RF Cafe Software
About RF Cafe
1996 - 2016
BSEE - KB3UON
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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These archive pages are provided in order to make it easier for you to find items that you remember seeing on the RF Cafe homepage. Of course probably the easiest way to find anything on the website is to use the "Search RF Cafe" box at the top of every page.
Homepage Archive Pages
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Pentagon Examines Smartphone Encryption
"The Pentagon is evaluating encryption technology designed to secure smartphone-to-smartphone messaging, chat and data sharing applications, DOD officials told Defense Systems. An advanced encryption standard developed by Secured Communications is among the technologies being assessed by Pentagon developers. Users are given access to a specific app which enables end-to-end secured exchange of images, files, texts ..."
NI AWR Design Environment Version 13 Now Available
Version 13, the first major update in 2017 to NI AWR Design Environment, has been released. V13 provides key new capabilities and major enhancements to better address the design challenges associated with highly-integrated RF/microwave components commonly found in communications, phased-array radar and other electronic systems. NI AWR Design Environment V13 introduces numerous innovations in design flow management and simulation, supporting MMIC ...
Nanocavity and Atomically Thin Materials for Chip-Scale Light Sources
"Engineers have discovered an important first step towards building electrically pumped nanolasers that are critical to the development of integrated photonic based short-distance optical interconnects and sensors. University of Washington Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Physics Arka Majumdar, Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Physics Xiaodong Xu and their team have discovered ..."
Over Mountains on 5 Meters!
The 5-meter band (56-64 MHz) allocated to U.S. amateur radio operations in the 1930s was reallocated in 1946 to television broadcasting. However, Hams still are permitted to operate on 6-meter (50-54 MHz) and 2-meter (144-146 MHz) bands on either side of 5 meters. Therefore, this article on non-line-of-sight communications within mountainous regions will still be of interest, even if only from a historical perspective. There is an interesting comment made about feeding a vertical 1/4-wave antenna from the top rather than from ...
Acoustic Frequency Comb Measures Up
"An 'acoustic frequency comb,' which produces sound at a precise set of frequencies, has been made by physicists at the University of Cambridge in the UK. The device, which is an acoustic analogue of an optical frequency comb, works at ultrasonic frequencies. With further improvements, the device could be used for imaging, metrology and materials testing. Conventional optical frequency combs emit a spectrum of light made of thousands of discrete peaks at evenly spaced frequencies, like the teeth ..."
Please Thank LadyBug Technologies for Their Ongoing Support
LadyBug Technologies means Peak Performance in Power Sensors: 9 kHz - 40 GHz and 80 dB dynamic range. LadyBug makes a broad line of First Tier NIST traceable USB power sensors that are compatible with Windows systems, along with Linux. LadyBug has the only SPI & I2C sensor available. Patented NoZero NoCal feature - Simply connect and measure to receive a high accuracy measurement. Please contact LadyBug today to find out how they can help you ...
Sheer Numbers Defeat All Efficiency Gains
I have long commented on how the profligate consumption of everything under the sun, with an accompanying draining of natural resources and and enormous generation of environmental pollution and waste products is utter hypocrisy as practiced by a worldwide populace supposedly concerned about the evils of free market capitalism and the need for 'green' and 'eco' awareness. This report from MIT gives credence to my assertion. "Lack of efficiency in the use of natural resources is not the only culprit for many of the Earth's environmental issues ..."
GaN-on-Silicon Technology Enables Scalable HEMTs
"A team of researchers at the University of Illinois has recently advanced gallium nitride (GaN)-on-silicon transistor technology by optimizing the composition of the semiconductor layers that make up the device. Working with industry partners Veeco and IBM, the team created the high electron mobility transistor (HEMT) structure on a 200 mm silicon substrate with a process that will scale to larger industry-standard wafer sizes. According ..."
Please Welcome evissaP as a New Advertiser on RF Cafe!
evissaP ('Passive' spelled backwards) offers a wide variety of RF cable assemblies and low PIM RF connector adapters. Incorporating highly repeatable and high quality cable and connectors, our cable/connector matrices cover the spectrum from DC to 50 GHz. Standard product cable assemblies are built using lead free solder in combination with state-of-the art induction soldering techniques. Custom requirements - including cable labeling - always welcome ...
