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Homepage Archive - March 2022 (page 5)

See Page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 of the March 2022 homepage archives.

Thursday the 31st

Space Electronics

Space Electronics, November 1959 Radio-Electronics - RF CafeRadio-Electronics magazine editor (and engineer, inventor, fiction, and non-fiction writer) Hugo Gernsback made an interesting point in his November 1959 editorial where he points out that it was not until man "discovered" electromagnetic radiation during laboratory experiments that it was learned the universe was already teeming with it. Once radio listeners began hearing unintentional sounds in the broadcasts and investigated the sources. It turned out that both manmade and natural electromagnetic energy (QRM and QRN, respectively) was everywhere. Well "shazam," or "surprise, surprise, surprise," as Gomer might say. Everything from car alternators to vacuum cleaners to the sun to the cosmos was (is) emitting some sort of electromagnetic signals - from just above DC to way beyond light frequencies. Note that Mr. Gernsback alludes to a Unified Field Theory incorporating gravity would surely soon be formulated; however, even in 2022 no such solution is available...

Microsoft Announces New Type of Qubit

Microsoft Announces New Type of Qubit - RF Cafe"Topological qubits don't exist yet, but the company is convinced they'll scale. So far, two primary quantum computing technologies have been commercialized. One type of hardware, called a transmon, involves superconducting wire loops linked to a resonator; it is used by companies like Google, IBM, and Rigetti. Companies like Quantinuum and IonQ have instead used individual ions held in light traps. At the moment, both technologies are in an awkward place. They've clearly been demonstrated to work, but they need some significant scaling and quality improvements before they can perform useful computations. It may be a bit surprising to see that Microsoft is committed to an alternative technology called "topological qubits." This technology is far enough behind other options that the company just announced it has worked out the physics to make a qubit. To understand Microsoft's approach better..."

Ham Etiquette (or lack thereof)

Ham Etiquette (or lack thereof) - RF Cafe SmorgasbordOften in the letters to the editor section of ARRL's QST magazine there are lamentations about an overwhelming lack of technical knowledge and/or proper etiquette and manners amongst fellow Hams. One contributor commented, "Today, it's hard to distinguish a radio amateur from a CB operator." DX operation (long distance) seems to be the most affected aspect, although the problem is fairly widespread. Most writers blame the problem on the ease with which a license may be obtained these days. They say ever since a requirement to demonstrate proficiency in Morse code was removed, the quality of operators has plummeted (my license was earned in the sans code test era, so that makes me one of the lesser beings). That may be so, but I propose the problem is much deeper - it is societal. Every generation whines about how crass and disrespectful the younger generation is, so I suspect that has a lot to do with the letter writers' observations. Beginning in the 1960s kids were taught to "question authority," and to "turn on, tune in, drop out." Disrespect your parents, teachers, and law enforcement...

ARRL Website Still Down for Maintenance

ARRL Website Down for Maintenance - RF CafeIf you have visited the ARRL website since last Friday (3/25), it has been down for maintenance and was supposed to be back up by now, but the page shown in this thumbnail image is still being presented. It says in part: "ARRL Update [Tuesday 3/29/2022 @ 2100 UTC]. The ARRL website is offline as we continue to complete a conversion to a new membership management system. Once the integration is completed, the website will have a new home page to support the new membership system ... While we're working, you can still email us (members@arrl.org) with your questions or visit our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ARRL.org) to read the latest ham radio news. Many of our services will not be affected, you can still access and enjoy the following during this time." BTW, if you want to view content prior to the upgrade process, try the Archive.org website.

Zenith Farm Model 6V 27 Radio Service Data Sheet

Zenith Farm Model 6V 27, 6-Tube Superhet. Receiver Radio Service Data Sheet, April 1936 Radio-Craft - RF CafeThis Radio Service Data Sheet covers the Zenith Farm Model 6V 27, 6-tube superheterodyne receiver. It was published in a 1936 issue of Radio−Craft magazine. Of particular interest here is an included wind-powered electricity generator meant to supply power in a rural location that was not yet serviced by electrical utility lines. The Rural Electrification Act had been signed into law a year earlier, but many years would pass before a majority of remote farms received power lines. Most - if not all - electronics servicemen had subscriptions to these magazines because they were a ready source of not just these service sheets, but because of the extensive articles offering advice on servicing radios and televisions. In fact, many electronics manufacturers had a policy of supplying service data only to bona fide shops. A large list is included at the bottom of the page of similar documents from vintage receiver schematics...

