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Homepage Archive - August 2021 (page 2)

See Page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 of the August 2021 homepage archives.

Friday the 13th

Spot Radio News

Spot Radio News, June 1945 Radio News - RF CafeThis June 1945 issue of Radio News magazine reported on the passing of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt; he died on April 12th. While radio was building its presence as a relatively new form of communication, Roosevelt exploited the technology often with radio speeches and his well-known series of "Fireside Chats." At the outbreak of World War II, many Americans first learned of the December 7th, 1941 ("a date which will live in infamy") Pearl Harbor attack via the radio - before newspapers hit the stands. Calvin Coolidge, Roosevelt's predecessor (and of Herbert Hoover's), actually made the very first radio address. It also included some unwelcome news about the availability of new radio receivers being delayed due to parts shortages. Unbeknownst to me prior to reading this, American vacuum tube companies had been making tubes that worked in German radio sets in order to enable use of Deutsche-made equipment already installed in France and Belgium...

EW: Challenges, Technologies, and Requirements

EW: Challenges, Technologies, and Requirements - RF Cafe"Now a critical part of worldwide defense strategy, Electronic Warfare (EW) must continually adapt in order to meet new threats. To do so, new technology together with emerging standards must be incorporated into EW system designs. Key elements of EW systems are now often combined within a single component, such as the RF System-on-Chip (RFSoC), including signal acquisition, processing, and generation. Hardware, firmware, and software have become more complex, increasing risk and expense, and thereby increasing the need for effective, high-level development tools. Along with emerging technology, EW systems developers must consider emerging U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) initiatives such as Sensor Open Systems Architecture (SOSA)..."

ARRL's New RF Radiation Exposure Calculator

ARRL's New RF Radiation Exposure Calculator - RF CafeThe American Radio Relay League (ARRL) now has an online "RF Radiation Exposure Calculator" available to help amateur radio operators assure their stations comply with FCC Part 97 regulations and Supplement B of OET Bulletin 65, Version 97−01. To wit: "The FCC has adopted guidelines and procedures for evaluating environmental effects of RF emissions. Under the new FCC rules, some amateurs need to perform routine station evaluations to ensure that their stations comply with the RF exposure rules. This can be as simple as running an online calculator to determine the minimum safe distance between any part of your antenna and areas where people might be exposed to RF energy from your station. Although amateurs can make measurements of their stations, evaluations can also be done by calculation..."

Vintage Heathkit CR-1 Crystal Receiver Kit

Vintage Heathkit CR-1 Crystal Receiver Kit - RF Cafe Cool ProductThis vintage Heathkit CR-1 Crystal Receiver kit is one the latest unbuilt Heathkit kits which appeared on eBay, and can still be found there occasionally both in kit form and fully built sets. I have been saving the images in order to preserve the history. The constantly growing list is at the lower right. A PDF version of the Heathkit CR-1 Crystal Receiver Manual can be found here, but I captured the pages (below) in case it disappears someday. Note the information included on the operation of detectors and oscillators. The copyright on the manual is 1956, and it appears in the 1958 Heathkit catalog for $7.95 ($75.10 in 2021 money per the BLS). From the catalog page: "This crystal radio is just the ticket for construction by young people interested in radio or electronics - yet it is definitely not a toy. Employs high-quality standard components throughout. It is even usable as an AM tuner in high fidelity applications. Covering from 540 to 1600 kc...

New for 2021! RF & Electronics Stencils for Visio

RF & Electronics stencils for Visio r4 - RF CafeWith more than 1000 custom-built stencils, this has got to be the most comprehensive set of Visio Stencils 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). Stencils 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...

Thanks Once Again to everythingRF for Long-Time Support!

everything RF Searchable Database - RF CafePlease 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.