NuWaves Intros 15-W, L- & S-Band Bidirectional PA Module
NuWaves Engineering, an international RF and Microwave solutions provider, announced the addition of their latest miniaturized bidirectional amplifier to their line of NuPowerTM XtenderTM bidirectional amplifier products. The NuPower™ Xtender™ 12C04A model, part number NW-BA-12C04A, provides 15 watts of RF power across L- & S- band frequencies of 1.0 to 2.5 GHz, ideal for extending the communication range of half-duplex transceivers with constant ...
U.S. Navy Develops Stronger Lasers
"Having proved it can deploy and fire shipboard lasers, the U.S. Navy is moving at warp speed to develop lasers with more punch and power sources. 'We're doing a lot more with lasers,' Rear Adm. Ronald Boxall, director, Surface Warfare Division, said earlier this month at the annual Surface Naval Association national symposium. 'The Navy plans to fire a 150-kw weapon off a test ship within a year,' he said. 'Then a year later, we'll have that on a carrier or a destroyer or both ..."
Dxers: See Neil Carleton's (VE3NCE) Worldwide Radio Stamp Collection
As you might expect, Ham radio operators tend to be the type of people who engage in more than one pastime. Many are handy with tools and like doing challenging home improvement projects and renovations of cars, trucks or antique furniture. Others enjoy hobbies like flying model airplanes and/or rockets, boating, fishing, baseball, and other endeavors of skill and prowess. Some, like Canadian amateur radio operator Neil Carleton (VE3NCE), count stamp collecting amongst their extracurricular activities. Stamp collectors are known properly as philatelists. Neil does not collect just any kind of stamps ...
RF Cafe Crossword Puzzle w/Weekly Headlines January 29, 2017
For the sake of avid cruciverbalists amongst us, each week I create a new crossword puzzle that has a theme related to engineering, mathematics, chemistry, physics, and other technical words. You will never be asked the name of a movie star unless he/she was involved in a technical endeavor (e.g., Hedy Lamar). Clues in this week's puzzle with an asterisk (*) are pulled from this past week's (1/23 - 1/27) "High Tech News" column on the RF Cafe ...
Optical Supercavity Drives Tiny and Efficient Laser
"A new type of compact and highly efficient laser that is compatible with optical telecommunications has been created by Boubacar Kanté and colleagues at the University of California, San Diego, in the US. The tunable device, which uses a wave phenomenon first proposed more than 80 years ago, can output light with a range of different beam profiles. According to Kanté, the laser could someday be used in a wide range of applications including spectroscopy and optical trapping ..."
EDI CON 2017 Call for Abstracts: RF/µwave and HS Digital Topics
EDI CON USA 2017, an event that brings together engineers working on high-frequency analog and high-speed digital designs, will take place at the Hynes Convention Center, September 11-13 in Boston, MA. The event management team is pleased to announce this year's call for abstracts (CFA) is now open. The EDI CON USA Technical Advisory Committee, event management team, and this year's conference chairs, Thomas Cameron, CTO for the Communications Business Unit at Analog Devices Inc. and Istvan Novak, Senior Principal Engineer ...
The ARRL Handbook for Radio Communications 2017
The ARRL Handbook for Radio Communications 2017 is available now. As always, it is chock-full of easy to understand explanations, tables and graphs, equations, theory, building projects, operational practices, and regulations. It is the best $50 you will spend this year. New topics are added with each edition. It probably is not necessary to upgrade if you have a copy from the last couple years, but if it has been 4-5 years since you last bought an ARRL Handbook, this would be a good time to get the latest and greatest ...
Saelig Intros Optically Isolated O-scope Probe for Floating Signals
Saelig Company has announced the availability of the Teledyne LeCroy HVFO103 - a high voltage fiber-optically isolated 60 MHz oscilloscope probe that is optimally designed for the measurement of small signals floating on a high voltage bus in power electronics designs. Optical isolation between the probe tip and the oscilloscope input reduces adverse loading of a device under test. It also reduces noise, distortion, ringing, overshoots, and transients on the measured signal. It far surpasses the measurement ...
