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Homepage Archive - October 2020 (page 1)

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

Wednesday 7

Electronics-Themed Comics, December 1949 Radio-Electronics

Electronics-Themed Comics, December 1949 Radio-Electronics - RF CafeHere are a few examples of what was considered cutting-edge technology humor back in 1949. These three tech-themed comics appeared in Radio-Electronics magazine. The first one won't mean much to anyone who has never watched a television with a cathode ray tube (CRT), but only on an LED or LCD screen. The next comic is a bit corny and plays off the confusion some people had with the name assigned (actually the spelling thereof) to the lower audio frequencies. The last is a pun on the extreme measures sometimes needed to pull in a TV broadcast station before the days of cable and satellite service.

Editorial: Money in Radio Gadgets

Editorial: Money in Radio Gadgets, February 1933 Radio-Craft - RF CafeListen to this on the RF Cafe Podcast. Substitute "cellphone" for "radio" in this title ("Money in Radio Gadgets") and editorial by Hugo Gernsback and it would fit right in with today's market of wondrous gadgetry. Prescient as always, Mr. Gernsback describes in this 1933 issue of Radio-Craft magazine, among other things, what we now refer to as energy harnessing to power ancillary devices and props. He also recommends a scheme for causing 'dancing dolls' on the surface of a table vibrated and mobilized by the sonic waves of a large speaker - a lot like the way years later vibrating football games were made (remember them?) where the men danced randomly across the painted metal playing field. It sounded like a pair of electric hair clippers running...

Many Thanks to MPDevice for Continuing Support!

MPDevice - RF CafeMPDevice (MPD) has become a trustworthy and reliable company in the global RF market as a manufacturer of passive RF devices. Included are attenuators and terminations, coaxial connectors, adapters, and cable assemblies, DC blocks, surge arrestors, power combiner / dividers, and directional couplers. The Korean Telecommunication market is now entering into the era of hyperconnected society. With continuous enhancement in R&D capabilities and quality control, MPD will continue in an effort to become the No. 1 technologically innovative company with a focus on the emerging 5G marketplace.

Skyworks SKY59272−707LF SPST Quad Switch

Skyworks SKY59272-707LF Single-Pole, Single-Throw Quad Switch - RF CafeSkyworks is pleased to introduce the SKY59272-707LF a single-pole, single-throw (4xSPST) switch designed for antenna tuning applications that require ultra-low OFF capacitance and low ON resistance. This device offers excellent performance and ultra-high linearity for smartphone applications operating in the 5G, LTE or GSM band space, where high performance aperture tuning is required. In addition, an integrated MIPI logic controller and 4xSPST topology provides the flexibility to tune multiple bands on a single antenna, which is optimal for carrier aggregation and dual connectivity. The SKY59272-707LF builds on Skyworks' portfolio of innovative products for 5G applications...

Goodbye, Motherboard. Hello, Silicon-Interconnect Fabric

Goodbye, Motherboard. Hello, Silicon-Interconnect Fabric - RF CafeIn response to a news item I posted about laser printing of circuits on complex plastic surfaces, RF Cafe visitor Mike M. sent me a link to an article on the IEEE Spectrum site entitled "Goodbye, Motherboard. Hello, Silicon-Interconnect Fabric." Many techniques are being developed to integrate circuits into all sorts of materials, including wearable fabric, which is a different definition of fabric addressed in this article. It begins: "Bare chiplets on a silicon-interconnect fabric will make computers smaller and more powerful. The need to make some hardware systems tinier and tinier and others bigger and bigger has been driving innovations in electronics for a long time. The former can be seen in the progression from laptops to smartphones to smart watches to hearables and other 'invisible' electronics. The latter defines today's commercial data centers - megawatt-devouring monsters that fill purpose-built warehouses around the world. Interestingly, the same technology is limiting progress in both arenas, though for different reasons. The culprit, we contend, is the printed circuit board. And the solution is to get rid of it..."

Please Visit Triad RF Systems to Thank Them for Their Support

Triad RF SystemsTriad RF Systems designs and manufactures RF power amplifiers and systems. Triad RF Systems comprises three partners (hence 'Triad') with over 40 years of accumulated knowledge of what is required to design, manufacture, market, sell and service RF/Microwave amplifiers and amplifier systems. PA, LNA, bi-directional, and frequency translating amplifiers are available, in formats including tower mount, benchtop, rack mount, and chassis mount. "We view Triad more as a technology partner than a vendor for our line-of-sight communications product line." Please check to see how they can help your project.

