I like the tag line RCA chose for this 1951
advertisement pitching their vacuum tubes: "Electron
tube with a military mind." However, what really caught my attention was the
illustration that borrows the "ship in a bottle" theme. A lot of younger people
might have no idea what is being alluded to given easy access to cheaply manufactured
faux examples. Modern manufacturing techniques makes it relatively simple to form
a bottle (especially a plastic one) around a pre-built ship model. The original
technique required preparing much of the model as possible ahead of time, and then
inserting the individual pieces through the narrow bottle neck and performing assembly
using long nosed pliers and/or tweezers. A lot of preparation, patience, and skill
is required to make a fine looking model. Maybe the advertisement creators
stumbled upon this...
This is a great example of how Popular
Electronics and John T. Frye used the "Carl &
Jerry" series to teach some basic electronics design principles through story
telling. The same is true with his long-running "Mac's Service Shop" series of techno-dramas.
In this adventure, the the two teenagers decide to build a tachometer from schematics
they found in a magazine. They debate amongst themselves how the circuits works,
the best way to assemble the circuit, component selection, vibration-tolerant mounting,
and how to properly calibrate the tach to accurately display engine revolutions
per minute (RPM). Being set in 1960, this is one of the first appearances of transistors
in circuits rather than vacuum tubes. Transistors were still very mysterious - and
even detested - by many electronics hobbyists and professionals, so pieces like
"Researchers at Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories
for Materials Science and Technology, have succeeded in applying aerogels to microelectronics:
aerogels based on cellulose nanofibers can effectively
shield electromagnetic radiation over a wide frequency range - and they are
unrivalled in terms of weight. Electric motors and electronic devices generate electromagnetic
fields that sometimes have to be shielded in order not to affect neighboring electronic
components or the transmission of signals. High-frequency electromagnetic fields
can only be shielded with conductive shells that are closed on all sides. Often
thin metal sheets or metallized foils are used for this purpose. However, for many
applications such a shield is too heavy or too poorly adaptable to the given geometry..."
Sometime around late 1977, a year or so
prior to reporting to Lackland Air Force Base for Basic Military Training with plans
to pursue a career in electronics, I began boning up on my admittedly lacking electronics
skills. Having spent the past few years as an electrician, including a couple years
in vocational school, I was familiar enough with the big stuff that could easily
kill me, but I didn't know much about about electronics with its small components
and low voltages. To assist me with my goal, I purchased a couple Heathkit kits
and carefully studied all the information provided, then proceeded to assemble and
test everything. My first project was this
IM−17 Utility Solid-State Voltmeter. It was simple enough for even me to be
successful. Although it was called a voltmeter (AC and DC capability), it also measured
resistance, so technically it was a volt-ohmmeter. I'm not sure why the designers
didn't add a current measuring function...
PCBs are boards with 3D design using a combination of flexible and rigid board
technologies, and have characteristics of both soft and hard boards. Therefore,
they can be used in electrical devices with special requirements, such as connecting
a flexible area and a rigid area. Rigid-flex PCBS save the internal space of electrics,
reduce the size, and improve electrical and mechanical performance of electronic
devices. In PCBONLINE, rigid-flex PCB manufacturing and assembly are operated under
strict quality control. The final board thickness ranges from 0.05 mm to 0.6 mm.
Exodus Advanced Communications is a multinational
RF communication equipment and engineering service company serving both commercial
and government entities and their affiliates worldwide. Power amplifiers ranging
from 10 kHz to 51 GHz with various output power levels and noise figure
ranges, we fully support custom designs and manufacturing requirements for both
small and large volume levels. decades of combined experience in the RF field for
numerous applications including military jamming, communications, radar, EMI/EMC
and various commercial projects with all designing and manufacturing of our HPA,
MPA, and LNA products in-house.
September 20th's custom
Science & Engineering 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.
