Today in Science History -
This custom made
crossword puzzle for January 16th, 2022, from RF Cafe has an electrical engineering
theme. 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 puzzle 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
A few (many, actually) new terms have been
added to the
transistor lexicon since 1958, but this list from Radio-Electronics
magazine contains more than 150 definitions that are still useful today. It is amazing
that this list was created just a decade after the transistor was invented, and
now half a century later the most commonly used terms have not changed much. A huge
number of elemental compounds, configurations, and process terms have been added
since then, though. All of these are included in my custom dictionary used for creating
the weekly crossword puzzles - compiled over more than two decades...
Dave Harbaugh did a number of different
humorous features for Popular Electronics magazine back in the 1960s and
'70s (see list at bottom of page). "Hobnobbing
with Harbaugh" was one of the more popular comic series he did. Article topics
ranged from husband-wife relationships where the husband is an über-enthusiastic
technophile of some sort and the wife has to put up with his crazy schemes and inventions.
These comics poke fun at technical schools and colleges, and their alumni. My favorite
is the "suicidal" waveform.
This 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
Exodus Advanced Communications is a multinational
RF communication equipment and engineering service company serving both commercial
and government entities and their affiliates worldwide. Power amplifiers ranging
from 10 kHz to 51 GHz with various output power levels and noise figure
ranges, we fully support custom designs and manufacturing requirements for both
small and large volume levels. decades of combined experience in the RF field for
numerous applications including military jamming, communications, radar, EMI/EMC
and various commercial projects with all designing and manufacturing of our HPA,
MPA, and LNA products in-house.
"A combined team of researchers from the
University of Arizona and MIT reports that
quantum radar might be able to boost the accuracy of radar systems more than
has been thought. In their paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters,
the group describes a new approach to developing quantum radar and the obstacles
that stand in the way of its development. Radar works by firing microwave radiation
at an object and then measuring the signals that bounce back from it. And while
quite effective for many applications, it still falls short for long-distance applications.
Over the past few decades, as scientists came to learn more about quantum entanglement,
some suggested it might be used to improve radar systems. And indeed, sending just
one of two paired photons to a target..."
Alphabet Quiz" created by Robert Balin appeared in the December 1963 issue of
Popular Electronics magazine. Years from now most people will probably
have forgotten about how prominently Greek letters appeared in the news in this
current era (2022) regarding the COVID-19 plandemic and the destruction caused by
politicians and others with power and financial agendas. Delta and Omicron variants
(but notably not Xi since it might offend the leader of the country of the virus'
origin) are the most publicized. For centuries prior, from a scientific and engineering
perspective we looked either positively or benignly toward Greek letters when assigning
them as unique identifiers for quantitative units or physical configurations. When
Robert Balin created this "Greek Alphabet Quiz" for Popular Electronics magazine
in 1963, he had no idea how the aforementioned people would manage to bastardize
the revered letters. No vaccination, mask, or social distancing is required while
working this quiz...
Amplifier Solutions Corporation (ASC), founded
in 2004 by a team of experienced engineers from Phoenix Microwave (M/A-COM), is
a designer and manufacturer of RF & Microwave hybrid amplifiers for the military
and commercial markets. Amplifier Solutions is proud to introduce our
ASC2437C RF Amplifier. It features a bandwidth of 100 to 1,800 MHz with
typical flatness of ±1.0 across the band, 42 dB of gain, and a 4 watt
power output. Maximum input power is 0 dBm. SMA connectors are standard with
DC feedthrough pins for the supply. 0 to 50°C operational temperature range. 1.00"
x 2.50" x 4.00". Please contact ASC today with your RF amplifier requirements. Our
engineers will be happy to assist you with application requirements...
Mackay Radio & Telegraph Company, established
in 1925 in Nevada by Clarence Mackay as a sort of spin-off of his father's Commercial
Cable Company, is not usually a name that comes to mind when recalling early communications
pioneers. Mackay was one of the earliest radio and telegraph companies, but also
is still in business today under the name of Mackay Communications, based in Raleigh,
NC. That makes Mackay one of the oldest electronics companies in the United States
and in the world. Congratulations to them for surviving the cut-throat realm of
corporate mergers, buy-outs, and hostile takeovers. As with nearly all technology
concerns during World War II, Mackay did its part to help the Allies beat back
the advances of Communism, Marxism, and Socialism by designing and manufacturing
state-of-the-art radio communications systems that would work reliably under fire
RF 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...
