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...
All trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other rights of ownership to images
and text used on the RF Cafe website are hereby acknowledged.
I fill orders personally, not via an automated process. Therefore, there could be
an hour or more delay. Files are sent as an attachment to the e−mail in your
Because the price for RF Cascade Workbook™
is so low, I cannot provide any level of assistance with
setup or operation. After all, you're getting an amazingly feature-filled program
for less than an hour of an engineer's billable time. Reported errors, if any, will
be addressed ASAP.
You must enable
macros to run or you cannot use RF Cascade Workbook.
System Requirements: Excel 2007 & Windows 2008 or newer.
These instructions and screenshots were made in Excel 2007, so your screen and
menu placements might be a little different. I verified that everything works fine
all the way through Excel 2019.
Here is the complete Help Page from RF Cascade Workbook™.
End User License Agreement
This product is NOT Shareware, Freeware, or an Evaluation
version. Its legal use is contingent upon purchase directly from RF Cafe, as no
distributors are authorized. Unauthorized copying, alteration or distribution of
this product is prohibited by law. Please visit the RF Cafe website to submit payment
for this product. Simply put, you may not use this product if you have not paid
Disclaimer: "RF Cascade Workbook™" is offered AS IS. Your use
of this product implies you alone accept responsibility for results obtained through
its use, and will hold harmless Kirt Blattenberger, RF Cafe, and all associates
for any losses incurred through its use. This product has been tested very thoroughly,
and there are no known problems at the time of this release.
Site License Terms
A Site License, if purchased allows an unlimited number of users
at one (1) location. Users must be officially affiliated with the site during the
time of use. That means the license does not follow a user who permanently leaves
the site (graduation, new employment, etc.). The license extends to persons whose
primary job is normally performed at that location, but works occasionally from
home or at a remote location. Hobbyists employed at the same location are welcome
and encouraged to use the software. The single location restriction is imposed to
limit distribution to local use for companies with multiple physical locations.
This software may not be redistributed in any form, nor posted on the Internet or
anywhere that it can be publicly accessed. The file(s) may be distributed on a server,
via e-mail, etc., as needed for qualified users.
RF Cascade Workbook™ is offered AS IS. Your use of RF Cascade Workbook™
implies you alone accept responsibility for results obtained through its use, and
will hold harmless Kirt Blattenberger, RF Cafe, and all legal assigns for any losses
incurred through its use. RF Cascade Workbook™ has been tested very thoroughly,
and there are no known problems at the time of this release. Discrepancies that
affect accurate results, if discovered, will be fixed ASAP and a replacement version
will be provided at no cost. Also, any and all User modifications to RF Cascade
Workbook™ - other than entering values in the provided Unlocked cells, negates
any and all responsibility by RF Cafe for the integrity of the software. Unprotecting
a worksheet negates responsibility by RF Cafe.
For more than a decade, RF Cascade Workbook
2005™ has been the de facto standard for spreadsheet-based RF system cascade
analysis. RF Cascade Workbook™ is the next phase in the evolution. Chances
are you have never used a spreadsheet quite like this. If you know how to use
Excel and you know anything about cascaded system calculations, then you
know how to use RF Cascade Workbook™. This is significantly easier and
faster than using the multi-thousand dollar simulators when a quick system analysis
is all that is needed. Hundreds of hours have gone into developing this tool. Please
see RF Cascade Workbook™ intro video
below for an overview of features.
Your are welcome to request any of the updated version below if you own
1/9/2029 Update to v2018.5: Worksheet Structure unlocked and
12/25/2021 Update to v2018.4: Minor text changes on Help screen
6/16/2020 Update to v2018.3: Background image was changed.
5/19/2020 Update to v2018.2: The minimum noise figure (NFmin)
formula has been modified to prevent a negative value. Please send me an
e-mail if you would like a replacement file. Instructions to make
the change yourself can be seen here.
4/24/2020 Update to v2018.1: The IP1dB formula was modified.
