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Today in Science History

Electronics & Tech  Headlines

Tech Industry Headlines - RF Cafe - Archive -

• SDR vs. RFSoC: What's the Better Transceiver?

• 89% of Indian Consumers Plan Upgrade to 5G

• RF Filters Market to Grow $7.10B by 2026

• Radar Handles Room Monitoring and Other Apps

• Micron to Invest $40B in U.S.

• DARPA Seeks Ionospheric Insights to Improve Communication

• 5G FWA CPE Shipments to Grow >2x in 2022

• Port Congestion Grows as Peak Shipping Season Arrives

• Calcium-Ion Battery an Alternative to Lithium-Ion Cells

Analog Electronics Theme Crossword Puzzle for August 14th

Analog Electronics Theme Crossword Puzzle for August 14th, 2022 - RF CafeThis custom Analog Electronics themed Crossword Puzzle for August 14th, 2022, is brought to you by RF Cafe. All RF Cafe crossword puzzles are custom made by me, Kirt Blattenberger, and have only words and clues related to RF, microwave, and mm-wave engineering, optics, mathematics, chemistry, physics, and other technical subjects. 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., Reginald Denny or the Tunguska event in Siberia). The technically inclined cruciverbalists amongst us will appreciate the effort. Enjoy!

Many Thanks to Bittele Electronics for Continued Support!

Bittele Electronics PCB Fabrication - RF CafeSince 2003, Bittele Electronics has consistently provided low-volume, electronic contract manufacturing (ECM) and turnkey PCB assembly services. It specializes in board level turnkey PCB assembly for design engineers needing low volume or prototype multi-layer printed circuit boards. Free Passive Components: Bittele Electronics is taking one further step in its commitment of offering the best service to clients of its PCB assembly business. Bittele is now offering common passive components to its clients FREE of Charge.

Magnetic Reed Switches and Relays

Magnetic Reed Switches and Relays, September 1965 Electronics World - RF CafeReed switches have been in use for a long time, and are still common today. The position-sensing ones with mercury inside as the connection making and breaking medium have long been gone from the market. Mercury is on the boogeyman list of items that shall not be used in any form, regardless of how inaccessible or how small the amount happens to be. Mercury is an excellent choice for the job because it provides a reliable contact without arcing, and the angle of make/break is highly repeatable. Mercury switches were the de facto standard in wall switches for lighting for decades. Not only do I remember my elementary school teacher passing beads of mercury around for us kids to experience the properties of (heavy for its size, and liquid metal at room temperature), but I also remember breaking apart light switches to get the mercury out of them. I'd guess the danger of such a small exposure to mercury people were exposed to back in the day pales in comparison to all the toxic ingredients in food, off-the-shelf common chemicals, the plethora of "recreational" drugs, and government-mandated virus injections a large portion of society avails itself of today. This 1965 Electronics World magazine article has, among other good information, an interesting table comparing data on typical conventional relays, reed relays, and transistor...

ConductRF TEA80 TESTeCON Cables for DC to 18 GHz

ConductRF TEA80 TESTeCON Cables for DC to 18 GHz, 8/12/2022 - RF CafeConductRF offers many lines of Lab & Production RF Test solutions for DC to 18 GHz. TEA80 series TESTeCON and TESTeLINK RF coaxial cable product lines feature standard connector choices include straight male, female, and bulkhead, and right angle male. Standard interfaces include type-N, TNC, SMA, 3.5 mm, and 2.92 mm. Phase stable testing ±4° to 18 GHz, amplitude stable to ±0.2 dB to 18 GHz, max power 170 W @ 18 GHz, flex life over 10,000 cycles, cable loss <0.330 dB/ft @ 18 GHz, VSWR <1.30:1 (typical < 1.20:1). VNA Series cables are enhanced with a stainless steel spiral armor, providing protection from excess bending and crushing forces. These cables can be purchased directly from Digi-Key...