Promote Your Company on RF Cafe for as Little as $40/Month

Sponsor RF Cafe for as Little as $40 per Month - RF CafeNew Scheme rotates all Banners in all locations on the page! RF Cafe typically receives 8,000-15,000 website visits each weekday. RF Cafe is a favorite of engineers, technicians, hobbyists, and students all over the world. With more than 12,000 pages in the Google search index, RF Cafe returns in favorable positions on many types of key searches, both for text and images. New content is added on a daily basis, which keeps the major search engines interested enough to spider it multiple times each day. Items added on the homepage often can be found in a Google search within a few hours of being posted. I also re-broadcast homepage items on LinkedIn. If you need your company news to be seen, RF Cafe is the place to be.

Please Thank IPP for Their Long-Time Support!

Innovative Power ProductsInnovative Power Products (IPP) has over 35 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. Products listed on website link to detailed mechanical drawings that contain electrical specifications as well as performance data. Please take a couple minutes to visit their website and see how IPP can help you today. 

Wednesday the 30th

Electronics-Themed Comics

Electronics-Themed Comics, January 1954 Radio-Electronics - RF CafeMy favorite of this collection of vintage electronics-themed comics is the one from page 186. Watching someone involuntarily jump from being pranked is great fun, and I'll admit to being easily spooked by such actions. Stop me if I've told this story before, but back in my electrician days in the 1970s (before enlisting in the USAF) we were always trying to make each other jump from thinking something happened to cause a spark or some sort of electrical noise. If you've ever heard the sound a screwdriver makes when accidently bridging the main service bus and ground of a circuit breaker panel, then you know it's not always the loud "buzz" you hear when a small arc is occurring. It sounds like a hammer slammed against the wall (trust me, I know). One of the things we liked to do, especially to new guy, was while he was installing a switch or receptacle into a wall box was to go on the other side of the wall and bang on it with a hand or pair of lineman's pliers (in a manner that wouldn't harm the wall, of course). The poor sap often would yell and fall backwards...

Polyrod Dielectric Waveguide Antenna Replaces Phased Array

Polyrod Dielectric Waveguide Antenna Replaces Phased Array - RF CafeThe latest edition of Microwave Journal features articles on breakthrough antenna technology. One by ED2 entitled "A Disruptive Approach to mmWave for Wireless Telecom Applications" was particularly interesting, IMO. It describes a type of polyrod dielectric waveguide antenna which, being fed by orthogonal signals, can emit waves of various polarizations, over a wide bandwidth, and can be steered individually in a manner that would otherwise require a multielement ED2 “Barrel Cactus” Antenna - RF Cafephased array. It is an interesting read as the writer describes the trial and error path to success for a cost-effective antenna. Whilst exploring the ED2 website I ran across this "Barrel Cactus" antenna - very fitting for a company based in Arizona!

An Introduction to Television

An Introduction to Television, January 1945 Radio News - RF Cafe"We are standing on the threshold of the Age of Television!" "Television will enliven and broaden your life more than you can now appreciate. It will become part of your daily life just as radio is today." "The best evidence that the public thinks well of television is the universal response that comes from those who have a chance to see it." "Broadcast television which will add a new dimension to home entertainment and will provide one of the most powerful mass advertising media ever developed." So proclaimed spokesmen for Dumont, Farnsworth, Philco, and General Electric, respectively, per this 1945 issue of Radio News magazine 1945. GE clearly had its future pegged on the real revenue potential of any mass media: advertising dollars. I wrote recently of the near doubling of time allocated to each broadcast hour for commercials today compared to the in the 1960s. Companies reportedly paid $7 million for a 30-second spot for Super Bowl LVI this year...

