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 typing up your telephone line, and a nice lady's voice announced "You've Got
Mail" when a new message arrived...
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About RF Cafe.
3 of the September 2017 homepage archives.
ConductRF Low PIM RF Cable Assembly Solutions for DAS and Cellular
ConductRF offers straight and right angle
low PIM connectors for 7/16, N, SMA,
QMA, 4.1/9.5 and 4.3/10 interfaces. PIM levels vary depending on cable and configuration.
We also offer coaxial adapters. Download our datasheets by clicking the pictures above for
more detail of call us at +1 978 374 6840 ...
Electronics-Themed Comics from Vintage Magazines
It has been a while since I posted some of the electronics-themed
comics I find in my vintage electronics magazines. A few from
Popular Electronics and Electronics
World are included here.
For some reason, it is rare to find such comics in modern
technical publications. About the only one that comes to mind is the "Cartoon Caption
Contest" held each month by EE|Times. A big list of other comics are at page
SpaceX to Ferry Passengers Between Earth Cities Using
SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk plans to use his "BFR" technology to ferry Earth travelers between major cities via VTOL
suborbital rockets. New York to Shanghai in 39 minutes. London to Dubai in 29 minutes. Passengers
might worry a bit about their commuter craft being mistaken for an inbound ICBM. Antimissile
radars might have difficulty discerning between types of "big f'ing rockets." A BFR would
be a great Trojan Horse for a nuke ...
Everything Warehouse Added to Workbench & Shelving Vendors
Mr. Ryan Toner contacted me asking to have
Everything Warehouse added
to the Shelving, Cabinet,
Workbench & Workstation Resources vendor page here on RF Cafe. They specialize in
new and used warehouse equipment such as shelving, pallet racks, mezzanines, forklifts, pallet
jacks, and warehouse installation services. I normally restrict vendor page entries to actual
manufacturers, but these items are generally sold through distributors ...
Triad RF Systems Intros a 700-6,000 MHz 20 W SSPA
Triad RF Systems announces the
TA1164, a broadband GaN solid state power amplifier (SSPA) designed for
general-purpose RF test and military jamming applications. Internal DC conversion allows for
a 12-36 Vin supply voltage. CW output power is 10 W min, 20 W typical
across the band. This class AB GaN module is designed for both military and commercial applications.
It is capable of supporting any signal type and modulation format, including but not limited
to 3 - 4G telecom, WLAN ...
Navy Upgrades P-8s with Wideband Satellite Communications
"The U.S. Navy and Boeing are working to upgrade P-8
surveillance planes by installing
Wideband Satellite Communications (WBSC) radomes and the necessary supporting
infrastructure in each aircraft. The integration, which upgrades P-8s to P-8As, will install
a WBSC high-capacity satellite communications system. WBSC satellites are compatible with
the Defense Satellite Communications System (DSCS) and Global Broadcast Service satellites.
A Bluffers Guide to Evaluating Scientific
I like to remind people who quote the statistical [im]probability
of an event occurring as evidence that it almost certainly will not happen (e.g., a giant
meteor hitting the Earth), that a million-to-one chance has as much likelihood of happening
on the first trial as it does on the millionth. Probability is merely the number of trials
between similar occurrences, not the point in the trials at which the event will occur.
There was no shortage in the 1970s of articles recommending
how to choose and install the perfect
television antenna. People would swear by the advice given. This piece by Mr. Harvey
Swearer is a good example. Of the four manufacturers with pictured antennas - Gavin, Channel
Master, Lance, and Jerrold - only Channel Master still exists today. Lance Industries made
the ColorMaster TV antennas, and has appears to have been out of business since around 2003.
Gavin Electronics seems to be gone as well. I found an ad for the Gavin ...
Ultra-Light Aluminum Breakthrough in Material
"Chemists report a new, metastable, ultra-light crystalline
form of aluminum has been computationally designed using density functional calculations with
imposing periodic boundary conditions. If you drop an aluminum spoon in a sink full of water,
the spoon will sink to the bottom. That's because aluminum, in its conventional form, is denser
than water says Utah State University chemist Alexander Boldyrev. But if you restructure the
common household metal at the molecular ..."
