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Tech Industry Headlines - RF Cafe - Archive -

FCC ARRL Higher Datarates - RF Cafe FCC Grants ARRL Emergency Request to Permit Higher Data Rate Transmissions for Hurricane Relief Communications

• Satellite Cellphone Communications Doable?

• Global 6G Market to Hit $20B Revenue by 2030

• DoE Grants $10.3M for Energy Frontier Research Center in Arkansas

• Ofcom Probing Cloud Market Competition

• Resonant Metasurfaces Enhance Quantum Research

• U.S. Continues to Lag in Critical Mid-Band 5G Spectrum

• The Local Radio Freedom Act Debated in Congress

• Inexpensive Al−S Batteries to Supplant Li−Ion in Small Devices

• NASA Testing Asteroid Deflection Scheme

Introduction to Radar - Air University

Introduction to Radar, USAF Air University - RF CafeThis "Introduction to Radar" material is from the U.S. Air Force's "Air University" collection of tutorials. I found it in a bin at Goodwill, bound along with a few other sections by the Extension Course Institute including Electronics Fundamentals and Television Principles. This treatise on radar is the first of those sections which will be posted here on RF Cafe. No date is included in the document, but my guess based on the content and drawings is sometime in the late 1950's. No mention is made of Doppler (a 1940's development), although it was used to some degree toward the end of World War II. The existence of over-the-horizon radar (a 1960's development) is alluded to, but not expounded upon. The "A" in the "A-scan" radar display stands for "amplitude;" it is an oscilloscope time-based sweep. An "A-scan" display is what the mountaintop UHF radar operators in Hawaii were monitoring when Japanese aircraft attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941...

DARPA SBI Sources for Classified Efforts

DARPA Small Business Innovation Sources for Classified Efforts - RF Cafe"The Department of Defense (DOD) seeks innovative and creative solutions to complex, classified challenges, but the DOD is currently only able to access a limited pool of companies cleared to work on them. Companies must have a facility clearance and their employees must hold security clearances to do classified work. But for a company to have a facility clearance, it must have a contract requiring classified work to justify the clearance. This current model results in a cyclical pattern that precludes the injection of new companies and ideas into the classified DOD research and development ecosystem. DARPA announced the Bringing Classified Innovation to Defense and Government Systems (BRIDGES) program, which aims to tap into innovation from companies that traditionally do not work with the DOD on classified research and development efforts. BRIDGES will connect innovators directly to the challenging problems that exist in the classified realm so they can help develop solutions. 'There's a large U.S. innovation talent base at small companies across our country that we currently aren't able to tap into for solutions to classified technology challenges..."

Stereo-itis: Stereo As It Affects Cullen

Stereo-itis: Stereo As It Affects Cullen, November 1961 Popular Electronics - RF CafeHere's a little more electronics humor from the November 1961 issue of Popular Electronics magazine. This time the topic is stereo equipment, which was a big deal in the era. Most equipment was still of the vacuum tube variety, and the country was still enjoying the post-Korean war and low inflation economy, so there was disposable income to be spent on creature comforts. Hobby and home improvement magazines od the day were filled with reviews and recommendations on receivers, speakers, phonographs, tape players, tone arms, stylus types, cables, antennas, and all the support equipment. Articles on room design for optimized acoustic properties included sound absorbing ceilings, walls, and floors, speaker placement, furniture location for the best stereo (and quadrophonic) experience, etc...

Signal Hound SM435C 43.5 GHz 10 GbE SpecAn

Signal Hound Intros SM435C 43.5 GHz 10 GbE Spectrum Analyzer - RF CafeSignal Hound's SM435C 43.5 GHz, high-performance spectrum analyzer and monitoring receiver is now available to order. The SM435C includes a 10 Gigabit Ethernet SFP+ port, enabling the SM435C to communicate with a PC over long distances using a fiber optic cable. Designed for remotely-located accurate RF data analysis at the lowest cost possible, the SM435C also includes a signed calibration certificate and a printed packet of calibration data. The Option-80 variant of the device provides downconverter functionality, allowing engineers working with 5G to utilize 800 MHz of continuous real-time data for in-depth analysis. The SM435C Option-80 is also a perfect fit for applications requiring extremely clean phase noise. The affordability of the SM435C opens the door to industry professionals who were previously unable to attain this power in a compact and economic package. It is available now, with a U.S. retail price of $25,380...

