-- Technical Headlines --
All the News Fit to Link™
MobileOne to Boost Indoor 3G Coverage with Femtocells
Gloomy Forecast for Semi Industry
Did You Know? Someone Else Wrote Maxwell's Equations
Whirlpools on the Nanoscale Could Multiply Magnetic Memory
Universities "Not Providing Value for Money Study" (too much time spent indoctrinating w/social crapola)
Hypersonic Weapons Could Hit Battlefield by 2025
Robot Exoskeleton Suits That Could Make Us Superhuman
Couple's £163,000 Mobile Phone Bill Shock
Researchers Develop World's Smallest Metallic Nanorods
Milan Airport Installs 50,000 NFC Tags
Nanoscale Device Turns Light to Mechanical Action
CTIA 2013: Carrier Spending on Wi-Fi Set to Soar
Public Safety Experts Debate NextGen 911 in Wake of Oklahoma Tornado
For U.S. Companies, Money 'Offshore' Means Manhattan
Semiconductor Market Contracted in 2012 - IDC Expects 3-4% Growth in 2013
Fed Has Injected >$1 Trillion into Foreign Banks (not inc'l what has gone into U.S. banks - printed from thin air)
Please Thank IPP for Their
Innovative Power Products has 25 years of experience designing & manufacturing RF passive components. Our couplers, combiners, resistors, and terminations incorporate the latest technology in materials available, which equates to unrivaled product performance. We're proud that our RF resistors, terminations and 90 degree hybrid drop-in couplers are RoHS compliant
Sept. 1957 Popular Electronics
Here is a 1950s vintage electronics crossword puzzle by Arthur L. Branch. Unlike the weekly crosswords from RF Cafe that uses only relevant technical words, this one fills in with common words when necessary. It's still a good puzzle, though.
Sherlock Ohms: Case of the
Nonstandard Time Standard
The latest entry in the case journal of the renowned Sherlock Ohms is titled "What's the Time?" It is indicative of what happens when the government decides to try an experiment without letting the entities that rely on them know what is going on.
Prismark's "Electronics Industry Report 2012"
During my many years as an RF applications engineer with a well-known RFIC manufacturer, I did a lot of competitive analysis work that involved doing teardowns on products like cellphone PAs, Wi-Fi transceivers, FEMs, SAW filters, and even entire commercial products like cellphones and Bluetooth devices. In the process, I learned a lot about how to identify components with no external markings and how to check for copyright infringements. Most of the work I did myself, but occasionally outside assistance was required to do x-rays, decapping of ICs, etc. One company that we solicited to provide overall industry state of the art info was Prismark. Their reports were always excellent and full of data that is nearly impossible to obtain otherwise. Their annual reports are something you or your marketing and engineering managers would be interested in seeing. The reports are not cheap, but could pay for themselves many time over. (No, I do not receive any compensation for my endorsement)
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AWR Announces Agenda
of Activities for IMS 2013
AWR Corporation is a gold sponsor and will offer a full agenda of activities at the International Microwave Symposium (IMS) 2013 that inform and educate attendees about new ways to use RF/microwave software for circuit and system design. IMS 2013 takes place from June 4 to 7 in Seattle, Washington. In its Booth #330, AWR will showcase software demonstrations of key features in its current product release, v10, as well as a sneak-peek preview of features within its pending v11 release.
PMI Intros 26.5 to 40 GHz
High Power Limiter
Model LM-26G40G-14-20W-292MM is a high power limiter capable of withstanding an input power level of 20 Watts, 440 to 670 nsec Pulse Width, PRF 600 to 900 kHz, 40% Duty Cycle. This model operates in the 26.5 GHz to 40 GHz frequency range. The insertion loss is 4.0 dB maximum, VSWR of 2.0:1 and 250 nsec response time and a typical leakage of +14 dBm. This limiter is packaged in a small 0.50 X 0.50 X 0.22 housing and is supplied with 2.92mm male connectors.
Ham Etiquette (or lack thereof)
Often 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. Ever since a requirement to demonstrate proficiency in Morse code was removed, ostensibly, the quality of operators has plummeted (my license was earned in the sans code test era). That may be so, but I propose the problem is much deeper - it is societal. Every generation whines...
R&S SMW200A High-End
Complex Multichannel VSG
The new R&S SMW200A high-end vector signal generator from Rohde & Schwarz combines maximum flexibility, outstanding performance and intuitive operation to outperform all comparable solutions available on the market. It is the perfect tool for generating complex, digitally modulated signals of high quality. Thanks to versatile configuration options, its range of applications extends from single-path vector signal generator to multichannel MIMO receiver tester.
Please Welcome Supporter
Rohde & Schwarz
Rohde & Schwarz is one of the world's leading manufacturers of test & measurement, communications and broadcasting equipment. They have just joined with my other highly appreciated advertisers to help deliver RF Cafe content to you. Vector network analyzers (VNA), communications and spectrum analyzers, signal generators, and o-scopes (DSO), power supplies are among their offerings. Please visit them today.
When Spectrum Auctions Fail
If you have been a bit fuzzy on how spectrum auctions work (or don't work, per author Mitchell Lazarus), then this article might be worth perusing. A brief history on the pre-auction days and how the system worked then, versus the government-manipulated environment now in effect. In its ever-increasing mission to extract money from productive enterprises, the FCC has caused an enormous waste of available spectrum. Rather than creating an electromagnetic platonic utopia, it has largely mucked up the works. The same type of bureaucrats will soon be running our health care.
