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Today in Science History

QuinStar Power Amplifiers Boost Radar, Communications, Defense Systems

Quinstar Power Amplifiers Boost Radar, Communications, Defense Systems - RF CafeNASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory issued the following notice from their NASA Spinoff Database: Power Amplifiers Boost Radar, Communications, Defense Systems. As a subcontractor under an SBIR contract from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, QuinStar Technology Inc. of Torrance, California, developed a solid-state power amplifier of unprecedented efficiency. While most comparable devices lose 20% of their amplified energy when their signals recombine, QuinStar's lose 8%. The solid-state technology ...

High-Density PC Boards

High-Density PC Boards, October 1969 Electronics World - RF CafeYou will probably chuckle at the sight of the printed circuit board being an example used in an article about high density PCB production. However, in 1969 it was heralded as leading edge technology. Remember, though, that surface mount components the size of a grain of salt were unheard of so such a board probably represents a bunch of leaded components being closely packed together with the biggest concern for density being heating / cooling issues. Part of the big deal with this board, when you read the article, is that it is one of eight that were produced on the same substrate and then singulated ...

single note, red - RF Cafedouble note, green - RF Cafe It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like [a White] Christmas double note, red - RF Cafesingle note, green - RF Cafe in Erie!

Snow in Erie, Pennsylvania, December 12, 2017 - RF CafeCall me nuts, but I have always loved a white Christmas. That's why most of my life has been spent in northern climes. Judging by the heap on the bird feeder, about 6-8" has fallen so far, and then there's another 6-8" due by tomorrow evening. The pic is from a Wansview 720p webcam (~$40, free access from anywhere) looking out my front window. There's one in the basement, too, for monitoring the homestead when gone. I installed a couple of these webcams at my daughter's house, too - very simple to set up. Now we can see her North Carolina horse farm goings on anytime.

Notable Tech Quote: Werner von Siemens 

Werner von Siemens Notable Tech Quote - RF Cafe"Ideas alone have little worth. The value of an invention lies in its practical implementation." - Werner von Siemens, 1865. The unit of electrical conductance is named after him.

Pentagon Spending More on Emerging Tech

Pentagon Spending More on Emerging Tech - RF Cafe"The Department of Defense spent $7.4B in fiscal year 2017 on cloud computing, big data and artificial intelligence technologies, according to a recent report by public-sector contracting analytics firm Govini. That represents a 32% increase since 2012, with more specific technologies like quantum computing, virtual reality and machine learning seeing some of the bigger boosts in investment. While cloud, AI and big data all saw spending jump over the past five years, AI accounted for the bulk of the increase in spending ..."

New Invention Could Lead to Novel Terahertz Light Sources

New Invention Could Lead to Novel Terahertz Light Sources - RF Cafe"A new device could open new avenues for the generation of high-frequency radiation with applications in science, radar, communications, security and medical imaging. Ever since the discovery of X-rays in 1895, their ability to reveal things hidden to the human eye has created endless opportunities. But X-rays by far aren't the only option to see the world with different eyes. Researchers hope to make better use of a different form of light, called terahertz radiation ..."

Identifying and Isolating Signals Using Radio Frequency Photonics

Radio Frequency Photonics - RF CafeAn article titled, "Identifying and Isolating Signals Using Radio Frequency Photonics," appeared in the December 2017 issue of Aerospace & Defense Technology magazine. I have not delved much into RF photonics, but evidently the science is gaining popularity, especially as communications shifts to higher and higher frequencies. "Review of Radio Frequency Photonics Basics," also authored by Preetpaul Devgan, contains a lot of good info ...

Thanks to QuinStar Technology for Their Support

QuinStar Technology mm-Wave Products - RF CafeQuinStar Technology designs and manufactures mm-wave products for communication, scientific, and test applications along with providing microelectronic assembly, rapid prototyping, and mass customization. Amplifiers, Oscillators, Switches, Attenuators, Circulators, Isolators, Filters, Waveguide, Antennas, Phase Shifters, Transceivers, Mixers, Detectors. QuinStar specializes in cryogenic amplifiers, circulators, and isolators. Please visit QuinStar today to see how they can help your project ...

Engineering Crossword Puzzle w/Headlines December 10, 2017

RF Cafe Engineering Crossword Puzzle w/Weekly Headlines December 10, 2017At least 10 clues in this puzzle with an asterisk (*) are pulled from this past week's (12/4 - 12/8) "Tech Industry Headlines" column on the RF Cafe homepage (see the Headline Archives page for help). For the sake of all the avid cruciverbalists amongst us, each week I create a new technology-themed crossword puzzle using only words related to engineering, science, mathematics, chemistry, physics, astronomy ...