Tuesday 6

Of Enigma Machines and Windtalkers

Navajo Code Talkers Kirt's Cogitations #176 - RF CafePerhaps with all the scares of successful hacking into presumably uncrackable, coded wireless and wired network services, a page should be taken from the World War II handbook. As any WWII history buff knows, major battles turned on the ability of the Axis and Allies cryptographic teams' ability to decipher each other's super-secret codes. Entire operations that took months of planning were suddenly thwarted by a last-minute breakthrough. Ingenious and sophisticated schemes were derived, most notable the German "Enigma Machine," which defied cracking and allowed the Germans to dominate and decimate the North Atlantic shipping lanes. Japanese spies captured many critical keys in the South Pacific theater. All coding schemes were eventually cracked with one exception - the natural tribal language of the Navajo Indian. So unlike any other of the world's known languages was theirs that the War Department enlisted the aid of those Americans to become what would be referred to as the "Code Talkers." Patriotic members volunteered for service...

Inductance Quiz

Inductance Quiz, September 1961 Popular Electronics - RF CafeHave you ever heard of a "swinging choke?" I surely hadn't, so my probability of getting Inductance Quiz,, which appeared in a 1961 issue of Popular Electronics magazine, question number 5 correct was 50% at best. I guessed wrong - just my luck. As a result my score was 8/9 = 89%. Oh, the shame. Maybe you will have a better time of it. Be careful with Q6 as well. Otherwise, if you understand the fundamentals of inductor circuit analysis, you will have no problem. Bonne chance...

RF Cascade Workbook 2018

RF Cascade Workbook 2018 Is Available Now! - RF CafeRF Cascade Workbook 2018 is the next phase in the evolution of RF Cafe's long-running series, RF Cascade Workbook. Chances are you have never used a spreadsheet quite like this. It is a full-featured RF system cascade parameter and frequency planner that includes filters and mixers for a mere $45. Built in MS Excel, using RF Cascade Workbook 2018 is a cinch and the format is entirely customizable. It is significantly easier and faster than using a multi-thousand dollar simulator when a high level system analysis is all that is needed. An intro video takes you through the main features...

Deep Learning Applications of Short-Range Radars

Deep Learning Applications of Short-Range Radars - RF CafeArtech House today announced the release of Deep Learning Applications of Short-Range Radars by Avik Santra and Souvik Hazra. This exciting new resource presents emerging applications of artificial intelligence and deep learning in short-range radar. The book covers applications ranging from industrial, consumer space to emerging automotive applications. The book presents several human-machine interface (HMI) applications, such as gesture recognition and sensing, human activity classification, air-writing, material classification, vital sensing, people sensing, people counting, people localization and in-cabin automotive occupancy and smart trunk opening. The underpinnings of deep learning are explored, outlining the history of neural networks and the optimization algorithms to train them...

Thanks Once Again to everythingRF for Long-Time Support!

everything RF Searchable Database - RF CafePlease take a few moments to visit the everythingRF website to see how they can assist you with your project. everythingRF is a product discovery platform for RF and microwave products and services. They currently have 267,269 products from more than 1397 companies across 314 categories in their database and enable engineers to search for them using their customized parametric search tool. Amplifiers, test equipment, power couplers and dividers, coaxial connectors, waveguide, antennas, filters, mixers, power supplies, and everything else. Please visit everythingRF today to see how they can help you.

Monday 5

Unionized Service Shops

Unionized Service Shops, October 1956 Radio & Television News - RF CafeListen to this story on the RF Cafe Podcast! Electronics troubleshooting and repair services experienced the same sort of customer skepticism over honesty of diagnosis costs and replacement part prices as most other similar services, including auto mechanics, home appliances, even medical treatment. The mindset was and still is you pay a high enough price for the initial product and/or service and that should be the end of the cost of ownership. If you have read through some of the many articles published in these vintage electronics magazines, you know a lot of ink was spilled lamenting the existence of the problem, along with advice on how to deal with customers. People didn't mind so much paying for replacement parts as long as they believed the serviceman as not trying to sell components that were not really bad. What was really balked at was the labor charge for diagnosing and repairing the product. In the 1950s and 1960s, a house call to work on a TV or radio was typically only a couple dollars...