Anatech Electronics Newsletter for September 2017
Anatech Electronics, a manufacturer of RF and microwave
filters, has published its August newsletter. In it, Sam Benzacar discusses an ambient electrical
noise problem that neither his filter company nor anyone else's filter company can do anything
about - signals beginning in the super low frequency (30 Hz - 3 kHz) generated by
or as a result of operation from AC line voltages. That includes everything from bedside clocks
to smart refrigerators. The problem is growing rapidly. Ironically, just yesterday I posted
an article titled "Electronic Pollution
How to Make Half-Metals That Contain No Metals
"A new type of material called a "spin-valley half-metal"
has been predicted by calculations done by physicists in Russia, Japan and the U.S. While
the material has not yet been characterized in the laboratory, the team says it could find
use in new types of biocompatible and carbon-based electronics. Half-metals are materials
in which only electrons with a specific spin polarization (spin-up, for example) participate
in electrical conduction. These materials can therefore create currents ..."
NI AWR Design Environment V13 Videos on AWR.TV
Short, informative videos highlighting new features
and user productivity enhancements in the V13 release of NI AWR Design Environment are now
available for viewing on the AWR.TV found within the
V13 Playlist. Specific videos within the playlist include: EM Ports and Integration Additions,
Measurement and Layout Improvements, Simulation Results and Enhanced Markers Optimization,
Synthesis Wizards, Embedded Sweeps and More ...
Superaccurate GPS Chips Coming to Smartphones
"We've all been there. You're driving down the highway,
just as Google Maps instructed, when Siri tells you to 'proceed east for one-half mile, then
merge onto the highway.' But you're already on the highway. After a moment of confusion and
perhaps some rude words about Siri and her extended AI family, you realize the problem: Your
GPS isn't accurate enough for your navigation app to tell if you're on the highway or on the
road beside it. Those days are nearly at an end. At the ION GNSS+ conference in Portland ..."
Electronic Pollution ... An Impending Crisis
This type of electronic pollution is not e-waste as
you think of today, but electrical noise pollution. Ever-rising
ambient noise floor levels have been an issue since the inception of electronics. In excess,
it can render both analog and digital circuits useless, or at best annoying to use. Addressed
in the article are the phenomenon of unintentional heterodyning and signal to noise ratio
degradation, from both natural and man-made sources. Author Garrison touches on the intentional
generation of noise for electronic warfare applications. I did a quick Internet search looking
for plots of typical background noise levels in an urban environment for today and from the
IPP Intros Surface Mount Dual Directional Coupler
Innovative Power Products introduces their new model IPP-8057,
a 150 watt, 33 dB, Surface Mount Dual Directional Coupler that operates from 500
– 2500 MHz. The IPP-8057 is a broadband design which provides separate coupled ports
for both forward and reflected signals with internal terminations. This unique coupler is
produced in a Surface Mount (SMD) package size of 0.500(W) x 1.000(L) x 0.139(H) inches and
was designed to reduce the size, weight and cost ...
PCB Directory Website by everythingRF
The folks at everythingRF
have create a brand new website titled PCB Directory. It has created the industry's first quotation tool that
lets you get quotations
from multiple manufacturers by filling out a single form. PCB Directory is the largest directory
of PCB manufacturers and fabricators on Internet. They have listed the leading printed circuit
board manufacturers around the world and made them searchable by their capabilities - laminates
types, board thicknesses, number of layers, etc. If you are a PCB manufacturer and would like
to add your company to this directory, click here.
Stepping up Security in Chip Design
"Headquartered in Valbonne, South of France, start-up
Texplained is on a mission to render chip-level reverse engineering a dead-end for IC counterfeiters.
Although today's Common Criteria Certification schemes for
secure chips consider laboratory-grade invasive attacks as a negligible
threat, Texplained's CEO Clarisse Ginet is here to prove otherwise. 'It used to be the case,
maybe 15 years ago, that invasive attacks (chemically and physically removing layers to read
optically through a chip's architecture) were too technical and too costly ..."
Notable Tech Quote: Robert Lanza &
"Light is strange, but you can get used to it." - Robert
Lanza and Bob Berman in
Beyond Biocentrism. The authors discuss some of the stranger
aspects of quantum physics including the dual particle and wave nature of light, and the "spooky
action at a distance," as Einstein called it, of entanglement. The biocentrism theme is kind
of weird, but the book has a good review of quantum theory ...
Very Cool! Saelig Introduces Wireless 30 MHz Scope-In-A-Probe
"As soon as we were inside, one introduced himself
as an FBI agent and showed me his identification. He introduced the other man as a law officer
from one of the northern counties. Maybe you think I wasn't hastily reviewing my most
recent sins as we sat down!" That line from Mac McGregor cracked me up! He was telling
stories of his earlier Ham radio days to Barney during a lull in business in the electronics
repair shop. The last anecdote concerns his service as an Amateur helping to establish and
run a communications
net during a spate of tornadoes in the Midwest - a scenario familiar to us now with the
massive damage done by major Atlantic hurricanes this year ...
