Please Thank Amplical for
Helping to Deliver RF Cafe
focuses on premium quality amplifiers and attenuators
at affordable prices. Amplifiers are tuned for exceptional amplitude flatness and our attenuators
are designed for precision and the utmost in accuracy. Their products are typically available
from stock. It is their pleasure and honor to provide you with both an exceptional product and
exceptional service. Amplical features GaAs technology.
Merry Christmas 2012!
one to worry about being un-PC, I want to wish everyone who celebrates
Christmas a very
Merry one, and a
New Year to All, regardless of your beliefs! These are a few of
my favorite Christmas videos. Enjoy.
Pat Nelson: Ace of Test Pilots
seen in A Christmas Story)
you remember the scene in A Christmas Story where the kids Ralphie's the classroom
all wear fake teeth and the teacher, Mrs. Shields, collects them and tosses them in her desk
drawer? That drawer is filled with many formerly confiscated items, including a copy of "Pat
Nelson: Ace of Test Pilots" (copyright 1937). The story is
about a daring young pilot who is regarded by his peers as one of the best test pilots and racing
pilots in the country. Pat's life is one of tragedy and victory. His father was killed during
a robbery that also left his youngest brother, 'The Kid,' paralyzed from a bullet wound, and
his other brother missing after being absconded by the gang of thugs. The book appeals to me
from many aspects. As my AirplanesAndRockets.com
website attests to, I have been a lifelong lover of aircraft of all types. As my
RFCafe.com website attests to, I have been
a lifelong lover of electronics of all types. The Kid, happens to be an "expert radio Ham"
(license number W-103) who is constantly in contact with Pat when
he's in the air. He (The Kid) was "a true member of that great
clan of radio amateurs who never leave their post when danger threatens"
is an amazingly detailed article on how to construct and operate a near-lab-quality
out of relatively inexpensive components. A bridge is used to determine the precise value of
a resistor, capacitor, or inductor. Prior to modern, easily affordable digital impedance meters,
both amateurs and professionals relied on such devices for lab and field work. Why might you
need to measure the value of a component when most are marked with a value? One common application
is when a variable version of a component (or components) is soldered into the circuit while
tweaking for optimal performance, and then the variable is replaced either with a single fixed
component or a fixed component with a smaller-range variable component (the latter provides
adjustment, but over a smaller range of values). It is not uncommon when doing the initial tuning
on a complete home-built transceiver to have many variable components in place initially, and
then solder in fixed versions later...
Savings Alert - Time Is Short!
2012 "End of the World" Savings! For orders placed by 12/21/12 receive 15% discount
off all GrooveTube® cables, 10% off all RF cables, 5% off all Accessories (torque wrenches,
torque screwdrivers, adapters). Equip your labs for 2013 NOW with MegaPhase’s T&M and System
product line. Lock in your 15%, 10%, 5% discounts
by December 21, 2012.
New VNA Cal Kits
introduces their new lines of vector network analyzer calibration kits. The new
network analyzer (VNA) calibration kits from Pasternack provide the RF components needed
to enable stable and accurate error corrected measurements of DUTs using a VNA from DC to 26.5
GHz in one convenient kit. Calibration of a DUT using Pasternack’s kit allows for precise measurements
needed to meet IEEE 287 standards. Pasternack’s VNA calibration kits offer broad VNA coverage
for the most popular models including Agilent®, Anritsu®, Rohde & Schwarz® and other VNAs.
Free e-Book -Doing Innovation:
Creating Economic Value
first eBook in IEEE-USA's Innovation Series,
Doing Innovation: Creating Economic Value – Book 1: Perspectives on Innovation, was
written by Gerard H. (Gus) Gaynor, Retired 3M Director of Engineering. The Doing Innovation:
Creating Economic Value series was written out of the author’s concern that "while innovation
appears to receive considerable attention in the academic and business media, these so-called
innovations provide little, if any, consistent and significant economic growth."
PartSim Online Analog
Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis (SPICE)
has been around since 1973. The basic computational engine has always been open source. It began
as a simple analog circuit simulator that took a structured text file as the input net list
and provided a text file output that contained the calculated values that the user specified
such as DC bias points, transient analysis, and AC analysis. Component models started with relatively
simple definitions. If you wanted a graph of the response, it was in the form of text characters
with a standard 80-column division on the y-axis and the x-axis was as many divisions as it
needed to be to cover all the points calculated (often printed out on fan-fold paper in a pin
printer). Yes, I personally used those versions in the mid 1980s. As time progressed, improvements
were added to the computational engine to handle a wider range of component models including
digital and RF/microwave. More parameters were added to component models to yield a better agreement
between simulation and laboratory measurements. Lagging...
