Today in Science History -
Is that an early tin foil hat prototype
the lady on the cover of this month's Radio−Electronics magazine is modeling?
Tin foil hats for RF radiation conspiracy kooks were probably not even a thing back
in 1960. In some ways it fits in with the x−ray subject of the Bell Telephone Laboratories
infomercial in the same issue. As you can see from the large and ever-growing list
of Bell Labs promotions at the bottom of the page, the world's premier telephone
company didn't get to the top by luck. Bell engineers and scientists were continually
conducting research and development to assure service would be as efficient, affordable,
and reliable as possible. Bell Telephone Laboratories was at the leading edge of
communications technology, both wired and wireless, since day its founder uttered
the words, "Mr. Watson, come here... I want to see you..."
Modelithics is pleased to announce the release
version 23.5.1 of the Modelithics Qorvo GaN Library for use with Keysight Technologies'
PathWave Advanced Design System (ADS) and Cadence AWR Design Environment®. This
latest version offers new models for Qorvo's QPD1025, QPD1028, QPD1425, and QPD1425L
discrete GaN-on-SiC HEMTs. Version 23.5.1 also offers 2 new embedding models for
the T2G6000528-Q3 and T2G6003028-FL devices. The QPD1025 is an 1,800-W device intended
to operate from 0.96 to 1.215 GHz, while the QPD1028 is a 750-W device intended
to operate from 1.2 to 1.4 GHz. The QPD1425 and QPD1425L are 300-W devices intended
for operation from 1.2 to 1.4 GHz. All four of the new models are Angelov-based
models that include features like temperature scaling, self-heating effects, and
intrinsic I-V sensing...
Standardized Wiring Diagram Symbols & Color Codes feature appeared in a
1956 issue of Popular Electronics magazine, semiconductors were just coming into
common use. Therefore, only the simplest components like a diode and bipolar junction
transistor (BJT) are included. In fact, the only two types of diodes shown are vacuum
tube and selenium. The semiconductor diode is labeled as a crystal rectifier. There
is no light emitting diode (LED), field effect transistor (FET), metal oxide semiconductor
FET (MOSFET), integrated circuit (IC), or other commonly used modern device. Note
also that the "Receptacle 117V" does not show a safety ground connection. The "Vibrator"
was a device commonly used to convert direct current (DC) to alternating current
(AC). About the only people who will find a use for this information are those who
service and/or restore vintage electronic equipment...
"An era of breathtaking
palladium rallies is likely to be ending, analysts said, as rising supply and
stagnant demand erode prices of the metal used to neutralize vehicle exhaust emissions.
Palladium, once the cheapest major precious metal, rocketed from less than $500
an ounce in 2016 to above $3,400 last March, leaving platinum and gold for dust.
Powering the rally was rising demand from automakers who needed more palladium per
vehicle to meet tightening emissions standards. Supply could not keep up, leading
to huge deficits. That is now changing. Electric vehicles (EVs) that do not need
palladium are gaining market share and automakers are substituting some palladium
for cheaper platinum in combustion engine vehicles..."
At first I thought maybe this was intended
to be an April Fools joke, being that it appeared in an April issue of QST
magazine, but it is probably just a coincidence. One of the two topics refers to
a "door knob for UHF," which
in reality was a glass-encased vacuum tube that was shaped a lot like one of the
old glass door knobs. The author penned a humorous take-off. On second thought,
maybe this is a Fool's edition now that I have read the second item. All kidding
aside, "Strays" concludes with a poem dedicated to those who became "Silent Keys"
as a result of World War II...
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
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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...
Windfreak Technologies designs, manufactures,
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National Inventors Council (NIC) mentioned by Hugo Gernsback in this 1960
Radio-Electronics magazine "Inventions Wanted" article was established
in 1940 by the U.S. Department of Commerce. It served as a collection point for
inventions that had possible national defense and military uses. In the mid-1950's,
NIC's functions were transferred to the National Bureau of Standards (NBS, now NIST).
