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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See Page 1 |
4 of the December 2018 homepage archives.
Carl & Jerry: Stereotaped New Year
Here for your New Year's Eve entertainment is
a new-old adventure story of "Carl &
Jerry" titled, "Stereotaped New Year." In the same manner that author John T.
Frye's highly regarded "Mac's Radio Service Shop" technodramas had themes echoing the
time of year they were published, this appeared in the January 1963 issue of Popular
Electronics magazine, which would have arrived in subscribers' mailboxes in December.
Carl & Jerry, if you are not familiar with the dynamic duo of the teenage electronics
and Ham radio enthusiasts, routinely got themselves involved in police investigations,
creature comfort inventions, and practical jokes involving tape recorders, disembodied
spirits, and remote controlled models. By 1963, they were out of high school and matriculating
at "Parvoo University," which many people believe is a reference to Purdue University,
given the boys' Midwestern locale. Admittedly, this plot ...
Federal Radio Commission Carrier Pigeon
clarifying the origin of the
Radio Commission's (since re-named the Federal Communications Commission) official
seal in the January 2019 issue of QST magazine, Mr. Ralph Haller (N4RH), made the following
observation, "Finally, the bird on the [original] seal is not an eagle. All things represented
in the seal are intended to be a form of communications. The bird is a carrier pigeon,
representing a very early form of long-distance communications (although not regulated
by the FCC)." That seems logical and plausible enough, but someone will probably challenge
the assertion based on what appears to be a raptor's hooked beak and talons, which are
very apparent on the contemporary
FCC seal. Is anyone out there an authority on the matter?
Many Thanks to Res-Net Microwave for
Microwave has a complete line of precision
microwave components including attenuators, terminations, resistors, and diode detectors
for commercial, military, and space applications. Products range from the small flange
type to large 2,000 watt connectorized power attenuators and/or terminations at frequencies
up to 26.5 GHz. In-house photo etch and laser trim capability. Please check
out Res-Net Microwave's website to see how they can help with your current project ...
Hams in Combat: A Lady of Mercy
This is another installment of the "Hams in Combat" series
that the ARRL's QST magazine ran during WWII. I enjoy vicariously waxing nostalgic
of a time before I was born, at time when there was still honor, courage, selflessness,
and pride of country. During World War II, it was an ingrained part of most citizens,
whether or not they happened to be serving in the military. Our modern day troops still
have it, but sadly fewer and fewer people see their own country as any place special
in the world. Many don't believe it ever was. Sure, as General William Tecumseh Sherman
famously said, "War is hell," but then again so is witnessing the tearing apart of your
country from forces within ...
Navy Evaluates Passive RFID/GPS Tracking Solution
"The U.S. Navy is evaluating passive RFID units
with integrated GPS capabilities and customizable API for worldwide asset-tracking chores.
The U.S. Navy, like other branches of the military, must keep track of critical assets
around the world. To that end, it is hoping that a combination of wireless technologies
will help to manage inventory. By working through a contract from the National Center
for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS), the Navy will receive mobile passive radio-frequency-identification
(pRFID) systems for asset tracking at four geographically diverse
sites. The MultiTrak mobile pRFID readers from Venture Research integrate GPS capability
with a customizable API, enabling the Navy to evaluate the asset-tracking technology ..."
San Francisco Circuits: PCB Fabrications &
SF Circuits' specialty is in the complex, advanced
PCB fabrication and assembly, producing high quality multi-layered
PCBs from elaborate layouts. With them, you receive unparalleled technical expertise
at competitive prices as well as the most progressive solutions available. Their customers
request PCB production that is outside the capabilities of normal circuit board providers.
Please take a moment to visit San Francisco Circuits today ...
Shape-Shifting Origami Adaptable Antenna
"Scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology
have developed a system that uses an origami-inspired structure to create
radio frequency filters with adjustable dimensions. This technology
will allow devices to alter which signals they block over a wide range of frequencies.
