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"I was walking home one night and a guy hammering on a roof called me a paranoid little weirdo. In Morse code." - Emo Philips

Today in History

Electronic Applications of the Smith Chart

Electronic Applications of the Smith Chart - RF CafeOne of the few aspects of electronics that has not changed since the early days of the craft is impedance matching and, in particular, use of the Smith Chart. Many an engineer, technician, and hobbyist has been intimidated by the chart's appearance; however, after using the Smith Chart a few times for impedance and/or admittance matching, quickly develops the knack of applying it. If you have an affinity for mathematics and are comfortable with complex numbers, all the arcs and circles makes perfect sense once the simple equations governing its construction are presented. As with so many other things, you wonder how anyone ever thought to do such a thing, and at the same time wonder why it took so long for someone to think of it. Gary Steinhour (KF6U), who recently

Electronics-Themed Comics

Electronics-Themed Comics, October 1963 Electronics World - RF CafeIt's always hard getting back into the swing of the workaday routine after a long holiday weekend. Now that you've finished trading stories with workmates about what you did - or did not - do, take one last moment to lift your spirits by looking at these electronics-themed comics from vintage issues of Electronics World magazine. I particularly like the step switches. BTW, these comics make good fodder for opening your technical presentations

Notable Tech Quote

James Michener Interview Photo ( photo) - RF Cafe"A scientist studies what is, an engineer studies what never was." - James A. Michener, historical fiction author.


Is Amateur Radio Still a Gateway to EE?

Is Amateur Radio Still a Gateway to Electrical Engineering? (Dan Romanchik) - RF CafeMany thanks to author and amateur radio operator Dan Romanchik (KB6NU) who sent this article for posting here on RF Cafe. A lot of electrical engineers and hobbyists are familiar with Mr. Romanchik from his stint as Senior Technical Editor for Test&Measurement World magazine (now part of EDN), and by his popular books on preparing for taking and passing Amateur Radio exams- including the newly released "No-Nonsense General Class License Study Guide." Contained within are Dan's observations regarding how Amateur Radio seems to be making a comeback in many realms including colleges, the popularity of radio displays in museums, and a rising number of 'hackers/makers' who are exploring the

U.S.A. Calling

U.S.A. Calling, January 1942 QST - RF CafeToday is Memorial Day in America. When America was drawn into World War II after the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the country snapped into action and our citizens were ready, willing, and able to help. One big immediate need was knowledgeable electronics technicians and engineers, particularly people with experience in radio communications. Amateur radio operators were the natural reserve source for just that need. The FCC shut down Ham radio transmissions in January 1942 ostensibly for security reasons, but some suspect the reason was at least partly to motivate Hams to enter the armed services or work at government research laboratories. Still feeling

RF Cable Assembly Designer by Pasternack

RF Cable Assembly Designer Unveiled by Pasternack - RF CafePasternack Enterprises has just released their newest engineering resource called the Cable Assembly Designer which allows the user to design and customize RF cable assemblies with an easy-to-use online web application at Pasternack’s new custom cable designer enables engineers and buyers to create customized RF cable assemblies that meet their specifications from any combination of compatible connectors and cables offered by the company. Over 250,000 possible combinations

Sound Broadcasting from Airplanes

Sound Broadcasting from Airplanes, September 1947 Radio News - RF CafeUntil maybe 20 to 30 years ago, there was still a certain amount of awe associated with new applications of technology. It seems anymore people are so accustomed to new and amazing things - usually at affordable prices - that the wonder is gone. Advancements are expected. The world is moving so fast that it is difficult to absorb and fully appreciate all the work being done. In 1947, both airplanes and electronics were still relatively new to a lot of people, especially in more rural areas, so a whiz-bang scheme like broadcasting messages from an airplane was

MECA Announces RF Parts On Demand (RFPOD)

MECA Announces RF Parts On Demand (RFPOD)MECA Electronics announces our expedited online service center, the source for RF Parts on Demand (RFPOD) when you need them. RFPOD offers an expedited online service that process your order and has it available for pick up at will call or shipment within 2 hours from order placement to pick up time! Will Call pick up hours are 9:00 AM to 5 PM (ET) - earlier hours are available by calling customer service in advance at (973) 625-0661. Let us help solve your component problem, we are here when you need us, orders are accepted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and shipments are made same or next business day

Money in Radio Gadgets

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

Nokomis Needs Engineers & Scientists

Nokomis Is Seeking Outstanding PhD and MS Level Electrical Engineers, Physicists and Computer Scientists - RF CafeThis is a good week for engineer job openings. Nokomis is seeking outstanding PhD and MS level electrical engineers, physicists and computer scientists position will support design and enhancement of next-generation RF/microwave devices. 3-10 years' experience is required depending on the position. Military background is a plus. Experience should include RF/microwave design and/or measurement with a focus on RF sensor systems and signal analysis. Experience with receivers, transmitters, and transceivers is a plus. Test and measurement experience as well as filter design