Webinar: Building an RF Lab at a University
Copper Mountain Technologies is hosting a webinar titled
"Building an RF Lab at a University" on Wednesday, September 27 at
1 pm EST. Dr. Allen Katz will present how his lab at the College of New Jersey uses USB
VNAs. Interested in hearing more about Dr. Katz and his RF program? Join us for this webinar
as he discusses 2-port measurements, S-parameters, impedance matching and the design projects
his students participate in ...
ARRL & American Red Cross Seeks Operators for Puerto Rico Relief
Deployable volunteers urgently needed! Must hold at
least a General license and be experienced in emergency operations. The American Red Cross
(ARC) has asked ARRL for assistance with relief efforts in
Puerto Rico. In the nearly 75-year relationship between ARRL and ARC, this is the first
time ARC has made a request for assistance on this scale. Hurricane Maria has devastated the
island's communications infrastructure. Without electricity and telephone, and with most of
the cell sites out of service, millions of people are cut off from communicating. Shelters
are unable to reach local emergency ...
Low-Power Devices Use Backscatter to Transmit
Data Several Kilometers
"As the Internet of Things grows, sensors and other
devices must collect and transmit data while consuming as little power as possible. One way
to do this is to take advantage of
backscatter by having IoT devices reflect radiofrequency signals transmitted
to them. Tuned properly, these waves can deliver information over short distances. A team
from the University of Washington, with the Internet of Things in mind, has expanded the range
of backscatter to several kilometers. Last week ..."
Radiation-Tolerant Plastic ICs Target Small
Intersil has released the first three members of its
new family of
radiation-tolerant plastic-package ICs designed to support the emerging
field of small satellites. Intersil's rad-tolerant plastic parts include the ISL71026M 3.3V
controller area network (CAN) transceiver, ISL71444M 40V quad precision rail-to-rail input
and output (RRIO) op amp, and the ISL71001M 6A point-of-load (POL) voltage regulator. These
ICs deliver rad-tolerance performance at a much lower cost point versus radiation assurance
tested Class V (space ...
Triboelectric Energy Harvesting Gets
Detailed Analytical Model
"Triboelectricity, which is defined as small-scale static-electricity charges
generated by contact and motion between surfaces, seems like a winning 'something for almost
nothing' scenario. It can be used to generate energy that's harvested and stored, and then
used to power extremely low-power sensors and electronics. Now there's a rigorous analysis
and model-based framework, developed by a team of researchers at three UK-based ..."
Connectors for PC Boards
Here is another in a collection of article on printed
circuit board technology that appeared in the October 1969 edition of Electronics World.
Amphenol has been making and driving the evolution of
electrical cable, sockets, and connectors since 1932. I have seen their advertisements
in many of my vintage electronics magazines, including this on that appeared in these
Radio News issues from January and October 1945. A lot of the innovation was driven by
military and aerospace quality, reliability, pin density, and weight requirements, and as
is always the case, a lot of the benefit redounded to the commercial realm as well ...
NI AWR Sets Agenda and Registration for ADF 2017 Russia Venues
Agendas are set and registration opened for the Russia
leg of AWR Design Forum (ADF) 2017, an open forum that aims to bring together
NI AWR Design Environment customers,
partners and engineering professionals to learn, network and collaborate on the design of
today's RF/microwave circuits and systems. ADF 2017 will visit three cities in Russia: St.
Petersburg on October 3, Moscow on October 4 and Zelenograd on October 5 ...
1st Observation of Electron Spin Nernst Effect
"Spin separation caused by the thermal flow of electrons
has been observed by an international team of physicists. Called the "spin Nernst effect", the phenomenon involves the separation of spin-up
and spin-down electrons without the application of a magnetic field. The research could help
with the development of new technologies including spintronics – circuits that store and process
information using spins – and devices that convert heat into ..."
RF Cafe Engineering Crossword w/Weekly Headlines September 24
For the sake of avid cruciverbalists amongst us, each
week I create a new
crossword puzzle that has a theme related to engineering, mathematics, chemistry, physics,
and other technical words. At least 10 clues in this puzzle with an asterisk (*)
are pulled from this past week's (9/18 - 9/22) "Tech Industry Headlines" column on the RF
Cafe homepage (see the Headline Archives page for help). Enjoy! ...
