When reading through this "Thoughts
on Test Equipment" episode of John T. Frye's "Mac's Radio Service Shop"
is seems maybe he was describing what would become two decades later the Betamax
(aka Beta) analog audio-visual (A/V) recording and playback system. Mr. Frye
incorporated that sort of visionary thinking in many of his stories. Here, Mac McGregor
was experimenting with recording "real" television signals on high fidelity audio
tape and then using it later during troubleshooting and alignment of sets in his
shop. The idea was born out of a lament about how specialized and expensive service
test equipment had become as new and more sophisticated radio, TVs, record players,
tape decks, etc., were coming onto the commercial marketplace. Says Mac, "We've
reached the point where our service instruments are more expensive, more complicated,
more subject to trouble, and harder to learn to use than the apparatus..."
"Using radar commonly deployed to track speeders
and fastballs, researchers have developed an automated system that will allow cars
to peer around corners and spot oncoming traffic and pedestrians. The system, easily
integrated into today's vehicles, uses
Doppler radar to bounce radio waves off surfaces such as buildings and parked
automobiles. The radar signal hits the surface at an angle, so its reflection rebounds
off like a cue ball hitting the wall of a pool table. The signal goes on to strike
objects hidden around the corner. Some of the radar signal bounces back to detectors
mounted on the car, allowing the system to see objects around the corner and tell
whether they are moving or stationary..."
National defense needs have pushed back
the frontiers of science and technology since time immemorial. Mechanics, chemistry,
medicine, mathematics, psychology, astronomy, electricity, and as of the late nineteenth
century, electronics. Astronomy was useful as a navigational tool and required a
very sophisticated knowledge of geometry and algebra to make it accessible to seafaring
men, cartographers, and land surveyors. Since the early 1900s,
radio astronomy has played a huge role in the advancement of super-sensitive
receiver designs. Most people think of information arriving to them in two or maybe
three forms: sound, visible light, and some (but not many)
even consider radio waves. As over-the-air AM and FM radio broadcasts die out, even
fewer people are aware of radio waves; they certainly don't think of their WiFi
or cellphone signals...
Copper 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.
Withwave's Precision Test Adapters are designed
based on precision microwave interconnection technologies. The new
1.85 mm to SMPM Connector Adapter Series coaxial test adapters are manufactured
to precise microwave specifications and constructed with male/female gender on side 1
and male/female gender side 2. The precision microwave connector interfaces
ensure an excellent microwave performance up to 67 GHz.
read George Orwell's
published in 1949, a quite a while back. Actually, I only read parts of it as I
found it tedious and disturbing. Recent events show the works to have been eerily
prescient - especially considering the last few months. Of course the groundwork
for the anarchists and enabling government controllers has been in the making for
a long time. Consider this Nineteen Eighty-Four excerpt: "Every record
has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted,
every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered.
And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped.
Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right." -
George Orwell. If that seems familiar, read his
Animal Farm as
well and compare the pigs' actions to that of the police-free zones being established.
Both could have been written in 2020 as an allegory of our current society. Groucho
Marx sings what could be the
theme song for the anarchists.
Atenlab has been operating in Taiwan for
more than a decade, and has sold and installed hundreds chambers around the world.
Holistic, affordable Over-the-Air (OTA) measurement
systems perform comprehensive measurement and test in a controlled environment.
Compact Antenna Test Range (CATR) with one-touch operation supports multiple systems
- 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G - and major instrument brands. [M]ulti-probe OTA measurement systems
offer reduced time measurements over single-probe systems.
Lightning has not changed since the days
when Benjamin Franklin flew his special kite during storms. Contrary to some peoples'
belief, he did not "discover electricity;" rather, the experiment proved his theory
that lightning was a form of electrical discharge. Maybe someone has already
pointed this out, but in effect Franklin put into service the world's first
lightning rod. The conductive (wet with rain) hemp rope between the metal wire
spike on the kite and ground (the plate of a Leyden jar) performed the task a lightning
rod is meant to do - lower the difference of potential between the charged clouds
and ground, thereby reducing the likelihood of an electrical discharge. An induced
current traveled along the rope and charged the Leyden jar. If lightning had actually
struck the kite as fables suggest, Franklin would probably have been killed even
though he was holding on to a silk string attached to the bottom of the hemp string
to provide some insulation. Mr. Kirchhoff's current law would have apportioned
the lightning strike current at the knot joining the two strings according to the
Uncertain Future of Ham Radio." Now there's a loaded title for an article on
the IEEE Spectrum website. Written by Julianne Pepitone asserts, "Software-defined
radio and cheap hardware are shaking up a hobby long associated with engineering."