Thursday the 12th

How Radar Operates

How Radar Operates, October 1945 Radio-Craft - RF CafeHere is a brief synopsis of radar (radio detection and ranging). Today, most people who would be reading a magazine like Radio-Craft would have at least a layman's level of knowledge of what radar is and how it works. However, in late 1945 when the transition from a wartime society to a "normal" existence was solidly underway, many new terms and types of inventions previously withheld for defense security reasons were being released into the public domain. I have mentioned previously that some people were vehemently against making a lot of the stuff known, but government agencies wanted to get the information out in order to promote innovation for improvement, to provide new technology for manufacturers, and to reward citizens for the lifestyle and personal safety sacrifices made in order to help secure victory...

Stealth Technology for Small Satellites

Stealth Technology for Small Satellites - RF Cafe"A research team in the Nanjing, Jiangsu province, has developed stealth technology for small satellites to avoid radar detection. Spotting and tracing a small satellite is difficult, even with a large telescope, but some ground-based radar stations can identify an object as small as a pen in near-Earth orbit. According to the Chinese researchers, the new stealth technology could reduce the strength of radar signals by more than 80 percent, making the small satellite virtually invisible on a radar screen. Radar operators often scan the sky for electromagnetic waves of different frequencies, interacting with a wide range of materials to ensure they do not miss anything..."

The "Univac"

The Univac, January 1957 Radio & Television News - RF CafeThe Remington Rand "Univac" (UNIVersal Automatic Computer) computer was delivered on March 31, 1951. Its main memory consisted of liquid mercury delay lines arranged in 1000 words of 12 alphanumeric characters each. A Univac famously calculated the first presidential race forecast - Eisenhower vs. Stevenson - and was correct! This 1957 report in Radio & Television News magazine mentions how "giant electronic computers no longer rank as laboratory curiosities or frightening science-fiction robots." The Unisys company is today's descendant of Remington Rand...

Delco's All-Transistor Auto Radio

Delco's All-Transistor Auto Radio, August 1957 Radio & TV News - RF CafeIn 1957, only a top-of-the-line automobile deserved a radio containing 13 discrete transistors and four crystal diodes. Only buyers of such a top-of-the-line vehicle could afford the luxury offered by an electronic marvel that promised instant-on music with superior sensitivity and selectivity over the vacuum tube models that lesser humans endured. As shown in this 1957 issue of Radio & TV News magazine, Delco's Model 7268085 was up to the task as it populated the dashboards of Cadillac's Eldorado Brougham. Modern day radios use a single IC for performing all reception, filtering, amplification, and tuning functions, with superior performance compared to the Delco without all the interstage tuning transformers, Rs, Ls, and Cs. Most of the rest of the circuitry in your car radio is for microprocessor control...

3 Practical Steps to Begin the Custom RF Power Amplifier Design Process

Triad RF Systems Blog: 3 Practical Steps to Begin the Custom RF Power Amplifier Design Process - RF CafeTriad RF Systems, a leading designer and manufacturer of innovative RF/Microwave amplifiers and integrated radio systems for challenging environments, presents their newest Blog entry entitled, "3 Practical Steps to Begin the Custom RF Power Amplifier Design Process." It outlines the process to Research and Plan with Size and Performance in Mind; to Design, Simulate, Manufacture; and to Test, Tune and Repeat. "It takes years of expertise to push the boundaries of linearizing RF Solid State Power Amplifiers (SSPAs) while maintaining a price structure that allows RF amplifier solutions to meet cost targets. So, due diligence is crucial. Please feel free to contact us with any question." You can also download our paper entitled "Key Considerations for a Successful Custom RF Amplifier Design."

Promote Your Company on RF Cafe

Sponsor RF Cafe for as Little as $40 per Month - RF CafeRF Cafe typically receives 8,000-15,000 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 16,000 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, which keeps the major search engines interested enough to spider it multiple times each day. Items added on the homepage often can be found in a Google search within a few hours of being posted. I also re-broadcast homepage items on LinkedIn. If you need your company news to be seen, RF Cafe is the place to be.

Many Thanks to KR Electronics for Helping Deliver RF Cafe!

KR ElectronicsKR 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 USA.

