Friday the 30th
To some extent, I agree with the readers
of Radio-Craft magazine who wrote to editor Hugo Gernsback complaining
about the lack of opportunity available to radio servicemen returning from the battlefield
at the end of World War II. As noted in this editorial entitled, "Radio
Industry Unfair?," many are people who sold or took leave from their established
electronics service and/or stores in answer to their country's call to go abroad
to fight for the free world. However, Radio-Craft was, throughout 1945,
filled with advertisements by electronics manufacturers promising jobs and opportunities
and anticipated demand for representation by service shops and sales outlets. Evidently,
it did not turn out to be so, at least to the degree predicted. Gernsback does have
a good point, though, that if the letters submitted to him are an indication of
Artech House today announced the publication
High-Throughput Satellites, by Hector Fenech. This exciting new book discusses
the motivation for the evolution of a new breed of High Throughput Satellites (HTS)
that have emerged from traditional communications satellites. It explores the commercial
sectors and technical context that have shaped HTS. The historical underpinnings
of HTS are provided to highlight the requirements that dimension these satellites.
A survey of operational GEO HTS systems is also included. Readers will understand
the technical, operational and commercial context of HTS systems, as well as the
performance of the current HTS system. This initial breed of satellites was limited
to geostationary satellites, but it is quickly projecting into low earth orbit (LEO)
constellations, often referred to as mega-constellations. The industrial and operational
facets of LEO constellations are challenging...
Exodus Advanced Communications is a multinational
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MPA, and LNA products in-house.
Victorian era ran from
1837 through 1901, years prior to the 1955 advent of
Nixie tubes, but
I get what Clive "Max" Maxfield means when he wrote his article entitled, "Add
Victorian Charm with Segment Displays and Nixie Tubes." Only a valvephobe (my
word) could fail to appreciate the pleasing ambience contributed by the warm, orange
glow of a vacuum tube. Max's article on the Design News website begins,
"Modern incarnations of the technologies of yesteryear - such as Nixie tubes and
21-segment Victorian displays - add charm to modern devices. My current hobby project
involves creating a 21st Century incarnation of a super-tasty 21-segment Victorian
display technology. I will explain more in a moment, but first... I don't know about
you, but I'm a big fan of the
steampunk aesthetic, which I feature in many of my hobby projects. This is especially
true in the case of display technologies. Take Nixie tubes, for example..."
"In my judgment, it will be only a few years
departments will be equipped with radio," Superintendent A. A. Carroll, Grand
Rapids Police Department. Such a statement could have been deemed risky - or even
career-ending back in the late 1920 to early 1930s when radio communications was
still in its infancy. A lot of public figures denounced radio for anything other
than a means of receiving entertainment at home. After all, the equipment was physically
large and very power hungry. It was considered folly by many people to believe that
an automobile's electrical generation capability would ever be able to power a vacuum
tube receiver, much less a transmitter that would have enough range to be useful.
Still, police and fire departments forged ahead and became some of the leaders in
technology implementation. It was a huge deal in 1930 when a police station installed
radios in its fleet of patrol cars, often requiring special fund raising activities
or raiding of funds originally set aside for other projects...
2021 IEEE MTT-S International Microwave Symposium (IMS2021) and Microwave Week,
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in Atlanta, GA. A virtual event will follow on June 20-25, 2021 with on-demand content
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Thursday the 29th
Here are a couple more
electronics-themed comics from a 1940-era issue of Radio News magazine.
The scenarios depicted in these old comics are often based on the real-life experiences
of radio and electronics servicemen. No doubt many guys got clobbered by high voltage
or deafening audio when a customer decided to power up a television or radio while
being worked on in the home. When this comic with the police car radio appeared
in 1940, it had only been a decade since the first 2-way radios were being installed
in patrol cars (see "A New Arm of the Law"). A huge list of technology-themed comics
is listed at the bottom of the page. Enjoy!
"Researchers in Germany and Spain have created
transistor-like device that uses a small voltage to control the strength and
frequency of electronic signals transmitted through graphene. The feat, which is
detailed in Science Advances, marks an important step towards using graphene in
electronic devices such as terahertz frequency converters, mixers and modulators.