United Electronics Company Advertisement

United Electronics Company Advertisement, April 1945 Radio News - RF Cafe"QRT" is the Q-code used in amateur radio to tell someone to stop transmitting. Hams very much anticipated the day when Germany and Japan would be defeated, the war would end, and they could go home to resume their beloved radio hobby. You might know - or not - that during World War II ham radio transmissions were prohibited in the U.S. for a mix of reasons. Foremost was to inhibit the broadcasting of information, intentionally or unintentionally, that might give away strategic military strategy. Innocent chatter about whose son left for boot camp, where he was going afterwards, what his ambitions and fortes were, which factory Mom and Aunt Rosie worked for and what they did (Auntie was riveter, maybe), who died in service to his country, blackout hours, scrap material recycling collections, all was potential fodder for enemy tacticians. Another reason for the prohibition was to free up production materials and labor for the making of military equipment. The fate of the free world depended on it - literally...

RF & Electronics Symbols for Office™

RF & Electronics Schematic & Block Diagram Symbols for Office™ r2 - RF CafeIt was a lot of work, but I finally finished a version of the "RF & Electronics Schematic & Block Diagram Symbols" that works well with Microsoft Office™ programs Word™, Excel™, and Power Point™. This is an equivalent of the extensive set of amplifier, mixer, filter, switch, connector, waveguide, digital, analog, antenna, and other commonly used symbols for system block diagrams and schematics created for Visio™. Each of the 1,000 or so symbols was exported individually from Visio in the EMF file format, then imported into Word on a Drawing Canvas. The EMF format allows an image to be scaled up or down without becoming pixelated, so all the shapes can be resized in a document and still look good. The imported symbols can also be UnGrouped into their original constituent parts for editing. Check them out!

Many Thanks to Axiom Test Equipment for Continued Support!

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

Mac's Service Shop: Electronics and Car Thievery

Mac's Service Shop: Electronics and Car Thievery, October 1972 Popular Electronics - RF CafeA few interesting historical statistics were presented in this "Electronics and Car Thievery" episode of "Mac's Service Shop," which appeared in a 1972 issue of Popular Electronics magazine. One is that steering column locks first came out on 1970 auto and truck models. My 1969 Chevy Camaro did not have a steering column lock, come to think of it. Also, a year earlier (1971), one in a hundred cars in the U.S. were stolen. The aforementioned steering column lock dramatically reduced the number of stolen vehicles. Car jacking was a thing in the early 1970's, so that's not a relatively new crime - it's just that now we have video surveillance everywhere so we get to see it. This story was particularly pertinent to a couple recent experiences (not the same day) where visitors to our daughter's house locked keys in their cars...

Switzerland's Museum of Consumer Electronics

Switzerland's Museum of Consumer Electronics - RF Cafe"For more than a decade, [Museum of Consumer Electronics] in Solothurn, Switzerland, has been a place where history buffs can explore and learn about the development and growth of computer and consumer electronics in Switzerland and the rest of the world. On display are computers, calculators, floppy disks, phonographs, radios, video game consoles, and related objects. Thanks to a new four-year partnership between the museum and the IEEE Switzerland Section, IEEE members may visit the facility for free. They also can donate their time to help create exhibits; translate pamphlets, display cards, and other written media; and present science, technology, engineering, and math workshops..."