Wednesday the 11th

Microwaves: Part III - Antennas and Radiators 

Microwaves: Part III - Antennas and Radiators, October 1945 Radio-Craft - RF CafeMajor Eugene Skinner (a mere Captain when the previous two parts were written) wrote many articles about radar and microwave technology for Radio-Craft magazine. In 1945 he provided a three-part series entitled "Microwaves." This third part focuses on antennas and radiators, including waveguides and feedhorns. The discussion is high level covering the basic operation of basic circuit elements, so it is excellent fodder for people new to the field - hobbyists, students, technicians, and engineers. The previous two parts are also available if you want to start at the beginning...

Engineering and Technology History Wiki (ETHW) - Dr. Dave Leeson

Engineering and Technology History Wiki (ETHW), Dr. Dave Leeson - RF Cafe SmorgasbordIf you have not yet discovered the Engineering and Technology History Wiki (ETHW) website, now would be a good time to surf on over and take a look at the vast resources there - particularly the "Oral-History" series of in-person interviews of our field's top scientists and engineers. Among them are Dr. Harold Beverage, Dr. Ulrich L. Rohde (N1UL), Harold S. Black, Harold A. Wheeler, Dr. Irwin Jacobs and Dr. Andrew Viterbi, and of particular significance to me, Dr. David B. Leeson (W6NL), founder of California Microwave and Ham radio contesting champion. Many of the oral interviews were conducted in the pre-Internet era and some of the people are no longer with us. A few days ago, I had the honor of being contacted Dr. Leeson as part of his search for information he wants for some work he is doing. His name is familiar to amateur radio contesters who participate in DX (long distance) events. Most Hams do their part from home-based "shacks" while others join in during Hamfest gatherings. Some adventuresome and hardy souls set up temporary (and sometimes fixed) stations in remote locations around the world in order to provide rare and exotic contact opportunities, where coveted QSL cards can be collected...

Drone-Based Field Measurement System™ (dB-FMS)™

Drone-Based Field Measurement System™ (dB-FMS)™ - RF CafeHere is a million dollar idea for you to consider. I hereby dub it the "Drone-Based Field Measurement System™"(dB-FMS™). The concept came to me while reading a column in QST magazine discussing the use of the EZNEC antenna radiation pattern prediction software. As you know unless an antenna is situated in a perfect, unobstructed environment like in the middle of a desert with a perfectly uniform ground or on a space-based platform, physical obstacles and variations in surface conductivity can significantly alter the 3-dimensional field distribution. Columnist Joel Hallas (W1ZR) is a master at EZNEC and is routinely called upon to model antenna systems for people. As important as length and orientation of antenna elements are, the ground plane configuration can have a profound impact on the radiation pattern, particularly when the antenna is less than a wavelength above ground. Areas of low soil conductivity require placement of conductive wire radials below, on top of, or above the ground surface, at specific lengths (or not), arrayed in various spacing...

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. 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...

Many Thanks to ISOTEC for Continued Support!

ISOTEC Corporation - RF CafeSince 1996, ISOTEC has designed, developed and manufactured an extensive line of RF/microwave connectors, between-series adapters, RF components and filters for wireless service providers including non-magnetic connectors for quantum computing and MRI equipments etc. ISOTEC's product line includes low-PIM RF connectors components such as power dividers and directional couplers. Off-the-shelf and customized products up to 40 GHz and our low-PIM products can meet -160 dBc with 2 tones and 20 W test. Quick prototyping, advanced in-house testing and high-performance. Designs that are cost effective practical and repeatable.

Tuesday the 10th

The Radio Bomb Did Exist

The Radio Bomb Did Exist, October 1945 Radio-Craft - RF CafeI frequently refer to magazine editor, inventor, author, and futurist Hugo Gernsback as a genius who accomplished as much in his lifetime as just about anyone has. He often noted in his magazines, including as in the 1945 issue of Radio-Craft, where products, methods, and events he predicted ended up coming true. It might seem like a case of "blowing his own horn," so to speak, but the fact is that then, as now, you have to publicize your successes because competitors and those who wish to cause you harm will not do it for you. Here, he had described a year previous a "Radio Bomb" which had the capability of radio controlled guidance, including onboard navigation for pinpointing targets in the final phase of flight. An onboard transmitter provided telemetry enabling tracking and correction...

