazines in the middle of the last century. Most use vacuum tubes. This General Electric Model 280 Farm Radio "Radio Data Sheet" was in the May 1947 issue of Radio-Craft. The Radio Museum website has more information on the GE Model 280 Farm Radio. Farm radios were designed to work on storage batteries since until the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 was put into effect, most rural properties had no commercial AC electric power service. 11 years later, work was in progress to light up the entire country, but many locations had to wait while resources went to service war production needs. No actual example of the Farm Radio could be found online. There are still many people who restore and service these vintage radios...

Many Thanks to Lemos International Technologies for Continued Support!

Lemos International - RF CafeLemos International Technologies is both a designer and manufacturer of wireless products and a distributor of products from other world-class manufacturers. A modular approach to wireless connectivity helps eliminate much of the technical design and testing and also simplifies or eliminates the need for expensive conformance testing and certification. Ready-to-use Bluetooth, GPS, Wi-Fi, licensed and unlicensed band products are available. Custom design services can help you achieve success with your project's unique needs.

Basic Radar Analysis, 2nd Edition

Basic Radar Analysis, 2nd Edition - RF CafeArtech House today announced the publication of Basic Radar Analysis, Second Edition by Mervin Budge and Shawn German. This 2nd edition covers several key radar analysis areas, including the radar range equation, detection theory, ambiguity functions, waveforms, antennas, active arrays, receivers, signal processors, CFAR and chaff analysis. Analog signal processors and digital signal processors of the types used in modern phased array radars are discussed. Fundamentals of radar analysis including the range equation, detection theory, ambiguity functions, antennas, receivers, and signal processors for modern radars are also covered. This book addresses details of the radar range and detection probability equations and the tools radar engineers commonly use to perform signal processor and clutter analyses. Packed with details on how to perform radar range equation and detection analyses, RCS modeling...

Mr. Math Analog Computer

Mr. Math Analog Computer, June 1958 Radio-Electronics - RF CafeBack in the early 1990s, while working for a fine Midwestern company that made automated utility meter reading (AMR) equipment, an older gentleman was hired as a contractor to do some design work. He was an instant hit with everyone not just because of his engineering prowess, but because of his stories of the mechanical and analog electronic computers he worked on for the U.S. Navy. After being commissioned as an ensign at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, he spent time studying, researching, and designing massive radar-directed gun pointing systems for battleships. Just as contraptions like Babbage's difference engine was a marvel of contemporary engineering, so, too, were those fantastic shipboard amalgamations of gears, switches, vacuum tubes, rheostats, flywheels, cams, and bearings. Calculations of azimuths and elevations were made using sum, difference, integrating, and multiplication circuits built of discrete analog components and electronic valves...

Working at Home the New Norm?

Working at Home the New Norm? - RF Cafe"Reliable indoor mobile coverage can ease home broadband capacity challenges during the global health crisis. As the regular rules for business and social interactions are being torn to shreds as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, homeworking is an important lifeline for U.K. companies trying to maintain some sort of 'normality' for their businesses and employees. Organisations that have previously avoided or discouraged remote working for fear of motivational issues have been forced to rethink their attitudes to home working since the country went into lockdown. Similarly, those that have historically only permitted hybrid working under special circumstances have had to formulate a feasible homeworking framework almost overnight, offer guidance on implementation and come up with innovative ideas..."

Centric RF: Attenuators, Adapters, Cable Assemblies, Power Dividers

Centric RF microwave components - RF CafeCentric RF is a company offering from stock various RF and Microwave coaxial components, including attenuators, adapters, cable assemblies, terminations, power dividers, and more. We believe in offering high performance parts from stock at a reasonable cost. Frequency ranges of 0-110 GHz at power levels from 0.5-500 watts are available off the shelf. Order today, ship today! Centric RF is currently looking for vendors to partner with them. Please visit Centric RF today. 

