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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Homepage Archive Pages
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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 ..."
Successful Iridium Satellite Launch for SpaceX
"SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket climbed into orbit from California's Central Coast on Saturday, resuming service after an explosive setback last year and delivering much-needed reinforcements to Iridium's satellite constellation providing communications by land, sea and sky. The comeback mission kicks off a busy launch manifest with more than 20 SpaceX rocket flights expected this year as the company prepares to start launching astronauts, vital national security payloads and a slate of valuable telecommunications satellites for global broadcasters and network clients. The 229-foot-tall ..."
Modular Clean Rooms by Panel Built
Panel Built is a manufacturer of modular enclosures. Their Class 1,000, 10,000, and 100,000 modular clean rooms feature standard hidden in-wall air chase, filtered air-return louver, ducting for FFU, and adjustable door louver. Options include HEPA and ULPA filters, single package air-conditioning, 'Sticky Mats' to keep dirt and grim from entering, air curtains, high speed roll-up doors, and entrance air-locks. Panel Built has been added to my hand-selected list of vendors on the Clean Rooms page. They also make towers.
E-waste in East and Southeast Asia up 63% in 5 Years
"The volume of discarded electronics in East and Southeast Asia jumped almost two-thirds between 2010 and 2015, and e-waste generation is growing fast in both total volume and per capita measures, new UN research shows. Driven by rising incomes and high demand for new gadgets and appliances, the average increase in e-waste across all 12 countries and areas analyzed—Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore ..."
Editorial: Should We Change the Way We Elect Our Presidents?
It has been said that most people's historical perspective begins at the year they are born. Hence, they might believe whenever something 'new' happens, it is the first time. This past U.S. election and the ensuing talk over the electoral system is a good example. Dig this editorial from a 1950 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Concern over the results of the very close 3-way race in the 1948 U.S. presidential election between Truman, Dewey, and Thurmond had pundits pontificating and bloviating about the merits of the electoral system ...
Stage 4 of FCC's Incentive Auction Clearing Cost Plummets to $10B
"Stage 4 of the reverse portion of the FCC’s incentive auction ended Friday, with TV broadcasters setting a clearing cost of just more than $10 billion for up to 84 MHz of airwaves, falling dramatically short of the $40.3 billion set in Stage 3 and marking a tiny fraction of the $86 billion set in Stage 1. On the plus side, the auction may not slog on much longer. 'Broadcasters were really suicidal,' Tim Farrar of TMF Associates tweeted Friday ..."
Amazon to Run Secret Wireless Trials
"Amazon is preparing to test experimental wireless communications technology, including mobile devices and fixed-base stations, in rural Washington and Seattle, the company disclosed in government filings this week. The filings do not specify what the tests would be for, but they hint at a new type of technology or wireless service, noting that the project would involve prototypes designed to support "innovative communications capabilities ..."
Webinar: Analog Beamforming
Title: Analog Beamforming - What Is It and How Does It Impact Phased-Array Radar and 5G? Date: Tuesday, January 24, 2017 Time: 2:00 PM Eastern Standard Time Duration: 1 hour. "As 5G communication systems are rolled out and phased-array radar spreads its reach to non-military applications, our industry has taken a keen interest in beamforming. This technical webcast will dive into everything you want to know about beamforming systems - typical uses, digital versus analog, nulling ..."
Sketching out Magnetism with Electricity
"In a proof-of-concept study, researchers drew magnetic squares in a nonmagnetic material with an electrified pen and then 'read' this magnetic doodle with X-rays. In the experiment, the scientists moved the electric tip along the surface and applied a positive voltage. The electric field aligns the spins of the electrons in the nonmagnetic material, and the ordering creates magnetic properties. If the voltage is ..."
Small Laser Weapons Eyed for Combat Aircraft
"U.S. military researchers are asking for industry's help in developing compact, fiber laser diode modules suitable for pumping high power fiber laser weapons on a variety of manned and unmanned combat aircraft and tactical land vehicles. Officials of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, Va., have released a solicitation for the Efficient Ultra-Compact Laser Integrated Devices (EUCLID) project. High-energy laser (HEL) ..."
They Are Televising in Berlin!