The Aircraft-Radio Service Man

The Aircraft-Radio Service Man, October 1937 Radio-Craft - RF CafeAs a life-long aircraft enthusiast, my attention is always drawn to photos, drawings, and titles in articles dealing with any aspect - but particularly a historical aspect - of aviation. This 1937 edition of Radio-Craft magazine reported on the fledgling field of aircraft radio maintenance, and in particular the opportunities presented to radio repairmen. Aircraft electronics (aka avionics) have of course changed significantly over the last 80 years. Accordingly, maintenance has become such a highly specialized skill that other than swapping out entire pieces of equipment, relatively few facilities exist that are qualified for the task. According to the article, at the time there were a mere 5k privately owned airplanes. As of 2019, the AOPA estimated a total of around 224k private aircraft (down from 220k in 2011), with 720k currently licensed pilots (all categories) per the FAA...

ConductRF RG142 RF Cables at DigiKey

ConductRF RG142 RF Cables September 27, 2022 - RF CafeConductRF supports customers with all standard RG cables, however, a very common standard is M17/60-RG142. This cable has a solid PTFE Dielectric core over a Solid Silver Covered Copper Clad Steel Conductor. It is double braided and has an outer jacket of Tan colored FEP. ConductRF offers a wide selection of standard connectors including out Type-N males which offer a coupling nut that allows both finger tightening and torque wrench tightening. ConductRF 100% validates RF performance of these assemblies through factory network analyzer testing prior to shipping...

The Mystery Set

The Mystery Set, December 1934 Radio-Craft - RF CafeIn the 1930s, electricity and electronics were mysteries to most of the population. The concepts were relatively new and few had a firm grasp on the technology. That reality was exploited by Hugo Gernsback during the 1934 Electrical Exposition to challenge attendees to discover how "the Mystery Set" radio receiver sitting on the top of an empty, clear glass case was being powered. It was a clever ruse that reportedly stumped most people. The secret is revealed here in this 1934 issue of his Radio−Craft magazine. BTW, my guess is that an even smaller proportion of our current citizens would be able to figure it out, or for that matter even realize that maybe there should be a power source of some sort...

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 stencil symbol has been built to fit proportionally on the included A-, B-, and C-size drawing page templates (or use your own page if preferred). Components are provided for system block diagrams, conceptual drawings, schematics, test equipment, racks (EIA 19", ETSI 21"), and more. Test equipment and racks are built at a 1:1 scale so that measurements can be made directly using Visio built-in dimensioning objects. Page templates are provided with a preset scale (changeable) for a good presentation that can incorporate all provided symbols...

Many Thanks to Centric RF for Their Continued Support!

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

Metallized-Dielectric & Standard Capacitors

Metallized-Dielectric & Standard Capacitors, July 1965 Electronics World - RF CafeThe term "metallized dielectric" at first might seem like an oxymoron. After all, if you add a conductive substance to the dielectric of a capacitor, then you have compromised the integrity of the dielectric as a non-conducting substance. Here's the deal: The dielectric material between the conductive plates does not receive the metallization; a non-conductive (dielectric) material like paper is impregnated with metal and that is used for the plate material. The advantage of this scheme is that the plate material can be thinner, thereby reducing the size of the capacitor package for a given capacitance value. It comes with a price, of course, and that is a lower operational and maximum applied voltage rating. With proper design in circuits like power supplies, metallized-dielectric capacitors can facilitate great space savings. A major benefit of metallized-dielectric capacitors is an ability to self-heal when the plate material develops a short circuit through the dielectric...

Cool Product: 3D-Printed Waveguide & Antennas

SWISSto12 3D-Printed Antenna Matrices - RF Cafe Cool Product3D printing of antenna and waveguide components has been advancing rapidly in the past few years. Early research used plastic that was then coated with a conductive substance. Once 3D printing using a metallic filament was developed to the point that the structure could withstand heat cycling, vibration, and shock associated with aerospace environments, the creation of complex, compound shapes never deemed possible with traditional machining became reality. Using proprietary additive manufacturing techniques developed in-house, virtually any form of waveguide and/or antenna can now be fabricated by companies like Swissto12, based in Switzerland. As can be seen in the included images from the Swissto12 website, the surfaces are not perfectly smooth...