An initial list was published six months earlier, and this list includes both updates
to the former items and new requests. A few examples that have been realized at
this point are: 913) Low-Loss High-Power Ferrites for Use as Microwave Phase Shifter
| 914) A Broad-Band Maser Amplifier for Use in the Microwave Region | 975) A New
Method of Electronically (not with frequency change) Scanning an Antenna | 1024)
High-Power Broad-Band Solid-State RF Amplifiers | 1057) Solid-State Microwave Oscillators
| 1139) Field Portable Digital Radar. What might a 2023 list include? Maybe a fully
autonomous robotic foot soldier, an invisibility cloak for man and machine...
Innovative Power Products has been designing
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are serviced around the world. Products listed on the website link to detailed mechanical
drawings, electrical specifications, and performance data. If you cannot find a
product that meets your requirements on our website, contact us to speak with one
of our experienced design engineers about your project.
"KIMS developed the world's first continuous
manufacturing technology for
millimeter wave-absorbing magnetic materials. A research team led by Dr. Youn-kyoung
Baek and Dr. Jung-goo Lee succeeded in developing the world's first technology to
consecutively manufacture epsilon iron oxide that can absorb millimeter wave with
a high coercive force equivalent to that of neodymium (Nd) magnets. The researchers
are in the Department of Magnetic Materials in Powder Materials Division at the
Korea Institute of Materials Science (KIMS), a government-funded research institute
under the Ministry of Science and ICT. Iron oxide material with a high-coercive
epsilon crystal phase is almost the only magnetic material that absorbs ultra-high
frequencies which is a potential 6G frequency band. Until now, it was only formed
in a nano-sized particle of 50 nanometers or less. Japan succeeded to produce pure
epsilon iron oxide..."
TotalTemp Technologies, a worldwide
leading provider of benchtop temperature chambers and thermal platform equipment,
VmSD49N Thermal Vacuum Test Chamber capable of +175°C to −75°C at 10−6
Torr. It is designed specifically for testing aerospace equipment. 10−6
Torr (1.333224x10−6 mbars, 1.933678x10−8 psi) is the equivalent
of 1/760,000,000th of an Earth atmosphere. Aerospace environmental testing in a
thermal vacuum chamber allows for the exposing and weeding out potential failures
due to temperature extremes and atmospheric pressure or the lack of it in space.
With equipment destined for space, the stakes are always higher with the cost to
launch, the chance of a failure being catastrophic plus the lack of service calls
in space. The process of basic thermal testing in space is a little different than
testing for land based systems, mainly because the lack of heat transfer by air.
The intentional and unintentional transfer of heat by convection makes a big difference
from what might otherwise be a common sense solution in an environment with air.
Outgassing of many materials is another consideration that is usually not such a
big deal on earth...
We are accustomed these days with stores
having "no questions asked" return policies for just about anything. I once watched
a guy successfully return a 4" PVC plumbing fitting that had clearly been smeared
with glue in the coupling areas. Another time a guy returned a painting drop cloth
that was full of paint, declaring that it wasn't what he wanted. The return counter
bins of Walmart and other stores are always chock full of stuff. Such was not always
the case, though. This episode of
Mac's Radio Service Shop from a 1955 issue of Radio & Television News
magazine, mentions, among other things, how busy he and sidekick Barney had been
right after Christmas doing troubleshooting and repair on various electronic equipment
that had been received as gifts. Imagine receiving a radio for Christmas and not
being able to simply return it to the store where it was purchased - even with a
sale receipt. Nobody would stand for such a situation today...
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
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and/or managers of hiring companies are welcome to submit opportunities for posting
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a high quality of listings. Please read through the easy procedure to benefit from
RF Cafe's high quality visitors...
SF Circuits' specialty is in the complex,
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customers request PCB production that is outside the capabilities of normal circuit
board providers. Please take a moment to visit San Francisco Circuits today. "Printed
Circuit Fabrication & Assembly with No Limit on Technology or Quantity."
Hall effect had been known for 80 years when this article appeared in Radio−Electronics
magazine in 1960, it was not until research in semiconductor compounds during that
same era generated substantial enough voltage potentials for detection and use by
circuits of the day that Hall effect sensors became useable in mass production.
Indium arsenide (InAs) and indium antimonide (InSb) are two of the early examples.
A single Hall effect sensor in 1960 would set you back around $25 - that's $253
in today's money... ouch! Hall effect sensors in small quantities can be bought
now from Digi-Key for $2 and change. Modern Hall effect sensors are still made with
InAs and InSb, along with gallium arsenide (GaAs), indium phosphide (InP), and even
graphene. There is obviously something special about indium (In) that makes it the
ideal base metal for Hall sensors. All the elements involved are in the p−block
group of the periodic table...