Researchers relied on a specific pattern of origami known as Miura-Ori. This particular
design has the ability to grow and shrink in a manner similar to an accordion - a trait
the scientists were particularly eager to take advantage of. 'The Miura-Ori pattern has
an infinite number of possible positions along its range of extension from fully compressed
to fully expanded. A spatial filter made in this fashion can achieve similar versatility,
changing which frequency it blocks as the filter is compressed or expanded.' Scientists
took a printer capable of scoring paper, which allowed them to fold the sheet into the
required origami pattern ..."
RF Cafe Engineering & Science Crossword Puzzle for December
Each week, for the sake of all avid cruciverbalists
amongst us, I create a new
technology-themed crossword puzzle using only words from my custom-created lexicon
related to engineering, science, mathematics, chemistry, physics, astronomy, etc. You
will never find among the words names of politicians, mountain ranges, exotic foods or
plants, movie stars, or anything of the sort. You might, however, see someone or something
in the exclusion list who or that is directly related to this puzzle's theme, such as
Hedy Lamarr or the Bikini Atoll, respectively. Enjoy ...
Radio & Wireless Week (RWW) 2019
Wireless Week (RWW) 2019 runs January 20-23, at the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando,
Florida. The venue is located in one of the world's most visited tourist destinations.
RWW consists of five related conferences that focus on the intersection between wireless
communication theory, systems, circuits, and device technologies. This creates a unique
forum for engineers to discuss various technologies for state-of-the-art wireless systems
and their end-use applications. ARFTG also joins RWW2019 as a co-located conference.
Authors are invited to submit papers for presentation at RWW2019. All papers accepted
Triad RF Systems announces the availability of
TA1025 solid state power amplifier produces over 1 W of linear COFDM power and
5 W peak. The amplifier is protected from high, low, and reverse DC bias, thermal
overload, and high output VSWR. The amplifier draws 0.8 A (100% duty cycle), and
measures only 3.75 x 1.9 x 0.5 in. This class A GaAs 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, OFDM, DVB, and CW/AM/FM. The
latest device technologies and design methods are employed to offer high power density ...
Logic Circuits with Diamond-Based
Hmmm.... not sure how I missed this last year.
"A NIMS research group led by Jiangwei Liu (independent scientist, Research Center for
Functional Materials) and Yasuo Koide (coordinating director in the Research Network
and Facility Services Division) has succeeded for the first time in the world in developing
logic circuits equipped with
diamond-based MOSFETs at two different operation modes. This achievement
is a first step toward the development of diamond integrate circuits operational under
extreme environments. Diamond has high carrier mobility, a high breakdown electric field
and high thermal conductivity. Therefore, it is a promising material to be used in the
development of current switches and integrated circuits that are required to operate ..."
Alliance Test Equipment: Used &
Refurbished, Purchase & Rental
Alliance Test sells
used / refurbished test equipment,
we offer short- and long-term rentals. They also offer repair, maintenance and calibration.
Prices discounted up to 80% off list price. Agilent/HP, Tektronix, Anritsu, Fluke, R&S
and other major brands. A global organization with ability to source hard to find equipment
through our network of suppliers. Please visit Allied Test Equipment today to see how
they can help your project ...
A Bonus for CATV Subscribers: Cable FM
According to a plethora of news reports in the
last few years, the "cord
cutting" phenomenon is having a significant impact on cable media providers. Consumers
long ago grew tired of the monopolistic practices of corporations forcing mostly unwanted
programming onto everyone and then trying to convince them that they were getting a good
deal if the cost per channel was considered. No one bought that argument, but it didn't
matter because there was no competition for service. Public Utility Commission (PUC)
efforts to force prime line owners to rent out "space" in an attempt to provide competitive
products has never worked, but that doesn't keep PUCs from trying (job security). The
advent of wideband wireless service has opened up a new realm of media delivery that
is leaving wired service in the dust. Not only is cellphone ...
