Berkeley Nucleonics Corporation (BNC) is
a leading manufacturer of precision electronic instrumentation for test, measurement,
and nuclear research. Founded in 1963, BNC initially developed custom pulse generators.
We became known for meeting the most stringent requirements for high precision and
stability, and for producing instruments of unsurpassed reliability and performance.
We continue to maintain a leadership position as a developer of custom pulse, signal,
light, and function generators. Our designs incorporate the latest innovations in
software and hardware engineering, surface mount production, and automated testing
As evidenced by this advertisement in a circa
1951 issue of Radio & Television News magazine,
Channel Master has been producing commercial broadcast television and radio
antennas and antenna accessories for a really long time. They are one of the very
few companies still making such items, with RCA being another. A few years ago I
bought a high gain Channel Master VHF-UHF-FM antenna for use with my vintage Alliance
Model U-100 Tenna-Rotor. Both companies still sell remote control (wired) antenna
rotators. Being an ardent over-the-air broadcast adherent, having a good old-fashioned
steerable, multielement antenna is quite nice. I can dial in any TV or FM radio
station within 50 miles, and some from over 100 miles away. I would like to have
a similar setup for AM radio, but the antenna length gets out of hand at 530 to
1,700 MHz (525 to 1,705 MHz including 10 kHz channel spacing)...
in the U.S. and China have made the first
drive using a technique called tip-enhanced near-field infrared nanolithography
(TNINL). The device, which can store digital data with a density of 64 GB per square
inch, is robust in the face of harsh conditions such as heat, moisture, gamma radiation
or high magnetic fields. While a silk-based hard drive is unlikely to match the
speed and storage capacity of state-of-the-art solid-state drives at the same cost,
its unique set of features makes it promising for electronics that could be implanted
in the body. Lithography techniques are routinely used to make devices with optical
storage densities as high as several hundred GB per square inch. However, it can
be time-consuming to create small features with these methods, and it also requires
costly and sophisticated fabrication procedures..."
Writing about 'outdated' methods of
radio-based facsimile machine implementation in 1934 seems a bit incredible
considering how relatively new both technologies were at the time. Nevertheless,
Radio-Craft magazine editor Hugo Gernsback reported on the new era of fax
machines that were on display at the 1933 World's Fair in Chicago. Of course fax
machines of that time were not exactly desktop models that could be located in a
corner of your office or cubicle (not that cubicles were common). If you substitute
transistors for vacuum tubes, stepper motors for simple DC motors and solenoids,
and solid state lasers and LEDs for incandescent light sources, the fundamentals
have not changed much...
If you like stories about problems caused
by the "because we've always done it that way" mindset, then you'll appreciate this
"Tales from the Cube" episode by Marshall Bell. While "Tracking down
a Misplaced Oscillation," Mr. Bell applies a seasoned designer's instinctive
method of ruling out potential causes of a problem from the device under test (DUT)
and then verifying the test setup. In this instance, what was likely an expensive
new iteration of an integrated circuit could have been avoided. Yours truly once
solved a longstanding transmitter oscillation issue. Upon starting at a new company,
I was assigned to resolve the problem which occurred after the unit warmed up. Previous
"solutions" involved sprinkling capacitors around the power supply and control lines.
Turns out it was the output transistor voltage biasing scheme causing the problem.
A simple change cured the oscillations over all temperature ranges. Many times a
fresh set of eyes can spot what other highly competent investigators overlook.
TotalTemp Technologies has more than 40 years
of combined experience providing thermal platforms.
Thermal Platforms are
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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.
September 13th's custom
Radio & Wireless themed crossword puzzle contains only only words from my
custom-created lexicon related to engineering, science, mathematics, chemistry,
physics, astronomy, etc. (1,000s of them). 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. The technically inclined cruciverbalists amongst
us will appreciate the effort.
Swan Electronics was another of the many
electronics equipment companies that was started in the founder's garage - literally
- and built a loyal customer following in their areas of specialty. Probably the
most famous example is Bill Hewett and Dave Packard's garage (known affectionately
among enthusiasts as "The HP Garage"). As evidenced by this RF frequency counter
advertisement in QST magazine (six pages worth), Swan manufactured a line of products
for the radio amateur including transceivers, antennas, and a few pieces of test
equipment. Swan Electronics merged with Cubic Corporation in 1967. Information on
this frequency counter and some of the other accessories sold by Swan Electronics
can be found on this Swan Virtual Museum website...