Beam-Switching Successfully Tested on Predator Drone

Beam-Switching Successfully Tested on Predator Drone - RF Cafe"Two satellite beams (or more) are better than one when it comes to data transfer and anti-jamming measures between satellites and drones. At least that's what last month's first successful test of beam-switching technology on an MQ-9 Predator drone seemed to show. Over the course of the testing, the drone flew 1,075 nautical miles and was able to switch smoothly between two spot beams multiple times throughout the trial. While traditional wide-beam satellites use one beam to cover thousands of miles, the satellites ..."

Cuprate Stripes May Link to Ultrathin Semiconductor Use 'Rust' as Insulator

Ultrathin Semiconductor Use 'Rust' as Insulator - RF Cafe"Chip makers appreciate what most consumers never knew: silicon's virtues include the fact that it 'rusts' in a way that insulates its tiny circuitry. Two new ultrathin materials share that trait and outdo silicon in other ways that make them promising materials for electronics of the future. Facebook Twitter Email By Andrew Myers The next generation of feature-filled and energy-efficient electronics will require computer chips just a few atoms thick. For all its positive attributes, trusty ...

Terminal Radio Corp. Christmas and New Year Greeting

Terminal Radio Corp. Christmas and New Year Greeting, January 1941 QST - RF CafeOther than today's QST magazine being a larger format and being printed in full color, there is not much difference fundamentally between the amount of Christmas-themed company advertisements now and half a century ago. Those from the last century were more likely to incorporate a religious message in addition to or instead of a secular message to their customers. Terminal Radio Corporation was located in midtown Manhattan. Google Maps can find West 45th Street and it can find Cortlandt Street, but they evidently no ...

Army Developing Lasers That Pierce Fog, Dust to Destroy Targets

Army Developing Lasers That Pierce Fog, Dust to Destroy Targets - RF Cafe"A lot of people think that high-energy lasers, or HELs, can't penetrate fog, rain and dust, said Thomas Webber, director of the Directed Energy Division's Technical Center, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command. That's just plain wrong. The key to making HELs work in poor atmospheric conditions is something called "adaptive optics," he said, adding that the Army is continuing to make more and more improvements on its adaptive optics system ..."

Anatomy of a Lightning Bolt

Anatomy of a Lightning Bolt, March 1973 Popular Electronics - RF CafeMankind has been fascinated with -and scared of - lightning since the dawn of civilization. It's incredible power has been the cause of much destruction and loss of life. Benjamin Franklin famously proved that lightning is in fact a form of electrostatic discharge. He exploited that knowledge to invent grounded lightning rods for tall buildings, thereby nearly totally halting the lightning-caused fire epidemic in Philadelphia and other cities. Much investigation and implementation of lightning discharge mitigation schemes has occurred to safeguard against catastrophic events. Ultimately, though, says author David Heiserman, 'Lightning has ..."

WiDeo: A Motion Tracing Camera Using WiFi Signals

WiDeo: A Motion Tracing Camera Using WiFi Signals - RF Cafe"WiDeo in operation: The compact WiFi AP in the study integrates WiDeo's motion tracing functionality, and can reconstruct the hand movement made by humans in the living room. WiDeo traces motion even though the AP is separated by a wall and does not have a LOS path to the humans, and doesn't require that the humans have any RF devices on them. WiDeo has broad applications such as security, navigation, search and rescue, and people monitoring ..."

Electronics-Themed Comics, February 1969 Electronics World

Electronics-Themed Comics, February 1969 Electronics World - RF CafeYou'll appreciate the comic that appeared on page 59 of the February 1969 issue of Electronics World magazine. It is consistent with the prevailing theme of the era where wives and girlfriends were fairly oblivious to the meaning of technical endeavors of their husbands and boyfriends, respectively (or not necessarily). The other comic from that edition is reflective of the times as well, when a television was considered to be one of the essentials of modern life. I was a pretty rotten kid, but I don't remember ever running away ...

Ionospheric Propagation Predictions

Ionospheric Propagation Predictions, April 1969 Electronics World - RF CafeMuch has been learned and published about the various layers of the ionosphere since its first being measured with sounding rockets in the 1950s. Both professional and amateur communications operators are very interested in its properties. Long term (seasonal) and short term (daily) patterns have been discerned that help make some of the ionosphere's effect on the propagation of electromagnetic (radio) signals somewhat predictable, but there are still many unpredictable events that hamper - and often enhance - communications. Sun spots and coronal mass ejections, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, and other natural events cause sporadic ...

