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See Page 1 | 2 | 3 of the November 2017 homepage archives.
Veterans Day 2017: A Pittance of Time
This 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 2021
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 SkyOne® 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 and Computing
"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'
"An accurate 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 Radiation
"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. High power 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 employment advice 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 circuit 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 Instruments 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 Smartphone Screens
"Researchers at the University of Sussex have found a solution to brittle, easily broken smartphone screens by using a combination of 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 Satellites
"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 of 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
This 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 Like Metal
"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 by:Dr. Fred 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 2017
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 like a 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 Need
Apex 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 Fires
"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 Amplifier
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
SMi Group are proud to announce that the 19th annual Global 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 mechanical ..."
Wavelength Intros the TC15 LAB Temperature Control Instrument
The 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 controlled ...
EZMaintain IoT Sensors Integrate into CMMS for Predicative Maintenance
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 IoT ...
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 Materials
"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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