Wednesday 29

Comics with an Electronics Theme 

Comics with an Electronics Theme, May and July 1974 Popular Electronics - RF CafeHere are a couple new-old tech-themed comics from vintage Popular Electronics magazines. Both have a Ham radio theme, so maybe you need to have been there to appreciate the scenario... or maybe not. It is possible that the presence of clothes pins on twin lead or ladder line could de-tune the line, and could crush the internal dielectric of a coaxial line. There is no metal on boxer shorts, but maybe the clothes pins are the type with a metal spring. For the other comic, you just need to know what ••• −−− ••• is to get it. Enjoy

Lunar Crater Radio Telescope

Lunar Crater Radio Telescope - RF CafeHere is an interesting idea from the world of astronomy - a Lunar Crater Radio Telescope. RF Cafe visitor Alan Dewey sent me this article on plans to build a 1 km diameter radio telescope, operating in the 5 to 100 m wavelength band, in a crater on the far side of the moon. That will facilitate blocking of Earth-origin radio emissions from the telescope's super-sensitive receiver. Unlike the 60-year-old 1,000 meter Arecibo Observatory radio telescope, the moon-base instrument will sweep a much larger area of the sky and at a greater frequency than its Earth-based relative. "An ultra-long-wavelength radio telescope on the far-side of the Moon has tremendous advantages compared to Earth-based and Earth-orbiting telescopes, including: (i) Such a telescope can observe the universe at wavelengths greater than 10 m (i.e., frequencies below 30 MHz), which are reflected by the Earth's ionosphere and are hitherto largely unexplored by humans..."

Post Your Engineer & Technician Job Openings on RF Cafe for Free

Engineering Job Board - RF CafeRF Cafe's raison d'être is and always has been to provide useful, quality content for engineers, technicians, engineering managers, students, and hobbyists. Part of that mission is offering to post applicable job openings. HR department employees and/or managers of hiring companies are welcome to submit opportunities for posting at no charge (of course a gratuity will be graciously accepted). 3rd party recruiters and temp agencies are not included so as to assure a high quality of listings. Please read through the easy procedure to benefit from RF Cafe's high quality visitors...

When Do You Expect Your Business to Return to Normal?

When Do You Expect Your Business to Return to Normal?  - RF CafeThis is a bummer of a poll done by The Engineer website asking UK engineering and manufacturing businesses, "When, if at all, do you expect a return to business as usual?" 13% said never, and 79% said 3-18 months. It's not looking good in the UK or in the U.S. "Do you work in the UK engineering or manufacturing sectors? If so, when – if at all – do you expect a return to 'business as usual' once COVID-19 lockdown restrictions are lifted?"

Withwave Precision Right Angle Adapters for 2.92 & 2.4 mm

Withwave Precision Right Angle Adapters for 2.92 mm & 2.4 mm - RF CafeWithwave's Precision Test Adapters with Right Angle types are designed based on precision microwave interconnection technologies. These adapters are manufactured to precise microwave specifications and constructed with male and female gender on both side. The precision microwave connector interfaces ensure an excellent microwave performance up to 40 GHz. Features include a frequency range of DC to 40 GHz, VSWR of 1.20:1 (max) @40 GHz, and body made of passivated stainless steel...

Zenith TV Ad, PCBs Not Inside

Zenith TV Ad, No Printed Circuits, May 1958 Radio-Electronics - RF Cafe"PCBs? We ain't got no PCBs in our TV sets†... We don't have to give you no stinking PCBs." That is effectively what the Zenith television advertisement from a 1958 edition of Radio-Electronics told its potential customers. According to the Zenith communications department, even though their head R&D guy, Dr. Alexander Ellett, was "the daddy of printed circuit boards," they stuck with the traditional point-to-point wiring in all their TV chassis. I have to agree with them from a troubleshooting and component replacement perspective. There's nothing easier than heating a solder lug or terminal post to unwrap a leaded R, L, or C either to measure its value, isolate it from the rest of the circuit for making tests, or to replace it. There is no worry about solder splatter or bridges, overheating the PCB material to cause delamination, or lifting metal traces from the surface. There is also no issue with getting a component lead out of a plated-through hole. Yes, of course modern circuits need multilayer, high density circuit boards...