Tech Industry Headlines

Tech Industry Headlines - RF Cafe- Archive -

Broadcom Eyes Replacing Qualcomm's Board, Turning Takeover Hostile

Discovery Sets New World Standard in Nano Generators

WISPA Keeps Argument Alive for Not Changing CBRS Rules

Trump Directs NASA to Return to the Moon, Then Aim for Mars

Former NASA Administrator to Head DOD Tech Research

Walmart Calls for Sub-$1 IoT Sensor

Broad 3Q 2017 Electronics Supply Chain Growth – Globally and in Europe

DoE Identifies Material as Fastest Solid-State Conductor for Magnesium Battery

Croatia Confirms New 60-M Allocation, Expanded 160-M Privileges

Supreme Court Considers Cellphones and Digital Privacy

Ofcom Tells BT to Speed up Investment in Full Fibre

Zero-Power Radio Receiver

Zero-Power Radio Receiver - RF CafeWhen I saw this story, I was reminded of a tongue-in-cheek article titled, "The Zero Displacement Engine" in one of my model airplane magazines. The ZPRR is no joke, though. "Sandia has developed a miniature, zero-power radio receiver that can be easily integrated in a wide range of devices to provide continuous wireless connectivity. The underlying principle behind the Zero-Power Receiver is that the powered radio frequency electronics that are used in most wireless receivers can be replaced with electronics that require no power supply or battery. Using this technology, a short range radio receiver (<100 m) can be ..."

Tunable, High Isolation RF / Microwave Circulator

Tunable, High Isolation RF / Microwave Circulator - RF Cafe"The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory - Sensors Directorate (AFRL RY) has developed a high isolation RF circulator which provides enhanced detection ranges (radar) and improved reception (communications) by reduction of signal leakage and undesirable internal reflections between ports, at a tuned frequency (or frequency range) of interest. Isolation values exceeding 70 dB have been demonstrated which far exceeds the 20 dB typical to conventional 3-port circulators. The AFRL circulator ..."

See This 16-Bit Computer Built with 40,000 Discrete Transistors

     A 16-Bit Computer Built with 40,000 Discrete Transistors (James Newman) - RF Cafe Video for Engineers
I love this quote by UK engineer James Newman: "I just got suckered into it bit by bit." This story about Mr. Newman's effort to build a 16-bit computer using discrete components appeared in Popular Science magazine. Newman wanted to create a functional, programmable computer that would provide a visual indication of how data flow and computation occurs within a microprocessor; the result is his "Megaprocessor." To do that, he constructed this 10-meter-long by 2-meter-tall rack of circuits consisting of more than 40,000 discrete transistors. An Intel 8086 microprocessor has ~29,000 ...

High-Temp Superconductivity

Cuprate Fluctuating Stripes May Be Linked to High-Temperature Superconductivity - RF Cafe"Scientists at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have shown that copper-based superconductors, or cuprates - the first class of materials found to carry electricity with no loss at relatively high temperatures - contain fluctuating stripes of electron charge and spin that meander like rivulets over rough ground. The stripes are zones where electrons either pile up, creating bands of negative charge, or align their spins to create bands of magnetism. They were previously known to exist in cuprate superconductors at temperatures ..."

AWR Design Forum / German User Group Agenda Set, Registration Opened

AWR Design Forum / German User Group Meeting Agenda Set and Registration Opened - RF CafeThe agenda has been finalized and registration opened for the combined 2017 AWR Design Forum (ADF) Germany and German User Group meeting, taking place in Munich on December 12. ADF brings the latest NI AWR software solutions to customers, partners and engineering professionals throughout the world, enabling them to learn, network and collaborate on today's microwave/RF design challenges. Select presentation highlights include: Complete X-Band 2x2 Phased-Array Antenna Design and Simulation, Including Low-Temperature ...

Anatech Electronics Product December Update

Anatech Electronics Product Update December 5, 2017 - RF CafeAnatech Electronics, Inc. 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. Anatech has introduced three new filters for your convenience: a 4432 MHz WiFi cavity filter with N connectors, a 899-944 MHz LC duplexer filter with N connectors (std), and WiFi cavity bandpass filter with SMA connectors (std) ...

"Merry Christmas" from the Staff at Radio-Electronics Magazine - 1958

Merry Christmas from the Staff at Radio-Electronics Magazine - RF CafeI have always been obsessed with Christmas - from being a little kid and loving the decorations (and, of course, presents) to being a father and providing the season's festive rites for my kids, to now as an old guy. Our house still has a fresh cut Christmas tree with shiny balls (including ones with family member names written with glue and glitter) and hand-crafted figures and of course metalized icicles, lights outside along the roof line (old-fashioned incandescent, of course), decorations hanging around inside, Christmas cards from years past when people actually mailed them (we still mail a few), and other holiday memorabilia. You will ...

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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 Internet was still largely an unknown entity at the time and not much was available in the form of WYSIWYG ...

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