Axiom Test Equipment, an electronic test
equipment rental and sales company has published a new blog post entitled "Advances
in DC Power Supplies" that offers advice on how to determine what the specifications
need to be for your DC power supply application. Programmability of many models
permits not just setting of constant DC voltage and current levels, but also in
some cases setting of source impedance and creation of complex outputs similar to
those possible with dedicated waveform generators. Often the needs of a DC power
supply for design and development differ from those of production floors and repair
/ alignment activities, so you cannot always apply a one-size-fits-all philosophy.
"Advances in DC Power Supplies" is a good place to start your research. Additionally,
user manuals provided by manufacturers are a great source for application suggestions...
"Managing the heat generated in electronics
is a huge problem, especially with the constant push to reduce the size and pack
as many transistors as possible in the same chip. The whole problem is how to manage
such high heat fluxes efficiently. Usually, electronic technologies, designed by
electrical engineers, and cooling systems, designed by mechanical engineers, are
done independently and separately. But now, EPFL researchers have quietly revolutionized
the process by combining these two design steps into one: They've developed an
integrated microfluidic cooling technology together with the electronics that
can efficiently manage the large heat fluxes generated by transistors. Their research,
which has been published in Nature, will lead to even more compact electronic devices..."
"My God, man! Drilling holes in his head
isn't the answer! Now put away your butcher knives and let me save this patient
before it's too late!" Those classic words were uttered by Dr. McCoy in "Star Trek
IV: The Voyage Home," after Lt. Chekov (promoted from Ensign after the TV series)
sustained brain damage as a result of falling from a "nuclear wessel" when 20th
century naval surgeons were about to open his skull to relieve pressure from swelling.
Look at these images from a 1932 article on using radio waves "to
protective fever in killing germs of a number of diseases." 10 to 30 meters
was a popular wavelength band at a power of about 500 watts. The patient's body
part to be treated is placed between the plates to act "as a dielectric" while the
liquids are heated via induced oscillations similar to how a microwave oven works.
How did the doctors know when the treat...
Incredibly, 18 years has passed since the extremist
Islamic attack on American soil on the morning of
September 11, 2001
. Nearly 3,000 citizens died that day. World leaders have
embarked on a path of colonizing our homelands with groups of
people that are known to harbor sympathies for the terrorists. They dwell among
us now and mean to do us harm when opportunity presents itself - which it has on
numerous occasions in the past many years. Never forget the people who died in the
burning towers, the Pentagon, and the airplanes, and those left behind to grieve
and get on with life. Never forget the police and military members who fought -
and some died - to keep us safe and free. Never forget the rotten politicians who
imperil our existence with their selfish agendas.
Qorvo / Custom MMIC is a
fabless RF and microwave MMIC
designer entrusted by government and defense industry OEMs. Custom and off-the-shelf
products include switches, phase shifters, attenuators, mixers and multipliers,
and low noise, low phase noise, and distributed amplifiers. From next-generation
long range military radar systems, to advanced aerospace and space-qualified satellite
communications, microwave signal chains are being pushed to new limits - and no
one understands this more than Custom MMIC. Please contact Qorvo / Custom MMIC today
to see how they use their modern engineering, testing and packaging facility to
help your project.
My interest in astronomy really
took off while I was living in the barracks at Robins AFB, Georgia, back in
the 1979-1982 timeframe. Being in the middle of a huge airfield is not the best
place for observing because of all the lights. I discovered that the roof of the
three-story barracks was a good place to escape the human and motorized traffic.
The lock on the roof access hatch in the stairwell had been left off so I would
drag my telescope up there when the skies were clear. The heat coming off the roof
would wreak havoc with viewing, but my telescope was not all that great anyway.
One time while headed to the roof, equipment in tow, a guy I knew stopped me to
ask what I was doing. When I explained about my interest in astronomy, he got really
enthusiastic and began tell me about how he followed the stars, too - as an astrologer.
After politely indulging his story, I continued skyward. From that time on I have
been careful to always emphasize "astronomy" as opposed to "astrology,"
lest another such encounter ensue. Historically, there has been a close connection...
"Quantum research in both information science
and sensing shows great promise for enabling a host of new defense applications.
