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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3 of the November 2017 homepage archives.
Veterans Day 2017: A Pittance of Time
is my annual Veterans Day tribute. On November 11 (the 11th day
of the 11th month), at 11:00 am (the 11th hour), we observe 2 minutes of silence
in honor of countrymen who "gave the last full measure of devotion." A Pittance of Time
is performed by Canadian citizen Terry Kelly. It was
written after an experience he had on Veterans Day in 1999. Terry went blind at an early
age. It is done in the finest Celtic tradition.
Heathkit Advertisement, February 1969 Electronics World
For those of us who like to wax nostalgic over
our early days of building electronics kits, here is a two-page spread from Heathkit
in a 1969 issue of Electronics Word magazine. That year was pretty much at the
beginning of my more serious involvement in electronics, which had spawned a few years
earlier but was really kick-started after getting a "Radio Experimenter" kit for Christmas.
It had parts for an AM radio with a breadboard that used springs as attachment points
for the components. Being "so easy a caveman could do it", I actually was able to hear
a broadcast through the ear bud from the local AM radio ...
Many Thanks to MECA Electronics for Their Long-Time Support!
Since 1961, MECA Electronics
manufactures an extensive line of RF & microwave components for in-building, satellite, radar,
radio, telemetry, mobile radio, aviation & ATC. Attenuators, directional & hybrid
couplers, isolators & circulators, power
dividers & combiners, loads, DC blocks, bias-Ts
and adapters & cables. MECA has long been the 'backbone' of high performance wired
and air-interfaced networks. Please visit MECA today to learn how they can help with
your projects ...
U.S. Fighter Jets with Laser Weapons by
Lockheed Martin is working to develop a
high-power fiber laser for fighter jets. Under a $26.3 million contract
from the Air Force Research Lab, the firm will design and produce a directed energy system
for aircraft, with plans to test the technology by 2021. The move comes after a series
of successful tests with similar systems in ground-based platforms – but, the experts
say developing a laser for a smaller, airborne design will be a challenge. The AFRL awarded
the contract as part of its Self-protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator ...
Triad RF Systems Newsletter Q4 2017
Triad RF's Growth Continues in 2017. Our
2017 revenue is expected to increase over 30% compared to 2016. This growth can be attributed
to several Triad products used by military companies around the globe. Some of these
products successfully passed the rigors of MIL-STD testing including 810F and 461G and
are now transmitting high speed data and video over long distances. We are also experiencing
growth in our unmanned aerial and ground vehicle (UAV & UGV) products. We are ...
Skyworks Unveils New Category of Wi-Fi Solutions
Skyworks Solutions, an innovator of high performance
analog semiconductors connecting people, places and things, today introduced a new family
of highly integrated wireless networking solutions for mobile and Internet of Things
(IoT) ecosystems. The new
WiFi suite combines Skyworks' industry-leading integration expertise and advanced 802.11ac
technology to provide customers with a comprehensive front-end module in a single placement,
compact footprint. Specifically, these new products ...
Milestone for Ultra-Fast Communications
"Researchers have discovered that a special kind
of perovskite, a combination of an organic and inorganic compound that has the same structure
as the original mineral, can be layered on a silicon wafer to create a vital component
for the communications system of the future. That system would use the
terahertz spectrum, the next generation of communications bandwidth
that uses light instead of electricity to shuttle data. U. of Utah physics and astronomy.
Distinguished Professor Valy Vardeny, and U. of Utah electrical and computer engineering
professor Ajay Nahata have ..."
A Bit of a 'Quantum Magic Trick'
analog clock tick-tick-ticks with a constant precision and well known
frequency: one tick per second. The longer you let it tick, the better to test its accuracy
- 10 times as long corresponds to a ten−fold improvement in any frequency uncertainty.
But is there a faster way to determine a frequency? It turns out there is, in a new discovery
published this week in Physical Review Letters by a collaboration between a Washington
University in St. Louis professor ..."
ARRL's Best of "The Doctor Is In" Monthly Column
Joel Hallas writes a monthly column titled "The Doctor Is In," in the ARRL's QST magazine. It is the
very first thing I read in each issue. Per the book's credit: "For more than a decade,
Joel Hallas, W1ZR, has been offering ideas and advice to radio amateurs in QST magazine's
The Doctor Is In column. Each month he educates, dispenses cures for troublesome problems,
and indulges in more than a little technical mythbusting. Many answers include comprehensive
illustrations. You'll find helpful information about VHF / UHF Antennas, HF Wire Antennas,
HF Vertical Antennas, HF Yagi Antennas, Transmission Lines ..."