It is always interesting to look back many
years ago and see what people thought were the big issues of the day. According
to this 1975 QST article, some amateur radio operators thought the decades
S-scale system for determining signal strength using a combination of objective
and subjective measures was in need of modernization. Nine separate levels of signal
strength was, in this author's estimation, too many to provide a meaningful report
to the sender regarding how well his message was being received. Five was plenty.
He had a good point since, as pointed out, can an operator really say whether a
signal quality rated a score of S5 versus S6? History has been the judge of the
matter, and now 44 years later...
"Army scientists developed a first-of-its
kind antenna that could change how ground vehicles and airborne systems communicate,
transmit and receive radio frequency communications. The Army matured a manufacturing
process using a special class of engineered materials known as metaferrites to make
ultra-thin wideband antenna. The antenna conforms to curved surfaces, making
it ideal to integrate in unmanned aircraft systems, rotary wing aircraft and ground
vehicles. 'Recognizing the potential of metaferrites in antenna design and making
a decision to invest in this technology were key to where we are today,' said Dr.
Philip Perconti, deputy assistant Secretary of the Army for Research and Technology..."
I the only one who finds the opening screen to the
EE Times website very annoying?
I have been sending visitors there for news and articles for many years, and for
a long time they have been putting up this stupid opening screen in order to get
to the content. No other tech website I can think of does this kind of stupidity.
I've been considering removing them from news bookmarks, and will probably do so
Professor Frenzel has a new post on the
Electronic Design website entitled, "Op
Amps for Linear Designs: Back to the Basics." Lou F. has provided the electronics
community with many articles (and book) covering a wide range of topics fundamental
to the craft. He begins, "Op amps are the basic building blocks for much of linear
circuit design. You probably learned about them in college and even designed some
products containing an op amp. As an electronic engineer, you will at some point
in your career probably need to design a linear circuit. If you're not an advanced
linear or analog circuit designer, perhaps the best way to fulfill your linear design
needs is to use an op amp..."
Triad 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.
Thank God It's Friday (TGIF) again. What
better way is there to wrap up a week than to get a good laugh at these
electronics-themed comics from a few of my vintage Electronics World magazines
from the 1960s? If you still need more to help recover from the past five days and
prepare you for the weekend, a huge list of other webpages with similar comics is
at the bottom of this page. They would make good additions to in-house presentations.
Fork Test Labs introduces the
programmable I/O interface board for test-engineers to automate fixtures - for
only $95! Everyone knows or has seen big test stands, but few can use them because
they are very expensive and not many engineers can put in hours or days to make
it work as needed. So, we decided to create a platform for testing to help engineers
in their everyday hard work. Just take Fork, PyTest and program the tests in Python.
Features include 8 digital I/O, 8 analog inputs, 2 analog outputs, Ethernet and
Wi-Fi connectivity, and 3 UART, SPI or I2C for connection with external devices...
LadyBug Technologies was founded in 2004
by two microwave engineers with a passion for quality microwave test instrumentation.
Our employees offer many years experience in the design and manufacture of the worlds
best vector network analyzers, spectrum analyzers, power meters and associated components.
The management team has additional experience in optical power testing, military
radar and a variety of programming environments including LabVIEW, VEE and other
languages often used in programmatic systems. Extensive experience in a broad spectrum
of demanding measurement applications. You can be assured that our Power Sensors
are designed, built, tested and calibrated without compromise.
Recently, I posted from this same 1955 issue
of Radio & Television News magazine the article "Mac's Service Shop: Magnetic
Shielding." Maybe it was a coincidence that it was printed in the same issue as
this article entitled, "Shielding
in Hi-Fi Equipment," but probably not. Discussed here are all three fundamental
kinds of fields from which equipment and/or components might require shielding to
prevent cross-coupling of signals: Magnetostatic, electrostatic, and electromagnetic.
An electromagnetic field is present whenever either a magnetic or electric field
is varying since one begets the other. Different types of shielding materials are
required for blocking a magnetic field versus an electric field, where material
permeability and conductivity, respectively, determines effectiveness. In the era
when this was written, most electronic equipment consisted of leaded (not Pb'd)
components interconnected inside a metal chassis via point-to-point wiring with
"Engineers at Los Alamos National Laboratory
are reinventing the mirror, at least for microwaves. Their invention could replace
the familiar satellite dishes and microwave horns seen on rooftops and cell towers
with flat panels that are compact, versatile and better adapted for modern communications.