"Inventor of the television. For over 80 years, Loewe has invented television, we have kept our 'Made in Germany' promise. Development, production and service departments are still based in Kronach." So reads the history page on the Loewe website regarding its involvement since 1923. This article, which appeared in a 1935 issue of Short Wave Craft, begins by lamenting America's lag in the development of commercial television; to wit, "practical public television is fast asleep in this country." The German system ...
Memo to Tech Professionals: Ask for a Raise in 2017
"At least one-third of tech workers are significantly underpaid. That’s the conclusion of a study by Paysa, a startup that markets tools designed to help software engineers and other technology professionals analyze and compare salaries and benefits. Paysa looked at 5 million resumes of technology professionals and concluded that nearly 2 million of them are currently underpaid by 10% or more. For an average software engineer making $112,000, the company indicated, that translates into $11,200 a year of missing income. It's probably a good time ..."
Oxfam: 8 Men as Rich as 1/2 the World
"Oxfam's report, An Economy for the 99 Percent, shows that the gap between rich and poor is far greater than had previously been estimated and details how big business and the super-rich are fueling the inequality crisis by dodging taxes, driving down wages and using their power to influence politics. The report also calls for a fundamental change in the way we manage our economies so that they work for all people, and not just a fortunate few ..." 3/4 of them are communications / computer moguls: Zuckerberg, Bezos, Gates, Helu, Ellison, Bloomberg.
Practical Electronics for Inventors, 4th Edition
A Fully-Updated, No-Nonsense Guide to Electronics. Advance your electronics knowledge and gain the skills necessary to develop and construct your own functioning gadgets. Written by a pair of experienced engineers and dedicated hobbyists, Practical Electronics for Inventors, 4th Edition, lays out the essentials and provides step-by-step instructions, schematics, and illustrations. Discover how to select the right components, design ...
Ulrich Rohde, N1UL, Recognized for Pioneering Work on SDR
This guy is a modern-day RF superstar in both the professional and Ham radio worlds. "Ulrich L. Rohde, N1UL, of Synergy Microwave Corp was invited to deliver the sixth Sir J.C. Bose Memorial Lecture at the IEEE Hyderabad Section on December 2 during a joint session of the IEEE MTT, AP, and EMC Societies in Hyderabad, India. Rohde's talk was 'Next Generation Networks: Software Defined Radio - Emerging Trends.' While working under a US Department of Defense contract at RCA in 1982, Rohde's department developed the first SDR, which ..."
Navy Fast-Tracks Sea Hawk EW Sensor
"To provide better sea-surface electronic warfare (EW) capability, Lockheed Martin is adding enhanced sensors to MH-60 Sea Hawk helicopters. The company is developing an EW pod for both MH-60 R/S Sea Hawk versions to help provide anti-ship missile defense as part of Lockheed's Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP), said Joe Ottaviano, EW director at Lockheed. Called the Advanced Offboard Electronic Warfare (AOEW) system, the airborne sensor and links will ..."
ARRL Warns Illegal Drone Transmitters Could Interfere with ATC
"In what it calls an 'extremely urgent complaint' to the FCC, ARRL has targeted the interference potential of a series of audio/video transmitters used on unmanned aircraft and marketed as Amateur Radio equipment. In a January 10 letter to the FCC Spectrum Enforcement Division, ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, said the transmitters use frequencies intended for navigational aids, air traffic control radar, air route surveillance radars, and global ...
Case of the Bad Bypass
It seems the title, "Mac's Radio Service Shop" for John Frye's tech tales might have been dropped after Radio & Television News magazine changed its name to Electronics World in May of 1959. The characters' names and roles were all the same, but the title was missing - probably to not bias the new theme of the magazine. This episode discusses some of the strange ways in which a faulty bypass capacitor can manifest itself. A big part of effective troubleshooting is the experience of 'having seem that before.' Interestingly, by 1963 vacuum ...
Cyber Squirrel 1: The Biggest Infrastructure Threat
"The real threat to global critical infrastructure is not enemy states or organisations but squirrels, according to one security expert. Cris Thomas has been tracking power cuts caused by animals since 2013. Squirrels, birds, rats and snakes have been responsible for more than 1,700 power cuts affecting nearly 5 million people, he told a security conference. He explained that by tracking these issues, he was seeking to dispel the hype around cyber-attacks. His Cyber Squirrel 1 project was set up to counteract ..."
