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Today in Science History

Clean Layout Technique

Clean Layout Technique, August 1965 Popular Electronics - RF CafeUsually an article about clean layout techniques would be about printed circuit board layout; however, this one refers to chassis layout. Having built many electronics chassis in my days as an electronics technician (prior to earning an engineering degree), I have a great appreciation for a professional-looking job. In fact, I chose to build most of my own prototypes as a design engineer as well. Some of the work done by hobbyists that appear in magazines like QST, Nuts & Volts, and the older titles like Poplar Electronics looks pretty darn nice, sometimes like a commercial product - both for kits and homebrews. There are still a lot of people out there who design and build their own equipment. It's a short article, but worth a quick look...

Phase Noise Analysis Tool - Free

Phase Noise Analysis Tool (Shawn Logan, MWJ) - RF CafeThis "A Phase Noise Analysis Tool for Sparse Numerical Phase Noise Data," article by Shawn Logan, appears in the July 2024 issue of Microwave Journal magazine. He offers the free software tool described therein. He begins: "This article describes a phase noise analysis tool that creates a numerical model from discrete phase noise data. The tool includes an adaptive algorithm to identify spurious deterministic components in the data. It also creates a physics-based numerical model for the random noise component. Despite its apparent simplicity, analyzing the temporal and Fourier characteristics of an oscillator from its phase noise characteristic presents challenges to designers and those wishing to specify an oscillator for an application..."

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...

Anatech Intros 3 New Ceramic Bandpass Models

Anatech Electronics Intros 3 New Filter Models for July 17, 2024 - RF CafeAnatech Electronics offers the industry's largest portfolio of high-performance standard and customized RF and microwave filters and filter-related products for military, commercial, aerospace and defense, and industrial applications up to 40 GHz. Three new ceramic bandpass filters have been announced for July 2024 - a 793 MHz bandpass with a 5 MHz bandwidth, an 806 MHz bandpass with a bandwidth of 30 MHz, and an 847 MHz bandpass with a bandwidth of 30 MHz. All have an insertion loss of no more than 4 dB. Custom RF power filter and directional couplers designs can be designed and produced with required connector types when a standard cannot be found...

Short-Cuts in Radio

Short-Cuts in Radio, June 1936 Radio-Craft - RF CafeIt is hard to believe in 1936, a time when cars were huge and dashboards had almost nothing behind them except some heater ducts, that access to something as simple as a radio speaker would be difficult. Evidently it could be, according to the first-place winner of "Short-Cut" in Radio-Craft magazine. There was not then the rat's nest of wires, air bags, and control cables found in modern autos. Voluminous trunks back in the day, and engine compartments that you could almost stand in while changing spark plugs (I once had a 6-cylinder, 1970 Chevy truck that I could do that with) were typical. Compare that to modern weenie trunks barely large enough to hold groceries and engine compartments accommodating front-wheel-drive transmissions and dozens of emission-reduction...

Electronic Crosswords, 1963 Electronics World

Electronic Crosswords, January 1963 Electronics World - RF CafeFellow cruciverbalists, here from a 1963 edition of Electronics World magazine is an electronics-themed crossword puzzle for your mid-week enjoyment. You can click on the grid for a larger, printable, write-on-able paper version. If you are an avid worker of crosswords and don't already know it, I have created hundreds over the last two decades. Unlike this crossword from Electronics World (and most others for that matter), RF Cafe's technology-themed crossword puzzles have only hand-picked words related to engineering and science...

News Briefs - Echo 1 & Moon Bounce

News Briefs, October 1960 Radio-Electronics - RF CafeThe Echo 1 communications satellite was launched in August of 1960, shortly before this October 1960 Radio-Electronics magazine "News Briefs" item reported on the preparations made for the first message to be bounded off the metallic film covering its spherical shape. The November 1960 issue of Electronics World magazine included an infomercial from Bell Telephone Laboratories claiming success. While waiting for Echo 1 to be placed into orbit, tests were made of the round-trip signaling system by bouncing signals off the moon. The moon, being about a quarter million miles farther away from Echo's orbit and having a much less radio-reflective surface than Echo, resulted in a significantly weaker received signal. That confirmed the system would perform well with the Echo 1 signal. In fact, as mentioned above...