Sound Broadcasting from Airplanes

Sound Broadcasting from Airplanes, September 1947 Radio News - RF CafeUntil maybe 30 to 40 years ago, there was still a certain amount of awe associated with new applications of technology. It seems anymore people are so accustomed to new and amazing things - usually at affordable prices - that the wonder is gone. Advancements are expected. The world is moving so fast that it is difficult to absorb and fully appreciate all the work being done. In 1947 when this "Sound Broadcasting from Airplanes" article appeared in Radio News magazine, both airplanes and electronics were still relatively new to a lot of people, especially in more rural areas, so a whiz-bang scheme like broadcasting messages from an airplane was a big deal to many. It was an area of science that had not yet been explored to a large degree. BTW, the spell checker flagged a new word (for me, anyway): genemotor which, as it turns out, is the generic name for the line of dynamos, generators, engines, and motors manufactured by Pioneer Gen-E-Motor Corporation of Chicago, Illinois...

Polarization Switch for Ultrafast Photonic Computer

Polarization Switch for Ultrafast Photonic Computer - RF Cafe"Materials that switch from one phase to another when illuminated by light with different polarizations could form a platform for ultrafast photonic computing and information storage, say researchers at the University of Oxford, UK. The materials take the form of structures known as hybridized-active-dielectric nanowires, and the researchers say they could become part of a multiwire system for parallelized data storage, communications and computing. Because different wavelengths of light do not interact with each other, fiber optic cables can transmit light at multiple wavelengths, carrying streams of data in parallel. Different polarizations of light also do not interact with each other, so in principle each polarization could similarly be employed as an independent information channel. This would allow more information to be stored, dramatically increasing information density..."

Garod Model 5A4 Tabletop Radio Schematic & PL

Garod Model 5A4 Tabletop Radio Schematic & Parts List, July 1948 Radio News - RF CafeGarod Radio Corporation, a shortened version of the original Gardner-Rodman Corporation, operated out of Brooklyn, New York in their later days and Newark, New Jersey beginning in the early 1920s (see p180 of Radio Retailing magazine August 1925). Many of their models had a molded "plastic" look long before plastic was used in commercial products. The material appears to be a painted or brightly stained phenolic type of substance. This schematic and parts list appeared in the July 1948 edition of Radio News magazine. For lots of information on Garod, see pages 3 through 20 of the September 1945 issue of Radio Television Journal, found on the World Radio History website. "The Garod extra measure is symbolic of a new and broader conception of radio design, engineering and performance. It means custom-character radios produced by modern, scientific manufacturing methods. It means an exciting new adventure in tonal reproduction...

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 KR Electronics for Long-Time Support!

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.

Mac's Radio Service Shop: Calling All Inventors

Mac's Radio Service Shop: Calling All Inventors, December 1954 Radio News - RF CafeWhen Mac asked Barney if he had ever heard of the National Inventors Council (NIC) and he replied that he hadn't, he was not alone - then or now. I don't recall having heard of it, either. According to Mac, the Council "was created in 1940 by the Secretary of Commerce with the concurrence of the President to establish a means by which the natural inventive talent of the American people could be used to aid the war effort." The idea was to pool resources and present good ideas to the attention of the War Department (now the Department of Defense)." At the end of World War II and the Korean War, the NIC was absorbed into the National Bureau of Standards (NBS), which is now called the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). "RM"† type batteries are mentioned as a possible solution for operation in extreme cold. They were mercury button cells produced by Mallory for hearing aids. Mac goes on to read many of the military's stated needs off the wish list. Most - maybe all - of them have by now been fulfilled...

"Philco Model 200-X Radio Service Data Sheet

Philco Model 200-X Radio Service Data Sheet, December 1934 Radio-Craft - RF CafeIn order to facilitate searches for information on vintage radios, I have been scanning and running OCR (optical character recognition) on many of the Radio Service Data Sheets like this one featuring the Philco Model 200−X, 10−tube high−fidelity superheterodyne model in graphical format. It appeared in the December 1934 issue of Radio−Craft magazine. A fine restored example of the Philco Model 200−X appears on the Radio Museum website. 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. A running list of all data sheets can be found at the bottom of the page to facilitate a search. There is another Philco Model 200−X on the PhilcoRadio.com website...

