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Homepage Archive - February 2024 (page 1)

See Page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | of the February 2024 homepage archives.

Wednesday the 7th

Skil Power Tools

Skil Power Tools, May 1965 Popular Mechanics - RF CafeWe take a lot of conveniences for granted these days. They are so commonplace that we don't even consider that the features have not always been available. Your age, of course, plays a part in it. For instance, a Gen Z person might be shocked to learn that at the time he was born a cellphone only performed the function of a telephone. A Millennial might assume the air bags and anti-lock brakes on car she drives have been there since Henry Ford shipped his first Model T (Henry who? Model what?) and shuddered to think about not having a personal computer and dial-up Internet connection. Gen Xers figured cable TV and MTV had always been how entertainment was delivered, and that a Walkman was the transistorized version of those vacuum tube devices their parents used to carry while jogging. Baby Boomers, of which I am a member, actually used electric drills which had merely an on/off switch, with no variable speed. Having been born in 1958, I was only seven years old when Skil Power Tools came out with what is pitched in this 1965 issue of Popular Mechanics magazine as the world's first variable speed power drill. My father, who was not a big power tool guy (he had mainly a hand saw for cutting wood and metal, a brace and bit for drilling holes, a block of wood with sandpaper stapled to it for sanding, and a good set of lungs for an air compressor when something needed to be blown off. He also had one of those mechanical screwdrivers with the spiral groves in the shank.

Can You Identify This Ferristor?

Ferristor? - RF Cafe

This Ferristor was discovered by RF Cafe visitor Russell G., in the UK. His friend, a vintage American car owner, gave it to him, wondering if it was related to his 1950s vintage Buick Roadmaster. It bears the markings "Ferristor," "TLX-1," and "On <-> Off." An extensive search using multiple engines does not turn up any identification. It appears to have a red and white / blue LED, so that dates it no earlier than the 1970s - 1990s. At first glance it looks like a mini flashlight, but there's no bulb. If you know what this is, please send me an e-mail...

Faraday and Electrostatic Lines of Force

Faraday and Electrostatic Lines of Force, August 1973 Popular Electronics - RF CafeBiographies abound focusing individually on Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Isaac Newton, Alexander Graham Bell, and Henry Ford. Someone, somewhere, is right now researching and writing yet another dissertation on each of them and other well-known historical figures of science and engineering. Guys like Michael Faraday rarely have books dedicated solely to their lives and accomplishments, even though it is not unreasonable to expect that they would. Faraday, Alessandro Volta, Georg Ohm, André-Marie Ampère, Anders Celsius, Max Planck, et al, are usually included in books featuring a collection of people who have achieved notoriety in similar fields. Accordingly, most of us know little, if anything, about their upbringings or what led to their claims to fame. Here from a 1973 issue of Popular Electronics magazine is a brief insight into just those aspects of the man whose namesake is the root of units of capacitance and identifies a common type of shield (aka "cage") used to isolate devices from external electromagnetic fields...

China Testing 16 nm Chip Processors in Space

China Testing 16 nm Chip Processors in Space - RF Cafe"The chip war between China and the United States now extends beyond the Earth and into space. According to scientists directly involved in China's extraterrestrial chip program, China's Tiangong space station can now test more than 100 computer processors simultaneously. More than 20 new high-performance chips spanning the 28- to 16-nanometre process range have already passed testing. They are considerably more advanced than chips used by other countries in space. NASA has said the chips it currently uses in space are based on 30-year-old technology. For example, the RAD750 processor used in the James Webb Space Telescope, the most powerful space telescope ever that was launched in 2021, was manufactured using antiquated 250-nanometre technology and has a clock frequency of only 118 MHz - less than a fraction of that of a typical smartphone chip. The scientists said the chips tested on Tiangong were designed and manufactured entirely within China. During testing they were run on China's independently developed SpaceOS operating system, which is widely used on China's space station and other space facilities. It is expected that more domestic chip makers will soon be queuing up to put their top-tier offerings through the rigors of space testing, the team led by Liu Hongjin, of the China Academy of Space Technology, wrote in a peer-reviewed paper published in the Chinese academic journal Spacecraft Environment Engineering in December..."

