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Homepage Archive - July 2020 (page 5)

See Page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | of the July 2020 homepage archives.

Friday 31

Mac's Radio Service Shop: Barney Turns Inventor

Mac's Radio Service Shop: Barney Turns Inventor, February 1950 Radio & Television News - RF CafeIt 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...

Cognitive Radios Will Go Where No Deep-Space Mission Has Gone Before

Cognitive Radios Will Go Where No Deep-Space Mission Has Gone Before - RF Cafe"How 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 interplanetary distances..."

Electronic Photo Album Quiz

Electronic Photo Album Quiz, March 1963 Popular Electronics - RF CafeThis 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 Intros 2 New RF Filters

Anatech Electronics Intros 2 New RF Filters - RF CafeAnatech 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. 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

Tutorial: Half Band Filters - RF CafeI 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: RF & Microwave Components

Withwave RF & Microwave Components - RF CafeWithwave 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 succeed.

Thursday 30

1951 Belden Radio Wire Ad

Belden Radio Wire, September 1951 Radio & Television News - RF CafeDuring 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)...

Cadence AWR Design Environment Software V15 at Virtual IMS2020 

 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 the latest 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.

An Ex-Ham's Opinion of "No-Code" Test

An Ex-Ham's Opinion of "No-Code" Test, March 1935 Short Wave Craft - RF CafeI 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...

Triad RF Systems Helps Airborne Taxi Prototypes Make a Flying Leap

Triad RF Systems Helps Airborne Taxi Prototypes Make a Flying Leap - RF CafeImagine 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 supplies...

Tektronix Function Generator Teardown

Tektronix Function Generator Teardown - RF CafeAs 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 HP5212A Electronic Counter teardown if you're interested.

Digital Attenuators Added to Visio Symbols

Digital Attenuators Added to Visio Symbols - RF CafeAt the request of a RF & 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: Thermal Platforms for −100°C to +200°C

TotalTemp Technologies - RF CafeTotalTemp 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. Please contact TotalTemp Technologies today to learn how they can help your project.

Wednesday 29

Over and Out - Amateur Radio Comics

Over and Out - Amateur Radio Comics, September 1969 Electronics Illustrated - RF CafeFound 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...

Break China's Grip on Rare Earths Production

U.S. and Japan Seeking to Break China's Grip on Rare Earths Production - RF Cafe"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, these 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..."

Design and Verify 5G Systems

Design and Verify 5G Systems - RF CafeOver 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)..."

The Strange World of Color Vision

The Strange World of Color Vision, January 1958 Radio Electronics - RF CafeLike 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...

CMT Announce Release of Component Testing Suite

Copper Mountain Technologies Announce Release of Component Testing Suite - RF CafeCopper 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: Off-the-Shelf and Custom MMICs

Qorvo / Custom MMIC- RF CafeQorvo / Custom MMIC is a fabless RF and microwave MMIC designer entrusted by government and defense industry OEMs. Custom and off-the-shelf products include switches, phase shifters, attenuators, mixers and multipliers, and low noise, low phase noise, and distributed amplifiers. From next-generation long range military radar systems, to advanced aerospace and space-qualified satellite communications, microwave signal chains are being pushed to new limits - and no one understands this more than Custom MMIC. Please contact Qorvo / Custom MMIC today to see how they use their modern engineering, testing and packaging facility to help your project. 


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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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