Filter Building Made Easy

Filter Building Made Easy, December 1953 QST - RF CafeDesigning, building, and tuning low frequency filters is much easier for the person without a professional grade suite of software, fabrication, and test equipment than is RF / microwave frequency filters. Most of my design and integration work has been with system level transmit and receive racks for radar and satellite earth station installations, and typically for prototyping and/or very low quantity production. Accordingly, I often used connectorized components cascaded together where each functional block was predefined and tested. I would be handed a system input/output document that specified parameters for gain, phase noise, intercept points, noise figure, group delay, bandwidth(s), power levels, switching and settling times, current consumption, volume, weight, cost constraints, etc. That explains why my software offerings like RF & Electronics Symbols for Visio and RF Cascade Workbook all deal with system level design...

Antenna and Semiconductor Integrated Modules (AIMS)

Altum RF Announces New Grant and Collaboration with ITRI and TMYTEK - RF CafeAltum RF, a supplier of high-performance RF to millimeter-wave semiconductor solutions for next generation markets and applications, announces a new grant and collaboration with Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), the largest applied technology research institution in Taiwan, and TMY Technology Inc. (TMYTEK), a leading mmWave solution provider targeting the 5G/B5G and SATCOM markets. Altum RF, ITRI and TMYTEK will collaborate on an Antenna and Semiconductor Integrated Modules (AIMS) project for satellite communications systems. The grant comes from the Eureka Globalstars Taiwan framework. The project began in August 2022 and is slated to continue for two years. The purpose of the AIMS project is to develop a millimeter-wave antenna-in-package (AiP) module for phased array Ka-band satellite communication systems. Developing this module will make satellite communication systems...

Simple Mathematics for the Service Man (part 2)

Simple Mathematics for the Service Man, October 1930 Radio-Craft - RF CafeIf you are from a family of electronics hobbyists and/or professionals, then there is a good chance your grandfather and possibly even your father kept a handy-dandy list of common circuit design formulas handy. The list here Part 2 includes all the formulas on this page, which dealt primarily with vacuum tubes, the schematics for which were presented in Part 1 of the series. There was not an "app for that" back in those days. Prior to a smartphone in every pocket, notes were pinned to a lab wall or kept in a hand-written notebook...

RF Cascade Workbook

RF Cascade Workbook - RF Cafe RF Cascade Workbook is the next phase in the evolution of RF Cafe's long-running series, RF Cascade Workbook. Chances are you have never used a spreadsheet quite like this (click here for screen capture). It is a full-featured RF system cascade parameter and frequency planner that includes filters and mixers for a mere $45. Built in MS Excel, using RF Cascade Workbook 2018 is a cinch and the format is entirely customizable. It is significantly easier and faster than using a multi-thousand dollar simulator when a high level system analysis is all that is needed. An intro video takes you through the main features...

Many Thanks to Copper Mountain Technologies for Support

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

Why No "Postwar" Radios?

Why No "Postwar" Radios?, August 1946 Radio-Craft - RF CafeThis is one of the few times I disagree with Hugo Gernsback. It's not that his conclusion about economics being the reason for the delay in producing promised newfangled radios after the end of World War II is wrong. My problem is that he excuses the manufacturers who blamed delays on the large amount of time and effort required to incorporate all the new technology developed during the war. As Radio-Craft magazine reader C.G. Little wrote in this August 1946 issue, companies were running advertisements a year before V−E Day (May 8, 1945) promising to have all-new radios with wonderful new technology developed from advances made in radio and radar during the defeat of Axis forces. Japan surrendered on V−J Day (September 2, 1945). The fact is those companies had a year to prepare, and the U.S. government was gradually relinquishing control over production facilities as the War Powers Act impositions faded. Nobody was taken by surprise. This was either a case of government-backed propaganda, or false advertising by the manufacturers...