KR Electronics Intros 220 MHz BPF for Positive Train Control
KR Electronics part number
3012-220 is a
220 MHz bandpass filter designed for Positive Train Control (PTC) applications. Encapsulated
for enhanced shock and vibration resistance, 50 Ω source and load, N(F) to N(M) connectors.
The filters are encapsulated/ruggedized for enhanced shock and vibration resistance. Thousands
are currently installed and operating successfully in the field with major rail companies.
Other frequencies and bandwidths are available ...
MWJ Webinar: Mixers and Frequency Conversion
RF/Microwave Training Webinar Title: Mixers and Frequency Conversion | Date: September 28, 2017 |Time: 8am
PT / 11am ET | Sponsored by: National Instruments Presented by: Allen Podell
Outline: Frequency conversion is a critical function in all wireless systems. A key component
used to accomplish this is the mixer. Designers need to understand different mixer topologies
and specifications in order to meet their system requirements. This webinar provides a brief
overview of frequency conversion ...
Nuclear Radiation & Detection
Part 1 of this 3-part series discussed the basics of
radiation, and now author Ello delves into various methods of detecting and measuring radiation
Ionizing radiation measurement capability is needed for the safety of life forms due its
ability to knock electrons away from their host atoms, thus generating ions that cause molecules
to form that might not otherwise do so. If those molecules happen to part of a self-reproducing
living cell, then a mutant - or cancerous - cell is the result. With luck, body defense cells
will hunt down and kill it, but if not, a tumor will develop - maybe benign, but maybe malignant ...
Top 15 Engineering Schools by Salary
Pay Scale has published their 2017-2018 list of college
rankings, along with average starting salaries. For
engineering pay levels, MIT tops the list at $84.7k, followed by Marietta
College and Stanford. The U.S. Naval Academy ranks #6 at $79.9k (and free tuition). Harvard
comes it at #8, and Mr. Einstein's' home of Princeton is #16. West Point, another institution
with free tuition, is at #18. The score of my alma mater,
UVM, is too embarrassing to mention,
but it does go a long way toward explaining my rather lackluster financial status. See the
entire list here ...
Withwave Intros High Precision Flexible Microwave Cables
W-Test cable assemblies are complete line of high precision flexible microwave cable assemblies,
specially for stable phase testing. These WT series are designed by excellent microwave interconnection
technologies. The WT500 & 670 cable assemblies, operating to 50 GHz and 67 GHz,
respectively, have excellent insertion loss, high phase/amplitude stability in relation to
New Way Found to Manipulate Magnetism
pioneering effort to control, measure and understand magnetism at the atomic level, researchers
working at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have discovered a new
method for manipulating the nanoscale properties of
The ability to control these properties has potential applications in creating and improving
the magnetic memory in consumer electronic devices, and developing a sensitive detector for
magnetic nanoparticles. The discovery ..."
Free eBook for Precision Antenna Measurements
According to Microwave Journal Editor Patrick
Hindle, "Antenna measurements are difficult to make due to their multi-directional nature,
their cables / connections to equipment and interfering signals in the environment. The measurement
setup, surrounding environment and physical connections all need to be carefully specified
and setup, paying close attention to the instruments and materials used." Copper Mountain
Technologies collaborated with Microwave Journal to offer you this free eBook,
Precision Antenna Measurements, on precision antenna measurements ...
Mystery RF Transistor ID Challenge
RF Cafe visitor
Richard P. posted this challenge on my Facebook page. He would like
a positive Id on the device in order to re-bias it for higher voltage operation. It is in
a HF amplifier he bought on eBay. The package marking is smudged so that the full part number
is indiscernible. I labeled the image with the limited info I could make out. The company
logo is Freescale, which was once Motorola and is now NXP, so it is not a new device. The
ceramic flanged package appears to be for an LDMOS transistor. I spent more than an hour searching,
but had, in Richard's words, "no joy." If you can ID it, please shoot me an e-mail ...
Conformal Coatings for Printed Circuits
During my tenure in the early-to-mid 1980s as an electronics
technician at Westinghouse Electric's Oceanic Division, in Annapolis, MD, I assembled many
a Mil-Spec printed circuit board. An initial week-long soldering class and then periodic refreshers
were required to get NASA-certified for the type of critical work we did there. I have
written before about the rigid inspection process that each PCB, cable harness, wire-wrap
board, etc., was put through. Many of the assemblies for use in underwater vehicles and ship-based
controllers needed to be
conformably coated for protection against the corrosive salt water environment. The first
'Hidden in Plain Sight' Concealment Facilitates Smart City Transformation
"American Tower and Phillips Lighting partner on connected
light poles to add network density for smart city applications Siting of
wireless infrastructure in urban spaces is often a tricky proposition
for wireless carriers and neutral host providers. Regulations vary between jurisdictions,
which makes developing a scalable deployment model difficult and, in turn, drives up costs
and extends project timelines. In the context of a smart city, ultra-dense network ..."