Graphene - a honeycomb-like lattice of carbon just one atom thick - has several
unique electronic properties. Many of them stem from the fact that it is a semimetal
with no energy gap between its valence and conduction bands. In the region where
these two bands meet, the relationship between the energy and momentum of charge
Engineers are entirely comfortable with numbers
multiplied by very large powers of 10; that is, with many trailing (or leading if
a decimal) zeros after the significant figures. A terahertz is 1 x 1012,
or 1 followed by twelve zeros, or
1,000,000,000,000 Hz. A picosecond is 1 x 10-12 s, or eleven
zeros between the decimal point and the one, or 0.000000000001 s. The mass
of the sun is approximately 1.9885×1030 kg, or 1,988,500,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000 kg. The mass of an electron is approximately 9.10938×10−31 kg,
000000910938 kg. We don't even break a sweat
when punching those kinds of numbers into a calculator. We're used to it. When most
laypeople these days hear politicians nonchalantly toss around figures in the trillions
of dollars regarding a country's deficit or planned new spending packages, or the
net worth of Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Tesla's Elon Musk, and Donald Trump, they have
no concept of how big the numbers are...
limiter is a simple combination of cascaded "T" type resistive attenuators that
are switched in and out of the circuit based on the power level in the line. The
design takes a bit of thinking due to needing to retain a reasonable impedance match
at the input and output throughout various stages' conduction states. Arriving at
an optimal value for resistors would require a circuit simulator with a mathematically
based optimizer, but, especially for amateur radio work, close is good enough. That
is not to say Hams are a bunch of slackers - they're not - it's just that component
and software resources are not as readily available (aka "prohibitively expensive")
for doing the analysis and testing. In 1966 when this article was published, software
did not even exist for people without access to university or corporate computers.
For most users these days, it is cheaper to buy a limiter for 2- to 3-score dollars...
denied testing permits to at least four electronic warfare systems in the last
six months. When Hawthorne, Calif.-based startup Epirus decided to test a new electronic
weapon last winter, it filed an application with the FCC. It wanted to test its
high power microwave device in the California desert east of Palm Springs, about
three miles from a small airport and the busy I-10 interstate. The unnamed prototype
would be operated intermittently with an effective radiated power of 270 megawatts
- thousands of times higher than the strongest FM radio stations, and in the same
ballpark as controversial experiments that produce artificial aurorae - and have
a range of 300 meters..."
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Wednesday the 28th
Believe it or not, many countries did - and
some still do - charge people wanting to receive over-the-air (not cable or satellite)
commercial radio and/or television programming a
wireless license fee for the privilege. Yes, this is for receiving, not transmitting,
signals. If you dared to tune in a BBC program without a license, a fee could be
expected upon detection (pun intended). The Monthly Review feature in this 1946
issue of Radio-Craft magazine reported an increase in cost to the equivalent
of $29 in 2021 money (per the BLS Inflation Calculator). Also highlighted was a
method for printing radio circuits made with conductive inks on ceramic sheets -
known today as thick-film printing. An announcement of the U.S. War Department's
18,000-tube ENIAC electronic calculating device was made as well. The electronics
field was moving quickly...
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other common connector interfaces. Hi-Performance right angled options are available
utilizing hard setting shrink tube to form the cable bend...
By 1962, John T. Frye's techie troubleshooting
Carl and Jerry had graduated from high school and were attending Parvoo University
(PU?) as electrical engineering students. It was a natural progression. Unlike many
of the company names and products - like the Delco DN278 transistor mentioned here
- that appeared in the Popular Science series, the college's name is fictional.
Maybe author Frye had a connection to Porvoo, Finland, and Anglicized the name.
Per RF Cafe visitor Jim P., "The stadium in the story is Moss-Ade stadium.
The stadium at Purdue University is Ross-Ade stadium. I would guess that Parvoo
comes from Purdue." According to a search I did to determine whether Frye ever attended
Purdue, "Remarkably enough, he never attended Purdue University..."