'Our new reflectors offer lightweight, low-profile alternatives to conventional
antennas. This is a potential boon for satellites, where minimizing weight and size
is crucial,' says Abul Azad, of the MPA-CINT group at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
'The panels could be easily incorporated onto surfaces of buildings or terrestrial
vehicles as well.' Most
reflectors are reciprocal. So, if you can see someone reflected in a mirror,
they can see you too. The new reflector design breaks reciprocity, effectively turning
it into a one-way mirror..."
Berkeley Nucleonics Corporation (BNC - like
the connector) will present a free webinar on Wednesday, October 7th, 2020, entitled,
the Perfect RF/Microwave Signal Generator." Catch up with Berkeley Nucleonics
and several special guests in the upcoming webinar to explore the inner workings
of microwave signal generators. This in-depth webinar will provide a deeper look
at basic specifications such as modulation, channels, power, accuracy, and speed.
Senior Product Manager Junior Choe will do the presentation running from 10:00-11:00 am
Pacific Time to assist RF/microwave experts in determining the precise signal generator
for their applications. Engineers use these signal generators to test systems for
a wide range of applications throughout the product development cycle. By attending
this webinar, you receive free access to BNC Academy's RF Bootcamp...
ConductRF is continually innovating and
developing new and improved solutions for RF Interconnect needs. See the latest
TESTeCON RF Test Cables
for labs. ConductRF makes production and test coax cable assemblies for amplitude
and phased matched VNA applications as well as standard & precision RF connectors.
Over 1,000 solutions for low PIM in-building to choose from in the iBwave component
library. They also provide custom coax solutions for applications where some standard
just won't do. A partnership with Newark assures fast, reliable access. Please visit
ConductRF today to see
how they can help your project!
in recognizing one's own incompetence lead to inflated self-assessments." - Dunning-Kruger.
The full title of the paper authored by David Dunning and Justin Kruger outlining
what has become known as the
Effect is entitled, "Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing
One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments." In layman's terms, it
could be put thusly: "The dumber a person is the more [s]he believes [s]he knows
more than everyone else." This phenomenon can be seen all over social media and
within the burning, looting, and mayhem protestor hordes terrorizing cities across
the world. Of course it is also exhibited in politicians who try to rationalize
the behavior and do nothing to prevent the wanton destruction of private and public
For as long as I can remember, The Old Farmer's
Almanac (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, they will all be eventually posted here...
RF 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...
MPDevice (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.
I have to admit to not knowing what an "Ouncer"
audio choke was when reading this Mac's Service Shop story from a 1955 issue of
Radio & Television News magazine. Research reveals that United Transformer
Company produced a line of magnetic transformers and RF chokes weighing about an
ounce (lightweight for its day), hence the moniker. They later made Sub−Ouncer products.
Of course like just about everything else, they can still be purchased on eBay.
Mac had been awed by a demonstration of the effectiveness of a new, low cost type
magnetic shielding that can be placed around a CRT to prevent distortion due
to nearby magnetic fields created either within a chassis or from an external source.
It is especially important for precision test equipment being used in a field-filled
environment like an electronics repair...
IEEE Salary & Benefits Survey 2020, reporting on 2019 data, has just been
released. According to IEEE membership respondents, the typical technology professional
earned $148,500 in 2019, excluding overtime, profit sharing, and side hustles, is
up 2.4% over 2018 (less than the 4.5% increase in 2017). Overall job satisfaction
broke over the 1.0 mark for the first time since the survey began in 2010. The consumer
electronics sector fared the best in average salary at$185k, while aerospace &
space followed at $180k. Education and machine learning did worst, but still were
well over $100k. Benefits, bonuses, stocks, etc., can add significantly to the value.