Probe Simplifies Measurements in High-Bandwidth Handhelds
"Power rail probe addresses the challenge of testing high-bandwidth, low-voltage circuits. Test and measurement of cell phones and tablet computers may soon be simpler, thanks to a new power rail probe that's scheduled to be introduced at next week's DesignCon 2017 show and conference. Known as the RT-ZPR20, the new probe addresses the growing difficulty of making measurements on the high-bandwidth, low-voltage circuits ..."
Failed Clocks Prove a New Setback for ESA's Galileo Satnav
"European Space Agency recently announced that Europe's beleaguered Galileo satnav has suffered another setback, with clocks failing onboard a number of satellites in space. Designed to make Europe independent from America's GPS, the €10B ($11B) project may experience further delays as the cause of the failure is investigated. 18 orbiters have been launched for the Galileo constellation to date, a number that will ultimately be boosted to 30 operational ..."
Cambridge Deal Creates Major Graphene Centre in UK
"A majority stake in Cambridge Graphene, a spin-out company from the University of Cambridge, has been acquired by UK-based firm Versarien. Cambridge Graphene develops inks based on graphene and related materials using processes developed at the Cambridge Graphene Centre. The spin-out company has commercialised graphene inks for novel technology applications. Cheltenham-based technology ..."
Low-Cost Technique Converts Bulk Alloys to Oxide Nanowires
"A simple technique for producing oxide nanowires directly from bulk materials could dramatically lower the cost of producing the one-dimensional (1D) nanostructures. That could open the door for a broad range of uses in lightweight structural composites, advanced sensors, electronic devices – and thermally-stable and strong battery membranes able to withstand temperatures of more than 1,000 degrees Celsius. The technique uses a solvent reaction ..."
The Operational Amplifier
When you read this article's title, I doubt you immediately thought it would be about a vacuum tube circuit, or even one that uses discrete transistors to implement the circuit. Rather you most likely though it would be about an integrated circuit (IC). Operational amplifiers (opamps) are building blocks characterized (ideally) by their infinite input impedance, zero output impedance, infinite open-loop bandwidth and gain, zero input offset voltage, amongst other defined parameters. The first commercially produced IC opamp ...
Snowflake-Shaped Electrodes Boost Graphene's Photoabsorption
"Thanks to a novel gold fractal metasurface design, an international team of scientists from Purdue University and the Technical University of Denmark have managed to tune graphene's natural wideband optical absorption by over an order of magnitude. Published in Nano Letters, their article 'Enhanced Graphene Photodetector with Fractal Metasurface' describes how the naturally poor photoabsorption of graphene (merely 2.3% of incident light) can be largely enhanced ..."
Thanks Once Again to Windfreak Technologies for Their Support !
Windfreak Technologies designs, manufactures, tests and sells high value USB powered and controlled radio frequency products such as RF signal generators, RF synthesizers, RF power detectors, mixers, up/downconverters. Worldwide customers include Europe, Australia, and Asia. Please contact Windfreak today to learn how they might help you with your current project ...
VidaRF Intros New Website Design for 2017
VidaRF, celebrating 10 years, has released new website and full digital product catalog with comparative pricing and high quality as attached. VidaRF is a global technology provider of custom RF microwave components to client’s requests, or directly built-to spec for the most specific applications. Along with providing our customers with a variety of MIL-SPEC products, VidaRF Components specializes in designing custom solutions. Instead of designing around catalog items ...
Foxconn CEO Says Investment for Display Plant in U.S. to $7B
"Foxconn, the world's largest contract electronics maker, is considering setting up a display-making plant in the United States in an investment that would exceed $7 billion, company chairman and chief executive Terry Gou said on Sunday. The plans come after U.S. President Donald Trump pledged to put 'America First' in his inauguration speech on Friday, prompting Gou to warn about the rise of protectionism and a trend for politics to ..."