Creating Cross-Domain Kill Webs in Real Time

Creating Cross-Domain Kill Webs in Real Time - RF Cafe"Two DARPA-developed technologies - a novel decision aid for mission commanders and a rapid software integration tool - played a critical role in the recent Air Force demonstration of the Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS). The Adapting Cross-domain Kill-webs (ACK) program and the System-of-systems Technology Integration Tool Chain for Heterogeneous Electronic Systems (STITCHES) were among a number of technologies employed in the Aug. 31 - Sep. 4 ABMS on-ramp demonstration, which involved attacks using live aircraft, ships, air defense batteries, and other assets. ACK is developing a decision aid for mission commanders to assist them with rapidly identifying and selecting options for tasking - and re-tasking - assets within and across organizational boundaries. Specifically, ACK assists users with selecting sensors, effectors..."

Carl & Jerry: Trapped in a Chimney

Carl & Jerry: Trapped in a Chimney, January 1956 Popular Electronics - RF CafeListen to this story on the RF Cafe Podcast! All three of my hobbies are contained in this episode of Carl & Jerry - electronics, astronomy, and airplanes! For as clever as the two teenagers are, they sure do manage to get themselves into some sticky situations due to what can only be termed as stupidity. This is not the first time their future relied on a fairly large number of people being 'out there' who were familiar with Morse code. Supporting the claim that trends run in cycles, the ignition-type model engine common in the mid 1950s eventually gave way to glow fuel (a nitro methane and castor or synthetic oil mix) engines, but nowadays miniature electronic ignition systems have made model-size gasoline...

Electronic Assemblies Without PCBs

Laser Direct Structuring (LDS) - RF CafeThere is a very interesting article on the Microwave Product Digest (MPD) website provided by the Harting Technology Group, in Espelkamp, Germany, presenting a new method for chemically depositing circuits directly onto complexly shaped plastic surfaces without the need for a traditional mask. "The structure of the conductor path is applied using the Laser Direct Structuring (LDS) process. LDS enables electronic assemblies to be made in flexible geometric shapes. Smart phones, hearing aids and smart watches are becoming smaller and more powerful thanks to this process. LDS enables the production of electronic assemblies with flexible geometric shapes. This process enables electronic products (such as smart phones, sensors or medical devices) to become even smaller and more powerful. Automated manufacturing processes also make this process more economically attractive..."

Many Thanks to KR Electronics for Helping Deliver RF Cafe!

KR ElectronicsKR Electronics designs and manufactures high quality filters for both the commercial and military markets. KR Electronics' line of filters includes lowpass, highpass, bandpass, bandstop and individually synthesized filters for special applications - both commercial and military. State of the art computer synthesis, analysis and test methods are used to meet the most challenging specifications. All common connector types and package form factors are available. Please visit their website today to see how they might be of assistance. Products are designed and manufactured in the USA.

Sunday 4

Radio Themed Crossword Puzzle for October 4th

Radio Themed Crossword Puzzle for October 4th, 2020 - RF CafeOctober 4th's custom Radio themed crossword puzzle contains only only words from my custom-created lexicon related to engineering, science, mathematics, chemistry, physics, astronomy, etc. (1,000s of them). 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, find someone or something in the otherwise excluded list directly related to this puzzle's technology theme, such as Hedy Lamarr or the Bikini Atoll, respectively. The technically inclined cruciverbalists amongst us will appreciate the effort.

Friday 2

Mac's Radio Service Shop: TV TX

Mac's Radio Service Shop: Television DX, September 1951 Radio & Television News - RF CafeListen to this story on the RF Cafe Podcast! Before there was the World Wide Web (aka the Internet) and unlimited cellphone calling plans, personal communications over any distance for most people was limited to local telephone calling areas. Long distance calling rates were high enough to prevent casual calling of family, friends, and businesses in the U.S. Overseas call rates were extremely prohibitive. The price to "Reach out and touch someone" could set you back 10¢/minute or more. Even today, an old-fashioned landline plan from AT&T can cost you $3.50/minute to the UK, $4.50/minute to Japan, and $5.00/minute to China. Depending on where you lived, calling someone in the next neighborhood over could be a long distance call, while calling 50 miles in the other direction would be considered local. Toll-free "800" long distance numbers were implemented to encourage people to make contact with businesses without incurring additional charges. Late night TV shows were famous for using 800 numbers to entice customers into buying Ronco gadgets and term life insurance policies...