Tech Headline News

Researchers Create 1st Single-Molecule Diode

China Set to Launch Several Amateur Radio Satellites This Summer

Internet Used by 3.2B People in 2015

Rohde & Schwarz Oscilloscope Competition

Spin Currents Endure at Room Temperature in Germanium

High-Power Laser Weapon Advances to Field Testing

In Busy Silicon Valley, Protein Powder Is in Demand

Denmark Radio Station Kills Rabbit on Air

Mobile Call Quality Gets a Long-Overdue Upgrade

Biodegradable Computer Chips Made from Wood

Google & 15 Companies Trying to Kill Passwords

Do Atoms Going Through a Double Slit 'Know' If They Are Being Observed?

- More Headlines -

Acoustics Anagram

Acoustics Anagram, October 1961 Electronics World - RF CafeIsn't an anagram a word game where letters of one word are rearranged to spell another word or series of words? For instance, an anagram for 'microwave' is 'warm voice,' one for ''resistance" is "ancestries," and for "vector" is "covert." If so, then this puzzle is misnamed; it is really a crossword puzzle. Maybe back in 1961 the word anagram included this type of puzzle. Regardless of the naming error, I did learn a new word: "inertance," which means "the effect of inertia in an acoustic system, an impeding of the transmission of sound through

R&S Phase Noise Analyzer and VCO Tester

Rohde & Schwarz Presents the Ultrasensitive R&S FSWP Phase Noise Analyzer and VCO Tester - RF CafeThe new phase noise analyzer and VCO tester from Rohde & Schwarz enables ultrasensitive and ultra-fast phase noise measurements. The R&S FSWP also allows users to very easily measure pulsed sources and residual phase noise of RF components. Plus the instrument can be upgraded to a signal and spectrum analyzer. With the new R&S FSWP phase noise tester, users can measure the spectral purity of signal sources such as generators, synthesizers and VCOs more quickly than with any

NuWaves Needs RF Engineers

NuWaves Engineering Seeks an Engineering Manager - RF CafeNuWaves Engineering, a premier supplier of RF systems, RF products, and engineering design services, is actively seeking talented and highly motivated RF Design Engineers with 4 plus years of experience in RF system and/or circuit design to support engineering development. NuWaves is a fast growing RF Design Engineering firm located in Middletown Ohio – North of Cincinnati and South of Dayton. Individuals must have knowledge of RF systems and circuit design. Experience with PLLs, LNAs, PAs, demodulators, modulators and other communication circuitry is essential 

Lake Chevrolet Business Card in 1934 Radio-Craft

Lake Chevrolet Business Card Found in 1934 Radio-Craft - RF CafeWhilst perusing the June 1934 edition of Radio-Craft magazine, I found betwixt the pages this business card from the Lake Chevrolet Company, of Devils Lake, North Dakota. As you can tell by the old panel truck on it, the year it was printed was probably sometime around 1934. While this business card does not have the value of a 1900s era blue chip stock certificate I keep hoping to find, it does have historic and nostalgic value - at least to me as an appreciator of the people and institutions that built America. The handwriting on the back of the card says, "Delivery 577. Cab box chassey[sic]," and "Let me know at least 3 weeks ahead." Although you cannot tell

NuWaves Seeking an Engineering Manager

NuWaves Engineering Seeks an Engineering Manager - RF CafeNuWaves Engineering, a premier supplier of RF systems, RF products, and engineering design services, is actively seeking talented and highly motivated Engineering Manager. Reporting to the CTO, the Engineering Manager directs the implementation of various strategic and tactical operations by performing the following duties either personally or through direct reports. Essential functions include: • Write and present proposals, reports and related findings • Participate in development and deployment of NuWaves' mission and business strategies • Perform RF Design • Responsible for leading and supervising design engineers as they

NuWaves Wins SBIR Phase II Contract for C-Band PA

NuWaves Wins NASA SBIR Phase II Contract for C-Band PA Development and Prototyping - RF CafeNuWaves Engineering, an international RF and microwave solutions provider, announced today that the company has been awarded a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to develop and prototype a miniature linear and high-efficiency C-band power amplifier to provide communication range extension for a variety of NASA missions and applications, including Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) integration into the National Airspace System (NAS). Under the terms of the contract, NuWaves will,

A Passive RF Limiter

A Passive RF Limiter, December 1966 QST Article - RF CafeThis passive RF 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

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Kirt Blattenberger