Startup Offers Carbon-on-Si Wafers for RF
"Carbonics, a startup founded in 2014, is offering first access to its carbon nanotube (CNT) technology in the form of carbon-on-silicon and carbon-on-quartz wafers that the company claims will allow RF performance beyond that of gallium arsenide. Carbonics claims that CNT devices can be 30x more linear and 1000x more power efficient than gallium arsenide. The so-called 'zebra' wafers are 100 mm in diameter and include a 1 nm monolayer of self-aligned CNT material. However ..."
4 New Radio Service Data Sheets for Vintage Sets
Here are 4 more "Radio Service Data Sheets" from the pages of a vintage Radio Craft magazine. The most unusual is probably the Detrola Model 105C 5-Tube Dual-Band A.C.-D.C. superheterodyne tabletop receiver.
Liquid Antennas for Modern Radio Communications
"The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has awarded £578k funding to researchers at the University of Liverpool to develop liquid antennas which have the potential to transform modern radio communications and radar. Antennas convert radio waves into electrical signals and are an essential component in mobile and wireless products from smart phones to radars. Traditionally antenna are made out of materials such as copper have good conductive properties but are hard to ..."
RF Engineer Needed by Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR)
Candidate will serve as an EW sensor engineer for the Electronic Warfare Division at NAVAIR Weapons Division, Point Mugu. The major responsibilities include the evaluation and analysis of various radio frequency (RF) INTEL data, design and development of Mission Data files/libraries and the defining system requirements and design for EW systems. Responsibilities also include writing and updating intermediate and final technical documents including system requirements and design ...
Note: These are the folks that produced the extremely popular Electronic Warfare and Radar Systems Engineering Handbook!
Low-Power Chip Modulator Has THz Potential
"A novel slot waveguide with tunable, two-dimensional electron gas could form the basis of a room temperature THz modulator, according to Massachusetts-based Tufts University. Through lack of THz facilities, the researchers have created a lower frequency prototype, than can amplitude modulate a 250 GHz carrier to 96% intensity with a 14 GHz signal. 'This is a very promising device that can operate at terahertz frequencies, is miniaturized ..."
Anatech Electronics' January Newsletter Has Been Published
Anatech Electronics, a manufacturer of RF and microwave filters, has published its first newsletter of the new year. As always, it includes both company news and some tidbits about relevant industry happenings. Sam Benzacar discusses the DoD's 'onerous' task of dealing with the overwhelming number of potential interferers to its critical communications systems throughout the world. An apropos reference to an oft-quoted Pogo line is used regarding the significant source of interference from the military itself, with its multitudinous transmitters across the entire EM spectrum ...
Nano-Composite Moves in Response to Light
"Worcester Polytechnic Institute has found a way to use light to produce motion in a semiconductor nanocomposite material. There is tremendous amount of interest in the potential of infinitesimally small machines. Whether they are to be incorporated into integrated circuits or even implanted in the human body, this is indeed a new frontier. Last year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry went to three researchers whose work led to the first molecular motor ..."
Bell Telephone Laboratories Advertisement
When you read today where someone writes about, "back in the eighties...," you naturally think of 1980-something. This 1949 advertisement by Bell Telephone Laboratories mention of "back in the eighties" was referencing 1880-something. The picture juxtaposes a telephone pole massively populated with cross poles, insulators, and wires, with an engineer holding up a section of coaxial cable that was in the process of replacing the poles and wires. Thanks to Bell Labs' relentless ...
Many Thanks to Federal Custom Cable for Continued Support !
Federal Custom Cable is your direct source for RF & microwave and contract manufacturing (CM), cable prepping, kitting, labeling, rack & panel, modular assemblies, delay lines, inductors and toroids, semi rigid, stripping and bending, custom molding, Ø-matched, power and multi-conductor and shielded cables. Please contact Federal Custom Cable today for your project needs ...
mmWave Antenna Design Made Easy in ADS
Microwave Journal's free Innovations in EDA webinar series presents "mmWave Antenna Design Made Easy in ADS" on February 2, 2017, at 1:00 pm ET. "For chip designers, planar antennas are easy to integrate. Yet, at millimeter-wave (mmWave) frequencies, new challenges in design and multi-technology integration surface. One such challenge is that at mmWave frequencies, radar applications such as gesture recognition and autonomous vehicles utilize different planar antennas ..."