Energy Costs Crippling Industrial Processing

Energy Costs Crippling Industrial Processing - RF CafeLooks like going green is costing too much green to keep the doors open. "Europe's fertilizer plants, steel mills, and chemical manufacturers were the first to succumb. Massive paper mills, soybean processors, and electronics factories in Asia went dark. Now soaring natural gas and electricity prices are starting to hit the U.S. industrial complex. On June 22, 600 workers at the second-largest aluminum mill in America, accounting for 20% of U.S. supply, learned they were losing their jobs because the plant can't afford an electricity tab that's tripled in a matter of months. Century Aluminum Co. says it'll idle the Hawesville, Kentucky, mill for as long as a year, taking out the biggest of its three U.S. sites. A shutdown like this can take a month as workers carefully swirl the molten metal into storage so it doesn't solidify in pipes and vessels and turn the entire facility into a useless brick. Restarting takes another six to nine months..."

Using the Decibel

Using the Decibel, March 1955 Popular Electronics - RF CafeFor some reason even a few really good technicians and engineers have problems with decibels. Ever since learning about, and truly understanding, logarithms, I have appreciated the convenience of being able to use addition and subtraction to perform multiplication and division, respectively. Decibels, being logarithms, have always made perfect sense to me. Even the difference between voltage dB's and power dB's has been easy to remember because of the power rule of logarithms, log (AB) = B x log (A). Calculators offer little help when you don't comprehend the basics of decibels. In 1955 when this article appeared in Popular Electronics magazine, people used tables of logarithms rather than punching calculator keys. Mathematicians and appointed underlings spent their lives generating tomes of logarithms. Historians have found many errors in those tables while doing research, but no ships ever sailed off the edge of the Earth due to a computational error based on them. On a side note, I recall a day when I was a teenager where I was listening to a distinguished lady who was the wife of a former assistant attorney general of the U.S. (both he and his wife were Rhodes Scholars). My mother typed legal transcripts for him...

Promote Your Company on RF Cafe

Sponsor RF Cafe for as Little as $40 per Month - RF CafeNew Scheme rotates all Banners in all locations on the page! RF Cafe typically receives 8,000-15,000 website visits each weekday. RF Cafe is a favorite of engineers, technicians, hobbyists, and students all over the world. With more than 12,000 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.

Thanks Again for Windfreak Technologies' Continued Support!

Windfreak TechnologiesWindfreak Technologies designs, manufactures, tests and sells high value USB powered and controlled radio frequency products such as RF signal generators, RF synthesizers, RF power detectors, mixers, up / downconverters. Since the conception of WFT, we have introduced products that have been purchased by a wide range of customers, from hobbyists to education facilities to government agencies. Worldwide customers include Europe, Australia, and Asia. Please contact Windfreak today to learn how they might help you with your current project.

National Union Radio Corporation Batteries

National Union Radio Corporation Batteries, February 1946 Radio News - RF CafeMany of the types and packaging styles of batteries of yesterday are nothing like those of today. Back then, a lot of battery packages had square corners, whereas nowadays they tend to be round. The individual cells inside the "square" batteries were usually round, however, because rather than using heat shrinkable tubing to hold the entire parallel and/or series groupings together, they were inserted into rectangular cardboard boxes. Being free to shift around in the box made inter-cell connections vulnerable to vibration and shock, so failure rates were higher than experienced now in tightly restrained cells in shrink tubing. Inter-cell connection failure was a big problem with model airplanes when batteries contained in boxes were subject to sometimes violent vibration coming from rough-running engines - often augmented by a poorly balanced propeller. To make matters worse, in the very early days of model aviation, "wet" cells of the lead-acid types were used to provide high power needed for vacuum tube receivers. In a crash or hard landing (often indistinguishable from one another), the battery cases would break allowing acid to get on electronics and wood...

Hobnobbing with Harbaugh - The Office Monster

Hobnobbing with Harbaugh, August 1962 Popular Electronics - RF CafeHere is another installment by Dave Harbaugh of "Hobnobbing with Harbaugh," this time with the theme "The Office Monster." When these comics appeared in a 1962 issue of Popular Electronics magazine, it was still the era of large computer mainframes and dumb terminal workstations. The concept of computers in the workplace - much less in homes and back pockets (smartphones) - was a novelty and beyond the comprehension of most people. This would be the equivalent of cellphone humor today...