MECA Electronics: Passive RF & Microwave Components

MECA Electronics

Since 1961, MECA Electronics has designed and manufactured an extensive line of RF & microwave components for in-building, satellite, radar, radio, telemetry, mobile radio, aviation & ATC. Attenuators, directional & hybrid couplers, isolators & circulators, power dividers & combiners, loads, DC blocks, bias-Ts and adapters & cables. MECA has long been the 'backbone' of high performance wired and air-interfaced networks such as in-building applications, satellite communications, radar, radio communications, telemetry applications, mobile radio, aviation & air traffic communications.

Tuesday 28

Cloth Face Mask with Electronics Theme Print

Cloth Face Mask with Electronics Theme Print - RF Cafe Cool ProductAs this is written, we in the U.S. are nearing the end (hopefully) of the virtual house arrest period most of the country has had imposed upon us by overzealous politicians. Part of the "comeback" plan being bandied about by governors is requiring subjects/citizens to don cloth face masks when in public places where the arbitrarily conjured up six-foot "social distancing" rule cannot be easily maintained. Think of the cloth face mask as the equivalent of an ankle bracelet when venturing outside. There is no foreseeable end to this "new normal" imposed upon most of the world. Contrary to what many people believe, the mask's purpose is not to prevent the wearer from inhaling COVID-19 (aka Wuhan Virus, China Virus, CCP Virus - pick your favorite) particles, but to arrest the body fluids emanating from the wearer's mouth and nose from being spewed into the air and/or onto surfaces. In response to the shortage of N95 type masks that are supposed to stop up to 95% of virus particles, many private citizens - mostly women - worked with health care personnel to design cloth masks that are comfortable to wear for long periods of time and are reusable by washing them...

Skyworks SKY5®−5242−11 Dual 2.4 GHz FEM

Skyworks SKY5®−5242−11 Dual 2.4 GHz FEM - RF CafeSkyworks is pleased to introduce the SKY5®−5242−11 a dual 2.4 GHz, 802.11ax high-linearity, high-efficiency front-end module (FEM) designed for Wi-Fi 6 enabled devices including handsets, tablets and mobile devices supporting WLAN and Bluetooth® protocols. This highly integrated FEM includes two transmit and receive chains, an extremely low EVM floor power amplifier, low noise amplifier with bypass, and a SP3T antenna switch. The three transmit modes for high linearity, high efficiency and low gain provide optimal performance. The SKY55242−11 builds on Skyworks' portfolio of revolutionary products for 5G applications...

Time on Screens Has Little Impact on Kids' Social Skills

Time on Screens Has Little Impact on Kids' Social Skills - RF Cafe"Despite the time spent with smartphones and social media, young people today are just as socially skilled as those from the previous generation, a new study suggests. Despite the time spent with smartphones and social media, young people today are just as socially skilled as those from the previous generation, a new study suggests. Researchers compared teacher and parent evaluations of children who started kindergarten in 1998 - six years before Facebook launched - with those who began school in 2010, when the first iPad debuted. Results showed both groups of kids were rated similarly on interpersonal skills such as the ability to form and maintain friendships and get along with people who are different. They were also rated similarly on self-control, such as the ability to regulate their temper..."

Meteor Scatter

Meteor Scatter, April 1953 QST - RF CafeMeteor (burst) scatter communications is an excellent example of where hobbyists - in this case amateur radio operators - have contributed mightily to technology. It could be argued that a big part of the reason for such occasions is that many people involved in science type hobbies are employed professionally in a similar capacity, and their extracurricular activities are a natural extension of what pays for the pastimes. It seems amazing to me that meteor scatter as a means of achieving upper atmosphere reflections of radio signals went undiscovered until 1953, but evidently that is the case. Meteor scatter is a very popular form of amateur radio challenge these days, with much activity when the bigger meteor showers are underway. Prior to 1953, meteor shower study was the sole domain of astronomers...