There are couple ways to look at the situation. One is that the availability of
pre-engineered and built equipment is harming the fundamentals of the hobby by removing
the requirement for a deeper understanding of the fundamentals. Another is that
the real world of engineering is going the same way as well. Freeing up talent from
the need to create and fabricate every minute aspect of a project opens opportunity
for other creativity and skills building. As a documented lover of vintage equipment,
I am willing to allow for modern approaches for vastly improved technology and,
coincidently, lower prices. Ditto for all hobbies and activities.
"The Senate's annual defense policy bill
would authorize an additional $120M toward a space-based sensor layer capable of
tracking hypersonic weapons, despite the fact the Department of Defense did not
seek more funding for the project in its fiscal 2021 budget requests. The
Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor is DoD's answer to the growing
threat posed by hypersonic weapons being developed by China and Russia. Hypersonic
weapons present a significant challenge to the United States' current missile warning
architecture. Not only can these weapons maneuver around ground based sensors, they're
too dim to be picked up and tracked by space-based sensors in higher orbits. HBTSS
theoretically solves this problem via a proliferated constellation of Overhead Persistent
Infrared (OPIR) sensors operating in low earth orbit..."
Proper soldering is almost as much of an
art form as it is a technical skill. Having been through numerous soldering classes
in my career, starting with electrical vocational courses in high school, then again
in USAF technical school, and other times while working as a technician and engineer,
I always exercise care in
making solder joints. Proper preparation - including both tinning of mating
surfaces and a means to prevent the joint members from moving during cool-down -
is of utmost importance for assuring a nice, smooth, shiny joint with just the right
amount of solder. Lead-free solders do not tend to produce the level of shininess
as do the good old 60-40 type tin-lead solders, but you can still make a nice looking
joint. This might be more information than you want to know about me, but I even
strive for perfection in solder joints in copper pipes and fittings used in plumbing
Mssrs. G. Kiesel, P. Bowden, K. Cook, M.
Habib, J. Marsh, D. Reid, C. Phillips, and B. Baker of Georgia Tech Research Institute
have an interesting article on the Aerospace Defense website entitled, "Practical
3D Printing of Antennas and RF Electronics." The earliest forms of 3D printing
involved depositing successive layers of a pasty substance on a substrate, with
a curing steps between layers. Next can using a melted polymer (plastic) filament
to lay down tiers without the need for intermittent curing. For many years processes
have been developed for 3D printing metallic structures. Many of these techniques
are being used in "additive manufacturing" schemes to produce marketable items,
including complex 3D shapes needed for medicine, automotive, and aerospace markets.
This article discusses 3D printing in the RF & microwave realm.
Triad RF Systems designs and manufactures
RF power amplifiers and systems.
Triad RF Systems comprises three partners (hence 'Triad')
with over 40 years of accumulated knowledge of what is required to design, manufacture,
market, sell and service RF/Microwave amplifiers and amplifier systems. PA, LNA,
bi-directional, and frequency translating amplifiers are available, in formats including
tower mount, benchtop, rack mount, and chassis mount. "We view Triad more as a technology
partner than a vendor for our line-of-sight communications product line." Please
check to see how they can help your project.
With more than 1000
custom-built symbols, this has got to be the most comprehensive set of
Visio Symbols available for RF, analog, and digital system and schematic
drawings! Every object has been built to fit proportionally on the provided
A-, B- and C-size drawing page templates (or can use your own). Symbols are provided
for equipment racks and test equipment, system block diagrams, conceptual drawings,
and schematics. Unlike previous versions, these are NOT Stencils, but instead are
all contained on tabbed pages within a single Visio document. That puts everything
in front of you in its full glory. Just copy and paste what you need on your drawing.
The file format is XML so everything plays nicely with Visio 2013 and later...
This week's custom RF Cafe crossword puzzle
contains some words particular to amateur radio, along with other tech-themed words
and clues. Each week for two decades I have created a new
crossword puzzle using only words (1,000s of them) from my custom-created lexicon
related to engineering, science, mathematics, chemistry, physics, astronomy, etc.
You will never find among the words names of politicians, mountain ranges, exotic
foods or plants, movie stars, or anything of the sort. You might, however, find
someone or something in the otherwise excluded list directly related to this puzzle's
technology theme, such as Hedy Lamarr or the Bikini Atoll, respectively. Avid cruciverbalists
amongst us: the gauntlet has been thrown down...
When looking a these
vintage electronics-themed comics, it probably is a case of "you had to have
been there" to appreciate the humor in them. In a world of 24/7 broadcasting of
every TV channel, the first comic wouldn't even make sense to someone who was born
after about 1990, after which time most local over-the-air broadcast stations signed
off at 1:00 or so, played the National Anthem, and then displayed a test pattern
until about 6:00 am. The second comic is from the era of high voltages inside radio
and TV chassis for vacuum tube plates and CRT accelerator grids. That big bulky
thing the guy in the last comic is carrying is a thing called a cathode ray tube
(CRT), which old people used to use to view television shows and SVGA computer displays...