Hallicrafters Ad in Popular Electronics

Hallicrafters Ad, February 1970 Popular Electronics - RF CafeHallicrafters was founded in Chicago in 1932 by William J. Halligan. He formed the company name based on a combination of Halli(gan) and (hand)crafters - clever, non? Since Hallicrafters made radio gear for commercial, amateur radio, and military applications, their advertisements appeared in most of the major electronics magazines of the time - QST, Popular Electronics, Radio & Television News, etc. It is interesting to see how product physical appearances changes over the years as user preference, materials, and technologies evolve. Knobs, dials, and toggles switches have been largely replaced by pushbuttons nowadays. This full-page ad appeared in the February, 1970 issue of Popular Electronics...

Many Thanks to ConductRF for Continued Support!

ConductRF coaxial cables & connectors - RF CafeConductRF 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! 

Promote Your Company on RF Cafe

Sponsor RF Cafe for as Little as $40 per Month - RF CafeBanner Ads are rotated in all locations on the page! RF Cafe typically receives 8,000-15,000 visits each weekday. RF Cafe is a favorite of engineers, technicians, hobbyists, and students all over the world. With more than 17,000 pages in the Google search index, RF Cafe returns in favorable positions on many types of key searches, both for text and images. Your Banner Ads are displayed on average 280,000 times per year! 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. If you need your company news to be seen, RF Cafe is the place to be...

Tuesday the 6th

Science Worldwide

Science Worldwide, May 1965 Popular Mechanics - RF CafePrior to the availability of Internet news websites, magazines were one of the primary sources for learning of recent happenings in science, engineering, mechanics, medicine, and other technical subjects. Newspapers carried stories put out by sources like the Associated Press (AP) and United Press International (UPI), but unless something world-changing happened, the reports were usually buried deep inside the pages where almost nobody saw it. Publications like Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, Science and Mechanics, etc., were one of the best sources for a wide range of subjects. Most of them dedicated a few pages each month to sections like this "Science Worldwide" collection of newsworthy items in a 1965 issue of Popular Mechanics. At that time, the island of Bermuda had finally been accurately located thanks to being able to observe the positions of Echo I and Echo II satellites in orbit against a background of fixed stars (we'll they're not really fixed, but traverse the sky in apparent position via "proper motion"). No doubt GPS positioning has more precisely located Bermuda since then. Note the "The meteorological climate" item...

Rationalizing Pi

Rationalizing Pi, Kirt's Cogitation #262 - RF CafeFor some reason I was recently contemplating pi (π). Pi has been an enigma in the realm of mathematics and physics since it was first recognized as being irrational. The fact that the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter is an inexact number has caused enormous amounts of consternation for dogged investigators of the aforementioned phenomenon. Pythagoras is believed to have first noticed the irrationality of certain numerical ratios when even something as basic as the corner-to-corner diagonal of a unit square could not be calculated to a finite precision. In some religious circles (see what I did there?) even contemplating such thoughts caused souls to be burned at the stake for daring to assert that such an imperfection could exist in a perfectly created world. Recall that Galileo was excommunicated for asserting that the earth was not the center of the universe. I kid you not. For anyone not familiar with irrational numbers, they are numbers with non-zero decimal places that do not end and do not have a repeating sequence. The "do not end" part is what bothers me about pi. Consider that we normally measure rotation in angular units of radians, and that 2π radians is defined as one full rotation. If we never had to count more than a single rotation, then stopping at something other than an inexact number is not so bothersome... although it actually is bothersome since the rotation stops exactly at some angle even if it cannot be measured in terms of pi. It doesn't asymptotically approach a exactly quarter of a turn at but never actually stops. Rotation can stop at exactly a quarter turn (exactly 90°) even if π/2 radians itself is inexact. Rotation can stop at exactly half a turn (exactly 180°) even if π radians itself is inexact. That just doesn't seem right...

Short Waves at the Hauptmann (Lindbergh) Trial

Short Waves at the Hauptmann (Lindbergh) Trial, June 1935 Short Wave Craft - RF CafeFebruary 13, 1935, was probably the first case of a major news organization incorrectly reporting a courtroom verdict because of a radio communications fail - the birth of Fake News! The Associated Press (AP) thought it was being uniquely creative - and sneaky - during "The Trial of the Century" involving the kidnapping and murder of Charles Lindberg's young son. A reporter secreted in a miniature shortwave transmitter, concealed within a leather brief case. A receiver station above the courtroom stood ready to copy the agreed upon code, based on the verdict, and send the results to its newspaper feeds. Little did they know that a competing news agency had the same idea, but used a different code. The AP operator received the New York Daily News code assuming it was from the AP mole. It immediately sent the incorrect story to hundreds of editors across the world. An account of the failed scheme appeared in the June 1935 issue of Short Wave Craft magazine...