Mathematical Puzzles, 1976 Old Farmer's Almanac

Mathematical Puzzles, 1976 Old Farmer's Almanac - RF Cafe1976 is the year I was emancipated (aka graduated) from high school, and this issue of The Old Farmer's Almanac (OFA) happens to be from that year. For as long as I can remember, the OFA has included a set of Mathematical Puzzles in its annual publication. They range in difficulty from 1 (very easy) to 5 (sometimes quite difficult). Having been a faithful buyer and reader of the OFA for as long as I can remember, I have spent many hours toiling with some of the more challenging examples. In fact, there were a lot which I never did figure out and needed to look up the answers in the back (come to think of it, I experienced the same dilemma with my college engineering textbooks). Because quite a few of the Mathematical Puzzles are worthy of an engineer's cerebration, contemplation, and deliberation, all I have will be eventually posted here on RF Cafe. Enjoy!

Lighting the Way to Infrared Detection

Lighting the Way to Infrared Detection - RF Cafe"EPFL physicists propose a new path to detect infrared radiation with outstanding sensitivity, allowing detection of signals as low as that of a single quantum of light. When using our webcam or cell phone camera, we experience the tremendous capabilities of cheap and compact sensors developed in the past decades for the visible region of the electromagnetic spectrum. On the contrary, detection of lower frequency radiation not visible to the human eye (such as mid- and far-infrared radiation) requires complex and costly equipment. Lack of a compact technology impedes widespread access to sensors for the recognition of molecules and the imaging of thermal radiation naturally emitted by our bodies. A new conceptual breakthrough in this field may therefore..."

Get Your Custom-Designed RF Cafe Gear!

Custom-Designed RF-Themed Cups, T-Shirts, Mouse Pads, Clocks (Cafe Press) - RF CafeThis assortment of custom-designed themes by RF Cafe includes T-Shirts, Mouse Pads, Clocks, Tote Bags, Coffee Mugs and Steins, Purses, Sweatshirts, and Baseball Caps. Choose from amazingly clever "We Are the World's Matchmakers" Smith chart design or the "Engineer's Troubleshooting Flow Chart." My "Matchmaker's" design has been ripped off by other people and used on their products, so please be sure to purchase only official RF Cafe gear. My markup is only a paltry 50¢ per item - Cafe Press gets the rest of your purchase price. These would make excellent gifts for husbands, wives, kids, significant others, and for handing out at company events or as rewards for excellent service. It's a great way to help support RF Cafe. Thanks...

More "Tower" to You

More "Tower" to You, December 1962 Popular Electronics - RF CafeIn the 1960s, most people believed that poetry ought to rhyme. It was not uncommon to see poems appear in magazines of all sorts including even technical publications like Popular Electronics. "More 'Tower' to You" is a good example. Nobody ever claimed that these reader-submitted on-subject poems were of Nobel Prize quality, but many were extremely clever and were almost sure to elicit the chuckle their authors intended; that is to say, they were humorous. What made them humorous is what is true of nearly all good humor - it contains an element of truth...

Please Thank IPP for Their Long-Time Support!

Innovative Power ProductsInnovative 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. Applications in military, medical, industrial and commercial markets are serviced around the world. Please take a couple minutes to visit their website and see how IPP can help you today.

Thursday 1

Rauland Zenith Aluminizing

Rauland Zenith Aluminizing, November 1953 Radio-Electronics - RF CafeRauland (aka Rauland-Borg) has today on its History webpage that it was founded in 1922 as the Rauland Company, by inventor and radio enthusiast E. Norman Rauland. Soon thereafter he became a pioneer in the radio broadcast industry by launching the Chicago-based radio station, WENR (which eventually became the well-known WLS). In 1941 Norm Rauland and George Borg entered a partnership, and a year later acquired Baird Television of America. Rauland developed cathode ray tubes (CRT) and became an important supplier of communications and radar equipment during WWII. After the war, Rauland began manufacturing CRTs for 10" and 12" televisions. They were so successful that in 1948, Zenith Radio Corporation purchased them to get the CRT technology. This circa 1953 Rauland advertisement ran in Radio-Electronics magazine to pitch their breakthrough aluminizing process that produced CRTs with brighter pictures and greater contrast with relatively low anode voltages, which was a big deal at the time due to concern over high levels of x-rays...