Innovative Power Products August Product News

Innovative Power Products (IPP) August Product News - RF CafeInnovative Power Products (IPP), a designer and manufacturer of RF and microwave passive components for more than three decades, is pleased to present their August "IPP Product News." Innovative Power Products announces a full line of RF Resistors and Terminations constructed with Aluminum Nitride (AlN) ceramic for low thermal resistance and capacitance. RF Resistors IPP's high power RF / Microwave Resistor line offers a compact, rugged, high power, high frequency solution to the most demanding applications. IPP's RF Resistors are constructed using Aluminum Nitride (AlN) ceramic for low thermal resistance and capacitance. Power levels range from 30 Watt to 650 Watts. These products are available in both bolt-down and solder-down packages with silver contact tabs...

Fall and Rise of Russian Electronic Warfare

Fall and Rise of Russian Electronic Warfare - RF Cafe"A month into Russia's invasion, Ukrainian troops stumbled upon a nondescript shipping container at an abandoned Russian command post outside Kyiv. They did not know it then, but the branch-covered box left by retreating Russian soldiers was possibly the biggest intelligence coup of the young war. Inside were the guts of one of Russia's most sophisticated electronic warfare (EW) systems, the Krasukha-4. First fielded in 2014, the Krasukha-4 is a centerpiece of Russia's strategic EW complement. Designed primarily to jam airborne or satellite-based fire control radars in the X- and Ku-bands, the Krasukha-4 Is often used alongside the Krasukha-2, which targets lower-frequency S-band search radars. Such radars are used on stalwart U.S. reconnaissance platforms, such as the E-8 Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS)..."

Belmont Model 5240 Schematic & Parts List

Belmont Model 5240 Schematic & Parts List, July 1948 Radio News - RF CafeBelmont Radio Corporation was located in Chicago, Illinois. Founded independently sometime the 1920s, it became a subsidiary of Raytheon Manufacturing after World War II in an effort to quickly launch Raytheon into the nascent consumer FM radio and television markets. Belmont advertisements were prominent in electronics trade magazines throughout 1940 to promote their war efforts. A schematic and parts list for this Belmont Model 5240 vacuum tube radio appeared in the July 1948 edition of Radio News magazine. I could not find an example of the radio anywhere. Based on the schematic, my guess is it was a tabletop model. Please let me know if you know where there is a photo of one...

10' Piece of SpaceX Satellite Crash Lands Down Under

10' Piece of SpaceX Satellite Crash Lands Down Under - RF Cafe"Three large chunks of space debris that crash-landed into Australian sheep farms have been confirmed as belonging to SpaceX, the Australian Space Agency announced today. The space junk, found embedded in farmlands in New South Wales' Snowy Mountains region on Saturday, came from a part of a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft that likely reentered the Earth's atmosphere on July 9 - the day that locals reported hearing a loud sonic boom and seeing a blazing light arc across the sky. The first of the debris, a 10-foot-tall spike seared black by reentry, was found by local sheep farmer Mick Miners on his farm south of Jindabyne, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation News. Then his neighbor, Jock Wallace, discovered a separate chunk nearby..."

Hi-Fi at the Planetarium

Hi-Fi at the Planetarium, January 1955 Popular Electronics - RF CafeAudiophiles of the 1950s undoubtedly were impressed by the mention of a Rek-o-kut twin turntable with Pickering arms and pickups for playing records, let alone a twin Ampex tape system used both for recording and reproducing. That was awe-inducing stuff for the day, especially when applied to a planetarium show with visual and sound effects realistic enough to, "make adult members of the audience duck under their seats." We don't scare so easily these days. Here is the story of New York City's famous Hayden Planetarium after the marriage of the aforementioned sound and control system with its legendary Zeiss star projector. It appeared in the January 1955 issue of Popular Electronics magazine (which had just begun publication four months earlier)...

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...

Thanks to Anritsu for Their Support!

Anritsu (electronics test equipment)Anritsu has been a global provider of innovative communications test and measurement solutions for more than 120 years. Anritsu manufactures a full line of innovative components and accessories for RF and Microwave Test and Measurement Equipment including attenuators & terminations; coaxial cables, connectors & adapters; o-scopes; power meters & sensors; signal generators; antenna, signal, spectrum, & vector network analyzers (VNAs); calibration kits; Bluetooth & WLAN testers; PIM testers; amplifiers; power dividers; antennas.

