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About RF Cafe

Kirt Blattenberger - RF Cafe Webmaster

Copyright: 1996 - 2024
    Kirt Blattenberger,


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 typing up your telephone line, and a nice lady's voice announced "You've Got Mail" when a new message arrived...

All trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other rights of ownership to images and text used on the RF Cafe website are hereby acknowledged.

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"Intelligence is a constant. The smarter your phone is the dumber you are." - Anon

Today in Science History

Tech Industry Headlines

Tech Industry Headlines - RF Cafe- Archive -

• Slow-Scan TV Event from ISS June 21-26

• The Rise of Telecom SaaS

• Atomic-Scale Tailoring of Graphene

• Nokia Selected for 5G RAN by Denmark's TTN

• Using Low-Frequency Broadband Sonar on UUVs

• GaN RF Device Market Growing at 18% CAGR

• Latest Tests on 6G Return Surprising Results

• Finnish, Japanese Alliance to Boost "6G" R&D

• Nitride Ferroelectric Semiconductors for NexGen Electronics 

Science Theme Crossword Puzzle for June 20th

Science Theme Crossword Puzzle for June 20th, 2021 - RF CafeThis Science Theme Crossword Puzzle for June 20th has many words and clues related to RF, microwave, and mm-wave engineering, optics, mathematics, chemistry, physics, and other technical subjects. Also, it contains a message for this special day (celebrated in the USA and other countries). 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!

Sawtooth Sticklers Quiz

Sawtooth Sticklers Quiz, November 1960 Radio-Electronics - RF CafeHere is an unusual twist in waveform recognition presented by Radio-Electronics' and Popular Electronics' quizmaster, Robert Balin. If you happen to be a former analog television repairman, then you will probably recognize the answers based on your many years of diagnosing faulty horizontal or vertical sweep circuits. If not, then you might need to strain the "little gray cells" a bit, as Agatha Christie's premier sleuth Hercule Poirot might say. The instructions say to assume that if you choose the horizontal sweep sawtooth to be the errant signal, then assume the vertical sweep sawtooth is correct, and vice versa. Right off the bat, waveform 8 is unique enough to easily identify the sweep that would produce it since only one has two repeating components. Most of the others can be readily deduced, too, by mentally following the x and y points as the "correct" sweep...

Ultracompact On-Chip Computational Infrared Spectrometer

Ultracompact On-Chip Computational Infrared Spectrometer - RF Cafe"An international team of researchers has developed a mid-infrared spectrometer smaller than the diameter of a human hair. With potential applications that range from detecting greenhouse gases to making self-driving vehicles safer, there has been a great deal of interest in recent years in developing compact, on-chip spectrometers. Traditional spectrometers, which measure the spectral information of light, are bulky and expensive. An on-chip spectrometer would greatly expand the applications and accessibility of the technology. Toward this goal, a team of researchers in the U.S., Israel, and Japan has developed an ultracompact mid-infrared spectrometer. The findings were recently published in Nature Photonics. The device incorporates black phosphorus (BP), a material..."

Electronics Against Cancer

Electronics Against Cancer, August 1959 Popular Electronics - RF CafeThe medical x−ray machine shown here reminds me of the "Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator" contraption Marvin the Martian wanted to use in "Hare-Way to the Stars" to disintegrate the Earth (because it blocks his view of Venus). Of course our hero Bugs Bunny thwarts his plan, whereupon Marvin asks, "Where's the kaboom?" Can you imagine being fraught with cancer and getting strapped into a chair with that huge hypodermic-needle-looking thingy pointed at you, as shown in this 1959 issue of Popular Electronics magazine? The Caduceus sword in the pic doesn't help matters, either. The trauma of such an experience might have been worse than the treatment for some people. As usual the pioneers took the arrows so that we can benefit from the treatments enjoyed today, and the equipment does not look nearly as intimidating...

Heathkit IM-5258 Harmonic Distortion Analyzer Kit for Sale

IM-5258 Harmonic Distortion Analyzer kit on eBay - RF Cafe<-- My saved search on eBay for unbuiltHeathkit IM-5258 Harmonic Distortion Analyzer Kit - RF Cafe Heathkit equipment just turned up this IM-5258 Harmonic Distortion Analyzer kit. The IM-5258 is in its original packaging. A "professional grade" THD analyzer (low as 0.03%), 5 Hz to 100 kHz w/5% full scale accuracy. Here is a YouTube video. It originally appeared in the 1970s, and in the Heathkit Christmas 1979 catalog (p65) the price was $229.95 ($852.64 in 2021 money) unbuilt and $330.00 built and tested. The auction begins at a whopping $1,648, which seems way overpriced, but if you are interested in obtaining one of these unbuilt kits, then keep a watch on it because the price could be lowered. If it does not sell, chances are it will be re-listed at a lower price. BTW, I receive no compensation for promoting this or any other items.