Back in my days at defense contractor companies,
first as a technician and then as an engineer, it was virtually unheard of for anyone
with the title of "Engineer"
to not have at least a Bachelor's degree in engineering or science. Only one instance,
while at Westinghouse Oceanic Division in Annapolis, MD, comes to mind. I suspect
the requirement was dictated by the government, since many times (if not always),
part of a proposal included submitting resumes for many of the key personnel who
would be working on the project being bid upon. In the commercial realm, again,
only one person that I can recall (at Comsat) had achieved the rank of engineer
without a degree. Now, after working at a commercial communications IC design and
manufacturing company for many years, I have yet to run into any "engineers" who
do not have at least a BSEE degree. Is it because people with engineering degrees
are so easy to come by that there is no need to even consider someone without the
degree? Are there any non-degreed engineers remaining? If so, are they a dying breed
that will not be replaced? Probably you, and definitely I...
"As part of CES 2023, NXP Semiconductors
announced a new 28-nm
RFCMOS radar one-chip IC family for next-gen autonomous driving systems and
advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS). The new SAF85xx one-chip family works
alongside NXP's high-performance radar sensing and processing technologies in one
device to address short-, medium-, and long-range radar that meets more NCAP safety
requirements. This advanced radar sensing technology plays an essential part in
accelerating the development of next-generation ADAS,' said Mr. Hiroshi Kondo, Head
of the Safety Systems Business Unit at DENSO Corp. 'We know DENSO will extend its
leadership position in ADAS by leveraging NXP's compact high-performance SAF85xx
The stability and therefore usefulness of
a system depends heavily on the quality of its reference oscillator. Understanding
the cause and ramifications of oscillator imperfections is essential successful
system design. Julian Emmerich and Harald Rudolph of KVG Quartz Crystal Technology
have a great article on the Microwave Journal website entitled, "The
Trinity of Inaccuracy: Phase Noise, Jitter and Short-Term Stability - What Everyone
Should Know About Their Measurement and Interrelationships." It begins: "In electrical
components and circuits, noise effects with different physical causes occur everywhere.
In crystal oscillators there are three primary noise generating mechanisms: A ubiquitous
background noise due to the thermal motion of the atoms and molecules of all components
creates an insurmountable noise floor, which mainly affects noise far from the carrier
(white noise). Noise caused by semiconductor components is called shot noise which
has a 1/f dependence on the frequency. The dominant noise source close to the carrier
is called flicker noise, which largely depends on the quality of the crystal..."
Telemetering - the remote sensing and reporting
of system parameters via radio link - was just coming of age in the late 1950s when
this article appeared in Popular Electronics magazine. It was the age of
space payload rocket development (as opposed to artillery and fireworks rockets),
high speed jet airliners, and the Pioneer 1 space probe. There was a great
need to collect data during the developmental and operational engineering project
stages in order to ascertain causes for failures when they occurred and to know
what went right when success triumphed. A pinnacle of the newborn telemetering era
was Pioneer 1, which carried an image scanning infrared television system to
study the Moon's surface to a resolution of 0.5 degrees, an ionization chamber to
measure radiation in space, a diaphragm/microphone assembly to detect micrometeorites,
a spin-coil magnetometer to measure magnetic fields to 5 microgauss, and temperature-variable
resistors to record the spacecraft's internal conditions*. Unfortunately, the launching
rocket experienced a malfunction that buggered the flight trajectory, but the craft...
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If you need your company news to be seen, RF Cafe is the place to be.
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Not really on point regarding
infrared guided missiles as reported in this 1960 issue of Radio−Electronics
magazine, but the photo of a Sidewinder missile on the wingtip of an F−104 Starfighter
reminds me of back in the early 1980's when I visited the Smithsonian Air &
Space Museum in Washington, D.C., and the wingtip of the F−104 hanging there was
nearly close enough to touch. I marveled over how incredibly thin it was for an
airplane capable of flying at Mach 2 (1,482 mph)*. Missiles or auxiliary
fuel tanks (and sometimes experimental instruments) could be attached to that diminutive,
yet evidently extremely strong wingtip. AIM−9 Sidewinder missiles went into service
in 1956, so they were relatively new when this story was published. As many as 50
countries, including the U.S., still use them today. The current version is Block III,
AIM−9M(R). That's the same time (1955) that B−52 Stratofortress bombers, also still
in service, were deployed...