70 Technology Trends That Will - and Will Not - Shape 2022 - RF CafeABI Research recently published a white paper entitled "70 Technology Trends That Will - and Will Not - Shape 2022." Per its opening statement:

"The year 2021 was a tumultuous one full of challenges. It is clear that 2022 will continue along that vein and perhaps see some of the trends of 2021 become further exacerbated. The ABI Research team of analysts has taken a position on some of the most telling trends that they expect to happen in 2022 and those that they don’t expect to materialize, despite the hype, column inches, and mass media focus ... Supply chain issues look set to continue, 5G will continue to struggle in the enterprise sector and won’t be seen on the production line, UWB will start to bring precise location to the fore, and the Chinese vendor community will retain its stranglehold on the IoT module market. These are among the 35 predictions of what will happen and 35 predictions of what will not happen..." The link provided above should go to the PDF file w/o needing to register. If not, try here.

An Inside Story About Metal Tubes

An Inside Story About Metal Tubes, October 1935 Radio-Craft - RF CafeThe advent of metal-encapsulated vacuum tubes was supposed to be the death knell for traditional glass tubes. This 1935 article from Radio−Craft spelled out the many virtues of "metal" tube and how in short order their superiority would obviate the need - even desire - for "glass" tubes. I'll let you read the article for the details, but want to make note of an evidently archaic term used that could potentially be really popular in today's manufacturing world if duly resurrected - "quantiquality" (aka "quanti-quality" or "quanti quality"). The connotation is a process of high quantity in conjunction with high quality. The only references I could easily find to quantiquality was from late-19th-century newspaper archives. If sometime within the next few years you start seeing some form of quantiquality appear in marketing copy and scholarly papers, remember that you heard it here first...

RF & Electronics Symbols for Office™

RF & Electronics Schematic & Block Diagram Symbols for Office™ r2 - RF CafeIt was a lot of work, but I finally finished a version of the "RF & Electronics Schematic & Block Diagram Symbols" that works well with Microsoft Office™ programs Word™, Excel™, and Power Point™. This is an equivalent of the extensive set of amplifier, mixer, filter, switch, connector, waveguide, digital, analog, antenna, and other commonly used symbols for system block diagrams and schematics created for Visio™. Each of the 1,000 or so symbols was exported individually from Visio in the EMF file format, then imported into Word on a Drawing Canvas. The EMF format allows an image to be scaled up or down without becoming pixelated, so all the shapes can be resized in a document and still look good. The imported symbols can also be UnGrouped into their original constituent parts for editing. Check them out!

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.

Tuesday the 29th

American Phenolic Corporation (aka Amphenol)

American Phenolic Corporation (aka Amphenol), October 1946 Radio News Article - RF CafeI'm not too proud or vain to admit that until I saw this advertisement in a 1946 issue of Radio News magazine, I did not know (or don't remember knowing) that "Amphenol" is a compact form of the American Phenolic Corporation. Phenol formaldehyde is the technical name for phenolic. Bakelite, the trade name for polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride, is probably the most familiar form of phenolic since it was used in many types of electronics for both enclosures and internal component boards and the components mounted on them, connectors, and more. Modern plastics, fiberglass, and resin compounds have replaced most or all phenolic components. This particular promotion is specifically directed toward amateur radio operators (aka Hams), who composed a fairly large fraction of the magazine's audience. BTW, Amphenol is one of the diminishingly small number of American companies still around going by their original name. Even more rare is that it appears to still be a U.S.-based concern...