SF Circuits' specialty is in the complex,
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Bittele Electronics Inc., a Toronto-based
one-stop PCB manufacturer specializing in prototype and low-to-mid volume printed
circuit board assembly, announced today that it offers
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assembly services. Using automated pressing machines, Bittele achieves reliable
and repeatable quality for all PCBs requiring press-fit components. Press-fit parts
are not assembled using standard PCB Assembly practices, such as reflow soldering
or wave soldering. Instead of soldering, press-fit parts are held in place by the
plated holes themselves. Press-fit holes have very strict tolerance requirements,
compared to standard plated holes for through-hole assembly...
Anatech Electronics (AEI) manufactures and
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and RF products. Standard RF filter and cable assembly products are published in
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when a standard cannot be found, or the requirements dictate a custom approach for
your military and commercial communications needs. Sam Benzacar's monthly newsletters
address contemporary wireless subjects. Please visit Anatech today to see how they
can help your project succeed.
Tuesday the 27th
As mentioned in the past, most things you
might want to find from the present or past can be found eventually on eBay. Such
is the case with the Webster Electric Model 205 Tape Recorder mentioned in this
Mac's Radio Service Shop episode which appeared in a1954 issue of Radio &
Television News magazine. Here, Mac McGregor schools sidekick electronics technician
Barney Jameson on the workings of a high quality tape recorder, including some of
the ingenious methods devised for test and alignment. I especially like the magnetic
tape specifically prepared for head alignment by the Toogood Recording Company of
Chicago (yes, it was a real company, named after Mr. Louis S. Toogood).
The recorded signal is 0.001 inch in wavelength and will reproduce at 7500 cycles-per-second
at 7.5 i.p.s. or 15,000 cycles at 15 i.p.s. (i.p.s. = inches per second). Tape machines
were getting very popular in the 1950s as prices came down and quality went up.
Through the 1970s, just about every issue of electronics hobby magazine...
"U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) experts
created and tested
3D-printed antennas and arrays to advance radar technology and enable new applications
for the U.S. Navy. The lightweight and rapid production of 3D-printed parts make
it an attractive alternative to traditional manufacturing that often requires expensive
materials and specialized equipment. Radar systems perform critical functions for
the Navy and remain an important part of maritime navigation and national defense.
Parts for antennas and arrays, which are multiple connected antennas working together
as one, may unexpectedly break or wear out, requiring replacement. Traditionally,
parts are ordered or intricately machined out of metal, sometimes taking weeks to
produce. 3D-printed radar parts, such as a cylindrical array, which provide 360-degree
Innovative Power Products (IPP) has over
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to visit their website and see how IPP can help you today.
"Phased arrays have been used in radar applications
for many decades. Recent trends are driving their adoption into other applications
such as Electronic Warfare (EW), satellite systems, and even 5G communications.
There are several new component technologies that are driving this migration: multiple
transmit / receive (T/R) modules on a chip, higher-performance PCB laminates,
and the acceptance of GaN as a power amplifier (PA) semiconductor process. Characterizing
a T/R module places a high demand on a test system's performance and flexibility.
The test system needs to support a variety of test modes while maintaining accuracy
and constantly improving throughput. In many cases, it must measure high output
power while at the same time delivering very low, highly accurate stimulus power.
The system must provide intermodulation measurements..."
Here is an advertisement for
Hytron Corporation that I scanned from page 83 of my copy of the June 1944
QST magazine. Hytron was a manufacturer of electron tubes. "So Many Owe
So Much To So Few," reds the title line. That is a paraphrase of Winston Churchill's
famous statement during World War II, "Never in the field of human conflict
was so much owed by so many to so few." That was in August 21, 1940, more than a
year before the U.S. entered the war. Perhaps of greater interest to RF Cafe visitors
are the next lines: "In peace, the Nation's debt to the radio amateur was great.
During hurricanes, floods, and other disasters, he sprang forward with emergency
communications. His endless hours of patient experimentations - particularly on
the high and ultrahigh frequencies - helped open up, as if by magic, whole new segments
of the radio spectrum...
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at similar frequencies and power levels.