Exodus AMP4022DBP-4KW X-Band Pulse SSPA

Exodus AMP4022DBP-4KW X-Band 8-12 GHz Pulse SSPA - RF CafeExodus Advanced Communications, is a multinational RF communication equipment and engineering service company serving both commercial and government entities and their affiliates worldwide. We are pleased to announce the Exodus Advanced Communications' AMP4022DBP-4KW X-Band, 8-12 GHz Pulse Amplifier, which is designed for Pulse/HIRF, EMC/EMI Mil-Std 461/464 and Radar applications. Providing Superb Pulse Fidelity and up to 100 μsec pulse widths. Duty cycles to 6% with a minimum 66 dB gain. Available monitoring parameters for Forward/Reflected power in Watts & dBm, VSWR, voltage, current, temperature sensing for outstanding reliability and ruggedness for compact integrations...

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...

Electronics-Themed Comics

Electronics-Themed Comics, March 1964 Radio-Electronics - RF CafeIn 1964, when these electronics-themed comics appeared in Radio-Electronics magazine, the world was still in the process of adopting FM radio after decades of owning AM radios. Radio repair shops could install conversion kits in many models of radios (still of the vacuum tube variety, mostly). For that matter in the early days of color TV, conversion kits were available enable pseudo-color from black-and-white (B&W) sets, using a spinning color wheel. This was in the pre-throw-away era when it might have been cheaper to get something repaired or modified than to buy a new model. I grew up toward the end of that era (born 1958). Anyway, the comic from page 58 pokes a bit of fun at the extremes some people expected. The page 94 comic reflect the expectation of soon-to-be-available wrist watches that ran on precision crystals rather than on a much less consistent spring and escapement mechanism. The Hamilton Pulsar, the world's first electronic watch

Australia Debates Going Nuclear

Australia Debates Going Nuclear - RF CafeIMHO, the future for sustainable electric power is nuclear, not solar and wind. IEEE Spectrum (and maybe Australia) seems to agree. "A day after the United States Senate passed legislation on 18 June to develop advanced nuclear technologies, in Australia, opposition leader Peter Dutton promised, if elected, to build seven nuclear plants along the coasts of the island continent. The U.S. legislation passed with a vote of 82-2, but Dutton's proposal brought forth fierce dispute from both federal and state governments, as well as energy experts and supporters of green energy. Though Australia has the world's largest deposits of uranium, it doesn't have any nuclear plants for electricity generation. In fact, its federal and state laws prohibit their construction. What's more, the regional governments of the five states Dutton has earmarked for nuclear plant constructions have all rejected the plan. Several state leaders cited the high costs involved in establishing a nuclear program from zero..."

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, and more. Page templates are provided with a preset scale (changeable) for a good presentation that can incorporate all provided symbols...

Crane A&E Wideband Converters & Synthesizers for 2-40 GHz

Crane Aerospace & Electronics Releases EAR99 Modular Wideband Converters, Synthesizers for 2-18 and 18-40 GHz - RF CafeCrane Aerospace & Electronics, a segment of Crane Company, has launched mmW-IMA, a family of microwave assembly products. Crane A&E has a strong heritage of delivering proven high performance microwave solutions for over 65 years. Crane A&E's mmW-IMA product family supports 2-18 and 18-40 GHz converters and synthesizers with frequency outputs from 0.5 to 22 GHz and 29/43.56 GHz. These products are SOSA aligned in 3U VPX chassis while exhibiting superior SWaP performance and are designed to support rapidly growing EW, mmWave, space and other defense applications. The mmW-IMA product line is available as EAR99 to support our international customers' needs and can be modified to suit specific customer requirements. "Building on our strong heritage, Crane A&E is introducing a new line of EW/mmWave and space products designed...

Atwater Kent Model 776 Auto Radio

Atwater Kent Model 776 6-Tube Auto Radio Service Data Sheet, June 1936 Radio-Craft - RF CafeThis thumbnail image of a Atwater Kent Model 776 Automobile Radio is from the AtwaterKentRadio.com website. You can see from the picture that the entire radio was contained in a single chassis, unlike many models of the day that had the bulky RF electronics mounted behind the dashboard or under a seat, and the listener interface controls mounted separately in the dashboard. Below is the Radio Service Data Sheet as it appeared in a 1936 issue of Radio-Craft magazine. It was one of six such documents that appeared - without any description or alignment information included as is normal with the individual, full page data sheets...