DragonFire Laser Weapon High-Power Firing

DragonFire Laser Weapon High-Power Firing - RF Cafe"Delivered by Dstl and the DragonFire partners - MBDA, Leonardo and QinetiQ - the trial builds on the first static high-power laser firing of a sovereign UK capability and demonstration of the DragonFire system's ability to track moving air and sea targets with very high accuracy at long range. In a statement ,Chris Allam, managing director, MBDA UK, said: 'Together, the DragonFire partners and Dstl are demonstrating exceptional UK capability in laser directed energy weapons. The DragonFire system has been successfully proven to date and we are now closer than ever to having a unique weapon that will enable frontline commands to meet the rapidly changing threats they face.' The DragonFire weapon system is the result of a £100m joint investment by industry and the UK Ministry of Defence, and together the companies involved are supporting UK jobs in new pioneering technologies that are delivering a significant step-change in the UK's capability in LDEW systems..."

Understanding Decibels

Understanding Decibels, April 1974 Popular Electronics - RF CafeSince new people are constantly entering the field of electronics, there is a constant need to post articles covering some of the basics of the craft. Just as the seasoned practitioner looks to currently published magazines and books for guidance, so too do contemporary technician and engineer fledglings. Decibels have long been a cause of confusion for many - even some who have been in the field for many years. I have seen on many occasions engineers who are way smarter than me routinely mix units of dB (dimensionless) with units of dBm and dBV (power and volts, respectively) when writing. In this 1974 Popular Electronics magazine piece entitled "Understanding Decibels," author George Board does as good of a job as anyone I've read at explaining the basics...

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...

Monday the 5th

Radio Corporation of America - Solar Flares

Radio Corporation of America - Solar Flares, October 1948 Popular Science - RF CafeWhen this infomercial from Radio Corporation of America (RCA) describing the effects of sun spots and their associated solar flares appeared in a 1948 issue of Popular Science magazine, the science of coronal mass ejections (CME) had not yet been established. That began in 1971 with the first visual detection by the Orbiting Solar Observatory 7 satellite. The difference between a solar flare and a CME is basically one of magnitude. Flares are typically visually bright and send out energetic particles at near the speed of light, and reach Earth in a matter of a few minutes. A CMEs is an enormous spewing of solar mass (primarily a plasma of electrons and protons); its particles can take between half a day and many days to get here. The Carrington Event of 1859 is one of most significant CMEs documented (before anyone knew about CME). Both interact with the upper atmosphere, but a CME can generate extreme electrical and magnetic fields that interrupt RF communications and can disrupt electrical distribution grids. A common comparison is that a solar flare is like a muzzle flash whereas a coronal mass ejection is like the leaden projectile...

Engineering Level Opportunities for You

Engineering Level Opportunities for You, February 1970 Popular Electronics - RF CafeThis article from a 1970 issue of Popular Electronics magazine is a timely mate to the monthly list of career-related resources recently posted since it discusses jobs in electronics not necessarily at the degreed engineer level. Along with both diploma and certificate programs by local colleges, home study courses in electronics have been around since the early part of the last century. Cleveland Institute of Electronics began offering courses by mail in 1934, and has been running advertisements in trade and technology magazines for as long as I can remember. It was in business until 2022 - probably a victim of the COVID scamdemic. Nowadays, many home study courses - many that offer certificates - are available online...

Axiom Blog: Selecting Spectrum and Network Analyzers

Axiom Test Equipment Blog: Selecting Spectrum and Network Analyzers - RF CafeAxiom Test Equipment, an electronic test equipment rental and sales company has published a new blog post that covers the functions of Spectrum and Network analyzers to better understand which type of test equipment is better suited to support your project requirements. Instrumentation-level analyzers come in many shapes and sizes, including as signal, spectrum, and network analyzers. Knowing what each analyzer does will help find the best one for the job. Spectrum analyzers measure signal magnitude as a function of frequency. They detect known signals, such as radio waves, and unknown signals, such as interference and noise. Spectrum analyzers work with antennas for over-the-air (OTA) measurements of wireless communications signals and radar pulses. While signal and spectrum analyzers offer extensive measurement results on OTA signals, they lack the capabilities of network analyzers (NAs) for studying the effects of electronic networks on signals...