The RF and Microwave Industry in 2019: My Predictions
Sam Benzacar, the well-known head of
Anatech Electronics, has boldly proclaimed his predictions for the microwave industry
in 2019. This deviates from his traditional year-end newsletter that presented a wrap-up
of the previous year's happenings. Filter manufacturers like Anatech love RF spectrum
growth and crowding because it provides continuing opportunity to engineer solutions
that help make co-existence possible. The downside of these dense operational environments
is that spectral masks get more and more complicated and difficult to comply with in
order to meet certification standards, which places increasingly difficult requirements
on filters. That goes for both transmitters which must not exceed power output limits
and for receivers that must be able to function within electromagnetically noisy areas.
Signal processing does a lot of the heavy lifting, but ultimately physical filters make
or break a wireless system ...
Tales from the Cube: The Case of the Oscillating
A year or two ago I stopped checking for new instances
of Tales from the Cube because updates were few and far between.
Half a dozen new ones have been posted so far this year, so maybe the pace is picking
up. "The Case of the Oscillating Oven," submitted by Gerald Gusdorf, is
a great example of hunting down an elusive fault by the process of elimination and observation.
The "fix" was fairly simple given the potential for serious redesign if the Mil-Spec
IC involved had been the problem. Mr.Gusdorf did not mention whether an extensive recertification
process - often required with military equipment - was necessary to qualify the assembly ...
YL News and Views, July 1966 QST
"YL" in amateur-ese
stands for "young lady."
It refers to any ham operator of the female gender regardless of age. I don't know how
many women were Hams in 1966 when this article appeared in QST, but according to
Communities of the Air: Introducing Radio to the World, author Susan M. Squier,
by 2003 women made up 40% of new license applicants. Judging by amateur radio club rosters
and field day events, YLs don't make up anywhere near 40% of the Ham population, but
maybe they just tend to shun the public light. A 2008 presentation on the YL Radio Website
estimated 15% in 2000. I searched around the Young Ladies Radio League (YLRL), American
Radio Relay League (ARRL) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) websites for
current statistics but could not find anything specifically about the percentage split
between males and women. On a side note, the first licensed YL in the U.S. was Emma Chandler ...
VidaRF: Passive RF & Microwave Components
At VidaRF, the phrase 'Providing Simple Solutions
for Complex Connections' is more than just a slogan – it's a mindset, a mission, and
a driving force behind everything we do. Their pledge is to design and distribute high
performance, cost effective
Microwave products to fit each customer's unique applications. Please visit VidaRF
today to see how their lines of attenuators & terminations, directional couplers,
power dividers, coaxial connectors, and circulator & isolators can be of use to your
project. "When the standard just will not do, VidaRF has the solution for you!"
Megalibrary Useful for Rapid Discovery
of New Materials
"Identifying the best material for a given application
- catalysts, light-harvesting structures, biodiagnostic labels, pharmaceuticals and electronic
devices - is traditionally a slow and daunting task. Now, a new study supports the efficacy
of a potentially revolutionary
new discovery tool to rapidly test millions (even billions) of nanoparticles
to determine the best for a specific use. The tool is thousands of times faster than
conventional screening methods. Different eras of civilization are defined by the discovery
of new materials, as new materials drive new capabilities. And yet, identifying the best
material for a given application - catalysts, light-harvesting structures, biodiagnostic
labels, pharmaceuticals and electronic devices ..."
Thanks to TotalTemp Technologies
for Continued Support!
TotalTemp Technologies has more than 40 years
of combined experience providing thermal platforms.
Thermal Platforms are available
to provide temperatures between −100°C and +200°C for cryogenic cooling, recirculating
circulating coolers, temperature chambers and temperature controllers, thermal range
safety controllers, space simulation chambers, hybrid benchtop chambers, custom systems
and platforms. Manual and automated configurations for laboratory and production environments ...
Anxiety Amid Affluence: Why Color-TV Makers Worry
Decisions, decisions, decisions. As the title
color television manufacturers were, in 1965, finding themselves between a rock and
a hard place, as the saying goes, regarding a change from vacuum tubes to transistors.