A major hindrance to transitioning breakthroughs from the laboratory to practical
use, however, is the extensive equipment needed to cool and trap atoms to exploit
their quantum features. To address this challenge, DARPA has announced its
Science of Atomic Vapors
for New Technologies (SAVaNT) program. SAVaNT seeks to advance the performance
of room-temperature atomic vapors to enable future opportunities for unprecedented
combinations of low size, weight, and power (SWaP) with performance across multiple
Department of Defense domains..."
There is no arguing that digital multimeters
are vastly superior to
analog meters in many - maybe even most - ways. However, analog meters still
have applications that make them indispensible in situations like monitoring slow
variations in parameters and for quick visual approximations of values. One example
is looking for variation of voltage or current levels under varying loads. Yes,
digital instruments are available that emulate an analog display in certain modes,
but that just proves the point of he usefulness of an analog movement. Another is
the familiar control panel filled with meters where clusters are trimmed to be centered
or at one extreme when the system is running optimally. Yes, effectively the same
result can be obtained with digital readouts and colored status lights...
San Francisco Circuits PCB School: How do
you keep up with new developments in microelectronics as devices become smaller
and the space on a PCB becomes even more important? PCB packages keep getting smaller
and smaller and smaller... as the world keeps demanding more dense PCBs. Will microelectronics
be able to meet the new demands in this new world? What does the new world of
microelectronics and PCB production look like? San Francisco Circuits, a provider
of advanced printed circuit board (PCB) fabrication, assembly, and services, makes
the point that as devices continue to have reduced form factors, precision in microelectronics
becomes even more imperative. Not to mention, smaller PCBs affect overall PCB design,
production, and even assembly...
It's a couple days late for the anniversary
of the September 8, 1966,
debut of Star Trek, but this fairly extensive slideshow on the Smithsonian
Institution website has a lot of good information about the history of the original
U.S.S. Enterprise model used for taping the TV show. The model, made of poplar
wood and molded plastic, was donated to the Smithsonian Institution in 1974, where
it underwent restoration before being paced on display. Overall length was a little
of 11 feet, and the crew saucer had a diameter of about 5 feet. Here is a short
video documentary of some of the U.S.S.
Enterprise restoration work being done. Every few weeks, Melanie and I watch episodes
of the original 3-season series from our DVD set.
Empower RF Systems
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Unprecedented size, weight and power reduction of our amplifiers is superior to
anything in the market at similar frequencies and power levels.
When I began reading this piece I wasn't
sure whether it was reporting on interference caused to amateur radio operation
interference caused by amateur radio operation. It turns out to be the latter.
Ever since radio operation began in the days of Marconi, unintentional interference
has been a problem. The problem has always been a combination of improper transmitter
and/or receiver filtering. Electromagnetic spectrum regulatory agencies attempt
to assess and address interference through operational band assignments for particular
segments of the spectrum, including how much residual (unintentional) power can
be emitted outside of band or within a defined power mask. Amateur radio operators
are often the first group to be suspected of causing interference, no doubt due
to the "amateur" part of their moniker. In truth, many amateurs are some of the
most knowledgeable and responsible users of the airwaves...
A fascinating article entitled "Decoding
Numbers Stations" appeared in the November 2019 issue of the ARRL's QST
magazine. Fortunately, it is the month's free article made available to everyone.
I had planned to do some research into it and doing a write−up but just haven't
had the time, so I'm posting this brief intro instead. Per author Allison McLellan,
"Scanning through the bands on AM, you stumble upon something odd. It might be the
last few notes of a folk song, a sound clip from an old cartoon, or phrases in a
different language. A voice cuts through the static, methodically calling out, 'Mike,
India, Whiskey, One, Four…' But this isn't a fellow ham announcing their call sign.
These are numbers stations, an eerie subset of radio stations that has intrigued
hams and non-hams alike for decades. Behind the Voices Numbers stations are shortwave
AM radio stations that transmit messages via voice or Morse code, believed to be
coded in onetime pad (OTP) cryptography. In OTPs, the message is comprised of strings
of numbers or letters assigned to the letters of the message, based on a pre-determined,
randomized key shared between the transmitting and receiving parties..."
"A new prototype antenna for the U.S. Space
Force has passed a milestone test, the contractors involved announced August 31.
