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Kirt's Cogitations™ #221
RFCafe.EU's Raison d'Être

These original Kirt's Cogitations™ may be reproduced (no more than 5, please) provided proper credit is given to me, Kirt Blattenberger.

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   Cog·i·ta·tion [koj-i-tey'-shun] – noun: Concerted thought or reflection; meditation; contemplation.
   Kirt [kert] – proper noun: RF Cafe webmaster.

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RFCafe.EU's Raison d'Être

With a last name like Blattenberger, it is obvious that my ancestors came from Europe – Germany to be exact. Born in 1958, I am something like a third generation American. My great-grandfather, originally surnamed Schuldberg which, according to, means “Mountain of debt,” and his family fled Germany in the mid-1800s when a warrant for his arrest was issued due to his involvement in an embezzlement scandal. They huddled for three months in the belly of an oil tanker as fugitives, sending the children out at night to scavenge for food from the officer’s mess just to survive. Once in The New World, he started a lawn maintenance business, and changed his last name to Blattenberg, which means “Mountain of leaves.” The name was further Anglicized later to its current form of Blattenberger.

Just kidding about the reason for and method of getting to America, of course, but I am of German descent. I made up the part about the name change, too, but Blattenberg does mean “mountain of leaves.” Oh, and there were no oil tankers in the mid 1800s, either.

Why this inanity, you ask? It is really just a lame lead-in for introducing the new RFCafé.EU website. Most Americans of my era are of European ancestry, so we have a relatively recent familial tie to The Old World. Cultures might vary widely and sometimes deeply between here are there, but bloodlines run closely. The European Union has, since its formal beginning on November 1, 1993, assembled a strategic collection of 25 independent, democratic member states. Efforts began as early as 1958 when the European Economic Community was formed following the Treaty of Rome (c. 1957, in fact the Europa site’s slogan is “Together Since 1957”). After two devastating World Wars and much debate, the neighboring countries of Europe came to an agreement on common terms that would greatly reduce the likelihood of one or more of them waging war against the other(s). Building interdependence for the purposes of both economic stability and military security, while allowing for the preservation of individual national identities, has required a lot of give-and-take on the part of diplomats and ordinary citizens. So far, so good.

We did the same type of thing here in the United States about 250 years ago (although individual states, not independent countries), and it has worked well, with a few notable upsets; e.g., the Civil War.

Click to view the PGN image of the official construction of the euro symbolA common currency, the euro, was introduced in an attempt to eliminate constantly changing exchange rate issues involved when transacting business deals and forming partnerships. On December 31, 1998, the relative value of each member country’s currency was set by the European Commission based on the market rates, so that one European Currency Unit (ECU) would equal one euro. A special euro currency sign (€) was designed as the result of a public survey. The European Commission then chose the final design. On January 1, 2002, the first hard currency was distributed. The dollar coin is particularly attractive with its dual metal, concentric construction (I collect them in any condition, so feel free to mail your spares to me).

As a perusing of the many Vendor pages on RF Café will attest to, there is a plethora of electronics product manufacturers located in EU member countries. Some of them even advertise on (i.e., subsidize the existence of) RF Café. To name a few: European Antennas, GigaLink, Radio-Electronics, and Mentorport. As with many American firms that exist to support the military and aerospace industry here, there are also a huge number of companies in the EU that contribute to similar unified efforts there. There is not yet, however, a single defense force or aeronautics program for the EU analogous to the United States’ Department of Defense (DoD) and National Space and Aeronautics Administration (NASA), respectively. Companies like EADS (European Aeronautics and Defence Company) are major players for aircraft and space vehicles, and represents a consortium of EU countries. Airbus, while based in France, is a multinational venture formed by EU members to compete in the multi-billion dollar civilian and military aircraft markets. The newly formed Joint Research Center (JRC) has committed billions of dollars to basic research and development projects that will fuel the high-tech industry for member countries. Many others come to mind. The product and services generated by those efforts incorporate a large amount of electronics components and assemblies. That the EU electronics industry policies has influence worldwide needs no other example than the RoHS (Restriction of the use of certain Hazardous Substances in electrical and electronic equipment) directive, which has become a de facto standard for acceptance of electrical components.

In recognition of the already very large and growing European RF and electronics industry in particular and the high technology industry in general, we (I) at RF Café have decided to create a website that will serve the needs of the many engineers and hobbyists from member countries that already regularly visit RFCafe.COM. RFCafe.EU is that website. Although I may have missed it, there is no other single website that I have found on the .EU top level domain that serves such a purpose. Hopefully, a new frontier is being forged. Visitor involvement is highly encouraged. Submission of articles for publication, participation in the RF Café Forums, notices for events, news headlines, important dates in history, product announcements, and any other relevant items are hereby requested. Thanks in advance for your contributions.

So, please, whether you happen to be a resident of a European Union country or not, spend some time looking over the new RFCafe.EU website. Then, come back often to witness and influence its evolution.

Update: Due to some logistical issues with separating the .COM and .EU website content (forum, borders, menus, etc.), the site will be taken down until resolved. I would rather wait to launch when all features are working properly. Sorry for the inconvenience. I will announce when it is up again.

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

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