The buying public (aka consumers) had mixed emotions about the newfangled semiconductors
based at least partly on bad information about transistors. Transistors had been designed
in various circuits for a decade and a half and were gaining rapidly in performance and
reliability. The price was coming down, but as reported here, still cost $5 to $10 apiece
compared to a $1 vacuum tube. Company management needed to decide whether to delay implementing
the new engineering and production methods required to deal with transistors for a couple
more years until the market had more time to make up its mind whether to begin. A couple
firms enthusiastically ...
Many Thanks to Nova Microwave for Continuing
Microwave is a leader in technically differentiated electronic and radio frequency Ferrite
Circulators and Isolators
that connect, protect and control critical commercial and military wireless telecommunications
systems. Our staff is dedicated to research and development of standard and custom design
quality Ferrite Circulators and Isolators from 380 MHz to 26.5 GHz. Please
visit Nova Microwave today ...
Reinventing Radar: The Power of 4D Sensing
MWJ has an article written by Infineon
Technologies' Avik Santra, Ismail Nasr, and Julie Kim, titled "Reinventing Radar: The Power of 4D Sensing," where the fourth "D"
is using 3D radar for sensing, monitoring, and reacting to local activity. "Radar has
evolved from a complex, high-end military technology into a relatively simple, low-end
solution penetrating industrial and consumer market segments. This rapid evolution has
been driven by two main factors: Advancements in silicon and packaging technology are
leading to miniaturization, and growth of computing power is enabling the use of machine
learning algorithms to tap the full potential of raw radar signals. Radar facilitates
localization of targets in 3D space and can be further used for vital sensing ..."
Unbiased, March 9th 1932: The Wireless World Article
OK, I give up. What is a "pukka amateur?" According
to an online dictionary: pukka, adj (esp in India) 1. properly or perfectly done, constructed,
etc. a pukka road 2. genuine pukka sahib. Next up: A
Blattnerphone. That sounds an awful lot like Blattenberger, or maybe
more like Blattnerberger. Anyway, a Blattnerphone was an early attempt at recording sound
on a steel tape. I thought my native language was English, but evidently there are still
some good words to learn. If you read enough vintage magazines from the first half of
the 20th century, you will run across many words and phrases that are still in the Merriam-Webster
dictionary, but you hardly ever see or hear them used anymore ...
RF Superstore: Supplier of RF & Microwave
RF Superstore launched in 2017, marking the return
of Murray Pasternack, founder of Pasternack Enterprises, to the RF and microwave Industry.
Pasternack fundamentally changed the way RF components were sold. Partner Jason Wright
manages day-to-day operations, while working closely with Mr. Pasternack to develop RF
Superstore into a world class RF and
component supplier. RF coaxial connectors & adapters, coaxial cable & cable
assemblies, surge protectors, attenuators. Items added daily. Free shipping on orders
over $99. We're leading the way again!
60-GHz mm-Wave Sensors Enable Customizable
"Intelligent radar systems pioneer, Ainstein,
has released an antenna and board design for
60 GHz mm-wave radar over-the-door sensors (ODS) using Texas
Instruments' IWR6843 family of devices. With Ainstein's innovative radar system design,
customization, and manufacturing capabilities, building automation designers can now
leverage TI's new 60-GHz mmWave sensors in overhead mounting positions for highly customized
applications. The new 60 GHz Evaluation Module enables near real-time decision-making
and signal processing in advancing building automation use cases such as occupancy detection ..."
Miniature Satellite to Investigate
Ionospheric Turbulence That Disrupts RF Communications
"On December 15, SRI International launched
the Ionospheric Scintillation Explorer (ISX) - a miniature satellite on
a space-weather mission. The mission, supported by a grant from the National Science
Foundation (NSF), aims to investigate regions of natural ionospheric turbulence. These
patches of disturbed ions and electrons corrupt radio transmissions and wreak havoc on
essential Earth and space-based communication and navigation channels. According to Hasan
Bahcivan, Ph.D, research physicist and SRI principal investigator for the ISX mission
- The understanding for the life cycle of these turbulent patches is quite limited, as
we lack means to regularly probe their 3D structure. To date, we have little insight
into how far the disturbed patches extend along Earth's geomagnetic ..."