Monday the 26th
This 1952-era promotion for Bell Telephone
Laboratories describes what is essentially an early
Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system; it's just that the
term had not been coined yet. SCADA systems uses sensors of various types to monitor
the status of critical parameters and report it back to a remote location via telephone,
cable, or radio links. It reduces or eliminates the need for personnel to be present
unless immediate human interaction is required to handle an adverse situation. Electrical
distribution stations, gas and oil lines, telephone switching installations, etc.
SCADA systems are typically monitored by computers and in most cases log events
and initiate required actions; however in some scenarios a human monitors the SCADA
information and control processes manually. Nowadays, most people probably control
their own personal SCADA systems via their smartphones or other Web connected devices.
Your remotely controlled webcams...
increase in U.S. tech salaries of 3.6% between late 2019 and late 2020 may not
sound dramatic. But compared with recent trends in tech salaries, it's a significant
jump - especially considering the complicating factor of the COVID-19 pandemic and
its attendant spike in remote work and office routine disruption. The increase is
also particularly notable after 2017, 2018, and 2019 brought annual increases of
less than a percent. This 3.6 increase - for an average total of $97,859 - is the
number job search firm Dice found when it surveyed 9,143 job seekers between 29
September and 9 December 2020. The company runs a survey annually, generally getting
around 10,000 responses..."
"The digital transformation at ARRL is under
way! A significant commitment of talent and investment is being made to develop
a dynamic and responsive digital enterprise in areas of amateur radio innovation
and member engagement. This initiative is
opportunities for experienced amateur radio enthusiasts to make ARRL the next stop
in their careers. 'ARRL is where vocation and avocation collide,' said ARRL
CEO David Minster, NA2AA. 'We are looking for people with passion, energy, drive,
and talent to take ARRL to the next level.' Opportunities are on the ARRL website
Both technical and non-technical positions are available now, with more on the horizon.
'Not only are there full-time positions available, but we will also occasionally
be posting consulting or contract opportunities, as we are now for an IT project,'
Minster said. If you have amateur radio experience and a desire to work at ARRL,
apply for one of the positions listed online..."
As with on my Airplane and Rockets
hobby website, a big part of my motivation for scanning and posting these vintage
electronics magazine articles has been two-fold. The primary purpose is to provide
access to historical documents for research and educational reasons. The second
reason is to have the names of people and places published in text format (everything
OCRed) so that someone doing a Web search for himself, a relative, or a friend,
might run across it here. I receive e-mails occasionally from readers who are thrilled
to find those names in an old article, especially when the person discovered has
passed on and it serves as a fond remembrance. Features such as this "Among
Novice Hams" - a regular column in Popular Electronics magazine of
the era - is a great place for finding them.
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Sunday the 25th
Technology Theme Crossword Puzzle for April 25th has many words and clues related
to RF, microwave, and mm-wave engineering, optics, mathematics, chemistry, physics,
and other technical subjects. As always, this crossword contains no names of politicians,
mountain ranges, exotic foods or plants, movie stars, or anything of the sort unless
it/he/she is related to this puzzle's technology theme (e.g., Reginald Denny or
the Tunguska event in Siberia). The technically inclined cruciverbalists amongst
us will appreciate the effort. Enjoy!
Friday the 23rd
Judging by some of the letters written to
magazines by their readers,
obtaining parts referenced in many construction articles proved difficult or
impossible to procure. Ziff-Davis, a major publisher in 1940 as well as today, ran
this notice in a 1940 issue of its Radio News magazine offering advice
as to how one might go about getting everything needed. Unlike nowadays where nearly
every available source worldwide can be found on the World Wide Web, back then searching
could be - and too often was - a long, slow process. Just finding a phone number
or mailing address for a potential supplier presented a major obstacle to anyone
without a collection of catalogs and magazines - or at least knowing someone who
did. Imagine needing ten non-standard parts and having to write letters to manufacturers
and/or distributors trying to located critical component...