3D Smith Charts Scattering Parameters Frequency-Dependent...

3D Smith charts scattering parameters frequency-dependent orientation analysis - RF CafeAndrei Muller, co-progenitor of the 3D Smith chart, and a few of his fellow engineers recently published in Nature magazine an article entitled, "3D Smith charts scattering parameters frequency-dependent orientation analysis and complex-scalar multi-parameter characterization applied to Peano reconfigurable vanadium dioxide inductors." It begins, "Recently, the field of Metal-Insulator-Transition (MIT) materials has emerged as an unconventional solution for novel energy efficient electronic functions, such as steep slope subthermionic switches, neuromorphic hardware, reconfigurable radiofrequency functions, new types of sensors, terahertz and optoelectronic devices. Employing radiofrequency (RF) electronic circuits with a MIT material like vanadium Dioxide, VO2, requires appropriate characterization tools and fabrication processes. In this work, we develop and use 3D Smith charts for devices and circuits having complex frequency dependences..."

ConductRF: Precision & Standard Grade RF Cable Assemblies

ConductRF coaxial cables & connectors - RF CafeConductRF is continually innovating and developing new and improved solutions for RF Interconnect needs. See the latest TESTeCON RF Test Cables for labs. ConductRF makes production and test coax cable assemblies for amplitude and phased matched VNA applications as well as standard & precision RF connectors. Over 1,000 solutions for low PIM in-building to choose from in the iBwave component library. They also provide custom coax solutions for applications where some standard just won't do. A partnership with Newark assures fast, reliable access. Please visit ConductRF today to see how they can help your project! 

Monday 27

Simpson Electric Company Advertisement

Simpson Electric Company, May 1954 Radio & Television News - RF CafeBefore the days of cheap stuff from China (now including exotic viruses that cause politicians to shut down entire economies), the supply of most common items- particularly high technology - were the domain of relatively few companies. In some ways it was not entirely a bad thing because, at least theoretically, the economy of scale enabled larger producers to leverage bulk buying, well-equipped development labs and manufacturing equipment, and pooling of talent resources to sell quality products at a lower price. Of course it required that the company had serious competitors or monopolistic tendencies resulted in gouging - it's human nature, unfortunately. Hewlett Packed, as much as I appreciate what the company did for electronics test equipment, had gotten out of hand with its prices until Tektronix, Rohde & Schwarz, Fluke, Berkeley Nucleonics, Simpson, Boonton, Triplet, EICO, Bird, and even RCA began introducing similar equipment at lower prices...

ConductRF D38999 RF & Mixed Signal Cables to 65 GHz

ConductRF D38999 RF & Mixed Signal Cables to 65 GHz - RF CafeAs a designated critical industry, ConductRF continues to operate at full capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic. ConductRF offers a full line of D38999, RF and mixed signal cable solutions with performance up to 65 GHz. D38999 cables are one of our flag ship product capabilities. Standard features include M85049 backshells, RF contacts for #8, #12 & #16 gauge, BMA & SMPM solutions, low loss cable types, phase matching available. Custom marking and serialization also available. Made in the USA. ConductRF coaxial cable assemblies are available for immediate purchase from Digi-Key.

Thanks to TotalTemp Technologies for Continued Support!

TotalTemp Technologies - RF CafeTotalTemp Technologies has more than 40 years of combined experience providing thermal platforms. Thermal Platforms are available to provide temperatures between −100°C and +200°C for cryogenic cooling, recirculating circulating coolers, temperature chambers and temperature controllers, thermal range safety controllers, space simulation chambers, hybrid benchtop chambers, custom systems and platforms. Manual and automated configurations for laboratory and production environments. Please contact TotalTemp Technologies today to learn how they can help your project.

The Tecnetron: Competitor to the Transistor?