Mouse-over Comments for Cells
Excel's cell comment feature is
use extensively to provide guidance for RF Cascade Workbook™ (RFCW). The
contents of all the hints - and more - can be found on the "Help" worksheet
(click the tab at the bottom). The "Help" worksheet,
cell mouse-over comments, and this web page comprise the totality of documentation
for RF Cascade Workbook™. There is no separate document available. RF Cascade Workbook 2005™ User's Guide should also
be useful since it extensively documents formulas. Combined, there is a lot of information
about not just how to use RFCW, but also how cascaded system analysis works. RF Cafe
is also chock full of
related information, so one way or the other, you're covered.
Locked vs. Unlocked Cells and VBA Code
The built-in ability of locking cells
to prevent unintentional overwriting of formulas is used in RF Cascade Workbook™.
The only worksheets which are locked when you receive the file are the " Most of
the time the protection can be left on. Trust me, even after becoming familiar with
use, you will still find yourself accidently attempting to type into formula cells,
and of course doing so invalidates calculated results. Probably the only time you
will need to remove protection is when inserting or deleting columns or rows. I
recommend never Unprotecting any worksheet since doing so invalidates the integrity
as provided. Be sure to reapply Protection if you decide to Unprotect. See the RFCW
Use information about liability.
Protecting & Unprotecting the Worksheet
Use Excel's Protect Sheet and Unprotect Sheet commands to lock and unlock,
respectively, the cells (see "Help" worksheet for more information). All cells except
User Input cells are formatted to be locked if you choose to enable the "Protect
When Protecting the worksheet, be sure to select ALL the check boxes in order
to ensure that the macros will run (click thumbnail above). You might need to scroll
down in the window to access all the check boxes.
Since the complete worksheet occupies
nearly 900 rows, a convenient drop-down menu is provided to move up and down the
page. Information necessary for the navigation to function is in the cell behind
the menu, so if you accidently overwrite the cells, navigation no longer works
(keep Protection turned on).
Hiding and Unhiding Columns
Rather than deleting and/or adding component
stage columns, it is much simpler to Hide and/or Unhide columns. Doing so retains
all the information without having to go through all the steps needed for deleting
and/or adding columns. All the input and calculated is retained and included in
the overall output, but the Hidden stage columns are not included in the charts.
Hiding component stage columns can be a good way to exclude unneeded plots from
the charts without requiring you to delete/add data series - which is itself a pain
System Cascade Charts
Charts are pre-configured for plotting all
calculated cascade parameters. Auto-scaling of the axes is the default, but you
can change all aspects of the chart formats per Excel standard. Select chart to
display using drop-down menu.
These four top-level overall system
parameters are used for many calculations. Be sure to define them along with the
individual stage component parameters.
Build System Block Diagram
Build your system block diagram using the
provided images or make your own. Click on the "Icons" tab at the bottom of the
page to access and copy the desired icon (58x32 pixels), then paste it into the
block diagram. Use Excel's standard Objects alignment and spacing tools for a perfect
Specify Component Parameters
Enter each stage's nominal and tolerance
values. Error checking is provided for exceeding power or gain limits (see below),
no negative noise figure (NF), making sure NF is equal to absolute value of a negative
gain component, etc. Errors are reported in the "Status" cells. Two rows f user-defined
cells are provided for formulas along with a "User Defined" chart that displays
the cell data.
Set Limits on Gain and Power Input Values
Set maximum values for stage component input
parameters. These values are used for Data Validation in the input parameter cells.
This results in a limit where the charts auto-scale, since entering a null value
of, say +999 dBm for IP3 will render its affect utterly unnoticeable by the
system, the IP3 chart will auto-scale to +1000 dBm or more while the IP3 level
in your actual system might be a maximum of +50 dBm. The useful data would
then be crunched almost entirely at the bottom 5% of the chart. Of course you can
always go in and manually scale the chart axis minimum and maximum values as desired
if you do use +999 dBm as the null value. This just keeps things reasonable
in case you prefer to let the charts auto-scale. Besides, +100 dBm is good
enough in most instances.