Mac's Service Shop: Electrostatics at Work

Mac's Service Shop: Electrostatics at Work, February 1973 Popular Electronics - RF CafeAnyone who has lived in an area where the humidity gets so low that getting an electrostatic discharge jolt when touching a doorknob or or other isolated metallic object, will appreciate Mac McGregor's discussion with Barney. Appropriately, it appeared in a February issue of Popular Electronics magazine, the setting being Mac's Service Shop's Midwestern location - a prime environment for receiving the annoying zaps. It is a timeless subject for anyone routinely subject to exposed high voltages of any sort - some being more dangerous than others. Most RF Cafe visitors already know that technically, it is the amount of electric current through the body that determines severity of electric shock, not the voltage. However...

Carl & Jerry: How to Haunt a House

Carl & Jerry: How to Haunt a House, February 1956 Popular Electronics - RF CafeUnlike with the Mac's Service Shop episodes that typically were published in monthly issues that temporally jived with the story setting, the Carl & Jerry plots did not necessarily correspond with the month in which they appeared. For example, the February 1973 "Electrostatics at Work" story begins, "The sparkling cold winter morning lifted the heart but numbed the fingers as Barney sprinted quickly over the squeaking snow from his car to the service shop." To wit, this "How to Haunt a House" story appeared in the February edition of Popular Electronics magazine. I saved it for Halloween. As always, author John Frye mixes technical descriptions with the storyline to lend credibility to the teens' escapades. Modern teenagers...

News Briefs

News Briefs, March 1964 Radio-Electronics - RF CafeAt the time of this "News Briefs" feature in a 1964 Radio-Electronics magazine, satellites were a relatively new phenomenon. Tiros VIII was already, as the nomenclature implies, the eighth in the series of ten so-named weather satellites. Tiros, BTW, stands for Television Infrared Observation Satellites. Tiros VIII was the first to broadcast images to widely dispersed ground stations that used them for preparing local forecasts and reports. It was the beginning of the live satellite images on TV era. In other news, a new type scanning electron microscope was revealed by Westinghouse which could produce images only 15 millionths of an inch in less than a second. A gas laser triode was announced by Bell Telephone Laboratories, whose output could be modulated by a control grid. This was a first step...

THz Waves Supercharged with Magnetics

Terahertz Waves Supercharged with Magnetics - RF Cafe"Positioned between microwaves and infrared light, terahertz waves are key to pioneering advancements in imaging and diagnostic technologies. A recent discovery at Tohoku University of a material that can emit these waves more intensely promises to catalyze significant breakthroughs across a spectrum of industries. Terahertz waves are being intensely studied by researchers around the world seeking to understand the 'terahertz gap.' Terahertz waves have a specific frequency that put them somewhere between microwaves and infrared light..."

Direction Finding with "Ultra Shorts"

Direction Finding with "Ultra Shorts", February 1935 Short Wave Craft - RF CafeAnyone other than a complete novice (Ham pun intended) at radio and antenna work is familiar with the basics types of directional antennas presented here. However, the universe of people knowledgeable about such things was very small in 1935, when this article appeared in Short Wave Craft magazine. An effort to educate operators and designers was really just beginning. The ½-wave dipoles shown here for the transmitter are somewhat directional at 2 dBi, and full-wave square loop antennas for receiving have a gain of around 3 dBi. However, the most significant direction-finding feature of a loop antenna is the comparatively deep null in its radiation pattern in the plane of the wire. That explains why direction-finding equipment, such as those on aircraft, typically use a loop antenna. When maximum precision is needed, Yagi, log periodic, parabolic dish, or other high gain antennas will be used...

Powering Airplanes with Microwaves

Powering Airplanes with Microwaves - RF CafeThis looks like something from a 1970s issue of Popular Science magazine.  "Imagine it's 2050 and you're on a cross-country flight on a new type of airliner, one with no fuel on board. The plane takes off, and you rise above the airport. Instead of climbing to cruising altitude, though, your plane levels out and the engines quiet to a low hum. Is this normal? No one seems to know. Anxious passengers crane their necks to get a better view out their windows. They're all looking for one thing. Then it appears: a massive antenna array on the horizon. It's sending out a powerful beam of electromagnetic radiation pointed at the underside of the plane..."