ConductRF Ready-Made "Plug-in" RF Cable Assemblies for D38999 & VITA67

ConductRF Ready-Made "Plug-in" RF Cable Assemblies for D38999 & VITA67 - RF CafeWe know, many times you want to just buy your RF assemblies to plug in to your Circular D38999 Connector or your VITA67 module. Well know ConductRF offers multiple solutions for both styles of Multi-Port connector all available on short lead times based on our on hand materials stock.D38999 integrates BMA, SMPM & SMPS Connectors, also other #8, #12 & #16 coax contact solutions. VITA67.1/2 uses SMPM solutions, but the new VITA67.3 also offers SMPS and NanoRF to support your coax. These are 100% factory tested to exacting VSWR and Loss standards because, We know, Results Count!

Information Transfer Reaches Quantum Speed Limit

Information Transfer Reaches Quantum Speed Limit - RF Cafe"Even though quantum computers are a young technology and aren't yet ready for routine practical use, researchers have already been investigating the theoretical constraints that will bound quantum technologies. One of the things researchers have discovered is that there are limits to how quickly quantum information can race across any quantum device. These speed limits are called Lieb-Robinson bounds, and, for several years, some of the bounds have taunted researchers. For certain tasks, there was a gap between the best speeds allowed by theory and the speeds possible with the best algorithms anyone had designed. It's as though no car manufacturer could figure out how to make a model that reached the local highway limit..."

EZNEC Free Beginning January 2022

EZNEC Free Beginning January 2022 - RF CafeAlert: EZNEC Free in January 2022 - RF CafeThis is big news from EZNEC antenna simulator creator Roy Lewallen, (W7EL) for both Amateurs and Professionals: "On January 1, 2022, I will be retiring. I'll be nearly 76 and want to spend more time at other things. EZNEC is and always has been developed, sold, and supported only by me, so all development, sales, and support will end at that time. For several reasons there is no practical way to sell or transfer ownership to someone else, so here's what will happen on that date: EZNEC will be released to the public domain and become free of cost and can be freely copied and distributed..." Until then, you can support Mr. Lewallen with the purchase of his industry-changing EZNEC software.

Stable Microwave Oscillators

Stable Microwave Oscillators, July 1966 QST - RF CafeLong before digital communications was widely adopted, there was a great need for stable frequency-determining devices / systems. That is to say, low bit error rates (BER) for digital communications are not the sole motivation for oscillators with low short-term and long-term stability and low levels of jitter. One obvious need for precise frequency control is radar, in order for accurate ranging (the second "R" in radar) and in the case of Doppler systems, for accurate radial velocity reporting and clutter cancellation. Those capabilities existed long before digital systems came online. Aside from radar, precise frequency was needed in order to reduce guard band width between assigned channel assignments, thereby enabling more broadcast stations (commercial and military) to coexist in an allotted frequency band...

A.O. Smith Gas Hot Water Heater Flame Sensor Repair

A.O. Smith Gas Hot Water Heater Flame Sensor Repair - RF CafeWithout warning, a couple days ago our hot water heater became just a cold water storage tank. Our A.O. Smith GCV 40 100 HWH had been functioning perfectly since we acquired it with the house in 2008. Being a gas hot water heater, I had a bit trepidation about messing with it since gas has a way of exploding at the most inconvenient times - like when your face is staring into a burner chamber. I attack electrical problems with near-reckless abandon from having dealt with AC and DC supplies and controls for nearly five decades. Nevertheless, last December when our Trane VX95 gas furnace decided it was time to be a cold air storage container, I sought advice on the Internet for how to exact a repair - and found it. The problem was a dirty flame sensor element. I cleaned it per recommendation and it has work just fine ever since. I wondered, therefore, whether the gas hot water heater might be experiencing the same phenomenon. After all, it was exhibiting the same sort of behavior...

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 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.