Tiny Battery-Free Devices float in Wind Like Dandelion Seeds

Tiny Battery-Free Devices float in Wind Like Dandelion Seeds - RF Cafe"Wireless sensors can monitor how temperature, humidity or other environmental conditions vary across large swaths of land, such as farms or forests. These tools could provide unique insights for a variety of applications, including digital agriculture and monitoring climate change. One problem, however, is that it is currently time-consuming and expensive to physically place hundreds of sensors across a large area. Inspired by how dandelions use the wind to distribute their seeds, a University of Washington team has developed a tiny sensor-carrying device that can be blown by the wind as it tumbles toward the ground. This system is about 30 times as heavy as a 1 milligram dandelion seed but can still travel up to 100 meters in a moderate breeze, about the length of a football field, from where it was released by a drone. Once on the ground, the device, which can hold at least four sensors, uses solar panels to power its onboard electronics and can share sensor data up to 60 meters away..."

A Crystal Receiver with Transistor Amplifier

A Crystal Receiver with Transistor Amplifier, January 1950 Radio & Television News Article - RF CafeConsidering that not much more than a year before this article was written in 1950 for Radio & Television News magazine that the transistor had been invented, it is impressive that already Raytheon was producing a commercially available CK703 "crystal triode." That nomenclature was a natural extension of the preceding crystal diode already being widely adapted in circuit design. If you have wondered how the transistor schematic symbol came to be as it is, you will learn why here where the emitter and collector symbols actually both have arrows on the ends that contact the base, indicating the "point contact" physical arrangement of the semiconductor junctions. Shortly thereafter the arrow on the collector port was eliminated, primarily, I suppose to avoid confusion when the E, B, and C labels are not present...

Rohde & Schwarz Webinar: Off to New Shores

Rohde & Schwarz Webinar: Off to New Shores - RF CafeRohde & Schwarz hereby cordially invites you to their next webinar, "Off to New Shores: Requirements of Modern HF Wideband BLOS Communications for Shore Stations." This webinar follows on from the last one, "HF in a nutshell," from January 2022. In this session we will reveal the secret that we have already hinted at the end. The new webinar highlights the requirements of high-performance HF wideband technology for modern BLOS communication. Rohde & Schwarz experts will focus on shore stations and consider their typically exposed location on the coast and in the mountains. They will explain, how the innovative technology from Rohde & Schwarz in the new HF high-power transmitter ensures reliable and robust BLOS communications with maximum availability and minimum total cost of ownership (TCO). This overcomes the challenges of the currently deployed generation of high-power transmitters...

The Mechanics of Modulation

The Mechanics of Modulation, October 1931 QST - RF CafePaul Huntsinger wrote a nice introductory article on amplitude modulation (AM) in a 1931 edition of the ARRL's QST magazine. At the time, frequency modulation (FM) was still a laboratory curiosity, and many "experts" believed that FM would not provide any advantage over AM broadcasting. You might be tempted to think that sources of electrical noise that would interfere with AM were less at the time, thus negating the need for noise-immune FM, but the fact is by 1931 there was a lot of static caused by brushed motors, lousy automobile ignition systems, and arcing transmission lines, along with natural sources like lightning. Figures 6, 7, and 8 were missing in the original article, but fortunately I was able to get them from the next month's issue of QST...

RF & Electronics Stencils for Visio

RF & Electronics stencils for Visio r4 - RF CafeWith more than 1000 custom-built stencils, this has got to be the most comprehensive set of Visio Stencils available for RF, analog, and digital system and schematic drawings! Every stencil symbol has been built to fit proportionally on the included A-, B-, and C-size drawing page templates (or use your own page if preferred). Components are provided for system block diagrams, conceptual drawings, schematics, test equipment, racks (EIA 19", ETSI 21"), and more. Test equipment and racks are built at a 1:1 scale so that measurements can be made directly using Visio built-in dimensioning objects. Page templates are provided with a preset scale (changeable) for a good presentation that can incorporate all provided symbols...

Thanks Again to Windfreak Tech for Continued Support!

Windfreak TechnologiesWindfreak Technologies designs, manufactures, tests and sells high value USB powered and controlled radio frequency products such as RF signal generators, RF synthesizers, RF power detectors, mixers, up / downconverters. Since the conception of WFT, we have introduced products that have been purchased by a wide range of customers, from hobbyists to education facilities to government agencies. Worldwide customers include Europe, Australia, and Asia. Please contact Windfreak today to learn how they might help you with your current 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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