What Do Hams Do?
Often times, a recent convert, adopter, proselyte,
or whatever name you give to a newly energized person who has a new activity or lifestyle,
is among the most ardent of disciples for that realm. That goes for religions, weight
loss and smoking cessation programs, social and political movements, and even hobbies.
Recipients of that person's enthusiastic dogma view such evangelism as anything from
welcome news worthy of adoption to merely annoying to downright offensive and unbearable.
Since receiving my first
Amateur Radio operator's license in 2010, long-time visitors of RF Cafe have probably
noticed an increase in the number of Ham-related news stories and ...
Liquids Can Enable High-Power Terahertz
"Scientists at the Tata Institute of Fundamental
Research (TIFR), Mumbai have devised a high power radiation source in the much sought
after terahertz (THz) region of the electromagnetic spectrum. The study was done in collaboration
with laboratories in Greece and France and is described in the journal Nature Communications.
terahertz radiation has typically been available from large, complex
machines like Free Electron Lasers. Compact sources, relying on semiconductor antennas ..."
Career Tips for November
I made the rounds of
websites and pulled out these useful ones for November. The first in the list is quite
interesting - good news for techies in general. In the second, Monster ranks the best
companies for veterans - LMart, Booz Allen Hamilton, BAE are look'n good.
Comics with an Electronics Theme from Vintage Popular Electronics
Here are two more
tech-themed comics from vintage Popular Electronics magazines. The year
was 1972, which was at the peak of NASA's Project Apollo moon manned exploration era.
Unfortunately, unbeknownst to the agency at the time, it was also near the end of the
era as the moon exploration portion of the program was abruptly cancelled after Apollo 17,
in December of 1972. No man has set foot on the moon since then - 45 years as of this
writing. One of the comics humorously depicts a situation that for many government departments
would be a "situation normal" scenario, but given NASA's overwhelming success, it would
not be as expected ...
Many Thanks to Asian Circuits Electronics for Continued Support!
With headquarters in Dublin, CA, and production
facilities in Shenzhen, China, Asian Circuits Inc., a contract
PCB assembly company , is
an expert in mid- and high-run printed
card assembly. Its staff of 600 consists of 450 associates in PCB fabrication and
150 in circuit board assembly. It is an ISO9001, IPC-A600 and IPC A610 compliant company.
• PCB Online Quote: An instant PCB price can be quoted after selection of a few options.
Get price within 24 hours. Please take a few moments to visit Asian Circuits today in
appreciation of their support
Webinar: Advanced Spectrum Measurements
for Modern Radios
Microwave Journal's Technical Education Webinar
Series. Title:Advanced Spectrum Measurements for Modern Radios. Date:
Tuesday, November 14, 2017. Time: 11 am ET Sponsored by: National
Presented by: Xavier Gosselin, Staff Applications
Engineering Specialist, RF Wireless - National Instruments Abstract: Advanced
spectrum measurements like adjacent channel leakage ratio and spurious emissions often
require advanced knowledge of best measurement practices and instrumentation architectures.
In this presentation, we'll explain how to ...
Graphene, Silver Nanowires for Flexible
"Researchers at the University of Sussex have
found a solution to brittle, easily broken smartphone screens by using a combination
silver nanowires and graphene. Now researchers at the University
of Sussex may have found a solution to this problem by leveraging what's rapidly becoming
the most useful material in chemistry: graphene. Alan Dalton, a professor in the School
of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, and a team at the university have discovered a
way to replace indium tin oxide - a key material in smartphone screens - with ..."
New Digital Modes Changing Complexion of
Bands and Perhaps of Ham Radio
"The wave of software-based
digital modes over the past several years has altered the atmosphere
of the HF bands. Some suggest the popularity of modes that make it possible to contact
stations neither operator can even hear has resulted in fewer CW and SSB signals on bands
like 6 meters and 160 meters. Traditional modes require far more interaction and effort
on the part of the operator; the newer digital modes not so much. The recent ..."
Flexible Printed Wiring
This is the last of a series of articles on printed
circuit boards (PCBs) that appeared in the October 1969 issue of Electronics World,
reporting on the latest and greatest advances in printed circuit board technology. Author
Gaetano Viglione, of Sanders Associates (bought by Lockheed Martin in the 1980s and now
owned by BEA Systems), reported on the state of the art of
flexible printed circuit wiring. Sanders did a lot of aerospace and military electronics
systems and was a leader in the field. In those days, the larger electronics manufacturers
had their own in-house PCB design and fabrication capability ...