The Tecnetron: Competitor to the Transistor?, May 1958 Radio-Electronics - RF CafeBreaking news from May 1958: "Hardly a month passes nowadays without the announcement of some 'sensational' new amplifying device. The great majority of these startling inventions, after their brief flurry in the popular and technical press, disappear into oblivion. But we believe that the Tecnetron, just announced in France, has a brilliant and enduring future." Have you ever heard of a Tecnetron? I didn't think so; neither had I before reading this article in Radio-Electronics. I guess that pretty much negates the preceding prediction. The holy grail of the Tecnetron, whose etymology in and of itself is worth reading about (it's not what you would guess), is that its transconductance increases with frequency. Construction is such that although it is fabricated from a shaped rod of germanium, it has a current controlling component that acts like a cross between a triode vacuum tube and a depletion mode field effect transistor. My guess is that the rapid improvement of standard semiconductor junction field effect transistors rendered...

Get Your Custom-Designed RF Cafe Gear!

Custom-Designed RF-Themed Cups, T-Shirts, Mouse Pads, Clocks (Cafe Press) - RF CafeThis assortment of custom-designed themes by RF Cafe includes T-Shirts, Mouse Pads, Clocks, Tote Bags, Coffee Mugs and Steins, Purses, Sweatshirts, and Baseball Caps. Choose from amazingly clever "We Are the World's Matchmakers" Smith chart design or the "Engineer's Troubleshooting Flow Chart." My "Matchmaker's" design has been ripped off by other people and used on their products, so please be sure to purchase only official RF Cafe gear. My markup is only a paltry 50¢ per item - Cafe Press gets the rest of your purchase price. These would make excellent gifts for husbands, wives, kids, significant others, and for handing out at company events or as rewards for excellent service. It's a great way to help support RF Cafe. Thanks...

Thanks to Copper Mountain Technologies for Continued Support

Copper Mountain TechnologiesCopper Mountain Technologies develops innovative and robust RF test and measurement solutions for engineers all over the world. Copper Mountain's extensive line of unique form factor Vector Network Analyzers include an RF measurement module and a software application which runs on any Windows PC, laptop or tablet, connecting to the measurement hardware via USB interface. The result is a lower cost, faster, more effective test process that fits into the modern workspace in lab, production, field and secure testing environments.

Sunday 26

Engineering & Science Crossword Puzzle April 26

Engineering & Science Crossword Puzzle April 26, 2020 - RF CafeThis April 26, 2020, tech-themed crossword puzzle is bigger than most, figuring that unfortunately many people have more time to kill due to the situation described in the sentence formed by 5 Down, 8 Down, 44 Down, 74 Down, 77 Down, and 80 Down. Otherwise, it contains only clues and terms associated with engineering, science, physical, astronomy, mathematics, chemistry, etc., which I have personally built over nearly two decades. Many new words and company names have been added that had not even been created when I started in the year 2002. You will never find a word taxing your knowledge of a numbnut soap opera star or the name of some obscure village in the Andes mountains. You might, however, encounter the name of a movie star like Hedy Lamarr or a geographical location like Tunguska, Russia, for reasons which, if you don't already know, might surprise you.

Many Thanks to Res-Net Microwave for Continuing Support!

Res-Net Microwave Components - RF CafeRes-Net Microwave has a complete line of precision RF & microwave components including attenuators, terminations, resistors, and diode detectors for commercial, military, and space applications. Products range from the small flange type to large 2,000 watt connectorized power attenuators and/or terminations at frequencies up to 26.5 GHz. In-house photo etch and laser trim capability. The company is a leader in development and production of the films required for these type of RF/microwave components. Please check out Res-Net Microwave's website to see how they can help with your current project.


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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 World Wide Web (Internet) was largely an unknown entity at the time and bandwidth was a scarce commodity. Dial-up modems blazed along at 14.4 kbps while tying up your telephone line, and a nice lady's voice announced "You've Got Mail" when a new message arrived...

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