New Propagation Prediction Tool Available
"ITURHProp, a new point-to-point propagation prediction tool based on an ITU engine and developed by Gwyn Williams, G4FKH, is now available via the RSGB website. The new web-based prediction tool is said to be more accurate than previous engines. ITURHProp calculates the path characteristics between two points on the globe to determine projected path maximum usable frequency (MUF) and SNR. Development on the project is ongoing ..."
Triad RF Systems Q1 2017 Newsletter
The Latest Products and News from Triad RF Systems. Triad RF has developed a high power system that extends the distance a typical Mobile Network MMIO (MN-MIMO) operates over. Utilizing Triad’s high power bi-directional amplifiers (BDAs), the Transmit RF output power of the four (4) channel MIMO radio is increased by 25 dB. The receive link is increased by 10 dB to overcome any losses in system connections. The unit can operate over specific frequency bands ...
National Company Ad: TMS Condensers
National Company, an early manufacturer of electronics components for radio products, ran a series of unique advertisements in the ARRL's QST magazine. Rather than using precious cash for directly promoting specific products or product lines, company president John Millen occupied full pages with text explaining why it makes the things it does and how they can be used to solve problems or enhance performance. This article/ad on TMS condensers (aka variable capacitors) was number 61 in the series, which means if they printed one every ...
Scientists Create First 2-D Electride
"Researchers have brought electrides into the nanoregime by synthesizing the first 2D electride material. Electrides are ionic compounds, which are made of negative and positive ions. But in electrides, the negative 'ions' are simply electrons, with no nucleus. The electrons are very close to each other and very loosely bound, causing them to act as an electron gas. This electron gas gives electrides certain electrical properties, such as a high electrical mobility and rapid electrical ..."
ATER Offers NSG 3150 15kV Combination Wave Surge Generator
Advanced Test Equipment Rentals (ATEC), a global leader in electronic equipment rentals with products from over 300 manufacturers, has announced that it now carries the newly released Teseq NSG 3150. The new NSG 3150 15kV Combination Wave Surge Generator enables users to conduct immunity tests in compliance with IEC/EN-61000-4-5. Built to excel in outdoor applications, the Teseq NSG 3150 can be used to test lightning, communication ...
Antenna Basic White Paper by Rohde Schwarz
This Antenna Basics white paper by Rohde Schwarz is an excellent primer on antenna on topics like Fresnel zone, polarization, Hertz's antenna model, wave propagation, Maxwell's equations, radiation density field pattern, beamwidth, directivity, and antenna factor. Simple explanations and illustrations facilitate comprehension. A review of various antenna types concludes this white paper. The download is free ...
Electronic Warfare for Special-Operations Planes
"Electronic warfare (EW) experts at BAE Systems will provide RF countermeasures systems to help U.S. special-operations C-130J turboprop aircraft evade and jam enemy radar systems. Officials of the U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Robins Air Force Base, Ga., announced a $67.7 million order Tuesday to the BAE Systems Electronic Systems segment in Nashua, N.H., to provide radio frequency (RF) countermeasures systems for special operations ..."
RF System Analysis Crossword Puzzle for January 15, 2017
This week's crossword puzzle has an RF System Analysis theme. Most of the longer words are terms you will find in cascade calculators such as RF Cascade Workbook. Avid cruciverbalists amongst us appreciate that 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 ...
Get Rid of Public Speaking Anxiety
Who knew the 'left leg shake' was a well-known symptom of Glossophobia? "As a an engineer, there is a good chance that you are an introvert. There is nothing wrong with being soft spoken unless part of your job includes public speaking. You are great at communicating complex ideas, but just not to large groups of people. You get speech anxiety. In the privacy of your dim lit office, your fingers dance across the keyboard and you have no problem expressing yourself. You love what you do, but when the time comes to give ..."
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 ..."
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 ..."
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 ...
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 ...
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 ..."
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 ..."
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 ..."
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 ..."
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 ..."
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 ...
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.