The new multi-band, multimission antenna is under development to address a serious
problem: As the military puts an ever-increasing number of satellites on orbit,
where will the services put all of the antennas needed to connect to them? The
single-phased array antenna can connect simultaneously with multiple satellites
at once over multiple frequencies, even if they are in different orbits. The prototype
could significantly reduce the terrestrial footprint needed to leverage the Defense
Department's growing portfolio of space-based systems..."
All RF Cafe quizzes make great fodder for
employment interviews for technicians or engineers - particularly those who are
fresh out of school or are relatively new to the work world. Come to think of it,
they would make equally excellent study material for the same persons who are going
to be interviewed for a job. This
RF, Microwave, and Millimeter-Wave Components quiz is based on the information
presented in Handbook of RF, Microwave, and Millimeter-Wave Components,
by Sergey M. Smolskiy, Leonid A. Belov, and Victor N. Kochemasov.
The company formerly known as National Instruments
is conducting an online seminar entitled, "Data
Acquisition 101: How to Spec and Select Your Next DAQ System," on September
22, from noon to 1 PM Eastern. "If you're looking to build a better DAQ system,
start here! We've curated a DAQ checklist to ensure you think of everything for
your next test. In this webinar, we'll review the basics of data acquisition and
provide expert tips to refine your hardware and software selection. You'll learn
how resolution impacts your data and how sample rates might not always be what they
seem. We'll also highlight NI's hardware and software options for DAQ, and help
you choose the right fit for your needs and budget. Join us on September 22, and
get ready to take better data..."
Nova Microwave is a leader in technically differentiated
electronic and radio frequency Ferrite Circulators and Isolators that connect, protect and control
critical commercial and military wireless telecommunications systems. Our staff
is dedicated to research and development of standard and custom design quality Ferrite
Circulators and Isolators from 380 MHz to 26.5 GHz. Available in single
or multi-junction topographies, the Nova Microwave product line of is specifically
designed for use in varied environmental and temperature extremes.
Radio Laboratories, aka CRL) was a major manufacturer of capacitors in the early
days of radio and television, and pioneered many of the ceramic compounds that eventually
replaced paper and mica as dielectrics. In fact, according to this 2-page advertisement
in a 1951 issue of Radio & Television News magazine, their researchers
mixed and tested more than 20,000 ceramic compounds while developing a line of capacitors
that met strict precision, stability, and durability tests. It is reminiscent of
Thomas Edison reportedly having tried a thousand or more filament types for his
incandescent light bulb before arriving on a suitable candidate. Centralab did not
invent ceramic capacitors, but they played an important role in their adoption.
As with many of the early electronics companies, Centralab no longer exists. It
was bought by Philips...
"RFISee, a developer of affordable imaging
radars for the automotive industry, has unveiled the world's first
phased array 4D imaging radar on a chip. RFISee's all weather radar has proven
its ability to detect cars from 500 meters away and pedestrians from 200 meters
away, with an angular resolution greater than 1 degree. The company's engineers
have adapted Phased Array antenna technology, used in cutting edge military systems
including the F-35 fighter jet and in air defense systems, while at the same time
reducing the price to the current level of automotive sensors. Prototypes of RFISee's
radar are under evaluation by top automotive OEMs and Tier-1s. Unlike many traditional
and new types of radars, RFISee's patented 4D imaging radar uses a powerful focused
There are still a lot of vacuum tube guys
out there who might remember enough about them to score well on this quiz that appeared
in the February 1961 edition of Popular Electronics magazine. My own exposure
was mainly with airport surveillance and precision approach radars while in the
USAF. The VHF and UHF aeronautical band radios also contained vacuum tubes, but
we didn't service them. We didn't have a lot of the fancy special purpose tubes
shown here, but I was able to guess correctly on some of them based on how the tube
is constructed and the response curves. Still, I'm embarrassed to tell you my overall
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
Empower RF Systems, a leading provider of
high-power ultra-broadband radio frequency (RF) amplifier solutions, is looking
Test Engineer. The successful candidate will reporting to the Production Test
Manager and partner closely with our engineering teams. The RF Test Engineer develops
and performs test solutions for RF products from concept through manufacturing release.
He/she supports product development evaluations and final product characterization
testing, and works with the development team in providing testability planning,
strategies and methodologies. Specify and recommend test resources, processes, capabilities,
and technology, set-up test circuits to measure the electrical parameters of products...
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