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Today in History - 1746: Princeton University, in New Jersey, received its charter. 1905: American physicist Karl Jansky, the "Father of Radio Astronomy" who discovered the cosmic background radiation, was ...

Tech Headline News

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Technology and Inequality (rich vs. poor)

ARRL On-Line Auction Gets Underway on Thursday, October 23

5G Will Drive Test Equipment Surge

Seeking 'Absolute Zero', Copper Cube Gets Chillingly Close

Envelope Tracking Takes off in LTE Phones

USAF Launches Space Operations Initiative to Find Technologies to Control Orbital Space

Michigan's New Law 'Clarifies' Ban on Tesla's Direct Sales Model

TI's Rosy Outlook Defies Microchip's Gloom

Wild Molecular Interactions in New Hydrogen Mixture

Auction Offers Fascinating Glimpse into History of Science and Technology

Staples Investigating Theft of Payment Card Data

Audi Claims Self-Drive Car Speed Record

When Women Stopped Coding (it's men's fault - who'd have guessed?)

Air Force Awards Deal for Next-Gen 3D Radar

New 100 Gbps High-Speed Transatlantic Network to Benefit Science Collaborations

IARU Administrative Council Resolution Seeks to Rein in Electromagnetic Interference

Nokia Software Claims 80% Reduction in Smartphone Signaling

Tunisia's Emerging Tech Sector Hampered by Old Policies

Trying to Live in the Moment (and Not on the Phone)

U.S. Military Stuck in the Ditch


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Satellite Comms Ground and Earth Station Handbook

Satellite Communication Ground Segment and Earth Station Handbook - RF CafeThe Satellite Communication Ground Segment and Earth Station Handbook, by Bruce Elbert, explores the delivery end of the satellite link and its relationship to delivery of services. From international telephone network gateways to direct broadcast home receivers, today's broad range of ground systems and devices require satellite communication engineers and business managers to have a broad and sound understanding of the design and operating principles of earth stations and ground control facilities ...

Needed: Electronic Inventions

Needed: Electronic Inventions, January 1956 Popular Electronics - RF CafeI and others joke frequently about the promise of flying cars, automated homes, and miracle pills to cure any ill that were predicted to be commonly available by the end of the 20th century. Magazines like Popular Science, Mechanix Illustrated, Science and Mechanics, et al, regularly printed stories about these and a host of other inventions that were just around the corner. Most have never been realized, but we're appreciative of the dreamers and those people who dedicated their lives - often to the point of financial and/or physical ruin - while trying to succeed. Taking a different approach, ...

Carl & Jerry: Two Detectors

Carl & Jerry: Two Detectors, February 1955 Popular Electronics - RF CafeJust in time for Halloween, John T. Frye's teenage sleuths Carl & Jerry unexpectedly recorded a late-night conversation between two men where they plot how to dispose of the 'body' when death occurred as a result of prolonged choking. Employing their trademark technical prowess and scheming ability, the pair sets a trap for the perpetrators and dutifully summon the authorities as they complete their nefarious act of the night before. Halloween comes into play because the recordings were made for ...

Notable Tech Quote for October 21, 2014

Where Does Time Go? - RF Cafe"For disappearing acts, it's hard to beat what happens to the 8 hours supposedly left after 8 of sleep and 8 of work." - Doug Larson, columnist. This appears in the 2015 edition of The Old Farmer's Almanac. The article in which it appeared, "Where Does the Time Go?," has a lot of anecdotal information about how long people live, average sleep time, TV viewing time, work commuting time, pace of life, etc.

TriQuint 5 W SPDT Switch Covers 13 to 19 GHz

TriQuint 5 W SPDT Switch Covers 13 to 19 GHz - RF CafeRFMW announces design and sales support for a Ku-band SPDT switch capable of handling 5 W of RF power. The TriQuint TGS4310 is a SPDT reflective switch fabricated on TriQuint's 0.15 um GaAs production process. Operating from 13 to 19 GHz, the part handles +37 dBm input power with <0.1 dB compression and less than 1.7 dB insertion loss. The TGS4310 is available in a small 1.00 x 2.14 mm die size and requires very little control current allowing for ...