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Socatric Apps Solves Math Problems
"A new app can give you the answers to your math homework and even explain how to solve it just by taking a picture. Called Socratic, the free app uses artificial intelligence to determine what information you need, and returns 'explainers' and videos to give you step-by-step help. The firm says it’s like having a 'digital tutor in your pocket,' generating answers from a community of teachers and students. Socratic doesn’t just work with math. The tutor app can also help with questions in science, history ..."
Triad RF Systems Intros 1.3-2.7 GHz, 5 W, Bidirectional Amplifier
The TTRM1083 GaAs amplifier operates at a frequency range of 1300 MHz to 2700 MHz and has a power output of 5 Watts, while still maintaining a compact form factor of 3.25" x 2" x 0.993". This unit also features internal protection against over/under voltage and excessive temperature conditions, which coupled with its rugged construction, ensure fault-free operation in even the most extreme environments. This class A GaAs ...
Attosecond Timing in a Kilometre-Wide Laser Microwave Network
"Scientists at DESY have set up the world's most precise 'metronome' for a kilometre-wide network. The timing system synchronizes a 4.7-kilometer-long laser-microwave network with 950 attoseconds precision. An attosecond is a quintillionth of a second, or a millionth of a millionth of a millionth of a second. Such installations can provide the beat for recording ultrafast X-ray snapshots of dynamic processes in the world of molecules and atoms. The German-US team around leading DESY scientist Prof. Franz X. Kärtner from the Center for Free-Electron ..."
Studying Engineering: A Road Map to a Rewarding Career
If your son or daughter, or anyone else you know is considering pursuing a career in engineering, then this 4th edition of a classic might be a good gift. "Since Studying Engineering: A Road Map to a Rewarding Career exploded onto the market in 1995, it has become the best selling Introduction to Engineering textbook of all time. Adopted by over 300 U.S. institutions, and reaching more than 150,000 students, the book has made major inroads into the 'sink or swim' paradigm of engineering education. Armed with the book ..."
Please Thank Anatech Electronics for Continued Support of RF Cafe!
Anatech Electronics manufactures and supplies RF and microwave filters for military and commercial communication systems, providing standard and custom RF filters, and RF products. Standard RF filter and cable assembly products are published in their website database. Custom RF filters designs are used when a standard cannot be found, or the requirements dictate a custom approach. Please take a moment to visit Anatech's website to see how they might be able to assist with your current project ...
Cold Cathode Tube Demonstrated!
Cold cathode tubes are distinguished from hot cathode tubes in that they do not use a separate heated element in order to generate free electrons (thermionic heating). Rather, a 'starter' type process is used to initiate the electron generation and then a cascade multiplication keeps the process running. Although this article reports on a cold cathode oscillator vacuum tube - designed by none other than television pioneer Philo Farnsworth - some more familiar examples are neon and fluorescent bulbs and even the veritable Nixie ...
Free Engineering White Papers & Books
The free whitepapers, pamphlets, books, magazines, and chapter examples listed here are a small sample of a lot of new items that are offered for FREE through TradePub. The publishers make them available to qualifying people as a promotional campaign for their full line of offerings. Topics include careers, manufacturing, engineering, management, meetings and travel. Note: I earn a few pennies (literally) when you download one of these ...
Vishay Inductor Has Built-In -20 dB E-Field Shield
"Vishay Intertechnology announced a commercial version of its popular Automotive Grade IHLE series of low-profile, high current inductors featuring integrated e-shields for EMI reduction. Available in the 2525, 3232, and 4040 case sizes, the Vishay Dale IHLE-2525CD-51, IHLE-3232DD-51, and IHLE-4040DD-51 contain the electric field associated with EMI in a tin-plated copper integrated shield, providing up to -20 dB of electric field reduction at 1 cm (above the center of the inductor ..."