"Researchers from the Royal Melbourne Institute
of Technology (RMIT) have introduced an ultra-thin material for semiconductors that
could lead to
transparent electronics. A molten mixture of tellurium and selenium, rolled
over a surface, results in the deposit of an atomically-thin sheet of beta-tellurite.
As a rare "p-type" semiconductor material, the beta-tellurite transports positively
charged constructs known as holes. 'This new, high-mobility p-type oxide fills a
crucial gap in the materials spectrum to enable fast, transparent circuits,' said
team leader Dr. Torben Daeneke. The RMIT team's new p-type semiconductor is ten
to one hundred times faster than existing p-type oxide semiconductors. according
to the project's team leader. 'In our advance, the missing link was finding the
right, 'positive' approach'..."
"Sam Benzacar of Anatech Electronics, an
RF and microwave filter company, has published his April 2021 newsletter that features
his short op−ed entitled "A
Wall of Interference!" The allusion is to the "wall" of antennas that typically
comprises cell tower installations. Each antenna represents a source of potential
signal interference for collocated antennas' receivers whose connected front end
low noise amplifiers must successfully reject out-of-band signals and/or the inbound
spurious mixer products generated by out-of-band signals. Sam also presents some
relevant industry news items as well..."
Electronic mail did not start out as we know
it today, whereby anyone with access to an Internet-connected device can compose
and send a typed message to a similarly equipped receiver. The first electronic
mail message was sent (and received) on November 1, 1960, between post offices in
Washington, D.C., and Chicago, Illinois. This article from Popular Electronics
magazine takes you on a step-by-step tour of how the
Speed Mail system worked, including its dedicated shortwave radio links between
participating cities. Great care was taken in an attempt to assure message confidentiality
by having the letter opened and scanned automatically inside a sealed machine on
the transmit end and then printed and placed in a sealed envelope on the receive
end. Knowing what we know now about government snooping...
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Thursday the 22nd
After having read many articles about Dr. Lee
de Forest, it seems the poor guy was besieged his entire life by envious and/or
belligerent electronic communications compatriots who sought to defame him and/or
deny him of monetary rewards. This January 1947 issue of Radio-Craft magazine
includes a dozen or so pieces written by friends and colleagues who recognized the
momentous struggles and achievements of Dr. de Forest. Such burdens of
fame are borne by many - if not all - persons of similar celebrity. Dogged persistence
is the order of the day for experimenters and breakers-through of assumedly impenetrable
walls. Guys like de Forest lived by the old adage recommending that "if at
first you don't succeed, try, try again." You'll be amazed at how de Forest whipped
- almost literally - that thing which was preventing his
wireless telephone from working. BTW, as I've pointed out before, you will find
the good doctor's last name written as "de Forest, DeForest, and De Forest."
As evidenced by his signature...
Modelithics is pleased to announce the release
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NI-780 package (eared). The Angelov-based large-signal model includes an advanced
model feature for enabling intrinsic I-V sensing and is valid for Class AB operations...
At first I thought this was a news item about
Maxwell Smart's archenemy. "A complex network of randomly interconnected logic gates
creates conditions that could thwart hackers. Not all
chaos is bad. In the case of programmable chips, chaos can be harnessed to create
a unique digital identifier. Think of it as a fingerprint—only, instead of distinctive
loops and whorls on human skin, this is about the unique physical variations present
in silicon chips. These minute differences, often at an atomic level, vary from
chip to chip, even if they are manufactured together. The physical variations can
be amplified using a technology called physically unclonable functions (PUFs) to
create a signature that is unique to a specific chip..."
Here is a little electronics hobbyist humor
in the form a comic series titled "Hobnobbing with Harbaugh," compliments of
Popular Electronics magazine. Dave Harbaugh drew many comics for technical
magazines. For the non-Ham, QSL is the Q-code for "'I confirm that I received your
transmission." You don't need to be an amateur radio operator to appreciate these
comic strips, though. Note that with it being 1963, the husband and wife are shown
sleeping in separate beds - just like in the TV shows of the era like The Dick Van
Dyke Show and I Love Lucy. BTW, the kid in the crib is spelling out -..(d) .-(a)
-..(d) -..(d) -.--(y).
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