RF Diagnostics, LLC, designs and sells surface
mount RF to DC converters and other building block modules for
RF energy harvesting systems. With our products you can harvest ambient AC/AM/FM/Wireless
Energy to power your IoT battery-free system. For example, the RFDKIT−01 RF Energy
Harvesting Experimenter Kit is intended for energy harvesting developers and hobbyists.
It is intended for low power system developers and hobbyists. The kit contains parts
to collect and manage the power from wireless energy from 1 Hz to 6 GHz.
Users can connect to the modules using the included 4-pin headers with a little
soldering and clipping. We also provide custom designs for RF/microwave and general
electrical engineering products and design contracting services to clients in the
commercial wireless and defense electronics businesses...
LadyBug Technologies was founded in 2004
by two microwave engineers with a passion for quality microwave test instrumentation.
Our employees offer many years experience in the design and manufacture of the worlds
best vector network analyzers, spectrum analyzers, power meters and associated components.
The management team has additional experience in optical power testing, military
radar and a variety of programming environments including LabVIEW, VEE and other
languages often used in programmatic systems. Extensive experience in a broad spectrum
of demanding measurement applications. You can be assured that our Power Sensors
are designed, built, tested and calibrated without compromise.
"A transistorized i.f. stage for a TV set
can be built today to fit into a match box. But
molecular electronics has made possible the production of a device that contains
two such stages and is only a fraction of the size of a single transistor!" Nobody
talks of molecular electronics today, but that really is an accurate term for what
we have when compound semiconductors like GaAs, GaN, or any of the many-atomed exotic
photovoltaic substrates are being discussed. When referring to pure elements like
silicon that are being doped with impurities, I'm not sure those structures are
considered molecules which, according to Dictionary.com, are "the smallest physical
unit of an element or compound, consisting of one or more like atoms in an element
and two or more different atoms in a compound..."
Empower RF Systems'
Model 2225 is a long duty cycle pulsed amplifier operating from 5.2 to
5.9 GHz and represents our new technologically advanced liquid cooled and scalable
architecture. This breakthrough solid state GaN design replaces tube technology
to bring new capabilities to EW, Radar, Directed Energy and Satcom applications
where tens and hundreds of kilowatts of CW and Pulse power are required. This new
modern architecture offers scalability for affordable upgrade paths to future power
needs by adding hardware to an existing system. Additional racks can be combined
and for racks not fully populated, 2U amplifier drawers can be added without the
need for tuning. The amplifier system layout consists of a system controller in
a 3U and up to 16 hot swappable 2U amplifier drawers with each amplifier drawer
containing an integrated power supply in its 2U chassis...
Please take a few moments to visit the
everythingRF website to see how they can assist you with your
project. everythingRF is a product discovery platform for RF and microwave products
and services. They currently have 267,269 products from more than 1397 companies
across 314 categories in their database and enable engineers to search for them
using their customized parametric search tool. Amplifiers, test equipment, power
couplers and dividers, coaxial connectors, waveguide, antennas, filters, mixers,
power supplies, and everything else. Please visit everythingRF today to see how
they can help you.
Radio & Television News editor
Oliver Reed wrote in this 1955 issue about the "flattening" of electronics - including
both individual components and overall assembled products. He described a large
screen, wall-mountable television system with built-in flat stereo electrostatic
speakers. "The so-called 'picture
on the wall' television screen has also received widespread publicity although
such a screen is not yet commercially available. In this system, a flat screen is
connected to the TV receiver by means of a cable, and the picture is formed on the
screen electronically." That is a lot like a large flat LCD or LED monitor being
fed by an HDMI cable from a computer. Mr. Reed also writes of a magnetic tape
video playback system akin to what eventually became the VHS / VCR. Evidently the
concept of an optical-based storage medium like the DVD and Blu-ray disk was too
far out of the realm of possibility...
Anatech Electronics has a handy app note
describing how to
select and specify coaxial cables and assemblies. "Coaxial cables
are too often taken for granted and RF and microwave systems. As a result, they
are often treated like a spool of bell wire, twisted, band, crimped, stepped on,
and subject to assorted other abuses. However, the more you know about coaxial cable
the more likely you are to treat it with respect, as its integrity, lifetime, and
overall performance are at stake. To get a better understanding of coaxial cables
in general, Anatech Electronics has prepared a series of guides that provide information
about RF and microwave coaxial cables ranging from the basics contained in this
application note to more detailed information about characteristics, applications,
specific cable types, and other topics..."
This 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
Lemos 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.