Acoustical Tile - A New
While acoustical tiles are not exactly the stuff of RF engineering, their properties and their effects on sound waves are analogous to RF absorbers and their effects on electromagnetic waves. Reflections that cause multipath reception of signals that contain the same information but are out of phase and unequal in amplitude to the primary (direct) path seldom combine to enhance the overall signal-to-noise ratio, so placing absorbent material in the surrounding environment is necessary to improve signal quality. This article from Popular Electronics goes through the process of outfitting an area with acoustical tiles and give some empirical test data from before and after.
Made by Monkeys:
The Messed-Up RF Generator
Made by Monkeys is a regular feature of Design News. Readers submit stories of instances of what they consider to be terrible product design. Some of the stories are good, but generally I like Sherlock Ohms and Tales from the Cube articles better because they concentrate on troubleshooting rather than complaining. This particular episode belongs in the Sherlock or Tales category rather than Monkeys. In fact, "The Messed-Up RF Generator" experience is just the opposite in nature of something made by monkeys. Read it and see what I mean.
"The world is run by 'C' students." - Anon. Bush and Clinton were both 'C' students. We have no idea what Obama's GPA was because his records are sealed, but we're assured by the media he is an absolute genius.
Google's White Spaces
There are not many technical realms where Google engineers have not either entered or created. Wireless connectivity is key to their continued dominance in the information domain, so they understandably have a vested interest in the "white space" spectrum debate. White space comprises portions of the electromagnetic spectrum where bands are either unlicensed or where licensed bands are or will be up for grabs. An example of the former is the 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi band, and an example of the latter is some parts of the broadcast television band that is being vacated in areas. Google is working with the FCC to build a real-time database of what they term "dynamic spectrum" in order to provide useful information to both users and providers. A separate database is available for fixed and mobile spectrum. Enter your location of interest and the map zooms into that region. For instance, in my town of Erie, Pennsylvania, there are 21 channels available as of January...
Are You a Startup
Looking for Funding?
This is a different kind of venture capital story. Tables are turned in this story where, rather than the company founders desperately chasing after investors with deep pockets, the investors pursue a highly successful startup. Qualtrics is a data collection and analytics company that grew from a father and son basement operation in 2002 to $48M in sales in 2012. They boast such clients as Barnes & Noble and Zappos. Ryan Smith, the son, decided in 2009 to chum the investment waters and was overwhelmed with responses (I'm not going to call the VCs sharks... not here, anyway). This short article in Inc. magazine recounts his selection process. The old adage about everyone loving a winner rings true here.
Please Support RF Cafe
Handbook of RF and Microwave Power Amplifiers, by John L. B. Walker. Whether you are an RF transistor designer, an amplifier designer or a system designer, this is your one-stop guide to RF and microwave transistor power amplifiers. A team of expert authors brings you up to speed on every topic, including: devices (Si LDMOS and VDMOS, GaAs FETs, GaN HEMTs), circuit and amplifier design (discrete, hybrid and monolithic), CAD, thermal design, reliability, and system applications / requirements for RF and microwave transistor amplifiers. Covering state-of-the-art developments and emphasizing practical communications applications, this is the complete professional reference on the subject.
Become a Patent Agent
An article on the IEEE website pitches a career as a patent research agent, which might be a particularly attractive notion in lousy engineering job environment we now experience. A law degree is not required for many positions. The average salary range for a patent agent is between $52k and $143k, with a median of almost $90k. One of the first steps in exploring the possibility is to download the United States Patent and Trademark Office's (USPTO) Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP). Once you are prepared, you pay the required fee and take the exam. I did not see anything that addresses what your chances of being hired are if you pass, or whether you would need to reside in Washington, D.C.
Quick and Easy "Lawrence"
Slide Rule Instruction Book
Slide rules were an enigma and a thing to be feared to most people even in the days when handheld digital calculators had not entered the scene. The rows of numbers generally look nothing like a simple, familiar ruler, and the sliding window thingy with the thin line sent kids and adults alike running for the tall grass for cover. As with most things not too complicated, learning to use the slide rule can be mastered with a little instruction. You don't necessarily need to understand logarithms and trigonometry functions, but it certainly helps if you also want to understand how the device works. It is the same thing as not needing to know how your Casio digital calculator works in order for it to be useful. If you do an Internet search for instructions on slide rule usage, there is no shortage of documents. This one from Lawrence I believe does a particularly good job because it is filled with examples of the most common types of mathematical operations, including powers and roots...
Every Sunday I create a crossword puzzle using a word list that I personally created and added to during over a decade of making puzzles. All of the words are related to engineering, science, mathematics, chemistry, astronomy, etc. There are no numbnut clues about movie stars or clothing designers. Enjoy.
Anatech electronics' May 2013
Newsletter Now Available
Anatech Electronics has published its May 2013 newsletter. As always, it includes both company news and some tidbits about relevant industry events, regulations, and standards. Anatech Electronics' Sam Benzacar invites you to visit them in booth #2710 at the IMS 2013 trade show in Seattle, Washington.