Post Your Engineer & Technician Job Openings on RF Cafe for Free

Engineering Job Board - RF CafeRF Cafe's raison d'être is and always has been to provide useful, quality content for engineers, technicians, engineering managers, students, and hobbyists. Part of that mission is offering to post applicable job openings. HR department employees and/or managers of hiring companies are welcome to submit opportunities for posting at no charge. 3rd party recruiters and temp agencies are not included so as to assure a high quality of listings. Please read through the easy procedure to benefit from RF Cafe's high quality visitors...

Many Thanks to Exodus Advanced Communications for Their Support

Exodus Advanced Communications - RF CafeExodus Advanced Communications is a multinational RF communication equipment and engineering service company serving both commercial and government entities and their affiliates worldwide. Power amplifiers ranging from 10 kHz to 51 GHz with various output power levels and noise figure ranges, we fully support custom designs and manufacturing requirements for both small and large volume levels. decades of combined experience in the RF field for numerous applications including military jamming, communications, radar, EMI/EMC and various commercial projects with all designing and manufacturing of our HPA, MPA, and LNA products in-house.

Research in the Fields of Phosphors

Research in the Fields of Phosphors, September 1944 Radio News - RF CafeAccording to the article in a 1944 issue of Radio News magazine, phosphors were discovered in the 17th century by an Italian physicist. However, they remained primarily a scientific curiosity until a practical use for them was found in cathode ray tubes. Phosphors efficiently convert energy of various forms (beta rays, ultraviolet rays, and others) into visible light. They are available in a wide variety of colors and exhibit a "memory" which allows them to be used for storing an image (or other information) for seconds, minutes, hours, or even days. Anyone old enough to remember the old analog storage oscilloscopes is familiar with phosphorescent memory. As with many other technologies, phosphor knowledge gained significant advances during World War II, and the public was promised virtually limitless new conveniences based on those technologies once the nasty war was out of the way...

Key Considerations for a Successful Custom RF Amplifier Design

Triad RF Systems Tech Brief: Key Considerations for a Successful Custom RF Amplifier Design - RF CafeTriad RF Systems, a leading designer and manufacturer of innovative RF/Microwave amplifiers and integrated radio systems for challenging environments, presents their newest Tech Brief entitled, "Key Considerations for a Successful Custom RF Amplifier Design." To optimize the RF amplifier section of your communications subsystem several factors must be considered before the design process even begins. What are the unique environmental conditions, the exact input DC Power and output RF Power requirements, and the ultimate size, weight, power (SWaP) objectives? Are you aware of the best tradeoffs to make? What about the compromises related to cost, design complexity, circuit stability...

Please Thank RF Superstore for Their Continued Support

RF Superstore coaxial cable, connectors, adapters - RF CafeRF Superstore launched in 2017, marking the return of Murray Pasternack, founder of Pasternack Enterprises, to the RF and microwave Industry. Pasternack fundamentally changed the way RF components were sold. Partner Jason Wright manages day-to-day operations, while working closely with Mr. Pasternack to develop RF Superstore into a world class RF and microwave component supplier. RF coaxial connectors & adapters, coaxial cable & cable assemblies, surge protectors, attenuators. Items added daily. Free shipping on orders over $25. We're leading the way again!

The Electronic Husband

The Electronic Husband, March 1955 Popular Electronics - RF CafeThis is really clever. Appearing in the March 1955 edition of Popular Electronics, "The Electronic Husband" is one wife's attempt to quantify her husband's interest in all things electronic by adapting forms of Ohm's Law to fit observed behavior. In the process of writing the parody, Mrs. Jeanne DeGood demonstrates a good basic knowledge of Mr. DeGood's second passion. I think after all the articles that Melanie has proof read for me that she probably knows a lot of these equations just as well.

Engineering & Science Mistakes

Engineering & Science Disasters, Errors, & Mistakes - RF CafeThere are plenty of trite old saying about failure and how sometimes it is necessary to fail in order to ultimately succeed. After all, people will say, Thomas Edison tried a couple thousand different alloys for his electric incandescent light bulb (now deemed by Cancel Culture warriors to be evil and a destroyer of the Earth) before finally arriving at tungsten. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. No pain, no gain. That sort of thing. Personally, I hate pain and have never felt like I had more character because of having suffered pain. First pass success is my preference on everything. If there is a parallel philosophy useful to illustrate how dumb it is to extol any virtues that failure might have, it is a quote from George Patton regarding the oft-touted nobility of dying for one's country: "Now I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. You won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country..."

New for 2020! 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...

Many Thanks to Withwave for Continued Support!

Withwave RF & Microwave Components - RF CafeWithwave manufactures an extensive line of metrology quality coaxial test cable assemblies, connectors (wave-, end-, vertical-launch, board edge, panel mount), calibration kits (SOLT), a fully automated 4-port vector network analyzer (VNA) calibrator, between- and in-series connector adaptors, attenuators, terminations, DC blocks, torque wrenches, test probes & probe positioner. Special test fixtures for calibration and multicoax cable assemblies. Frequency ranges from DC through 110 GHz. Please contact Withwave today to see how they can help your project succeed.