Comics with an Electronics Theme

Comics with an Electronics Theme, August 1973 Popular Electronics - RF CafeHere is another tech-themed comic from a 1973 issue of Popular Electronics magazine. There are usually two or more per edition, but not this time. It took looking a second time to figure out what the guy in the comic was referring to - pretty funny after I "got it." There is a hyperlinked list at the bottom of the page for the hundreds of comics I've posted over the years. It's a shame that comics rarely appear in contemporary technical magazines...

How to Target RFCafe.com for Your Google Ads

Google AdSense - it makes good sense - RF CafeOne aspect of advertising on the RF Cafe website I have not covered is using Google AdSense. The reason is that I never took the time to explore how - or even whether it is possible - to target a specific website for displaying your banner ads. A couple display opportunities have always been provided for Google Ads to display, but the vast majority of advertising on RF Cafe is done via private advertisers. That is, companies deal with me directly and I handle inserting their banner ads into the html page code that randomly selects and displays them. My advertising scheme is what the industry refers to as a "Tenancy Campaign," whereby a flat price per month is paid regardless of number of impressions or clicks. It is the simplest format and has seemed to work well for many companies. With nearly 4,000,000 pageviews per year for RFCafe.com, the average impression rate per banner ad is about 280,000 per year (in eight locations on each page, with >17,000 pages). That's pretty good exposure for $300 per month. Some companies have expressed an interest in being able to manage their advertising accounts themselves a la the Google AdSense program...

Thanks Again for Windfreak Technologies' 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.

Sunday the 4th

Electronics Theme Crossword for February 4

Electronics Theme Crossword Puzzle for February 4, 2024 - RF CafeThis custom RF Cafe electronics-themed crossword puzzle for February 4th contains only clues and terms associated with engineering, science, physical, astronomy, mathematics, chemistry, etc., which I have built up over more than two decades. Being the 4th day, words containing the letter "D" are marked with an asterisk (*). Many new words and company names have been added that had not even been added to the world's technical lexicon when I started in the year 2002. 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. You might, however, encounter the name of a movie star like Hedy Lamarr or a geographical location like Tunguska, Russia, for reasons which, if you don't already know, might surprise you. The technically inclined cruciverbalists amongst us will appreciate the effort. A full list of all RF Cafe crosswords is at the page bottom. Enjoy!

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, Baseball Caps, and more, all sporting my amazingly clever "RF Engineers - We Are the World's Matchmakers" Smith chart design. These would make excellent gifts for husbands, wives, kids, significant others, and for handing out at company events or as rewards for excellent service. My graphic has been ripped off by other people and used on their products, so please be sure to purchase only official RF Cafe gear. I only make a couple bucks on each sale - the rest goes to Cafe Press. It's a great way to help support RF Cafe. Thanks...

Friday the 2nd

Hams Around World Help United Nations

Hams Around World Help United Nations, October 1948 Popular Science - RF CafeWhen the United Nations (UN) was created at the end of World War II, the goal was for a consortium of countries that would band together to resolve disagreements without armed conflict both within member nations and with non-members - a noble cause. This 1948 issue of Popular Science magazine reported on amateur radio operators contributing to the effort. It did a good job for the first couple decades, then over time, as with too many such efforts, corruption crept into the ranks from top to bottom and reports began appearing of barbarous acts being committed by UN commanders and troops (yes, they were militant) in areas of Africa and the Middle East. An Internet search on UN atrocities turns up many example (some censor/block the articles), the most recent being UN staff participation in the October 7th terrorist attack on Israel. Once a supporter of the United Nations' mission, I used to collect the special postage stamps they issue, and even have First Day Covers of the original 1951 set, but stopped years ago due to not wanting to help fund their actions. The UN is nowadays one of the most anti-American organizations in the world...

Communications on a Light Beam

Communications on a Light Beam, April 1972 Popular Electronics - RF CafeSignaling with light goes back to ancient times when militaries and towns communicated with simple encryption methods. Paul Revere relied on lamp light signals (i.e., one if by land, two if by sea). Sailors use(d) signal lamps relay simple messages. Even the Warning Beacons of Gondor were a form of light beam communications (albeit 1 bit -- lit or not lit). To date, the farthest distance over which reliable (at useful data rates) terrestrial communications has been accomplished on a light beam is about 2 miles. Atmospheric contamination and Earth curvature (line-of-sight with a tiny bit of refraction assistance) are the primary limiting factors. By contrast, millions of miles have separated successful space communications, but the baud rates are typically measured in the hundreds or thousands of bytes per second. This 1972 article from Popular Electronics magazine reports on experiments being carried out with lasers. Their terabit data rate predictions are being realized today...