Withwave manufactures an extensive line of
metrology quality coaxial test cable assemblies, connectors (wave-, end-, vertical-launch,
board edge, panel mount), calibration kits (SOLT), a
4-port vector network analyzer (VNA) calibrator, between- and in-series connector
adaptors, attenuators, terminations, DC blocks, torque wrenches, test probes &
probe positioner. Special test fixtures for calibration and multicoax cable assemblies.
Frequency ranges from DC through 110 GHz. Please contact Withwave today to
see how they can help your project succeed.
Only three and a half decades had passed
since the Wright Brothers made the first flight of an aeroplane taking off under
its own power when this "Landing Blind"
article appeared in a 1938 issue of Radio News magazine. By then, an entire
World War had been fought with air power having been determined to be a primary
strategic force, and a commercial airline industry was thriving as travelers everywhere
entrusted pilots and air traffic controllers with their very lives. The main impediment
to further progress from an navigational and scheduling perspective was inclement
weather. Pilots had long ago learned to fly by instruments, and taking off into
nearly zero visibility was not a problem, but landing confidently and safely under
the same conditions was still impossible. Aviation researchers were hard at work...
Four months prior to the publishing of this
article, Radio-Electronics magazine ran a piece by the same author, Ralph
Hallows, asking the question Which - AM or FM? England Ponders. Here, Mr. Hallows
lays out the process by which the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and governmental
entities decided on
frequency modulation (FM) as the way forward in commercial broadcasting. You
will not be surprised to learn that the primary drivers were wider bandwidth for
greater fidelity and much high immunity to both manmade (QRM) and natural (QRN)
electrical interference. Tests employing the help of non-technical radio listeners
showed that the claim of off-tuning and frequency drift by small amounts did not
appreciably degrade the quality of reception and listening satisfaction...
"Operators of China's HT-7U reactor, known
as EAST (Experimental Advanced
Tokamak), have claimed a new fusion record, representing an incremental step
in the long road to commercial energy production. According to the official Xinhua
news agency, the EAST reactor was able to maintain stable plasma at high temperatures
for 1,056 seconds (17.6 minutes). That represents a significant improvement above
the previous record of 101 seconds set last year. EAST operates on deuterium, a
stable hydrogen isotope abundant in nature. The experiment at Hefei, the capital
of Anhui Province in eastern China, was directed by Gong Xianzu, a researcher at
the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Plasma Physics. Details are here.
EAST is among the nuclear fusion reactors located at the Chinese research institute.
The doughnut-shaped tokamak produces a high-temperature plasma controlled by powerful
When electronics was relatively new and
accessible to the common man, it was not unusual to find comical articles, poems,
and even odes to the trade and those who plied it. To be an
Electronics Technician was to wear a title of distinction, even awe. Radios
and TVs were still using tubes and had chassis with point-to-point wiring, and everyone
knew that the mysterious components within needed TLC to keep working optimally.
Much as RF and microwave electronics is still considered a "black art" by many people,
having any serious technical knowledge in circuit design, construction, and/or repair
could earn a fellow a decent living, even without a college degree. Technical schools
were popping up all over the country in the 1950s when this article was written.
You will get a kick out of this story...
Thailand's Office of National Broadcasting
and Telecommunications Commission is expanding its
R&S ARGUS spectrum monitoring system from Rohde & Schwarz with 26 additional
interference hunting vehicles. The technical parameters for the vehicles/mobile
stations and measurement equipment comply with ITU recommendations and guidelines,
enabling both manual measurements and radio frequency direction finding. Since 2014,
Rohde & Schwarz has supplied the NBTC with seven spectrum monitoring vehicles
that use the R&S ARGUS monitoring system, allowing them to keep pace with advances
in communications technology and the ever growing number of radio services. The
authority can use the system to verify compliance...