Monday the 9th

Broadcast Equipment - Towers 

Broadcast Equipment - Towers, October 1945 Radio-Craft - RF CafeDon Hoefler, widely credited for being the first author to use the term "Silicon Valley" in print* to refer to the rapidly building semiconductor region of the San Francisco Bay area, published a series of articles in the 1944-1945 timeframe in Radio-Craft magazine about radio and television broadcast equipment. This particular installment is part XII, covering broadcast antenna towers. At the time, commercial installations were few and far between as priority was given to scarce resources for military applications. He discusses the tradeoffs involved in various vertical antenna designs, including the tower structures: top-loading, center-loading, etc. When I first looked at the traditional tapered tower design I thought about how labor-intensive such calculations might be and sure enough, he mentions that constant-cross-section towers were gaining favor due to the relative ease of computations for predicting radiation patterns and impedance matching. Still, it required a lot of slide rule work...

High Performance Flexible Electronics

High Performance Flexible Electronics - RF Cafe"Using an unconventional fabrication technique, researchers have created ultra-thin, ultra-flexible, high-performance electronics including active devices. Flextronics - meaning flexible electronics including the active and passive devices as well as their carrier (akin to a PCB) - is an attractive and hot area of interest, especially for wearables and even some IoT applications. However, developing such a carrier and components with superior flexibility and ruggedness, as well as sufficient electronic performance, has been a challenge. Thus far, the primary engineering impediment has been the formation of these almost impossibly thin devices: It requires a process that’s far too heat-intensive for their flexible plastic substrates. These flexible materials..."

Mathematical Basics of Bandlimited Sampling and Aliasing

Mathematical Basics of Bandlimited Sampling and Aliasing - RF CafeA surprising number of people write to me wanting to know what happened to Gary Breed's RF Design magazine. Recently, there was an interest in this "Mathematical Basics of Bandlimited Sampling and Aliasing" article, authored by Vladimir Vitchev of Maxim Integrated Products (aka Maxim), which appeared in the January 2005 issue of RF Design. Fortunately, Archive.org has a copy of it on its website. It begins: "Modern applications often require that we sample analog signals, convert them to digital form, perform operations on them, and reconstruct them as analog signals. The important question is how to sample and reconstruct an analog signal while preserving the full information of the original..." BTW, here is a webpage with many downloadable RF Design articles (also here).

Bell Telephone Laboratories Salutes 3 New Nobel Prize Winners

Bell Telephone Laboratories Salutes Three New Nobel Prize Winners, February 1957 Radio & Television News - RF CafeAnyone visiting RF Cafe (other than by accident) almost certainly knows of Drs. Bardeen, Brattain and Shockley fame for their transistor invention while jointly working at the Bell Telephone Laboratories. The trio shared The Nobel Prize in Physics in 1956. Bell was so proud of their employees' efforts that they ran full page advertisements to boast of the accomplishment. This one appeared in the February 1957 edition of Radio & Television News. Alas, Ma Bell's moment of glory was a bit diminished by needing to add a footnote admitting that Drs. Bardeen and Shockley no longer work there. Note that while the ad says the transistor was announced in 1948, the first demonstration to Bell managers was in December of 1947...

New for 2021! RF & Electronics Stencils for Visio

RF & Electronics stencils for Visio r4 - RF CafeWith more than 1000 custom-built stencils, this has got to be the most comprehensive set of Visio Stencils 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). Stencils 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...

Please Thank IPP for Their Long-Time Support!

Innovative Power ProductsInnovative 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 are serviced around the world. Please take a couple minutes to visit their website and see how IPP can help you today.

Sunday the 8th

Engineering Theme Crossword Puzzle for August 8th

Engineering Theme Crossword Puzzle for August 8th, 2021 - RF CafeThis Engineering Theme crossword puzzle for August 8th, 2021, contains only words and clues related to engineering, mathematics, chemistry, physics, and other technical words. As always, this crossword contains no names of politicians, mountain ranges, exotic foods or plants, movie stars, or anything of the sort unless it/he/she is related to this puzzle's technology theme (e.g., Hedy Lamarr or the Bikini Atoll). The technically inclined cruciverbalists amongst us will appreciate the effort. Enjoy!


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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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