"Do you think that F.C.C. would be engaged
in the present terrific expense and effort of getting our fingerprints and citizenship
histories if there were intention of shutting us down shortly?" That statement was
printed by the QST magazine editor in the issue that preceded the December
7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor by thirteen months. A few things about it are troubling.
FCC was collecting fingerprints of licensed amateur radio operators. Second,
the FCC was assimilating information about licensed amateur radio operators' citizenship
histories. Third, a combination of short-sightedness and apparent naiveté concerning
the FCC's willingness to shut down amateur radio operations once America had been
inevitably drawn into World War II...
Withwave's High Speed & High-density
Multicoax Cable Assemblies (WMX Series) provides a wide range of multiple coax
connectors and flexible cable assemblies with a choice of 20, 40, 50, 67 GHz
configurations based on precision array design and superior high frequency cabling
solutions. WMX Series cables are excellent signal integrity solutions for bench-top
testing and automated test equipment to meet increasing demands of semiconductor
test equipment and optical testing industries. These products consist of high performance
flexible assemblies which can be bundled in housings (8 and 16 channels) and the
interface to board is compression type which provides lower total cost of testing
by avoiding costly soldering components...
KR Electronics designs and manufactures
high quality filters for both the commercial and military markets. KR Electronics'
line of filters includes lowpass,
highpass, bandpass, bandstop and individually synthesized filters for special applications
- both commercial and military. State of the art computer synthesis, analysis and
test methods are used to meet the most challenging specifications. All common connector
types and package form factors are available. Please visit their website today to
see how they might be of assistance. Products are designed and manufactured in the
From about the middle of the 1950s through
stereo systems were a pretty big deal amongst music listeners. A lot of the
interest was driven by rapid improvements in technology in sound recording and reproduction
equipment. An economical boom in the post Korean War years combined with a process
developed by Emory Cook to cut dual channels of stereophonic sound onto vinyl records
enabled a fad fueled by teenagers of building the best home sound systems possible
with available funds. Audiophiliac adults, of course, were also prime motivators
of the technology since they had deeper pockets and could afford higher-end equipment
and larger collections of records. Magnetic tape was also a bit part of the craze,
but the big money was in vinyl. If you peruse the vintage electronics magazines
like this Radio & TV News, Popular Electronics, Electronics World, et al, you
will notice the pages were filled with technical articles on and advertisements
for stereo music reproduction gear...
Measuring Tiny Quasiparticle
a Major Step for Semiconductor Technology
"A team of researchers led by Sufei Shi,
an assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic
Institute, has uncovered new information about the mass of individual components
that make up a promising
quasiparticle, known as an exciton, that could play a critical role in future
applications for quantum computing, improved memory storage, and more efficient
energy conversion. Published today in Nature Communications, the team's work brings
researchers one step closer to advancing the development of semiconductor devices
by deepening their understanding of an atomically thin class of materials known
as transitional metal dichalcogenides (TMDCs), which have been eyed for their electronic
and optical properties..."
Axiom Test Equipment, an electronic test
equipment rental and sales company has published a new blog post that examines
electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrid electric vehicle (HEVs) power systems to
understand what should be tested and how to perform those measurements in order
to achieve peak vehicle operation. Manufacturers of EVs and HEVs are making it simpler
and more convenient to maintain adequate electric charge levels to keep their vehicles
running for longer distances on electric power, enticing more drivers to try these
environmentally friendly vehicles. Of course, testing the electrical motors, systems,
and their components is an important part of ensuring that every EV and HEV has
the longest running times and operating lifetimes possible, and that involves understanding
what needs to be tested and how...
Res-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.
Here is a quick course on how to
point antennas for over-the-horizon (DX) reception, and, if you also happen
to have a license to transmit, for broadcasting. It covers how to determine the
shortest straight-line path by stretching a string around a globe (remember those
spherical maps that used to be a mainstay of every household and schoolroom?) and
using a protractor (a what?) to get the angle. Radio signals unless refracted or
reflected take a great circle route from point A to point B. Long distance airline
flights take the same routes, which explains why flights from London to Los Angeles
fly over Greenland enroute. Author Edward Noll uses a simple 1/2-wave dipole antenna
radiation pattern as an example of how directivity is affected by frequency (relative
to the fundamental)...
ConductRF's DC to 18 GHz TSA90 with
Type-N and SMA options as well as our TSX90 with extended frequency 27 GHz
SMA solutions, are built with a special
dielectric material that eliminates the "Teflon Knee" in phase change over temperature,
which is a common cause for performance variance in RF cables used in different
environments. These cables are over 30% smaller than traditional lab test cables,
so offer users increased flexibility and density particularly where multiple cables
are used together such as semiconductor testing. With connector options up to 27 GHz,
these cables can offer users solutions for both RF test and also internal system
cables. The triple shielding feature also ensure greater effectiveness for EMI...
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.