Rapid 3D Printing with Liquid Metal

Rapid 3D Printing with Liquid Metal - RF Cafe""MIT researchers have developed an additive manufacturing technique that can print rapidly with liquid metal, producing large-scale parts such as table legs and chair frames in a matter of minutes. Their technique, called liquid metal printing (LMP), involves depositing molten aluminum along a predefined path into a bed of tiny glass beads. The aluminum quickly hardens into a 3D structure. The researchers say LMP is at least 10 times faster than a comparable metal additive manufacturing process, and the procedure to heat and melt the metal is more efficient than some other methods. The technique does sacrifice resolution for speed and scale. While it can print components that are larger than those typically made with slower additive techniques, and at a lower cost, it cannot achieve high resolutions. For instance, parts produced with LMP would be suitable for some applications in architecture, construction, and industrial design, where components of larger structures often don't require extremely fine details. It could also be utilized effectively for rapid prototyping with recycled or scrap metal. In a recent study, the researchers demonstrated the procedure by printing aluminum frames..."

Choosing a TV Antenna

Choosing a TV Antenna, April 1973 Popular Electronics - RF CafeThere was no shortage in the 1970s of articles recommending how to choose and install the perfect television antenna. People would swear by the advice given. This piece by Mr. Harvey Swearer is a good example. Of the four manufacturers with pictured antennas - Gavin, Channel Master, Lance, and Jerrold - only Channel Master still exists today. Lance Industries made the ColorMaster TV antennas, and appears to have been out of business since around 2003. Gavin Electronics seems to be gone as well. I found an ad for the Gavin #1118 antenna (like the one in this article) in a 1973 Pennsylvania newspaper for $24.99. Interestingly (to me, anyway), the ad was run by Boscov's department store, which is the company that just moved into the former Sears, Roebuck store here in the mall in Erie, PA (they don't sell antennas anymore). Jerrold Electronics is also long gone. The above ad came from a 1974 edition of a Connecticut newspaper. RF Cafe visitor Bob D., an Iowa native, sent a note reminding that Iowa-based Winegard still manufactures old fashioned multi-element, multi-band television antennas. It began as Wells-Winegard in 1952...

RF & Electronics Symbols for Visio

RF Electronics Wireless Analog Block Diagrams Symbols Shapes for Visio - RF CafeWith more than 1000 custom-built symbols, this has got to be the most comprehensive set of Visio Symbols available for RF, analog, and digital system and schematic drawings! Every object has been built to fit proportionally on the provided A-, B- and C-size drawing page templates (or can use your own). Symbols are provided for equipment racks and test equipment, system block diagrams, conceptual drawings, and schematics. Unlike previous versions, these are NOT Stencils, but instead are all contained on tabbed pages within a single Visio document. That puts everything in front of you in its full glory. Just copy and paste what you need on your drawing. The file format is XML so everything plays nicely with Visio 2013 and later...

Thursday the 1st

Hydraulic Ram Forces Water to Pump Itself

Hydraulic Ram Forces Water to Pump Itself, October 1948 Popular Science - RF CafeLast summer while at a community feast I was talking to a guy who recently moved from California - tired of the craziness there. He could be from the cast of Duck Dynasty, and has a strong independent spirit. He described a water pumping system he was considering installing which was self-powered and could lift the water from his pond up to a storage tank about 10 feet off the ground. There is no electrical power for running a pump near the pond. His herd of a couple dozen cows and a handful of sheep and pigs would be the beneficiaries. In my ignorance, I was thinking, dude, how do you expect water to pump itself up to a higher level; that violates conservation of energy. Fortunately, I kept my thoughts to myself. After reading this "Hydraulic Ram Forces Water to Pump Itself" article in a 1948 issue of Popular Science magazine, I realized it is exactly what he was describing! Commercially made hydraulic ram pumps are available for <$100, or you can easily build you own using instructions and videos on the Web. The downside is there is a lot of spilt water in the process. Also, the effectiveness of the pump depends on how far below the source level the pump is situated...