Windfreak Blog: Antenna Beam Steering

Windfreak Blog: Antenna Beam Steering - RF CafeDavid Goins, founder of and chief engineer for Windfreak Technologies, has written a number of application notes pertaining to the specification and testing of RF and microwave frequency signal generators. His "Antenna Beam Steering" article summarizes how RF signal generators can be an easy tool used to start testing and understanding concepts of phased array antennas and beam steering. Specifically, the SynthHD and SynthHD Pro RF signal generators have dual independent channels that allow independent control of frequency, phase and amplitude on each channel (0.01°, 100 μs switching time). If both channels are set to the same frequency, the phase can be adjusted in fine steps across a full 360 degrees...

RF Cascade Workbook

RF Cascade Workbook - RF Cafe RF Cascade Workbook is the next phase in the evolution of RF Cafe's long-running series, RF Cascade Workbook. Chances are you have never used a spreadsheet quite like this (click here for screen capture). It is a full-featured RF system cascade parameter and frequency planner that includes filters and mixers for a mere $45. Built in MS Excel, using RF Cascade Workbook is a cinch and the format is entirely customizable. It is significantly easier and faster than using a multi-thousand dollar simulator when a high level system analysis is all that is needed...

5G's Deep Freeze

5G's Deep Freeze - RF Cafe"It's a dark time for the telecom industry. 5G hasn't provided the ROI that everyone needs. Layoffs are occurring across the board, and Samsung is the latest vendor to reconfigure who's doing what. Samsung Electronics is cutting jobs in its network division, shifting about 700 people out of its 4,000-employee network group and into other departments, according to media reports. The move, made June 17 and reported last week in Business Korea, is in response to the cyclical nature of the global telecom market, which is going though a '5G winter' period that affects the entire industry. The slowdown in 5G spending is pretty well understood across the industry as operators shift into lower gear on the 5G deployment front..."

Quantum Devices / How They Work

Quantum Devices / How They Work, December 1963 Electronics World - RF CafeDecades from now, readers will look back at today's science magazines reporting on topics such as breakthroughs on quantum computing and quantum entanglement the way we now look back at articles from the middle to latter half of the last century, and be amazed at how the understanding and exploitation of various technologies was just getting started. This particular 1963 piece in Electronics World magazine on quantum device is not at all related to the two aforementioned topics; rather, it introduces the concept of discrete (quantum) energy levels of atomic electronic orbitals and how they determine photon absorption and emission. It is a good introduction to or refresher of the phenomenon that relates photon energy to its wavelength via Planck's constant...

Philco Model 59 A.C. Midget Superhet Receiver

Philco Model 59, 4-Tube A.C. Midget Superheterodyne Receiver Radio Service Data Sheet, April 1936 Radio-Craft - RF CafeThis Radio Service Data Sheet from a 1936 issue of Radio-Craft magazine covers the Philco Model 59, 4-tube AC Midget superheterodyne receiver. Evidently there were at least three versions of this, a tabletop radio, a compact tabletop model (59C), and an "Owl's Eye" model (59S). I'm not sure what the difference is. 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, troubleshooting tips, and alignment procedures. They were originally published in magazines...

TV Antennas Invite Lightning to Strike

TV Antennas Invite Lightning to Strike, October 1960 Radio-Electronics - RF CafeThe Lightning Protection Institute (LPI) has been around for a long time; in fact, it might have been informally founded by Benjamin Franklin ;-) Last year while working on an installation plan for a friend's solar panel array and equipment room, I found lots of useful info on the LPI website for best practices of lightning protection. I was surprised to learn that there was still disagreement among experts as to whether a raised, grounded surface like the metal roof onto which the photovoltaic (PV) arrays are mounted tended to reduce or increase the likelihood of a lightning strike. There are good theoretical arguments on both sides. I tend to think the raised, broad surface decreases the cloud-to-ground potential and disperses the charge across a larger area, thus reducing chance of a strike. There is also disagreement whether the ground for the PV array should be physically connected to the ground...