For the Record: The Battery Renaissance

For the Record: The Battery Renaissance, September 1965 Electronics World - RF CafeLittle could Electronics World magazine editor William Stocklin have known in 1965 when he wrote this "The Battery Renaissance" article the advances in technology that would occur half a century later. Consumer products were at the time just becoming small, energy efficient, and inexpensive enough for widespread adoption, having only recently evolved from high voltage and power vacuum tube circuits to transistorized versions of radios, televisions, tape recorders, and other portable devices. Carbon-zinc batteries still dominated the markets and came in relatively high voltage packages to power voltage multiplier circuits for tube biases, but alkaline and mercury batteries did the job for transistors where non-rechargeable cells were used, and nickel-cadmium (NiCad) was the rechargeable battery of choice. Those chemistries ruled for decades, until nickel-metal-hydride (NiMH) came on the scene in the 1990's with a higher energy density than NiCad, and then the advent of Lithium-Polymer (LiPo) trumped them all. Of course at the same time semiconductor devices were shrinking in size, power consumption, voltage requirements, and cost. It is hard to imagine where the market goes from here. I won't be here fifty years...

Amphenol Advertisement

Amphenol Advertisement, October 1945 Radio News - RF CafeAmphenol has been around since 1932, when founder Arthur Schmitt offered sockets for vacuum tubes, just 12 years before this ad appeared in Radio News magazine. Now headquartered in Wallingford, CT, the company began life in Chicago, Illinois. Amphenol was a major supplier of coaxial cable in the days when most of the cable Americans used was produced in the country. Alpha Wire, Amphenol, Carol Cable (now part of General Cable), and General Cable are the names that come to mind that were around in the 1970s when I entered the radio-electronics realm. The radar system I worked on in the USAF, and all of the defense electronics electronics systems I worked on as a technician and engineer, used those four brands. Today, of course, there is a seemingly unlimited number of coaxial cable suppliers, many of which produce sub-standard products that do not hold up under even typical operational environments. Caveat emptor...

Western Electric 300B Vacuum Tube Production

Western Electric 300B Vacuum Tube Production - RF Cafe Cool ProductWhilst doing some research on vacuum tubes, I ran across the Western Electric website, showing that they are still building tubes today. In particular, their historic 300B vacuum tube, available newly manufactured at Western Electric's Rossville Works plant, for $699 apiece, or $1,499 as a matched pair (they are typically used in a push-pull configuration). A fair amount of vintage amplifier gear used by musicians is still in service, and many use the 300B amplifier tube. You might ask why anyone would spend $700 on a vacuum tube when he could simply buy one on eBay. A search of recently sold (don't judge by unsold listing prices) 300B tube shows even the new old stock (NOS) tubes are selling for $1,500 and up. At those prices, Western Electric is doing equipment owners a favor by providing brand new tubes using modern materials and production techniques for about half the cost. You might also wonder why Western Electric is manufacturing 300B vacuum tubes today. The answer is that they are used in Western Electric 91E audio amplifiers also being produced, it being the modern version of their famous predecessor, the WE 91A. "A never before realized level of performance has been achieved with a completely new approach to SE amplifier design...

Collins 17D Autotune Radio Advertisement

Collins 17D Autotune Radio Advertisement, May 1939 QST - RF CafeThis 1939 QST magazine advertisement for the Collins Radio 17D Autotune transmitters serves a couple purposes. The first and to me the most important is that it features the magnificent Douglas DC-3 twin engine commercial airliner. The military version, the C-47 Skytrain transport, was listed by Dwight D. Eisenhower as being among the four most important pieces of hardware (the others were the bazooka, the jeep, the atom bomb - he called them the "Tools of Victory") that helped win World War II in the European theater. It dropped the paratroopers and towed troop gliders during the D-Day invasion. Interestingly, although Collins claims the 17D Autotune transmitters were widely installed in Douglas and Lockheed aircraft, a pretty extensive search for a photograph of a surviving unit turned up nothing. I did find, however...

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

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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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