The Magic of the Gilbert Erector Set
Nuts & Volts magazine recently did
a feature on the vaunted
Gilbert Erector Set that so many of my (born in 1958) and previous
generations would receive for birthday and Christmas presents. Those were times when
boys were encouraged to do things with their hands other than play with video game controllers
and swipe the screens of smartphones. Learning to follow written instructions and interpret
assembly drawings prepared us for doing our own construction and maintenance projects.
I posted a photo on my hobby website of an
Erector Set like the one I owned as a kid sometime in the late 1960s.
Anatech Electronics October Product Update
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. Anatech
has introduced a new connector and two new
cavity bandpass filters for your convenience: a 7/16 DIN male RF connector; a 9100 MHz
cavity bandpass filter with SMA connectors, and an 1159.5 MHz cavity bandpass filter
with N-type connectors ...
Please Thank IPP for Their Long-Time Support!
Innovative Power Products (IPP) has over 30 years
of experience designing & manufacturing RF &
microwave passive components. Their high power, broadband
couplers, combiners, resistors,
baluns, terminations and attenuators are fabricated using the latest materials and
design tools available, resulting in unrivaled product performance. Take a couple minutes
to visit their website and see how IPP can help you today ...
Radio Pollution Creates Space Shield for
"People are big polluters, on the land, in the
sea and even in outer space, that can include anything from a hammer that floats away
from the space station, to radiation from a
nuclear weapons test in the atmosphere. 'This can range from little
chips of paint all the way up to spent rocket bodies and things like that,' said Dan
Baker, director of the Laboratory of Atmosphere and Space Physics at the University of
Colorado, Boulder. 'We've been trying to figure out how can we most effectively eliminate
this debris without causing more ..."
Tiny Printed Ink Droplets Trap Light
"A microscopic 'pen' that is able to write structures
small enough to trap and harness light using a commercially available printing technique
could be used for sensing, biotechnology, lasers, and studying the interaction between
light and matter. The printing-based approach, jointly developed by researchers at the
University of Cambridge and the Hitachi Cambridge Laboratory, combines high-resolution
inkjet printing with
nanophotonics - the study and harnessing of light on the scale of
a billionth of a metre ..."
Volta and His "Electric Pile"
This 1973 Popular Electronics article
has got to be the most concise and interesting summary of
Alessandro Volta's path to the discovery of battery cells. Author David Heiserman
covers not just the technical aspects of Volta's experiments, but the personal and political
tip-toeing he needed to endure with contemporary physicist Luigi Galvani and conqueror
Napoleon Bonaparte, respectively. Alas, that has been the case throughout history. Although
such unnecessary struggles continue to impede scientific advancement, at least the unfettered
access to the Internet has provided ...
Global Shortage of Magnetic Tape Leaves
Cassette Fans Reeling
What's old is new again. "The growing popularity
cassettes in the music industry is creating a serious tape shortage.
One die-hard supplier, National Audio Company in Springfield, Missouri, sees an opportunity.
Steve Stepp and his team of septuagenarian engineers are using a bag of rust, a kitchen
mixer larger than a man and a 62-foot-long contraption that used to make magnetic strips
for credit cards to avert a disaster that no one saw coming in the digital-music era.
The world is running out of cassette tape. Mr. Stepp is president and co-owner,
has been hoarding a stockpile of music-quality, ⅛-inch ..."
R&S Whitepaper: Debugging in the Time & Frequency Domains
white paper covers the challenges in debugging mixed-domain embedded
systems in both the frequency and time domains. An overview of frequency domain analysis
techniques and Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) basics is provided. Time gating is presented
as a powerful tool that allows the correlation between the time and frequency domain.
In addition, we introduce a frequency domain mask capability that allows the oscilloscope
to trigger on elusive events that occur infrequently in the frequency domain. Finally,
we present a case study example that uses each of the discussed topics ...
Protein Can Be Switched to Conduct Electricity
"When pushing the boundaries of discovery, sometimes
even the most experienced of scientists can get a surprise jolt from a completely unpredictable
result. About four years ago, Stuart Lindsay's research team got a lab result that even
he couldn't quite believe. As with most scientific surprises, it goes against all conventional
wisdom: the first evidence of a protein that could
conduct electricity like a metal. Lindsay explored the interactions
between a protein, called an integrin (alphaVbeta3), and its target ..."