Chinese Village Builds Giant Air-Viewable QR Code with Trees
"Officials in Xilinshui, in the city of Baoding, Hebei
province, created the scannable [QR] code, which measures 227 m along each side, using about 130,000
Chinese juniper trees, Xinhua reported on Thursday. The evergreen trees, which are native
to northeast Asia, are all between 80 cm and 2.5 m in height. While difficult to
do, anyone who scans the greenery using a smartphone or tablet will be connected to the village's
public WeChat account for tourism ..."
Wavelength Electronics Intros Laser Diode Power Source
The LDMOUNT is ideal for pump and communication diode
lasers. The LDMOUNT from Wavelength Electronics is designed for optoelectronic modules
in a 14-pin butterfly package that require up to 5A. With integrated heatsinking, built-in
safety features, and easy connection to eight different high performance Wavelength controllers,
the LDMOUNT can be used in a variety of applications, mounted on an optics table or to a chassis ...
Skyscraper ICs That Beat Moore's Law
"Revolutionary, tower-style computer chips could boost
microprocessor performance a thousand-fold. In the age of big data, cloud and the internet
of things, our thirst for computing power has never been greater. Many of our readers will
be familiar with
Moore's law, the observation that predicts a doubling of computing capability
every two years, as integrated circuits are packed ever denser with ..."
ConductRF Offers Phase Matching Cable Solutions
ConductRF's skill in the manufacturing of
Phase Matched RF Cable
Solutions is second to none. We have phase matched a diverse array of solutions from Low
Frequency RG and LMR Cables to more premium exotic cables up to 70 GHz. Flexible, conformable &
semi-rigid, phase & amplitude stable, low loss & high power, phase differential as
low as ±0.2 °/GHz, many connector types, indoor & outdoor solutions. A broad base
of standard connectors and cables in stock, we turn solutions around fast ...
Self-Folding Electronics Could Enable
"As demand grows for more versatile, advanced robotics
and other technologies, the need for components that can enable these applications also increases.
Producing such components en masse has been a major challenge. But now, in ACS Applied Materials &
Interfaces, researchers report that they have developed a way to help meet this need by printing
electronics that can fold themselves into a desired shape. Creating small
electronic pieces with specific architectural designs can now ..."
Each month (unless I forget) I post a list of articles
with advice on
career enhancement including tips on preparing resumes, conducting yourself properly at
interviews, getting along well with co-workers, handling a difficult boss, etc. I also
post links to polls and studies done on career satisfaction, pay rates, education and experience
levels, years in the field, etc. Those types of articles have been around since Johannes Gutenberg
invented the movable type printing press. In the 1970s, Popular Electronics rand
a series of articles titled "Opportunity Awareness" that offered such advice, much of which
in principle is still valid today. One of the biggest advantages you can give yourself ...
Notable Tech Quote: Kat McGowan
"There, his new specimens
joined his collection and waited patiently as only rocks can
until he could find time to analyze them." -
Kat McGowan, "Where Did It Begin?"
September / October 2017 Popular Science (p41).
Circularly Polarized Antennas Explained, Without
Glenn Robb, owner / engineer from Antenna Test Lab
Company sent me this very excellent whitepaper he just wrote titled "Circularly Polarized Antennas Explained, Without the Math." As promised,
his tutorial introduces the concept of circular polarization in electromagnetic waves and
then describes how he measures and reports results in a spreadsheet using automated antenna
positioning and frequency sweeping. Antenna Test Lab Co's evaluation service includes fully
circular polarization antenna evaluations at no extra charge. Practical antenna evaluations
with 2D or 3D patterns in hundreds of test directions (and frequencies) are available for
AlGaN Transistors on Silicon-on-Insulator Substrate
"Chang Gung University and Episil-Precision in Taiwan
claim the first demonstration of in-situ silicon nitride (SiNx) gate dielectric aluminium
gallium nitride (AlGaN) barrier metal–insulator–semiconductor high-electron-mobility transistors
(MISHEMTs) on 6-inch silicon on insulator (SOI) substrates. The devices showed improved DC,
dynamic and radio frequency (RF) performance over the same structures grown on HR Si ..."
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