Tolerance Calculator

Tolerance Calculator, May 1963 Electronics World - RF CafeHere is a type of chart I don't recall seeing before. This Tolerance Calculator Graph makes it very easy to quickly determine the upper and lower extremes of tolerance values for resistors, capacitors, inductors, etc. It was published in a 1963 issue of Electronics World magazine, and can actually be used to find the limits for any number, regardless of units. This is one example of where a physical visual aid can still yield results faster than punching numbers into a calculator, if a number with just a couple significant figures of precision is sufficient...

What's Your EQ?

What's Your EQ?, November 1961 Radio-Electronics - RF CafeHere we go with three more circuit puzzlers from the November 1961 issue of Radio-Electronics magazine. The feature title, "What's Your EQ?," is a play on "IQ," but instead of Intelligence Quotient it means Electronics Quotient. The first challenge is a simple application of series and parallel resistance combinations and Ohm's Law. With the Black Box problem, don't hurt your brain too much. The author's solution is unarguably the simplest. The last, "Impossible Voltages," was devised by TV troubleshooting master Jack Darr, who publishes regular columns on the art/science, so few will probably get it right - unless you have experience with circuit containing complex mixes of resistors, capacitors, inductors, and transformers. It evidently stems from an actual case he worked on. Then again...

Who Thought It Would Be This Easy?

Ramp to Stop Federal Agents - RF CafeThis meme appeared online, in response to Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle claiming there were no counter-sniper agents on the roof of the building where the 20-year-old would-be assassin managed to navigate because the slope would pose an unacceptable danger to expertly trained federales. I'm guessing she has never been on top of any roof in her entire life - not even at PepsiCo where she previously earned her security credentials. Now, having this inside information about what an effective barrier to armed federal agents looks like, you can easily defend your home against an uninvited visit.

Modern Capacitors

Modern Capacitors, May 1963 Electronics World - RF CafeCapacitor science has evolved at a very rapid rate since the beginning of electronics and electrical circuitry. Since the early Leyden jar (named after the city where it was invented by Ewald Georg von Kleist) type capacitor, continual advancements in materials for electrolytes and metal plates, as well as in packaging, have led to incredibly high storage density, miniature size, high voltage and current, mounting configuration, low ESR, high frequency operation, price, stability, temperature extreme tolerance, and other parameters. It is always instructive and interesting to read the history that has led to the current state of capacitor art. This 1963 Electronics World magazine article does just that...

Nature's Invisible Radio Mirror

Nature's Invisible Radio Mirror, November 1961 Radio-Electronics - RF CafeThe International Geographic Year (IGY), which ended up lasting about 18 months, ran from July 1957 through December 1958. One of its main purposes was to explore and quantify the nature of the electrically conductive region of the Earth's atmosphere, within which and through which future sounding rockets, orbiting satellites, and deep space probes would operate. Sputnik launched at the end of 1957, and Echo launched in mid-1960. Both professional and amateur radio operators had already ascertained significant clues about the ionosphere's characteristics by observing its affects on electromagnetic signals. Direct, in-situ measurements confirmed some beliefs while disproving others. More than 65 years later, we know much significantly more about the ionosphere, having sent thousands of craft - including many manned - into and through it. When this "Nature's Invisible Radio Mirror" article appeared...

Skeptic's View Beaming Power from Space

Skeptic's View Beaming Power from Space - RF CafeThis whole concept seems so idiotic as to be dismissible out-of-hand. Who legitimately thinks having high power energy beams raining down from space is a good idea? Evidently some people do. Aside from the danger of coming into contact with a beam, surely there will be a major increase in the ambient EM noise floor worldwide, and the massive orbiting structures would further destroy the night sky. It seems anymore if I am watching a particular area of the sky through my telescope, within a few minutes a satellite will pass through the field of view. Per IEEE Spectrum magazine: "The accelerating buildout of solar farms on Earth is already hitting speed bumps, including public pushback against the large tracts of land required and a ballooning backlog of requests for new transmission lines and grid connections. Energy experts have been warning that electricity is likely to get more expensive and less reliable unless renewable power that waxes and wanes under inconstant sunlight and wind..."

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, and more. Page templates are provided with a preset scale (changeable) for a good presentation that can incorporate all provided symbols...