It might be hard to believe that at one
time there was cabinet-level debate in government offices regarding whether FM radio
should be permitted to encroach on AM radio's well-established presence in the commercial
broadcast radio domain. When this 1951 Radio-Electronics magazine article
appeared, stereo was not even part of the contest since neither AM nor FM had implemented
it. The primary points of contention were cost to purchase and maintain a receiver
(AM wins) and consistency and quality of the sound over a broad range of frequencies
and amplitudes (FM wins). Some argued frequency drift would cause FM to need constant
re-tuning even with crystal control. Four months later, the February 1952 issue
of Radio-Electronics reported on the winner in an article entitled "xM
Wins in British Tests" (don't want to kill the suspense) for you...
With more than 1000
custom-built symbols, this has got to be the most comprehensive set of
Symbols 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). Symbols 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...
PCB Directory is the largest directory
Circuit Board (PCB) Manufacturers, Assembly houses, and Design Services on the
Internet. We have listed the leading printed circuit board manufacturers around
the world and made them searchable by their capabilities - Number of laminates used,
Board thicknesses supported, Number of layers supported, Types of substrates (FR-4,
Rogers, flexible, rigid), Geographical location (U.S., China), kinds of services
(manufacturing, fabrication, assembly, prototype), and more. Fast turn-around on
quotations for PCB fabrication and assembly.
For the last two centuries our wars have
been fought to secure freedom from oppressive regimes, either for our own citizens
or for citizens of allied countries requesting our assistance. In the entire history
of the United States, no land has ever been claimed during or after the conclusion
of the conflicts. Although the human cost has been tragic - especially for those
who have lost family members or suffered injuries - one undeniable benefit has been
the advancement of technology. "Necessity," it has been said, "is the mother of
invention." World War II resulted in significant advances in wireless communications,
civilian radio industry was quick to exploit the new devices and methods. Futurists
wasted no time prognosticating about how the postwar technology world would shape
up, and of course radio figured significantly into the vision. This 1945 article
from Radio-Craft magazine is an early example...
"European Union RoHS compliant commercial
lead-free electronics used in DoD electronics have an increased failure risk due
tin whisker short circuits unless properly mitigated by design. An electronic
assembly is created by integrating thousands of parts from multiple suppliers utilizing
a host of circuit card manufacturing processes. With the lead elimination from electronics
resulting from the European Union Reduction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) legislation,
many of the heritage aerospace and defense commercial off the shelf (COTS) solder
materials with tin–lead have become obsolete. Most notably there has been an increasing
cost and schedule pressure..."
Comics are a great source of levity to
take you away from the day's normal flow of events. My favorite comic strips contain
themes that relate to familiar scenarios or that catch me by surprise with their
Technically themed strips like this collection from Radio-Electronics
magazine are particularly welcome, but I do not appreciate gratuitous meanness and
never care to see death, dismemberment, or gore. Call me a prude, but I'm shocked
sometime by what appears in the daily newspaper comic strips (yes, I still read
the comics - and work the puzzles - every day). There are plenty more comics where
these came from, so stay tuned if you like them, too. Come to think of it, maybe
the "Fast" in "Fast TV Service" on page 102 in the November 1958 comic is a double
Anatech Electronics offers the industry's
largest portfolio of high-performance standard and customized RF and microwave filters
and filter-related products for military, commercial, aerospace and defense, and
industrial applications up to 40 GHz. Three new filter models have been introduced
DC-1200 MHz / 1400-3000 MHz suspended substrate diplexer, a 2140 MHz
WiFi bandpass filter, and a 2360-2420 MHz / 2435-2495 MHz Cavity Duplexer.
Custom RF power directional coupler designs can be designed and produced when a
standard cannot be found, or the requirements are such that a custom approach is
Just as with the poor, the spies will always
be among us. This story reports on a bookstore in New York that during World War II
funneled money and technical information back to the Nazi Party in Germany. Electronics,
aerospace, and other technical publications (including Radio-Craft magazine)
were chief among the sought-after sources. The shop was a front operation which
lost a huge sum of money per the official accounting books, but had copious amounts
of funds pouring in from German "investors." Today's enemy money fronting operations
are largely radical religious and communist entities collecting funds from America-hating
groups and individuals who live and thrive here. Did you know it was during WWII
that Persia began being commonly referred to as "Iran," which has the same etymology
as the Aryan (the similarity in sound is no coincidence) movement that accompanied
Nazism? Both groups aspire(d) to eradicate the Jewish people from the face of the
Earth. The more things change, the more things stay the same...
It 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!