It has been a long time since I heard this
saying: "Well, they always say that if you want to find out the best and easiest
way of doing something, just put a lazy man at the job." Mac McGregor offered that
line to his service shop technician Barney - in jest of course - when Barney explains
his million dollar invention idea for a
fool-proof vacuum tube tester that can be used by just about anyone. Mac's Radio
Service Shop creator John Frye often used the monthly techno-drama to introduce
some good ideas for new inventions and/or new methods for troubleshooting problems.
Somewhere along the line I think I have seen an advertisement for a tube tester
that used the automation concept dreamed up by Barney...
radios can use neural networks to adapt to alien environments. Space seems empty
and therefore the perfect environment for radio communications. Don't let that fool
you: There's still plenty that can disrupt radio communications. Earth's fluctuating
ionosphere can impair a link between a satellite and a ground station. The materials
of the antenna can be distorted as it heats and cools. And the near-vacuum of space
is filled with low-level ambient radio emanations, known as cosmic noise, which
come from distant quasars, the sun, and the center of our Milky Way galaxy. This
noise also includes the cosmic microwave background radiation, a ghost of the big
bang. Although faint, these cosmic sources can overwhelm a wireless signal over
This is a different type of
electronics-related quiz from Quizmaster Robert P. Balin. Mr. Balin
created many monthly quizzes for Popular Electronics magazine. Here you
are provided a series of images and a list of men's first names, and you need to
match the image to the name. There are nine in all. Sure, it's kind of hokey (especially
B and I), but it is a good Friday afternoon challenge to help pass the time until
the weekend begins. Enjoy.
Anatech Electronics offers the industry's
largest portfolio of high-performance standard and customized
and microwave filters and filter-related products for military, commercial,
aerospace and defense, and industrial applications up to 40 GHz. Our 902 MHz
ISM cavity notch filter part number AE902N2246 is a high performance ISM band notch
filter exhibiting a very sharp roll off and low insertion loss in the passbands
below and above the notch portion. Notch frequency range is 892-912 MHz, notch
rejection is ≥40 dB, passband low side of notch is DC-882 MHz, passband
high side of notch: 922-2700 MHz. Part number AE18000SSH6615 has a cutoff frequency
of 18 GHz and a passband frequency of 18~40 GHz. The passband insertion
loss: ≤2.0 dB @18~19.5 GHz and ≤1.0 dB @19.5~40 GHz. Custom
RF power directional coupler designs...
Tutorial: Half Band Filters
I have to admit to not being familiar with
half-band filters, so this article entitled "Tutorial:
Half Band Filters" posted by Ain Rehman on the High Frequency Electronics website
was a good introduction.
Wikipedia defines the
half-band filter thusly: "In digital signal processing, half-band filters are widely
used for their efficiency in multi-rate applications. A half-band filter is a low-pass
filter that reduces the maximum bandwidth of sampled data by a factor of 2 (one
octave). When multiple octaves of reduction are needed, a cascade of half-band filters
is common. And when the goal is downsampling, each half-band filter needs to compute
only half as many output samples as input samples. It follows from the filter's
definition that its transition region..."
Withwave manufactures an extensive line of
metrology quality coaxial test cable assemblies, connectors (wave-, end-, vertical-launch,
board edge, panel mount), calibration kits (SOLT), a
fully automated 4-port vector network analyzer
(VNA) calibrator, between- and in-series connector adaptors, attenuators, terminations,
DC blocks, torque wrenches, test probes & probe positioner. Special test fixtures
for calibration and multicoax cable assemblies. Frequency ranges from DC through
110 GHz. Please contact Withwave today to see how they can help your project
During World War II, the government
created a specification for military-grade cable and assigned the designation
RG-#/U, where "RG" stands for Radio Guide and the "U" stands for Utility. The
"dash number" was sequentially issued and has no bearing on the characteristics
of the cable. Founded in 1902 in St. Louis, Missouri, by Joseph Belden, the eponymously
named company has been and continues today designing and manufacturing coaxial cable.
Most of the RG-x/U coaxial cable types displayed in this 1951 Radio & Television
News magazine advertisement are still being used today, in particular the very familiar
RG−58/U (50 Ω), RG−59/U (75 Ω), RG−8/U (50 Ω), and RG−11/U (75 Ω)...
Platinum sponsor Cadence® is involved
in a host of activities designed to enrich attendees' knowledge with the latest
RF/microwave design techniques at the International Microwave Symposium (IMS), being
held as a virtual event online August 4-6. The Cadence virtual booth will be showcasing
V15 release of Cadence AWR Design Environment® software and the technical program
will feature AWR software in a technical lecture, three microwave applications (MicroApps)
and three industry workshops: Best Practices for Efficient EM Simulation, 5G System-Level
Evaluation, Design Tutorial for a High-Efficiency GaN Doherty PA.
I tend to be a traditionalist for most things,
but do not go out of my way to make trouble for other people who don't appreciate
the way things are and have been... as long as, per Thomas Jefferson, "It neither
picks my pocket nor breaks my leg." In other words, if your actions cause me no
financial or physical harm, I'm not likely to oppose your actions - unless they're
illegal. Many older Hams are greatly offended at the FCC for having removed the
Morse code requirement in 2005 for obtaining an amateur radio operator's license.