RF Technician Needed by Safe-Com Wireless
Safe-Com Wireless is seeking a contract RF Technician with several years experience in RF testing and circuit card trouble-shooting. The position requires specific experience and knowledge in working with spectrum / network analyzers ,signal generators, RF amplifiers, RF frequencies up to 1 GHz, and soldering / surface mount components. Experience with fiber optics is a plus. Safe-Com Wireless is located in Holmdel, New Jersey ...
Galileo Satellites Experiencing Multiple Clock Failures
"The onboard atomic clocks that drive the satellite-navigation signals on Europe's Galileo network have been failing at an alarming rate. Across the 18 satellites now in orbit, nine clocks have stopped operating. Three are traditional rubidium devices; six are the more precise hydrogen maser instruments that were designed to give Galileo superior performance to the American GPS network. Galileo was declared up and running in December. However, it is still short of the number of satellites ..."
Physics & Engineering Crossword Puzzle - w/Friday's Headlines
For the sake of avid cruciverbalists amongst us, each week I create a new crossword puzzle that has a theme related to engineering, mathematics, chemistry, physics, and other technical words. Clues in this week's puzzle with an asterisk (*) are directly from Friday's "High Tech News" column on the RF Cafe homepage. You will never be asked the name of a movie star unless he/she was involved in a technical endeavor (e.g., Hedy Lamar) ...
everything RF Spectrum Analyzer Search
everything RF announces a newly implemented search filter for finding a spectrum analyzer with the features you need. Selectable parameters include manufacturer, type, price, frequency range, resolution bandwidth, etc. everything RF provides the only searchable product database for the RF & microwave industry, and currently lists 191,634 products from over 875 companies in 229 categories ...
Popular Electronics: Transistor Topics
Popular Electronics magazine ran their "Transistor Topics" column for many years, and this is the third in the series. Unfortunately, I do not yet have the previous two editions, but someday... Transistors were a relatively new phenomenon at the beginning of 1956, so there was a lot to learn and a lot of people to teach about them. It might have been easier to make converts of dedicated tube users if the JFET had been commercialized before the BJT, since the JFET (voltage on the gate controls current flow) acts more ...
5G Economy Report Gauges $Trillion Impacts
"5G cellular could have a bigger economic impact than expected, according to an IHS study sponsored by Qualcomm. The report comes at a time when carriers are racing to test 5G prototype products and standards are still in development. 5G could enable as much as $12.3 trillion in goods and services in 2035 when its full effects are realized, the 5G Economy report said. By that time, companies developing 5G products and services could generate $3.5 trillion in revenue and 22 million jobs. The so-called 5G ..."
RF Specialist Needed by Philips Lighting
You know it's a new world when lighting companies are hiring RF engineers to design and qualify wireless 'personal lighting' products. In the EMC & Wireless Connectivity lab, you will contribute to the Internet-Of-Things strategy of Philips Lighting; e.g., by co-creating the next generation of the Philips HUE lamps. You will support multiple departments of Philips Lighting to efficiently test and design the wireless connectivity part of their products and systems ...
EDI CON USA Announces 2017 Conference Chairs
EDI CON USA 2017, an event that brings together engineers working on high-frequency analog and high-speed digital designs, will take place at the Hynes Convention Center, September 11-13 in Boston, MA. The event management team is pleased to announce this year's conference chairs: Thomas Cameron, CTO for the Communications Business Unit at Analog Devices Inc. will serve as the chair for the high-frequency subject areas, and Istvan Novak, Senior Principal Engineer at Oracle, will serve as the chair for the high-speed digital areas of the conference ...
New 'Amateur Radio Parity Act' Bill Introduced in U.S. House
"H.R. 555 - a new 'Amateur Radio Parity Act' bill - has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill’s language is identical to that of the 2015 measure, H.R. 1301, which passed in the House late last summer but failed in the waning days of the US Senate to gain the necessary support. As with H.R. 1301, the new measure introduced on January 13 in the 115th Congress was sponsored by Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), with initial co-sponsorship by Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) and Rep. Greg Walden, W7EQI (R-OR). Walden now ..."