Uh-oh, here we go again. This is yet another advertisement
from a vintage electronics magazine that would never make it past the
politically-correct editors of today's cowardly corporations. We live in a time of hypersensitive
weaklings who benefit from an army of lawyers standing ready to come to the aid of anyone
who is the least bit offended. The same people who tell the rest of us that we must not just
tolerate, but accept and endorse their idiosyncrasies, are the first to cry foul when faced
with something that insults their sensibilities (a lot are just compulsive agitators). My
guess is that Shakespeare's antenna sales were boosted by the ad ...
With Narrowband the Path to IoT Is Wider
"If Machina Research,
and countless other analyst firms are right, and the number of
devices grows to something like 27bn by 2025 - then the networks available to carry all
the data they will produce are going to need a whole lot more capacity, and quickly. Of course,
there is no shortage of work taking place within standards bodies such as the 3GPP as they
try to figure out the best way to service the anticipated explosion in demand. And maybe unusually
- at a time when businesses demand, figuratively speaking, ever wider bandwidth for data -
coaxial RF cables
provide one of the most optimum and cost effective solutions for applications as diverse as
alternatives to Semi-Rigid cabling, where complex forming is required, to easy to install
jumper cables inside densely packaged RF enclosures where EMI is of concern. Features: DC
to 18 GHz, low loss & low VSWR, multi-layer 90 dB screening, broad connector ...
Webinar Series Title:
Microstrip Cross-Coupled Filter Design, Date:
August 2, 2017, Time: 8am PT/ 11am ET,
Sponsored by: Sonnet Software,
Presented by: Daniel G. Swanson, Jr.,
Abstract: This presentation builds on a previous
webinar where we designed a microstrip combline filter. In this webinar we will explore adding
a cross-coupling to the microstrip combline. We will add a capacitive cross-coupling that
will produce a transmission zero on the low side of the passband. There are several ways to
physically realize the desired cross-coupling. We will explore these options before choosing
the final ...
comics appeared in the June 1969 issue of Electronics World magazine. The one
on page 52 is a bit short-sighted even for its era given that any advanced civilization would
likely no longer use vacuum tubes. The comic on page 61 made me chuckle out loud when I saw
it. That one is worth printing out and framing to hang in the lab or outside an electronics
professor's office door. A big list of other electronics-themed comics is at the bottom
of the page ...
RF Cafe often receives more
than 15,000 page views each day (about half that on weekends). An average of 2.5 pages viewed
per visit calculates to about 6,500 unique visitors per day. That is 39,000 visitors per week,
and 2,000,000 visitors per year (4-5 million page views / year). It would be nice to get a
good profile on visitors. Nearly all the e-mail I receive comes from engineers, technicians,
students, and hobbyists, but I do not know the degree to which they represent the website
cross-section. Please cast your vote to help decide the issue. Thanks ...
Copper Mountain Technologies
as RF Cafe's newer advertiser. Copper Mountain Technologies develops innovative and robust
RF test and measurement solutions for engineers all over the world.
Copper Mountain's extensive line of unique form factor
Vector Network Anaalyzers
include an RF measurement module and a software application which runs on any Windows PC,
laptop or tablet, connecting to the measurement hardware via USB interface. The result is
a lower cost, faster, more effective test process that fits into the modern workspace in lab,
This week's radar and radio
crossword puzzle, as is the case every week, contains only words pertaining to science,
engineering, amateur radio, physics, mechanics, mathematics, etc. Herein you will never find
words having to do with numbnut actors or world leaders, mountains in places nobody has ever
heard of, or portmanteaus constructed from words describing freakish social behavior ...
Although the first patent for a
field effect transistors (FET) was assigned to Julius Edgar Lilienfeld in 1925, it was
not until sometime around 1960 that the first commercial product was available - a MOSFET
designed by Dawon Kahng and Martin M. (John) Atalla at Bell Labs. This article from a 1972
issue of Popular Electronics introduces the hobbyist readers to properties and uses
for the by-then common junction FET (JFET) and MOSFET. Nowadays, MOSFETs are the backbone
of the vast majority of integrated circuits ...
Fairview Microwave, a supplier of on-demand microwave
and RF components, has released 16 new
voltage-controlled oscillator (VCO) models covering bands from 10 MHz
to 4350 MHz. Unlike traditional oscillators with a single fixed frequency, VCOs allow
the frequency of the output signal to be varied by adjusting the amplitude of the input tuning
voltage. These products are used in military electronics, SATCOM, test and measurement and
wireless communications. Typical applications include phase locked loops, function generators,
frequency synthesizers, receivers, electronic jamming ...
Cafe visitor Gary S. sent me a note about the DoD opening access to the online base Exchange
to all honorably discharged veterans, rather than only to retired members. Army and Air Force
Exchange Service (AAFES)
installations do not collect sales tax, and they offer free shipping for purchases over $49.
I signed up and will
check them out as an alternative to Amazon. Access is slated to begin on November 11, 2017
- this Veteran's Day ...
"An engineering breakthrough at the University of Texas
at Dallas could lead to computing devices that can operate as much as 1000 times faster than
current processors. Assistant Professor Joseph S. Friedman came up with the idea, which is
based on the quantum mechanical phenomena underlying
spintronics, where electron spin is manipulated in addition to electron
charge. Friedman's proposal exploits a relatively obscure property of graphene - its magnetoresistance.
Friedman likens his device, in a sense, to a standard potentiometer ..."
After a 5-year absence,
the RF Cafe Forums are back! I took them
down because the amount of crap being posted got to be a lot of work to trim out. This time,
not only is the built-in spam filtering better, but I subscribed to a service
(at a co$t) that validates users based on a huge blacklist.