They see it as a way to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak; that is
to say, to maintain a barrier that keeps non-serious aspirants from gaining entry
into the ranks of the elite group...
Imagine being able to catch a sky taxi to
avoid traffic congestion on the ground. That's what one UK-based autonomous vehicle
company is aiming to do and they reached out to Triad RF to help solve their critical
communication challenges. Developing a highly reliable link system is required in
order to make safe air taxi service a reality. Triad delivered several
dual MIMO integrated radio systems to help meet the long-distance and data throughput
requirements for their prototypes. "The challenge for our engineering team was to
maintain a link budget with very good margins and to support the need for high data
rates over an extended distance," said Steve Barthelmes, Co-Founder of Triad. "While
amplification of the transmit and receive signal of the COTS radio was achievable,
the client wanted to avoid the complexity of bolting on external amplifiers, power
As a great appreciator of equipment teardown
reports, I always like reading through articles like Paul Rako's "The
Tektronix Function Generator Teardown" on the Design News website.
This is a Tektronix FG503 function generator of a 1970s vintage, contained in a
TM503 mainframe chassis along with a PG502 pulse generator, an RG501 ramp generator.
The entire assembly is very well p[reserved. One of the nice things about photos
of the older equipment it the presence of leaded discrete and IC components, so
it is easier to visualize what a circuit is doing, aided by a schematic. Circuits
from the pre-IC era are even easier to follow because every item in the schematic
is right in front of you - except the occasional use of a "gimmick"
capacitor or inductor. Here is my
Electronic Counter teardown if you're interested.
At the request of a
Electronics Symbols for Visio user, a set of digital attenuator symbols
has been added to the Attenuators page. If you would like these symbols, please
send me an e-mail along with proof of purchase (PayPal record works) and I will
send them to you. Please note these are not part of RF Stencils for Visio.
TotalTemp Technologies has more than 40 years
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how they can help your project.
Found in what is the first issue of
Electronics Illustrated magazine that I have bought are these Amateur radio
related comics entitled, "Over
and Out." The cartoonist's signature is simply "Rodrigues," which according
to a Google search might be Charles Rodrigues (who also contributed to other tech
magazines as well as to National Lampoon). I have to admit to needing to
look up the "Yanqui aggressors" thing on the one comic, and then it made sense:
Yanqui= Yankee. The last comic with the parrot is pretty funny; it's sort of the
Ham radio equivalent to an auto-repeat telephone dialer like what you would use
to call into a radio show during a listener contest...
"Japan is mining deep sea mud and the U.S.
is developing biotech to extract REEs in an environmentally responsible way. You
may not have realized it, but praseodymium, terbium, and gadolinium are as important
to your work as the soldering iron, multimeter, and oscilloscope. Respectively,
rare earth elements (REEs) help make possible lasers and certain magnets, fluorescent
lamps and sonar systems, computer memories and X-ray tubes. There are seventeen
REEs, and most of them play a special role in 21st Century living - several pounds
of these compounds, for instance, are used in batteries for electric and hybrid
vehicles. But the industry producing them is overshadowed by the fact it has become
a monopoly of China..."
Over on the EDN website, Mssrs. L. Rizzatti,
R. Squiers, and M. Castren have a good article entitled, "Design and Verify
5G Systems." It begins with recalling some of the features of previous generations,
then, as the title implies, focuses on current 5G system definitions, expectations,
and requirements. "Starting in the 1980s, the mobile industry has been upgrading
the wireless technology at the rate of one new standard every decade. The first-generation
(1G) cell phones launched in the '80s, although they were not referred to as 1G
at the time, were based on an analog technology that supported only voice communication
with poor quality. The second generation (2G) mobile phones introduced in the '90s
upgraded analog voice transmission to digital voice communication, added support
for short message service / multimedia messaging service (SMS/SMM)..."
Like so many things in life that
we take for granted - aspirin, automatic clothes washers, drill motors and bits,
eyeglasses, rifles, bicycles, transistors, to name a few - we rarely think about
the effort that went behind the end product that is now enjoyed. Even relatively
simple devices like scissors are the result of someone saying to himself or herself,
"Self, I need something to make cutting fabric and paper and hair simpler and neater,
so what might that thing look like?" Then, after making a working prototype, improvements
are made based on empirical testing from usage, improvements are made in the form
factor, materials, size, etc., until evolution results in what can be purchased
today. If you have ever been in a product design cycle, either privately or corporately,
then you know the process well...
Copper Mountain Technologies is releasing
SMD Test Solution and an Automatic Fixture Removal (AFR) software plug-in. These
two component testing solutions facilitate characterization of RF devices and discrete
components with metrological accuracy. The AFR plug-in and SMD Test Solution may
be used in combination, or individually, depending on user applications. SMD Test
Solution is a comprehensive product utilizing a vector network analyzer, fixtures,
software, and tools—for manual, non-destructive characterization of 0402 components.
It allows for measurement of SMD components over a wide frequency range from 100
kHz to 20 GHz – an industry first. SMD Test Solution uses serial and shunt fixtures
with known topology to make metrologically accurate measurements for discreet resistors,
capacitors, or inductors under real-life installation conditions...
Qorvo / Custom MMIC is a
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