Carl and Jerry: Under the Mistletoe
Here is a Christmas-themed "Carl &
Jerry" episode from the December 1958 issue of Popular Electronics magazine.
Carl and Jerry, if you are not familiar with them, are a couple electronics-savvy teenagers
who, in the style of "The Hardy Boys," manage to get involved in a series of criminal
investigations. With headquarters based in their parent's basement, the two friends cobble
up strategies and contraptions for snaring bad guys, bedazzling unsuspecting neighbors
and classmates, and assisting people in need of techno-capable assistance. They have
quite an impressive collection of test equipment and radio gear at their disposal per
the one drawing herein. In this episode we are introduced to the word "osculation." If
you already knew its definition, you're one up on me ...
RF Cafe Poll: How Long Is Your Christmas
This newest RF Cafe Poll asks "How Long Is Your Christmas
Vacation?" In the United States and in many other countries around the world, many people
take one of the longest vacations of the year on and around Christmas. Of course a lot
of folks who work in the sales and services arenas don't always have the luxury. When
I worked at the Westinghouse Oceanic Division in Annapolis, Maryland, in the 1980s, there
was a mandatory shutdown between Christmas Day and the day after New Year's Day. We were
required to use vacation days for it. My first year there, I had no vacation days to
use, so it amounted to a week off without pay, which kind of sucked ...
St. John's College Foucault Pendulum
Whilst perusing a old issue of The Evening
Capital newspaper, where my father, Art, worked as the manager of the classified
advertising department for many years, I was reminded of the time I was doing a service
call for some electrical problem to St. John's College, in Annapolis, Maryland, and discovered
an honest-to-goodness Foucault pendulum in the basement of their astronomical observatory.
A description of the electromagnetic drive mechanism and a recent overhaul effort is
given on the linked page. The only other place I had ever seen such a large pendulum
prior to that was during a school field trip to the
Museum of American History. That would have been sometime in the late 1960s, before
it was relocated to the floor above it in 1987. Boy, am I ever getting old! ...
Electro-Photonics is a global supplier of
RF & Microwave components.
Their products include SMT hybrid and directional couplers, wire bondable passive components,
mounting tabs, filters, transmission lines, and very useful test boards for evaluating
components (spiral inductors, single-layer capacitors). The Electro-Photonics team can
support your small R&D design requirements with RF & Microwave test fixtures
and save you valuable design and characterization time. Please take a moment to visit
Electro-Photonics' website and see how your project might benefit
"Printed conductive inks are being developed for transistors, sensors,
antennae, RFID tags and wearable electronics for use on different substrates for space-constrained
applications, including IoT applications, where small, low power and inexpensive endpoints
define the network. Commenting on the material, known as Cyrene, Kewen Pan, the lead
author on the paper said: This perhaps is a significant step towards commercialization
of printed graphene technology. I believe it would be an evolution in printed electronics
industry because the material is such low cost, stable and environmental friendly.' Research
continues into the use of graphene for faster transistors semiconductors, flexible screens ..."
RF Cafe Engineering & Science Crossword Puzzle for December
Each week, for the sake of all avid cruciverbalists
amongst us, I create a new technology-themed crossword puzzle using only words from my
custom-created lexicon related to engineering, science, mathematics, chemistry, physics,
astronomy, etc. This week's puzzle contains a special holiday message (colored clues) to all RF Cafe visitors.
You will never find among the words names of politicians, mountain ranges, exotic foods
or plants, movie stars, or anything of the sort. You might, however, see someone or something
in the exclusion list who or that is directly related to this puzzle's theme, such as
Hedy Lamarr or the Bikini Atoll, respectively ...
Merry Christmas to RF Cafe Visitors !!!
I still watch all the classic Christmas movies and cartoons each year -
It's a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Carol, Miracle on 34th Street,
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and
of course A Charlie Brown Christmas. According to Lucy Van Pelt, Christmas is
run by "a big eastern syndicate." Her little brother, Linus, sets the record straight
in this famous scene. Other favorite RF Cafe Christmas
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