7-Day Weather Forecast
RF Cafe visitor Bob D. sent me this Mayan Apocalypse Weather Forecast graphic. Is this great
or what? Note that there is nothing for Saturday, the day after the world ends. Don't forget
to ask your doomsdayer friends to assign you all their worldly goods today since they won't
be needing anything after tomorrow. Please consider RF Cafe as a beneficiary in your end-of-the-world
planning (send to firstname.lastname@example.org
December Magazine Articles
The engineering magazines have posted their December issue articles online now. Here are
a few you might be interested in reading.
Understand Uncertainty for Better Test Accuracy, by Antonio Castro
Ultra Low Noise Amplifiers Improve Cell Coverage and Reduce Costs, by Paul Mattheijssen
A 5G Wireless Communications Vision, by Gerhard Fettweis
the Mayans were so good at predicting the future, why aren't the Mayan cites still around?"-
Anon (nor did they predict the coming of Spanish conquistadores
Skyworks Launches High
Linearity, Low Power Amplifier
introduces a highly efficient, broadband, 13 dB gain, GaAs HBT drive amplifier in a small
2 x 2 millimeter quad flat, no lead package. The
draws less than 23 mA at 3.3 V, while achieving +39 dBm OIP3, providing the market
with a very compelling, high linearity solution. On-die active bias design ensures consistent
performance and unconditional stability.
A Few Year-End Job Hunting
Tips from the IEEE
Holiday Networking for Both Candidates and Hiring Managers to Jumpstart Your Career in 2013
Nuclear Engineering: $99,920 median salary
In the Field with International
Pacific Highway (IPH) Crew
is hard to imagine a time when there wasn't a vast network of highways connecting not just the
interior of the continental U.S., but also interconnecting all of the countries in North America.
Just as pioneers in covered wagons and on horseback forged the routes that became the Oregon
Trail in the early 19th century, so did teams of explorers, cartographers and engineers do the
heavy lifting in the early 20th century in establishing the first defined roads for expediting
the transportation of goods and persons all up and down the continent's west coast. Radio operators
were among the crews of the
Highway (IPH) project. Heavy, bulky, and fragile tube-based radio equipment was transported
in vehicles equally bereft of adequate facilities in the form of power and shock absorbing suspensions.
This story from a 1931 edition of the ARRL's QST magazine tells of harrowing experiences in
the jungles and mountains of South America, including...
Selecting the Best Resistor
Technology for the Application
engineering director Yuval Hernik has a brief primer posted on EDN discussing considerations
when selecting resistors for your design.
Resistors seem like - and are - the simplest of electronics elements (other than wires),
but a thoughtless selection could spell doom as surely as the wrong
transistor or transformer.
Aside from special properties that must be accounted for in high frequency circuits (stray reactance,
composition), there are 'design centering' needs to account for tolerances in resistance, temperature
coefficient, and mechanical environment.
has been making resistors for a long time. From my earliest days in electronics in the 1970s,
I remember using their products in hobby projects and then later in professional applications.
Rockwell Automation now owns
so if you want historical information, you will have to do a search for pages like this one,
which shows an advertisement from the December 1931 edition of the ARRL's QST magazine. According
to Wikipedia: "The company was initially founded as the Compression Rheostat Company by Dr.
Stanton Allen and Lynde Bradley with an initial investment of $1,000 in 1903. In 1910 the company
was renamed the Allen-Bradley Company."
AWR Blog Online Videos
as Educational Resource
Hess, VP of Marketing at AWR, has posted a new blog discussing the value of online videos as
an innovative educational resource for providing remote learning. The blog, "Kahn
Academy—I’m a Fan!" lauds the Kahn Academy website,
which provides over 3,500 online videos on all facets of education. It compares this education
model to AWR’s own AWR.TV online video channel, which is a
valuable resource for customers, university students, and anyone interested in AWR’s RF/microwave
New Line of RF Filters
introduces their new lines of
lowpass filters and highpass filters. The new RF filters from Pasternack are passive components
that allow frequency signals to pass within a certain range and attenuate (reject) frequencies
outside that given range, in this case, up to 3 GHz. Both the new lowpass and highpass
filters are constructed using the Combline design, which provides outstanding VSWR and long
Thanks to MECA Electronics
for Continued Support!
Electronics manufactures RF & microwave
components including fixed attenuators, directional & hybrid couplers, isolators/circulators,
power divider/combiners, RF loads, DC blocks, bias Tees 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.
Machinist Calc Pro
on the Design News website,
Jon Titus, former editor of numerous electronics magazines and all-around electronics whiz,
is recommending the Machinist Calc Pro to people who do a lot of metal machining and woodworking
projects. It performs a lot of commonly needed functions like bolt hole patterns, thread tapping
tables, spindle feed and speed, etc.