November 5th Engineering Crossword Puzzle w/Weekly Headlines
For the sake of avid cruciverbalists amongst us,
each week I create a new
engineering-themed crossword puzzle using only words related to engineering, science,
mathematics, chemistry, physics, astronomy, etc. At least 10 clues in this puzzle with
an asterisk (*) are pulled from this past week's (10/30 - 11/3) "Tech
Industry Headlines" column on the RF Cafe homepage (see the Headline
Archives page for help). Enjoy! ...
Webinar: Interference-Free Design
of Electronic Devices
Microwave Journal's Technical Education Webinar
Series. Title: "Interference-Free Design of Electronic Devices" Date: November
7, 2017 Time: 11 am ET Sponsored by: ANSYS Inc. Presented
German, Senior Manager of Research & Development Abstract: In today's
wireless world, we are seeing ever increasing complexity in modern commercial electronics.
It is commonplace for devices to include multiple RF transceivers, digital data sources
and sensors co-located in a very small space with the expectation of continuous and uninterrupted
simultaneous operation ...
Website Traffic Statistics for October
Numbers are in for RF Cafe.com in October, and
the server statistics show an average weekday
pageview rate of around
60,000 per weekday. Those numbers include things like search engine web bots, so the
"human" numbers are actually lower, but my guess is everyone reports the raw numbers.
I do not use Google Analytics because is slows page loading and is more work than I care
to put into drilling down in to the statistics. Regardless, 60k page views/day is not
bad for a one-man operation, non? Thanks to all you humans that make RF Cafe a success
Inexpensive Wheatstone Bridge
Before the ready availability of inexpensive, accurate
multimeters, obtaining a highly precise measurement of resistance required something
Wheatstone bridge. According to Wikipedia, "The Wheatstone bridge was invented by
Samuel Hunter Christie in 1833 and improved and popularized by Sir Charles Wheatstone
in 1843. One of the Wheatstone bridge's initial uses was for the purpose of soils analysis
and comparison." This article in a 1972 issue of Popular Electronics discusses
the operation of the Wheatstone bridge and includes a construction project for anyone ...
Millennial International: Sponsor
a Millennial Today
You must watch
this gut-wrenching plea for help. Do it for yourself. Do it for humankind. You're welcome.
Skyworks Launches '5G in Five Minutes' Video
Want a simple explanation about 5G and how it
will revolutionize wireless connectivity in our daily lives? Skyworks has as easy-to-understand
video to help! Skyworks has recently launched "5G
in Five Minutes," the first in a series of videos where Skyworks CTO Peter Gammel
explains the critical components for 5G and their importance in the evolution of 5G technologies.
As an innovator of high performance analog semiconductors, Skyworks is advancing its
technology leadership and extending its product reach to help enable some ...
Nanomagnets Levitate Thanks to Quantum Physics
"Quantum physicists in Oriol Romero-Isart's research
group in Innsbruck show in two current publications that, despite Earnshaw's theorem,
nanomagnets can be stably levitated in an external static magnetic
field owing to quantum mechanical principles. The quantum angular momentum of electrons,
which also causes magnetism, is accountable for this mechanism. Already in 1842, British
mathematician Samuel Earnshaw proved that there is no stable configuration of levitating ..."
Apex Waves Fins the Used Test Equipment You
Waves, located in Cary, North Carolina, provides customers with new, new surplus,
and refurbished / reconditioned
test equipment from manufacturers like Tektronix, Agilent / Keysight, R&S, Anritsu,
BK Precision, Teledyne LeCroy, and many more! Where the distributors try to push you
onto the latest products, we track down your exact model you've been looking for, despite
being discontinued. Please call 919-809-5227 or visit the
Apex Waves website.
Hewlett-Packard Archive Lost in Silicon Valley
"Some 100 boxes of correspondence, speeches, and
other documents created by William Hewlett and David Packard as they built the company
considered to be the grandfather of what we think of as Silicon Valley were burned to
ash by the recent Sonoma County fires. The collection, stored in a modular building on
the Santa Rosa campus of Keysight Technologies, was considered to be the heart of the
Hewlett-Packard historical archives. The Santa Rosa Press Democrat,
which first reported the destruction on 29 October ..."
Triad RF Systems Intros a 2.2-2.5 GHz, 25 W Bidirectional
Triad RF Systems has introduced the
TTRM1119 LDMOS amplifier which operates
at a frequency range of 2200 to 2500 MHz and has a power output of 25 watts,
while still maintaining a compact form factor of 3.33" x 2.69" x 0.65". This unit also
features internal protection against over/under voltage and excessive temperature conditions,
which coupled with its rugged construction, ensures fault-free operation in even the
most extreme environments. This class AB LDMOS module ...