Teledyne e2v HiRel Rad-Tol UHF-S-Band Ultra LNA

Teledyne e2v HiRel Releases Single-Supply, Radiation-Tolerant, UHF to S-Band (0.3 GHz to 3 GHz), Ultra-Low Noise Amplifier for Space Applications - RF Cafe"Teledyne e2v HiRel announces the availability of a rad-tolerant UHF to S-band low noise amplifier, model TDLNA0430SEP that is ideal for use in demanding high reliability space applications where low noise figure, minimal power consumption and small package footprint are critical to mission success. This new LNA is developed on a 90 nm enhancement-mode pseudomorphic High Electron Mobility Transistor (pHEMT) process. It is available in an 8-pin dual-flat no-lead (DFN) 2 mm x 2 mm x 0.75 mm plastic surface mount package and is qualified per Teledyne's Space enhanced plastic flow. It is now available for immediate shipment from our DoD Trusted Facility. The TDLNA0430SEP LNA leverages monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) design techniques that deliver exceptional performance for UHF to S-band communication channels. The amplifier delivers a gain of 21.5 dB from 0.3 GHz to 3 GHz while maintaining a noise figure of less than 0.35 dB and an output power (P1dB) of 18.5 dBm..."

How to Make Custom Meters from Salvaged Parts

How to Make Custom Meters from Salvaged Parts, April 1974 Popular Electronics - RF CafeA major transition in the realm of test equipment readouts from analog to digital was occurring during the 1970s. Prior to then, what few digital displays existed used Nixie tubes, but the emergence of inexpensive LEDs, combined with equally inexpensive digital logic ICs, made the change an easy decision. D'Arsonval meter movements are prone to damage when even slightly overdriven or subject to physical impact. Analog meter movements still have their place in a few applications (like when a quick at-a-glance, pert-near reading is good enough, particularly with slow, continuous level changes), but the precision and repeatability of digital circuitry, plus lack of subjective interpretation of a pointer's position makes it the option of choice most of the time. This 1974 Popular Electronics magazine "How to Make Custom Meters from Salvaged Parts" article might have been in a WWII era script from when new electronics parts were hard to find since everything was going toward the war effort. Unbeknownst...

Flying Kites Deliver Container-Size Power Generation

Flying Kites Deliver Container-Size Power Generation - RF CafeAnother great concept, but impractical from a cost ($½ million) and implementation standpoint (see specs). Showing the EV as if for charging is buffoonish. "On average, a humble wind turbine uses less land area per megawatt-hour than almost any other power source. Even so, a wind turbine and its tower can sometimes be too cumbersome. The still-nascent field of airborne wind energy (AWE) has a solution: Swap out the turbine for a kite on a string. Not only is a kite nimbler than a turbine, it can deliver a more constant energy supply. The steady, intense winds some 500 meters above sea level are capable of generating 1,800 terawatts: enough to power the entire planet multiple times over. Even an entire flock of Kitepower's Hawks will only tap the lightest touch of that potential power. One entrant trying to put AWE to market is the appropriately named Kitepower. This year, the Netherlands-based company will begin shipping its first system: the 40-kilowatt Hawk. Far from replacing traditional turbines, Kitepower hopes the Hawk can power sites that might turn to polluting diesel generators: temporary microgrids..."

Electronics-Themed Comics

Electronics-Themed Comics, April 1947 Radio News - RF CafeWhat better way is there to begin another week of long hours, marginally useful meetings, unpredictable customers, nagging design and/or production issues, and, hopefully, even a success or two, than to see a couple electronics-themed comics from a mid-last-century magazine? These appeared in 1947 edition of Radio & Television News. Seeing a comic panel in any modern technical magazine these days is rare, if for no other reason than a fear amongst publishers (and their lawyers) that somebody, somewhere might be offended. BTW, these comics make good fodder for the front page of your technical presentations - a good way to soften the edge going into a meeting, especially if you are not good at delivering jokes. Once again, I took the liberty of colorizing them...

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, Baseball Caps, and more, all sporting my amazingly clever "RF Engineers - We Are the World's Matchmakers" Smith chart design. These would make excellent gifts for husbands, wives, kids, significant others, and for handing out at company events or as rewards for excellent service. My graphic has been ripped off by other people and used on their products, so please be sure to purchase only official RF Cafe gear. I only make a couple bucks on each sale - the rest goes to Cafe Press. It's a great way to help support RF Cafe. Thanks...

 

 

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Amplifier Solutions Corporation (ASC) - RF Cafe
Rigol DHO1000 Oscilloscope - RF Cafe

Temwell Filters

Windfreak Technologies Frequency Synthesizers - RF Cafe