Designing for EMP Resilience

Designing for EMP Resilience - RF Cafe"Electronics are used to communicate with loved ones, manage finances, fly aircraft, autonomously drive us to work, and even save lives. As we achieve further advances in technology, electronics will continue to lead the way in adapting these technologies into new critical systems and processes. The benefits that electronics have provided us are undeniable. However, there is a significant drawback as the implementation of sensitive electronic circuitry continues to increase our vulnerability to the effects of electromagnetic threats such as an EMP attack. An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) is defined as a high amplitude, short duration, broadband pulse of electromagnetic energy that can have devastating effects on unprotected electronic equipment and systems. EMPs are historically known..."

The Amazing Transistor

The Amazing Transistor, April 1952 Radio & Television News - RF CafeLess than half a decade had passed since the invention of the transistor when Radio & Television News magazine editor Oliver Reed wrote this piece extolling the virtues of the transistor and how "it may well revolutionize the entire electronics industry." If you have followed a lot of my postings from the vintage electronics magazines here on RF Cafe, you are well aware that there was a lot of resistance to and doubt about the future of semiconductors. Naysayers had the same kind of reaction to the advent of the horseless carriage (automobile) and locomotive, relativity and quantum mechanics, and even curative medicines. Point contact transistors were still largely in use, but were costly compared to the relative simplicity and low cost of junction transistors once the manufacturing details were worked out - which, as we now know, happened very rapidly. By 1965 the process was so refined that Gordon Moore formulated his eponymous law...

A Bonus for CATV Subscribers: Cable FM

A Bonus for CATV Subscribers: Cable FM, January 1971 Popular Electronics - RF CafeAccording to a plethora of news reports in the last few years (many links links posted on RF Cafe), the "cord cutting" phenomenon is having a significant impact on cable media providers. Consumers long ago grew tired of the monopolistic practices of corporations forcing mostly unwanted programming onto everyone and then trying to convince them that they were getting a good deal if the cost per channel was considered. No one bought that argument, but it didn't matter because there was no competition for service. PUC efforts to force prime line owners to rent out "space" in an attempt to provide competitive products has never worked, but that doesn't keep PUCs from trying (job security). The advent of wideband wireless service has opened...

Mac's Radio Service Shop: TV and the Little Guy

Mac's Radio Service Shop: TV and the Little Guy, April 1951 Radio & Television News - RF Cafe"Unfortunately, good technical ability and good business ability do not always grow naturally on the same figurative tree." That line by "Mac," (Mac McGregor) is all too true for lot of us, and I definitely include myself as part of "us." I have often paraphrased the line by Dr. McCoy on Star Trek as, "Dammit, Jim, I'm an engineer, not a salesman." Part of the reason RF Cafe has pretty much remained at the same level of income over the years is due to my unwillingness to make performance guarantees to anyone in return for pay - other than to not do anything intentional that will harm them. My advertisers choose to do so based on RF Cafe's reputation for unbiased (mostly) presentation of information and abstention from the form of political correctness that sacrifices efforts of hard working people to spare the fragile feelings of slothful and/or insidious and/or jealous actors. More than one accomplished businessman has advised me that being more aggressive would pay big dividends...

Radio Waves & Life

Radio Waves & Life, September 1960 Radio-Electronics - RF CafePrior to the advent of high power microwave transmitters like the kind used in radar systems, not a lot of research was put into how exposure by the general public to the radio waves might affect health and well being. There was plenty of experimentation and development regarding use of electromagnetic energy for medical and industrial purposes, but those applications were within isolated areas with controlled access of personnel. This "Radio Waves & Life" article in a 1960 issue of Radio-Electronics magazine reported on the relatively new science. Little did the author know that half a century later, human exposure to radio waves, particularly in the cellular and WiFi bands, would be the subject of intense scrutiny. He would probably also be shocked to learn that in early 2024, the Department of Health and Human Services' National Toxicology Program (NTP) cancelled any further investigations into radiation exposure...

War Assets Administration

War Assets Administration, April 1947 Radio News - RF CafeAfter World War II had been won, the War Assets Administration made good on the government's promise to reward citizens for performing their patriotic civil duty whereby they participated in the collection of recyclable material made of plastic, glass, rubber, metal, and cloth. Magazines and newspapers had frequent coverage of bottle, metal, and tire drives showing children pulling Radio Flyer wagons loaded to overflowing with such items gathered from trash piles and soliciting neighborhood residents for anything that could be spared. Waste of precious resources was a thing of shame. "Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do, or Do without" was the slogan de jour. Ham radio operators contributed mightily to the war effort by donating and/or selling meters, tubes, transformers...