Electronics-Themed Comics, October 1969 Electronics World
Here are a couple
tech-themed comics that appeared in the October 1969 issue of Electronics World
magazine. I like the one with the two guys applying for a patent best. There is a huge
list at the bottom of the page of links to other comics I have posted over the years.
BTW, people have asked ...
Global MilSatCom 2017
are proud to announce that the 19th annual
MilSatCom will convene in London on 7th-9th November 2017. At this year's Global
MilSatCom there will once again be a range of networking opportunities: Meet and network
with service providers as well as military and government end-users from around the world
that will make up the 500 attendees at this year's conference and exhibition Two evening
networking receptions hosted by SES and Airbus at the end of days 1 and 2 Lockheed Martin
will be hosting an invitation only ...
Webinar on GaN Power Amplifier Design Features NI AWR Software
Balanced amplifier approaches are popular in RF
applications due to a number of implicit advantages of the topology. Using one of these
approaches in the microwave region, however, has been challenging because of the difficulty
in creating an anti-phase power splitter/combiner, or balun. In this upcoming webinar,
"Simulating a 200 watt L-Band Push-Pull GaN Power Amplifier" presenter Dominic FitzPatrick
of PoweRFul Microwave demonstrates the use of
NI AWR Design Environment
to create ...
New Era in Cooling of RF and Embedded Computing
"Two U.S. standards organizations have ratified
an open-systems specification for advanced air-flow-through cooling in high-performance
embedded computing and
RF and microwave applications, and avionics engineers at Lockheed
Martin Corp. are finding this new standard to be just what the designer ordered. The
VITA open-standards trade association in Oklahoma City, as well as the American National
Standards Institute (ANSI) in Washington, earlier this month ratified the ANSI/VITA 48.8
Wavelength Intros the TC15 LAB Temperature Control Instrument
TC15 LAB (15A,
20V) is an ultra-stable digital controller for thermoelectrics and resistive heaters
where tight temperature stability is required. Designed using the latest technology,
stability better than 0.0009 °C can be achieved with thermistors. Precision temperature
control is required in myriad applications. This high‑powered controller makes development
of complex systems or sophisticated experiments possible in biological sample control,
laser diode or ...
Computer-Designed PC Boards
Even in the early days of "computer-designed"
printed circuit boards, the software was sophisticated enough to take a circuit net
list and perform a rudimentary auto-routing all of metal traces, component solder pads
and through holes, using a set of defined design rules for line width and spacing, component
size, number of layers, etc. Manual tweaking was usually needed after the initial run,
but even today, especially for high frequency PCBs, some manual adjustment is needed
to help ensure first-pass success of a layout. According to author Bauer, as many as
22 layers had been accomplished at the time of the article's printing in 1969. Numerically
EZMaintain IoT Sensors Integrate into CMMS for Predicative
EZmaintain based out of Cleveland, OH, has introduced
world's first Cloud based CMMS (computerized maintenance management software) which can
integrate IoT sensors to measure Temperature & Vibration levels of equipments like
Motors, Gear Box, Generators, etc… Sensors generate real time data which is transmitted
via Internet into EZmaintain's cloud based CMMS. Users can run web based CMMS independently
to manage failure or preventive work order / maintenance activities. Adding these smart
Determining the Safe Distance from
a Reflector Antenna
This article titled, "Determining the Safe Distance from a Reflector Antenna," written
by Mehdi Ardavan, explains how to calculate the power density of a radiating parabolic
reflector antenna in the far- and near-field regions to meet safety requirements. Ardavan
does a nice job of simplifying the basics and presents relevant formulas to make the
task simple. It appeared in the October 2017 Microwaves & RF ...
Saelig announces the availability of the
Spectran V5 Series 20 GHz Realtime Spectrum Analyzer - probably
the world's first real-time handheld RF spectrum analyzer. With a frequency range from
1 Hz to 20 GHz and a sensitivity of -170 dBm/Hz, this versatile wireless
tool enables continuous signal analysis and real-time data streaming to memory. A significant
feature is the use of polyphase-filters, which can even be used overlapped and shifted.
In addition to 'real-time' measurements of all frequencies concurrently, the Spectran
V5 also offers a ...
Piezoelectricity in Ferroelectric
"A team of researchers at the University Autonoma
of Barcelona has created a new atomic force microscopy (AFM) technique that exploits
the direct piezoelectric effect to take a measurement of the
piezoelectric effect in ferroelectric materials. The technique, dubbed
direct piezoelectric force microscopy, should enable a better understanding of piezoelectric
and ferroelectric materials that form the basis of a number of today's technologies,
such as ultrasound generators for echography ..."
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