It will be interesting to see how things pan out for 2020 due to the Wuhan Virus
"Graphene is a modern wonder material possessing
unique properties of strength, flexibility and conductivity whilst being abundant
and remarkably cheap to produce, lending it to a multitude of useful applications
- especially true when these 2-D atom-thick sheets of carbon are split into narrow
strips known as
Nanoribbons (GNRs). New research published in EPJ Plus, authored by Kristians
Cernevics, Michele Pizzochero, and Oleg V. Yazyev, Ecole Polytechnique Federale
de Lausanne (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland, aims to better understand the electron
transport properties of GNRs and how they are affected by bonding with aromatics.
This is a key step in designing technology such chemosensors..."
Arthur (Art) Collins, who began his radio
career as a Ham, founded Collins Radio in 1933, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Just as civil
aviation enthusiasts long ago began associating Wichita, Kansas, with Cessna, Lear,
Beechcraft, et al, and its airplanes, radio people associate Cedar Rapids with Collins
Radio. In fact - and this is a fact - electronics companies like RF Micro Devices
(now Qorvo) and Skyworks Solutions set up RFIC design centers there back in the
early 1990s in order to exploit the availability of highly talented engineers who
worked for Collins. It was a time when defense industry contracts were winding down
and cellphones were winding up...
W−Absorber is microwave absorber in thin sheet format made of a mixture of polymer
resin and metal magnetic powder which is thin and flexible and excellent in workability
and can be easily bonded. This absorber can suppress radiation noise of electronic
devices for wideband microwave frequency range and reduce surface current as well
as surface reflection in cavity resonant application. W−Absorber can suppress radiation
noise of electronic devices for wideband radio frequency range and is effective
in reducing surface current as well as surface reflection in cavity resonant applications
due to the high magnetic loss characteristics of materials...
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 succeed.
Charles Babbage's 19th century Difference
Engine might be considered the beginning of complex
mechanical calculators' use in science and engineering. It really was not all
that long ago. Massive single-purpose analog computers were designed and constructed
in the middle of the last century for calculating, among other things, projectile
trajectories, multi-body orbits, electrical circuit functions, nuclear detonations,
calculation of mathematical function tables, and navigation. Eventually electrical
computers joined the arsenal of tools available to significantly reduce the amount
of time required to carry out complex calculations requiring multiple iterations
using a range of input variables. Programmable vacuum tube and then transistorized
digital computers expanded the range of applications, but recall that even by the
early 1960s, during the early manned space flight projects...
In reaction to the need for better enabled
Counter-UAS (CUAS) systems, Triad RF has recently added to their family of commercial-off-the-shelf
wideband high power amplifiers. The new TA1264 model weighs in at just 16 ounces,
measures under 4" square and under 1" in height, and operates across the broad frequency
range of 300 MHz to 6 GHz while delivering high power density, and optimal
linearity and efficiency. The TA1264 is ideal for critical electronic warfare system
applications, from simple CW/FM signals to highly modulated carriers such as 64
and 256QAM for software defined radios (SDRs), and general-purpose RF/microwave
amplification. As a family, Triad RF's line of wideband...
Thyratrons, klystrons, and magnetrons I've
heard of, but
trochotrons, charactrons, tonotrons I ain't heard of. That made this quiz more
of a learning exercise for me than a test of any sort of knowledge possessed. Heck,
I thought an 'ignitron' was a pejorative term for a really dumb techie wannabe.
In all there are 17 types of '-tron' devices given for which to match from a list
of descriptions. You'll probably do better than I did on this quiz that appeared
in the October 1963 issue of Electronics World magazine.
"Evolving technology, certifications, and
time are just some of the points to consider before
renting, leasing, or buying that next piece of equipment. Whether you are a
startup, mid-size business, or a large company, a smart approach to acquiring expensive
electronic test equipment is the key. For every technology-driven business, it's
a major concern to strike a tradeoff between high cost, constant maintenance, and
calibration of new equipment vs. the need to conserve cash by renting or leasing.
Should you rent, lease, or buy?"
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