Scanning Electron Microscope for Radio Engineers

New Scanning Electron Microscope Revealed to Radio Engineers, September 1942, Radio Craft - RF CafeTelevision and radio facsimile machine electronics technology was credited for aiding in the development of a new type of scanning electron microscope (SEM) that could image the surface of opaque object to a resolution of 100 Å. The television contribution part of the technology was precisely controlling a raster path for the electron beam. The facsimile part was the knowledge of how to assemble a printed image from streaming data. It is interesting to note that in order for an object to be imaged via SEM, its surface must be electrically conductive. Accordingly, non-metallic ...

Test Equipment Crossword Puzzle

Test Equipment Crossword Puzzle for October 19, 2014 - RF CafeThis week's engineering crossword puzzle has a theme of test equipment. The four longest words are types of test equipment, and a few of the other are as well (or related to test equipment). All the other words are from my hand-selected library of a couple thousand terms related to engineering, science, mathematics, etc. Enjoy!

American Amphenol Tube Socket Wall Chart

American Amphenol Tube Socket Chart, January 1945 Radio News - RF CafeEarlier this week I posted a page pointing to the many laboratory wall charts offered by Keysight Technologies. I mentioned how unlike modern charts that are full of color, the old ones were usually a single color or black & white. Here is an example from American Amphenol in the mid 1940s. Something like this would make a really cool decoration for today. I just looked on eBay and didn't see an Amphenol Tube Socket Wall Chart for sale, but that would probably be the bet place to latch on to one eventually. 

Hewlett Packard Archive Website

Hewlett Packard Archive Website - RF CafeWebsite contributor Joe Cahak reminded me of the Hewlett Packard Archive website that is absolutely the go-to source for vintage HP documents. According to the site's owner, Glenn Robb, there are more than 35,000 pages of Hewlett Packard catalogs, Bench Briefs, product manuals, service notes, Watt's Current, price lists, periodicals (Measure and Insight magazines), journals, presentations, HP Test and Measurement News, seminars, application notes, and much more ...

New RF & Microwave Magazine Articles

New RF & Microwave Magazine Articles (10/16/2014) - RF CafeIt's time for another round of RF & microwave articles from our industry's top tier magazines. Happy reading.

Slot Antenna Tames 3 Wireless Bands
   W. Maowen, C. Jianzhong, P. Wenjuan

DARPA's Mobile Hotspot Program Drives E-Band
    Performance Benchmarks,
    J. Chandler, R.W. Steagall

Cut the Defense Budget? Sure, No Worries,
    Barry Manz

Measurement of an Active Radar Module in a
    Compact Antenna Test Range, H. Shakhtour,
    D. Heberling, K. Noujeim, F. Gerhardes, P. Knott

Advantages of Propagation Path Replication for
    Radar Range Testing, J. Mazzochette

Digital Technology is Removing the RF-to-Digital
    Divide, Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions,
    Tektronix Inc.

Coldest & Hottest Theoretical Temperatures

Coldest and Hottest Possible Absolute Temperatures - RF CafeWhat are the coldest and hottest absolute temperatures possible according to theory? Answering the 'coldest' part of the question is objective and therefore easy: Absolute zero = 0 K = -273.15 °C = −459.67 °F. The 'hottest' part of the question, sometimes referred to as 'absolute hot,' is harder. Most people who deal with such things consider the highest possible temperature to be the Planck temperature = 1.416785(71)x1032 K. A lesser cited value is the Hagedorn temperature ...


Coil Coupling Problems

Coil Coupling Problems, November/December 1941 Radio Craft - RF CafeWhen you look at the circuit board and/or chassis of a radio set - new or old - you see a lot of components including resistors, semiconductors (and/or vacuum tubes), inductors, capacitors, transformers, switches, potentiometers, shielded cables, shielded compartments, displays, indicator lights, connectors, etc. With the possible exception of some semiconductors, the function of just about every component can be discerned by most people who are at all familiar with radio electronics by ...

Sherlock Ohms: The Singing Telephone Switch

Sherlock Ohms: The Singing Telephone Switch - RF CafeThis adventure of Sherlock Ohms is useful to read because it demonstrates the importance of finding the root cause of and truly correcting a problem rather than stopping when a lesser solution that is merely a 'band aid' type cure would be easier. The less desirable action would have been to de-rate the number of circuits that could be serviced by each system since it was initially discovered that the problem only occurred when the board count went above ...