Specify Lower and Upper Frequency Sweep Limits for Filter Calculations
Enter the lower and upper frequency range
for calculating the system response inclusive of filters and frequency conversion
stages. 175 equally spaced frequency steps are calculated for all stages. Depending
on your system, you might want to do sweeps across the entire input band of concern,
then do narrower sweeps that will provide finer detail within your smaller filter
Note: the Lower frequency cannot be zero (0) because
of the logarithmic horizontal chart scale. The smallest value
permitted is 10-12, which is small enough to include 1 Hz even when
the Upper frequency is 1 THz.
Every stage can contain a frequency-dependent
component which can be an actual filter or a model of the frequency response of
an amplifier, cable, coupler, etc. RFCW checks to make sure all required inputs
are present and alerts you if they are not. For example, if you select a bandpass
filter and do not enter a lower frequency or if you use a Chebyshev and do not enter
a ripple value (or if you enter invalid values, like lower frequency greater than
Frequency Translation (Mixers | Modulators) Specifications
As with the filter specifications, every
stage can have a frequency translation. That means there is no limit to the number
of frequency conversions your system can have, although from a practical standpoint
you will probably never have more than three. RFCW checks to make sure all required
inputs are present and alerts you if they are not.
Frequency-Dependent Power Levels
Frequency-dependent power levels based on
filter responses and frequency translations are calculated separately from the other
system cascade calculations (NF, IP2, IP3, etc.). Along with the filter response,
all nominal stage component gains are included. Results are plotted in the "Frequency
Response" ("Signal Power vs. Frequency") chart. These frequency-dependent gains
and power levels are not used in any of other cascade calculations (NF,
IP2, IP3, etc.). Note that frequency and power levels presented this matrix are
actually calculated in cells below Row 540, but are done this way to conveniently
place power levels next to their associated frequencies while making data selection
for the chart simpler (take my word for it).
RF Cascade Workbook™ Intro Video (part 1)
RF Cascade Workbook™ Intro Video (part 2)
For archival purposes only, here are links to previous versions of RF Cascade
Changed title to "RF Cascade Workbook" and revision numbers to a format of "2018.n"
Updated "Workbook Protection" area in "Help." Updated official business name
from "RF Cafe" to my name "Kirt Blattenberger." This was done for business registration
6/16/2020 Update to v2018.3
The background image was changed to a muted log-log graph pattern.
You can change the background image to anything you like, or have no background
image at all. To do so, go to Page Layout -> Delete Background. To add a background,
do Page Layout -> Background and select a file.
5/19/2020 Update to v2018.2:
The Minimum Noise Figure calculation has been modified to prevent negative number.
If you already have data entered into a file, you might prefer to edit that file
rather than copy the data it into a new v1.20 file. If you are comfortable with
editing both the spreadsheet cell equations and Visual Basic code, the instructions
below and screen shots at the right show you how to do it.
Click in cell F108 and replace the existing equation with this one:
This is how to modify the VBA code:
Click on the "Developer" tab.
Click on the "Visual Basic" toolbar button.
In the tree page, double-click on "CascadeParameters" under the "Modules" branch.
Add the following equation to the end of the "Function CascadeNF" function:
If CascadeNF < 0 Then
CascadeNF = 0
Click on "File->Save."
Save the entire workbook file to preserve the changes.
4/24/2020 Update to v2018.1:
IP1dB Formula Correction Instructions
You might prefer to just change the IP1dB formula cells rather than copy all
the information from an existing workbook into the new version. If so, these instructions
provide a simple way to do it. Screen captures of each step are in the image to
the right (click for a larger version).
Click in cell F45 and change the formula from
=F43-(F33-1) , or to
then press Enter.
Click in cell F45 and select Copy.
Highlight cells H45 through AE45.
Select Paste Special... then select Formulas and press OK.
Click in one of the IP1dB cells in row 45 and verify that it contains the new
Save your workbook.
Posted June 16, 2018
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