Amazon has it on sale now for $70, and if you buy before then end of the year, you can get
an additional $20 rebate from
Thanks to Pasternack for
is a global supplier of RF, microwave and
fiber optic components supported by a growing list of international distributors who service
customers in more than 30 countries worldwide and partner with us in pursuit of our vision to
be the world’s most recognized and trusted provider of urgently needed RF, microwave and fiber
optic components and assemblies.
Free Technical Magazine
Many of the engineering and science magazines offer
free subscriptions to qualified people. Their
advertisers foot the bill. Here are a few select examples, but there are many others available
for just about every interest.
- Optical communications technology, applications, and industry trend information.
Electronics Industry -Reports on the latest parts and components, material, production equipment
and test & measuring instrument.
Tech Briefs - Reports of innovations developed by NASA and its industry partners/contractors
that can be applied to develop new/improved products and solve engineering or manufacturing
the sake of avid cruciverbalists, each week I create a new
crossword puzzle that has
a theme related to engineering, mathematics, chemistry, physics, and other technical words.
You will never be asked the name of a movie star unless he/she was involved in a technical endeavor
(e.g., Hedy Lamar).
Innovation: Creating Economic Value, by Georgia Stelluto. Excerpt: "Innovation occupies many
pages of the business and academic press, yet under close scrutiny, it is difficult to find
innovation that provides economic value. Where are the innovations that have an impact on economic
growth? Introducing new features to current products or processes often dominates discussions
on innovation. Much confusion abounds as to what innovation really involves..."
Anatech Electronics December Newsletter: SAW Filters
Electronics / AMCrf has posted their
December newsletter. The focus is on SAW filters.
people have written over the years asking where to buy those little donut shaped
for SMA / K (2.9 mm) / V (2.4 mm) RF Connectors . A lot of companies hand them out at trade
shows, with their company names printed on them. Finding one for sale, though, has been somewhat
elusive. Search no longer. RF Cafe visitor Michael M. just provided a source for buying them:
Marki Microwave. Marki's main product
line originally consisted of high performance mixers, but now they also manufacture amplifiers,
filters, power dividers, baluns, couplers, and a host of other RF / microwave components. I
couldn't find a price on their website, so you will have to call.
this poor guy freak out when his physics professor wakes him while he naps during class. The
lecture was on nuclear physics and atom bombs.
announces the expansion of their line of Schottky diode detectors. RF detectors from Pasternack
are coaxial components that convert the input RF signal strength into proportional DC voltage
at its output, also referred to as “video out”. The positive-biased Schottky detectors offer
varying operating frequencies ranging from 500 MHz to 26 GHz and are available with
SMA connectors. This line of biased detectors has a RF signal threshold (tangential sensitivity
or TSS) of -54 to -52 dBm.
SAA-500M18G-20DB-SFF is a switch bit attenuator that operates over the frequency range of
500 MHz to 18 GHz. This model provides 20 dB of attenuation when a TTL "0" is
applied and less than 3 dB of insertion loss when TTL "1" is applied. This attenuator switches
between states in less than 100 nsec and maintains a maximum VSWR of 2.0:1 into a 50 ohm
impedance. ±5 VDC is required to power. Other frequency ranges and attenuation values are
looking around on eBay for a couple pieces of
test equipment, I noticed that some of the overseas
distributors have products wired for 220 VAC w/o an option for 120 VAC as used in
the U.S. They do properly state the voltage, but just be careful because if you are
not aware of it, you will need a step-up transformer or pay shipping to return it. Also, a couple
of the ARB products have software that will not work on a 64-bit Windows system. If you have
any questions, be sure to send a message; they are usually really good about answering quickly.
Design Series: Envelope
Tracking Simulation and Analysis, December 13, 1:00 PM ET. Modern modulated signals have
high peak-to-average power ratios (PAPR.) Power amplifiers that must amplify these high PAPR
signals, if using a fixed bias, must be operated at relatively high output power back off, to
avoid greatly distorting the signal when its envelope excursion is near its peak. This webcast
will provide an overview of Envelope Tracking simulation and analysis.
is a precision solutions manufacturer of photo
etched components, board level shielding, EMI/RFI gasketing, custom metal stampings, fabric
over foam gaskets and plated foils. Orbel's board level shielding products offer engineers the
most flexibility for surface mount or thru-hole designs.
stayed up late last night (early this morning, actually) to watch the
CubeSat satellite flash its Morse code "HI DE NIWAKA JAPAN" message via super-bright LEDs over
eastern North America. It was scheduled to pass just south of my location in Erie, Pennsylvania,
at 1:14 AM, with a lights-on intensity great enough to be easily seen with binoculars.
FITSAT-1 is a project conceived of and built by professors and students at the Fukuoka Institute
of Technology (FIT) in Japan. In addition to the LED visual display, the satellite also carries
several Amateur Radio payloads including a CW beacon on 437.250 MHz, a telemetry beacon
on 437.445 MHz and a high-speed data downlink on 5,840.0 MHz. The CubeSat Project
was developed by California Polytechnic State University and Stanford University's Space Systems
Development Lab. It creates launch opportunities for universities previously unable to access
space. A CubeSat...