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+ 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...

Interstellar Communication

Interstellar Communication, September 1960 Radio-Electronics - RF CafeWhen Radio-Electronics magazine owner-editor Hugo Gernsback wrote this Interstellar Communications article in 1960, his mention of "hundreds of billions of stars flung throughout the vastness of space" with "hundreds of millions of planets similar to our own earth which orbit around stars like our own sun" was based on a known universe significantly smaller than the one we now know. Once the Hubble Space Telescope's optics were corrected in 1993, our view of the universe grew by many orders of magnitude. Earth-based and space-based telescopes have improved significantly since then, especially their cameras, along with post-processing of images, to where the extents of our observable universe extends to nearly the edge of the Big Bang. Additionally, whereas no exoplanets had been observed in 1960, a few thousand are now documented, many of which are considered "Goldilocks Planets," believed to have Earth-like environments. Regarding intelligent, sentient...

Withwave High-Speed, High-Density Multicoax Cable Assembly

Withwave High-Speed, High-Density Multicoax Cable Assembly - RF CafeWithwave is a leading designer and developer of a broad range of RF, microwave, and millimeter-wave test solutions and subsystems with a focus on electromagnetic field analysis and signal processing. Withwave's High-Speed, High-Density Multicoax Cable Assemblies (WMX series) provides a wide range of multiple coax connectors and flexible cable assemblies with a choice of 20, 40, 50, 67 & 100 GHz configurations based on precisions and superior high frequency cabling solutions. Vertical Mount and Edge Mount options. The WMX series is an excellent signal integrity solution for bench-top and automated test equipment to meet increasing demands of the semiconductor and optical test industries...

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...

Design Problems of Tuning Dials

Design Problems of Tuning Dials, September 1935 Radio-Craft - RF CafeWe tend to take for granted "standards" that have been in place and working well ever since they were instituted long ago. Some - maybe most - standards evolve over time with user preferences driving the end result; they tend to continue evolving. Examples include keyboard layout, advertising and product color selection, and test instrument front panel configurations. Other standards are driven by technology improvements. More and more often it seems, standards are being set by industry groups that want to assure interoperability and exchangeability amongst products and users. Often this kind of standard is driven by government imposed regulations. Wireless communications is a prime instance of the latter. This article is an example of a combination of standards motivators since it considers user experience preferences with scientific research to determine how best to implement a radio tuning dial. This was done nearly a century ago when a large...

Werbel 0.5-18 GHz 2-Way Power Splitter

2-Way Power Splitter for 0.5 to 18 GHz - RF CafeWerbel Microwave's WM2PD-0.5-18-S is a wideband 2-way in-line power splitter covering the continuous bandwidth of 500 MHz to 18 GHz in a compact enclosure measuring 4.75 x 1.00 x 0.50 inches. The device is RoHS compliant but may be ordered specially with lead solder for military applications. The wide bandwidth covers many of the military radio letter octave bands in one unit. High isolation between outputs of 20 dB typical. Connectors are stainless steel for high durability. One product covers the upper band of UHF, L-band, S-band, C band, X-band and Ku-band. Our unique design, assembled and tested in USA...

Many Thanks to Amplifier Solutions Corporation for Continued Support!

Amplifier Solutions Corporation (ASC) - RF CafeAmplifier Solutions Corporation (ASC) is a manufacturer of amplifiers for commercial & military markets. ASC designs and manufactures hybrid, surface mount flange, open carrier and connectorized amplifiers for low, medium and high power applications using Gallium Nitride (GaN), Gallium Arsenide (GaAs) and Silicon (Si) transistor technologies. ASC's thick film designs operate in the frequency range of 300 kHz to 6 GHz. ASC offers thin film designs that operate up to 20 GHz. ASC is located in an 8,000 sq.ft. facility in the town of Telford, PA. We offer excellent customer support and take pride in the ability to quickly react to evolving system design requirements.

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, and more. Page templates are provided with a preset scale (changeable) for a good presentation that can incorporate all provided symbols...