Overnight Charging of EV's Bad for High Density Areas

 - RF CafeAn Electronics Weekly article entitled "Modelling Grid Effects of Electric Vehicle Charging in the Next Decade" references Nature magazine study "Charging Infrastructure Access and Operation to Reduce the Grid Impacts of Deep Electric Vehicle Adoption," which indicated high density areas with currently (no pun intended) stresses electric supply grids will be problematic. It is a Captain Obvious announcement to anyone following the existing issues like a couple weeks ago California telling EV owners not to charge their cars because of the power shortage. It begins: "Researchers at Stanford University have modelled over-night home charging of electric vehicles and predict that it is not the correct strategy, for the Western US, at least. Stanford EV charging model Simulation is based on a model, revealed in March, for charging demand that can be applied to different human populations under different conditions. In a demonstration..."

RCA Victor Model R-78 Radio Service Data Sheet

RCA Victor Model R-78 B1-Acoustic 12-Tube Superheterodyne Radio Service Data Sheet, August 1932 Radio-Craft - RF CafeFor several years I have been scanning and posting Radio Service Data Sheets like this one featuring the RCA Victor Model R-78 B1-Acoustic 12-Tube Superheterodyne floor console radio in graphical format, and run OCR on them to separate the textual content and make it searchable. There are still many people who restore and service these vintage radios, and often it can be difficult or impossible to find schematics and/or tuning information. I will keep a running list of all data sheets to facilitate a search. The RCA Victor Model R-78 B1-Acoustic 12-Tube photo was found on the RadioMuseum.org website...

Simple Radio Mathematics for the Service Man

Simple Radio Mathematics for the Service Man, September 1930 Radio-Craft - RF Cafe Included in this first of a series of the "Simple Mathematics for the Serviceman" articles that ran in Radio-Craft magazine is another "cheat sheet" full of oft-used formulas. It begins with basic Ohm's law, resistance, inductance, and capacitance, then builds from there. What was valid in 1930 is still valid in 2022. See the October 1930 issue for the next installment that includes yet another handy-dandy cheat sheet of formulas. A couple examples are given...

Ceramic Capacitors

Ceramic Capacitors, July 1965 Electronics World - RF CafeI learned a new word in this issue of Electronics World magazine's special report on ceramic capacitors: "discoidal." It looked like a made-up word to describe something that looks like a disc. Anyway, the July 1965 issue contained a collection of articles on the various sorts of capacitors in use at the time. Other types of dielectrics covered were tantalum, glass, plastic-film, mica, paper, and metallized-dielectric. Ceramic and electrolytic capacitors were by far the most widely used capacitors during the vacuum tube era since they were relatively inexpensive to manufacture and could handle high voltages. Hobbyists who service and/or refurbish vintage electronic equipment still need this information if for no other reason than to verify component values based on color codes. It also helps to know how the electrical properties vary over temperature, frequency, applied voltage, etc., when deciding which type of modern capacitor will best serve as a suitable substitute...

"Dilbert" Cancelled in Newspapers Due to Anti-Wokeness Storylines

"Dilbert" Cancelled in Newspapers Due to Anti-Wokeness StorylinesAny day now we'll see a headline about a Stasi (aka FBI) raid on Scott Adams' home at 6:00 in the morning to confiscate his cellphone. Evidently it's not OK to poke fun at the "woke" agenda according to (as of now) 77 newspapers which cancelled the "Dilbert" comic strip. Many newspapers have gone out of business or are on the verge of doing so due to disappearing subscribers. People are sick of having one view forced at them with no counterpoints. I'm sure Adams makes plenty of $$$ from other Dilbert-related ventures, so he probably will not miss the revenue. A lot of people still subscribe to newspapers mainly for comics and puzzles. This will just add to the "go woke - go broke" phenomenon we're witnessing happening to politically correct businesses. Go to Dilbert.com for all your Dilbert needs.

Please see the RF Cafe Homepage Archives for previous items of interest...

Lotus Communication Systems Modular RF Component Building Blocks - RF Cafe

Exodus Advanced Communications Best in Class RF Amplifier SSPAs
Anatech Electronics (RF Filters) - RF Cafe

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    Kirt Blattenberger,


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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