Longest English Word Takes
213 Minutes to Pronunciate
as technologies continually advances with more and more complexity, so, apparently, do words.
I remember as a kid back in the late 1960s when the word 'antidisestablishmentarianism' was
all the rage. It was pronounced and joked about on all the Prime Time and Late Night variety
shows like Carol Burnett , Sonny & Cher, Dean Martin, and Johnny Carson. Those 28 letters
and 12 syllables pale in comparison to the new king of the word-length hill. Sporting 189,819
letters, the long version of a giant protein called
Titin takes the guy
in the embedded video 213 minutes to pronounce. Here is the word in all its glory:
189,777 more letters +…
is pleased to unveil three high power SPDT switches for multiple applications. The
(0.9-4.0 GHz; 50 W),
(0.02-2.7 GHz; 50 W) and
(0.9-4.0 GHz; 100 W) deliver transmit/receive and failsafe switching functionality for TD-SCDMA
and TD-LTE base stations, as well as land mobile radios and military communication systems.
These PIN diode switches handle continuous wave RF input power and provide very low insertion
loss in the antenna-to-Rx mode, minimizing the effect on receiver noise figure.
is an SPDT RF switch featuring a symmetric design for exceptional isolation. Typical applications
for this GaAs pHEMT switch include cellular base stations and other communications systems requiring
high linearity and power-handling capability. The RFSW6124 uses a non-reflective architecture
that terminates ports in the Off state and provides an enable pin for an All-Off state. Control
of the switch is both 3V and 5V positive logic-compatible.
RF Cafe Quiz: Intro to Infrared
and Electro-Optical Systems
quiz is based on the information presented in "Introduction
to Infrared and Electro-Optical Systems," by Ronald G. Driggers and Melvin H. Friedman.
All RF Cafe quizzes would make perfect 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.
Ohms is a regular feature of Design News that presents submissions from readers about troubleshooting
challenges and how they were solved. This one is utterly amazing and is titled "Mystery
Signals Show Up in Neurological Amplifiers." Have you heard of
electromagnetic waves and the [in]effectiveness of shielding on them? I had not. A Google
search resulted in a bunch of conspiracy theory articles referencing Tesla's writings and how
the government was using them for mind and weather control. Does anyone have credible information
on scalar EM waves? Maybe this Sherlock Ohms case should have been saved for April 1st.
Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World," by Tony Wagner. A childhood
of creative play leads to deep-seated interests, which in adolescence and adulthood blossom
into a deeper purpose for career and life goals. Play, passion, and purpose are the forces that
drive young innovators. Wagner shows how we can apply this knowledge as educators and what
parents can do to compensate for poor schooling. He takes readers into the most forward-thinking
schools, colleges, and workplaces in the country, where teachers and employers are developing
cultures of innovation based on collaboration, interdisciplinary problem-solving, and intrinsic
motivation. The result is a timely, provocative, and inspiring manifesto that will change how
we look at our schools and workplaces, and provide us with a road map for creating the change
makers of tomorrow.
don't care what the majority voted to do, they don't have a right to steal my money just because
they vote for it." -- Peter Schiff, CEO of Euro Pacific Capital, on CNBC
Pasternack Needs an
Enterprises announces the availability of a new position at their Irvine, California, location.
RF/Microwave Copywriter and Content Manager
just announced two new fulltime openings at their Hillsboro, Oregon, location.
RF Substrate/Laminate Technologist
is the mother of invention" is an oft-heard phrase that never rang truer than during World War II.
Both the Axis and the Allied powers had extremely brilliant and capable people working to defeat
each other, driving advances in technology and methods at a break-neck pace for nearly a decade
(remember WWII began before the U.S. entered the fray in 1941).
Aircraft and radio were powerful new weapons for all sides at that point since both were still
in their fledgling modes in WWI. Efficient and effective execution of aircraft ferrying, troop
movement, and supply delivery was absolutely dependent on radio equipment and operators that
could adapt to new strategic situations and endure all sorts of weather and geographic stresses.
While the Army Signal Corps had a good cadre of
operators available, few were experienced with operating in their gear while airborne. Background
noise (audible and electronic) and vibration from the engines and
airframe tested the limits of skills...
Pondering a possible purchase puts the potential pocketbook provider in a pickle! Unless, that
is, they are a savvy savant
of specifications. This quiz will lead you through a jumbled jam
of jargon to see how well you speak the language of the specification!
the sake of avid cruciverbalists, each week I create a new
that has a theme related to engineering, mathematics, chemistry, physics, and other technical
words. You will never be asked the name of a movie star unless he/she was involved in a technical
endeavor (e.g., Hedy Lamar).