ATEC Needs a Calibration Technician

Advanced Test Equipment Corporation Needs a Calibration Technician - RF CafeAdvanced Test Equipment Corp is a nationwide company that focuses on the rental of a wide variety of equipment working in a fast paced environment. We are looking for and experienced Calibration Technician to calibrate, troubleshoot, and repair a wide variety of equipment, including but not limited to: analyzers, GPTE, fiber optic, scopes, meters, power supplies, and more.

Construct a 56 Megacycle Magnetron Transmitter

How to Construct a 56 Megacycle Magnetron Transmitter, September 1932 Radio News - RF CafeMagnetrons are fairly ubiquitous in society these days for use in heating, radar, and even lighting. They were probably the first useful means of producing high power microwave signals. The concept was first brought to fruition in the early 1920s as a laboratory curiosity and rapidly developed into a practical type of device with many applications and spin-off products like the klystron, the traveling wave tube, and the cross-field amplifier. This ...

Tech Comics from Keysight (cum Agilent cum HP)

Tech Comics from Keysight (cum Agilent cum HP) - RF CafeWhile researching lab wall charts last week, I happened upon a large collection of electronics-related comics on the Keysight website. They are clever puns on familiar engineering themes, professionally drawn by artist Rand Kruback, and very colorful. Permission for usage, presumably with proper attribution to the source, is granted "For your lectures or in your labs." Screen savers are somewhat passé these days, but if you are one who still sports such things, you can download ...

Vintage Radio Schematics & Parts Lists

Vintage Radio Schematics & Parts Lists - RF CafeHere are another half dozen sets of schematics and parts lists for vintage radio sets. These are being posted for the sake of the relatively few hobbyists who still take on the challenge of restoring these old relics of yesteryear. I've finally resumed work on my Crosley 03CB console cabinet radio. My nostrils are filled with 70+ year old walnut wood dust from doing the final sanding in preparation for staining and polyurethaning.

I Have a Few Questions About Ebola

I Have a Few Questions About Ebola - RF CafeI listen to a fair amount of radio and read news headlines throughout the day, so I have heard and read a lot about the lurking Ebola epidemic. Like most RF Cafe visitors, I am at least as informed on topics like viruses as the average citizen of the world. We know that there is no 'cure' for a virus per se, just a possibility that it can be subdued by disrupting its ability to replicate. Unlike bacteria which are cellular and have their own support system, viruses require the metabolic mechanisms of a host in order to ...

Foreign Broadcast Intelligence Service

Foreign Broadcast Intelligence Service, January 1945 Radio News - RF CafeYou will not find the name Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) mentioned anywhere in this WWII era story reporting on the activities of the Foreign Broadcast Intelligence Service, but it was then and is now a branch of the CIA. Per the CIA website "For nearly 70 years, the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) monitored the world's airwaves and other news outlets, transcribing and translating selected contents into English and in the process creating a multi-million page historical archive of the global news media." Equally surprising is that the BBC ...

Inventor Testimony in Patent Litigation

Regression Analysis in Litigation, by IMS ExpertServices - RF CafeAttorney Joshua Fruchter, Esq., has posted an article that made me think about how to a large extent the practice of law is a lot like writing HTML code for a web page. Think of a lawyer as a programmer who writes his HTML code to produce a specific output for a specific input. Codified law is analogous to the HTML specification as published by the W3C. The judge and/or jury is equivalent to the browser creator. As we all are painfully aware, even relatively simple web page code can end up displaying vastly differently on not just browsers from various manufacturers (Chrome, IE, Firefox, Safari, ... 

Ten Years of Transistors

Ten Years of Transistors, May 1958 Radio-Electronics - RF CafeDid I ever tell the story about a manager I had at a major defense electronics firm who thought he could make an NPN transistor by wiring two diodes in series with the anodes tied together? He reasoned that since a bipolar junction transistor consisted of three alternating layers of n-type and p-type silicon, the device could be affected per his scheme. That was in the mid 1980s when I was still a technician (working diligently on my BSEE degree at night). Needless to say the engineers who worked under him were not too impressed with ...

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RF Cascade Workbook is a very extensive system cascaded component Excel workbook that includes the standard Gain, NF, IP2, IP3, Psat calculations, input & output VSWR, noise BW, min/max tolerance, DC power cauculations, graphing of all RF parameters, and has a graphical block diagram tool. An extensive User's Guide is also included. - Only $35.
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