Electronics-Themed Comics

Electronics-Themed Comics, December 1960 Radio-Electronics - RF CafeIf today's electronics magazines had comics in them (which they generally do not), the themes might often include people glued to their cellphones, monster size flat screen TVs, sentient "smart" devices in every realm of existence, etc. In the 1960s when these three comics appeared in Radio-Electronics magazine, amongst the most popular topics were television repair scenarios (griping about charges, owners trying to fix their own sets, frustration at malfunctioning sets), sophisticated stereo equipment, women's lack of understanding about electronic things, and TV antenna installations. Being very familiar with trends from the early days of electronics up through today, I can usually "get" what's happening in the comics, but sometimes I'm left wondering. The page 98 and page 112 comics are obvious enough. My guess is the gag on the page 129 comic is not just that the repairman is waylaid with having to repair all those TVs, but that the manager wanted to only pay for one on-site service charge. See the huge list of comics at the bottom for other examples.

MPATI - Its Problems & Solutions

MPATI - Its Problems & Solutions, May 1963 Electronics World - RF CafeAlthough you wouldn't know it from the title, this is actually another of John T. Frye's "Mac's Radio Service Shop" stories. MPATI stands for "Midwest Program on Airborne Television Instruction," and was a pre-satellite-era system for broadcasting educational programming to areas that otherwise did not experience good quality over-the-air reception. It appeared in the May 1963 issue of Electronics World magazine. DC-6 airplanes were outfitted with a transmitter and a hydraulically stabilized antenna, and would fly for many hours at a time to provide rural areas with classroom instruction via TV. Purdue University, in Indiana, played a key role in the program. MPATI is a obvious spin-off of the Stratovision system experimented with by Westinghouse Electric Corporation and The Glenn L. Martin Company in the mid 1940s...

Do You Know Your Bipolar Transistors?

Do You Know Your Bipolar Transistors? (Part 3), October 1973 Popular Electronics - RF CafeMr. Lothar Stern, of Motorola Semi, published a 3-part series on transistor theory in Popular Electronics magazine in 1973. This is part 3. Part 1 introduced the basics of the bipolar transistor, and Part 2 addressed transistor circuit configurations - common emitter, common gate, common collector, Darlington, differential - as well as presenting gain equations and delving a bit into the physical construction of the semiconductor elements. Finally, the author talks about the newest processes in use at the time and what was available for low power and high power RF applications. In 1973, high power semiconductors were just pushing past the 100 MHz barrier. Gallium arsenide (GaAs) and gallium nitride (GaN) were still in university and corporate laboratories being prepared...

Mathematical Puzzles, 1990 OFA

Mathematical Puzzles, 1990 Old Farmer's Almanac - RF CafeThe 1990 edition of the Old Farmer's Almanac (OFA) had a pretty good set of "Old and New Mathematical Puzzles." Up until around the late 1960s, some of the puzzles were very esoteric, often requiring one be privy to certain standards or norms. Some were downright weird. Beginning around 2005, the OFA editors sometimes omitted the puzzles altogether or only included simple ones, so as not to harm anyone's feelings if he/she couldn't figure it out (seriously). Puzzles are rated for difficulty levels 1 through 5, with 5 being the hardest. Solutions are provided for up through difficulty level 4. Sometimes, difficulty level 5 problems are harder because they require a lot of guesses and iterations to arrive at a solution...

Exodus AMP2030D-LC 1-6 GHz, 600 W SSPA

Exodus AMP2030D-LC 1 to 6 GHz, 600 W (400 W P1dB) SSPA - RF CafeExodus Advanced Communications is a multinational RF communication equipment and engineering service company serving both commercial and government entities and their affiliates worldwide. We are pleased to announce the Exodus Model AMP2030D-LC, ideal for broadband EMI-Lab, Comm. and EW applications. Class A/AB linear design for all modulations & industry standards. Covers 1.0 to 6.0 GHz, producing 600 W minimum, 400 W P1dB and 58 dB minimum gain. Excellent flatness, optional monitoring parameters for Forward/Reflected power, VSWR, voltage, current and temperature sensing for superb reliability and ruggedness. Integrated in our compact 10U chassis weighing approximately 50 kg...

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...

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Exodus Advanced Communications Best in Class RF Amplifier SSPAs