Sam Benzacar of Anatech Electronics, an
RF and microwave filter company, has published his January 2023 newsletter that
features his short op−ed entitled "Cellular
to Smartphones from Space is Coming." He writes about the rapidly evolving direct-satellite-to-cellphone
service being pioneered by AST SpaceMobile. The photo shows their world's largest
space-borne phased array BlueWalker 3 antenna, which was lofted into orbit
late last year. Using the online Satellite Orbital Decay Calculator to estimate
the likely orbital lifetime of the 1,500 kg (3,300 lb), 64.4 m2 (693 ft2),
BlueWalker 3 antenna array, initially in a 515 km (320 mi) high orbit,
re-entry can be expected in a little under 6 years. It probably has some amount
of propellant onboard to help maintain orbital height, thereby extending its lifetime.
No doubt the orbit height and antenna size was a tradeoff of coverage area and path
loss between the transmitter and receiver. If these LEO antenna arrays get physically
and/or numerically much larger, we may experience more frequent solar eclipses.
Maybe the companies should lobby governments for funds based on their lowering the
global temperature due to decreased sunlight. The way governments work, though,
instead they'll fine satellite companies for lowering the efficiency of solar arrays...
The late 1950s and early 1960s were the
dawn of the
Space Age, beginning unofficially with the launch of Sputnik. Popular Electronics
magazine put a lot of effort into educating the public on advances in space electronics,
including not just the spaceborne platforms, but also ground tracking and communicating
equipment. Much hardware was launched into orbit in the early years without giving
much thought to the hazards or space debris. Failures in the form of explosions
scattered chunks widely, but fortunately most were low enough to have their orbits
degrade and re-enter the atmosphere. One interesting tidbit reported in this article
that I didn't know was that the TV camera lens on the TIROS 2 weather satellite
was defocused during launch (due to positional shifting from vibration and G forces,
I suppose) and crippled the image quality severely...
anagram a word game where letters of one word are rearranged to spell another
word or series of words? For instance, an anagram for "microwave" is "warm voice,"
one for ''resistance" is "ancestries," and for "vector" is "covert." If so, then
this puzzle is misnamed; it is really a crossword puzzle. Maybe back in 1961 the
word anagram included this type of puzzle which appeared in the October issue of
Electronics World magazine.. Regardless of the naming error, I did learn
a new word: "inertance," which means "the effect of inertia in an acoustic system,
an impeding of the transmission of sound through the system..."
decibel is not a concept unique to electronics - power, volts, current - although
it is undoubtedly most often used there. Probably the next most often used realm
for decibels is with sound (audio), which is the subject of this 1964 Radio−Electronics
magazine article. The decibel, abbreviated nowadays as "dB" ("db" in the article's
era) is nothing more than a logarithmic representation of a dimensionless ratio
of increase (positive dB) or decrease (negative dB). As the numerical "deci" implies,
a decibel is one tenth of a bel ("B," named in honor of Alexander Graham Bell).
It can be applied to any numerical magnitude comparison. Although not normally done,
a decibel ratio could be applied to dissimilar units; for instance, a ratio of 100
apples to 50 oranges is 3 dB. Conversely, a ratio of 50 apples to 100 oranges
is -3 dB. Mr. King provides the gory mathematical details...
Here are a few tech headlines from the January
1957 issue of Popular Electronics magazine. Sky-High Radar by Sikorsky
is a new high-powered
airborne search radar. The electronic Trial & Error Machine "differentiates
between right and wrong decisions and profits from its own mistakes," making it
the perfect gadget for today's environment where any freakish act gets rewarded
and eventually normalized. Lab Aloft Chases Cosmic Rays uses a UASF KC-97 Stratofreighter
for researching those mysterious and ubiquitous high energy entities which perpetually
bombard our Earthly existence. This Brain That Squirts reports on Bendix's prototype
carburetor that uses an electronically controlled "electrojector" to inject fuel
directly into the cylinder. Now, all of our internal combustion vehicles contain