FM Radio - Finally Makes It

FM Radio - Finally Makes It, November 1960 Radio-Electronics - RF CafeAccording to author David Lachenbruch - and others writing on the state of commercial FM broadcasting - market pundits declared the radio medium dead in the late 1940s / early 1950s as television experienced a rapid rise in the post-war years, especially after the FCC lifted its moratorium on issuing new TV station licenses in 1952. AM radio had already ensconced itself as the news and music delivery source of choice in the majority of households, businesses, and automobiles, and there were ample transmitting stations to provide wide area coverage. Sure, static in the AM broadcast due to man-made (QRM; e.g., sparking motor brushes) and natural (QRN; e.g., lightning) noise was annoying, but being relieved of its usually temporary interference was hardly worth the investment in new radios broadcasting equipment and receivers. That belief pretty much proved true for nearly a decade, but then as the novelty of TV began to wear off and consumers...

Fully Recyclable Printed Electronics

Fully Recyclable Printed Electronics - RF Cafe"Nearly 100% of all-carbon-based transistors are reclaimed while retaining future functionality of the materials. There is an ever-growing pile of discarded electronic devices that either don't work anymore or have been cast away in favor of a newer model. Part of the problem is that electronic devices are difficult to recycle. While scraps of copper, aluminum, and steel can be recycled, the silicon chips at the heart of the devices cannot. Engineers now have developed a completely recyclable, fully functional transistor made out of three carbon-based inks that can be easily printed onto paper or other flexible, environmentally friendly surfaces. Carbon nanotubes..."

Please Visit Triad RF Systems to Thank Them for Their Support

Triad RF SystemsTriad RF Systems designs and manufactures RF power amplifiers and systems. Triad RF Systems comprises three partners (hence 'Triad') with over 40 years of accumulated knowledge of what is required to design, manufacture, market, sell and service RF/Microwave amplifiers and amplifier systems. PA, LNA, bi-directional, and frequency translating amplifiers are available, in formats including tower mount, benchtop, rack mount, and chassis mount. "We view Triad more as a technology partner than a vendor for our line-of-sight communications product line." Please check to see how they can help your project.

Electronic Alphabet Quiz

Electronic Alphabet Quiz, May 1963 Popular Electronics - RF CafeThis "Electronic Alphabet Quiz" from a 1963 issue of Popular Electronics magazine is a bit trickier than others because it requires you to think abstractly rather than concretely. Quiz-maker Robert Balin presents a series of circuits and components along with the first letters of the related topics. Your mission, should you decide to accept, is to match the item to the letter. The example provided is matching the letter "J" to a drawing of that type of half-wave antenna. I have to admit that my attempt at matching all of the items and letters was taking a lot of time, so I quit before finishing all of them; my hard head is better at concrete thinking...

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, and Baseball Caps. Choose from amazingly clever "We Are the World's Matchmakers" Smith chart design or the "Engineer's Troubleshooting Flow Chart." My "Matchmaker's" design has been ripped off by other people and used on their products, so please be sure to purchase only official RF Cafe gear. My markup is only a paltry 50¢ per item - Cafe Press gets the rest of your purchase price. These would make excellent gifts for husbands, wives, kids, significant others, and for handing out at company events or as rewards for excellent service. It's a great way to help support RF Cafe. Thanks...

Legal Pitfalls in Servicing

Legal Pitfalls in Servicing, November 1960 Radio-Electronics - RF CafeHeap many moons ago I was in the electrical service business. Prior to enlisting in the USAF as an air traffic control radar technician, I worked for electrical contractors wiring houses and buildings. After a couple years of doing that, I started with a different company where most of my tasks were doing troubleshooting and what is called "old work." Old work is trade lingo for where you install circuits in preexisting residences and buildings. In fact, if you go to Lowes or Home Depot and ask the attendant for an old work box, he will direct you to the electrical boxes that are designed to be inserted into a hole cut in a wall or ceiling to install a new receptacle, switch, light fixtures, etc. ...but I digress. For the vast majority of service calls I made, the customers were very friendly and glad to have me (or anyone able to help) there fixing what was broken or making a good situation better. Occasionally, however, the person would be a real pain in the donkey...

New Form of Silicon Could Enable Next-Gen Electronics

New Form of Silicon Could Enable Next-Gen Electronics - RF Cafe"A team led by Carnegie's Thomas Shiell and Timothy Strobel developed a new method for synthesizing a novel crystalline form of silicon with a hexagonal structure that could potentially be used to create next-generation electronic and energy devices with enhanced properties that exceed those of the 'normal' cubic form of silicon used today. Their work is published in Physical Review Letters. Silicon plays an outsized role in human life. It is the second most abundant element in the Earth's crust. When mixed with other elements, it is essential for many construction and infrastructure projects. And in pure elemental form, it is crucial enough..."

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