Technical Writers Needed - Remote Working

/2020/pcbonline-technical-writers-needed-9-30-2020.htm" target="_top"> Technical Writers Needed by PCBONLINE - RF CafeHere is an excellent opportunity for engineers and technicians to earn while working from home! PCBONLINE, a global supplier of complex rigid and flex-rigid printed circuit boards (PCBs),and one-stop production with maximum flexibility ranging from prototype sample to mass production, is in want of /2020/pcbonline-technical-writers-needed-9-30-2020.htm" target="_top">part-time work-from-home technical writers. Candidates to be familiar with general electronic knowledge, especially project engineering. It would be best if the candidates can write interesting posts about how to get from schematics, to PCB layout, to Gerber files, and PCB manufacturing. Responsibilities include writing and revising technical articles according to the outlines about PCBs, PCBA, electronic components and other electrics-related topics...

Notable Tech Quote: Joel Hallas, W1ZR

Joel R. Hallas Notable Tech Quote - RF CafeJoel R. Hallas (W1ZR), ARRL QST magazine's monthly "The Doctor Is In" column writer, has written many notable quotes over the years while responding to readers' questions. Most of the Q's and A's are about antennas, transmission lines, and impedance matching. The October 2020 issue contains the following statement which is profoundly important to remember, particularly where antennas are concerned, "...but ground is always somewhere." It might seem like a Captain Obvious statement, but people not overly familiar with the effects of a ground plane - be it solid, mesh, or an array of radials - can and does have a huge effect on the radiation pattern and effective impedance of every kind of antenna. Mr. Hallas' middle initial is given as "R," but is might as well be "E" - for EZNEC - because of his masterful and frequent use of it in analyzing antenna setups and which often includes pattern plots in his answers. It just figures that since I mention it, EZNEC is not mentioned this month.

Thermal Diode Rectifies Heat in Both Directions

Unusual Thermal Diode Rectifies Heat in Both Directions - RF Cafe"You can feel it on your laptop and mobile phone. It's behind your refrigerator and office copy machine. While heat is desirable for appliances like a coffee maker, it can jeopardize the reliability and safety of electronic systems in other devices, causing premature failure at best and explosions at worst. Active control of heat transport, as with thermal switches and thermal diodes, is important for a range of applications in heating and cooling, energy conversion, materials processing, and data storage. In practice, thermal diodes are highly desirable thermal components for many engineering applications because they allow energy systems to transfer heat to designated areas..."

New Book: Designing Wireless Sensor Network Solutions for Tactical ISR

Designing Wireless Sensor Network Solutions for Tactical ISR - RF CafeArtech House today announced the release of Designing Wireless Sensor Network Solutions for Tactical ISR, by Timothy D. Cole. This comprehensive resource demonstrates how wireless sensor network (WSN) systems, a key element of the Internet of Things (IoT), are designed and evaluated to solve problems associated with autonomous sensing systems. Functional blocks that form WSN-based systems are described, chapter by chapter, providing the reader with a progressive learning path through all aspects of designing remote sensing capabilities using a WSN-based system. The development and a full description of fundamental performance equations and technological solutions required by these real-time systems are included. New Release discount price available now...

Many Thanks to Bittele Electronics for Continued Support!

Bittele Electronics PCB Fabrication - RF CafeSince 2003, Bittele Electronics has consistently provided low-volume, electronic contract manufacturing (ECM) and turnkey PCB assembly services. It specializes in board level turnkey PCB assembly for design engineers needing low volume or prototype multi-layer printed circuit boards. Free Passive Components: Bittele Electronics is taking one further step in its commitment of offering the best service to clients of its PCB assembly business. Bittele is now offering common passive components to its clients FREE of Charge.

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    Kirt Blattenberger,


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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