The good news is that means signing in to submit a post is not required. I will continue to
monitor and intervene as needed to keep everything clean. You can, if you wish, log in using
your LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook credentials. I primed the forum with some good posts,
but your participation is needed again to make it successful. Please check out the new RF
Cafe Forums today!
Note: "Ionospheric heating" is a Ham radio insider
term similar to "cloud warming" for blasting a lot of RF power into the sky at a nearly vertical
angle. "Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico is conducting an
ionospheric heating campaign July 24-31, using HF. 'The new Arecibo ionosphere
HF heater nominally transmits 600 kW net power and has a unique Cassegrain dual-array antenna
design that increases gain of three crossed dipoles for each band, using the signature 1000-foot
spherical dish reflector,' explained Chris Fallen ..."
Here is a brief but informative introduction to the
story behind French physicist
Andre Marie Ampere's discovery of the eponymously named law that governs the relationships
between current flow and a magnetic field. As most RF Cafe visitors know, both a steady state
and time-varying current will generate a magnetic field, but only a time-varying magnetic
field can generate a current flow. In less than a week after witnessing Hans Christian Ørsted's
demonstration of a current-carrying wire influencing a compass needle, Ampere discovered the
Right-Hand Rule of current flow direction based on the direction of the magnetic field ...
AOC Virtual Series:
Introduction to Direction Finding Systems, Thursday, July 27, 2017 (that's
TODAY) 2:00 pm EST, presenter Kyle Davidson. "Direction
Finding (DF) is a critical technology across the spectrum of Electronic Warfare (EW) applications
and domains, with increasing demands for accuracy even as the electromagnetic spectrum becomes
more congested. The goal of this presentation is to provide an understanding of how radio
frequency DF systems work in both communications and radar applications. Starting with amplitude
and phase comparison DF ..."
Sylatech has secured a multi-million pound
10 year contract to supply a major European defence contractor with passive microwave antenna
components and assemblies. Sylatech's Managing Director Charlie Breese commented, "as a strategic
supplier to our customer, we have proudly supported their antenna and microwave assembly requirements
for over 25 years. Our microwave design, manufacturing and testing capability provides a strong
customer fit whilst our reputation in the sector continues to strengthen. Sylatech is currently
enjoying rapid growth with several of our International Prime customers ...
The gift of a seat at the popular Bits to Waves: Building
a Modern Digital Radio in One Day workshop, which features
NI AWR Design Environment, inspired
Wilson Chung, a senior at California Polytechnic University Pomona to produce more than 100
microstrip circuits, including antennas, amplifiers, couplers, phase shifters, and more, for
his senior project. The workshop, presented by Dr. David S. Ricketts, a professor of electrical
engineering at North Carolina State University, is offered at select IEEE conferences ...
"A recent discovery by a team of researchers led by
Tulane University advances fundamental knowledge that could one day lead to more energy-efficient
computers, televisions, cell phones and other electronics. The researchers' discovery of a
new magnetic topological semimetal is featured in the latest edition of the
journal Nature Materials. The Tulane team was led by physics professor Zhiqiang Mao, the Tulane
School of Science and Engineering's Outstanding Researcher for 2017. Mao's research, which
Saelig Company has introduced the Pico Technology
PicoVNA 106 Low-Cost Vector Network Analyzer - an economical USB-controlled,
professional-grade 300 kHz to 6 GHz Vector Network Analyzer (VNA) with excellent
performance, portability, and affordability. Despite its small size and low cost, its full-function,
minimal-error, 'Quad RX' four-receiver architecture supports both 8- and 12-term calibration
without the uncorrectable switching errors, delays, and unreliability of traditional three-receiver
designs. The instrument supports convenient calibration methods such as 'enhanced isolation
"Demand for radiation-hardened electronics for space
applications continues to grow, with opportunities in traditional
rad-hard spacecraft, as well as for radiation-tolerant small satellites,
industry experts say. Electronic component suppliers for space applications find themselves
serving two distinctly different market segments today, say company officials this week at
the IEEE Nuclear and Space Radiation Effects Conference in New Orleans. The first rad-hard
market segment is the traditional QML-V, in which ..."
"Hot fields in the U.S.
include embedded engineering, control engineering, and robotics. The key word used in describing
electrical engineering job trends this year is 'high,' according to Angela Keller, vice president
of recruiting at the U.S. recruiting firm Randstad Engineering: 'High growth, high salaries,
high demand, high competition among hiring companies.' That competition is benefiting EEs,
giving them both a plethora of choices and better entry-level paychecks. By the end of last
electrical engineering graduates in the United States earned salaries
that averaged U.S. $73,078—nearly $5,500 more than the prior year ..."
For some inexplicable reason, it seems that most of
the articles I read dealing with antenna and feedline efficiencies do not address the
receive side of the equation. Yes, transmit power is expensive and there is a legitimate
reason to reduce losses when converting power amplifier output to in-the-air power, especially
for DX operations. However, it doesn't do much good to launch the full permissible 1,500 watts
PEP and make a contact on the other side of the world if your system cannot receive a reply
because of the excessive line loss and/or mismatch loss between your antenna and your receiver.
Antennas and feedlines are reciprocal elements so if ...
Anatech Electronics, a manufacturer of RF and microwave
filters, has published its
As always, it includes both company news and some tidbits about relevant industry happenings.
In it, Sam Benzacar discusses, among other topics, an apparent demise (or near demise) of
the Commercial-Off-the-Shelf (COTS) component usage philosophy that once was a keystone in
the Department of Defense's cost containment strategy. A telling chart illustrates the progressive
decrease in COTS parts begin designed into defense systems. My guess is the same type of trend
occurred in the aeronautics and space industries ...
"The Bluetooth Special
Interest Group (SIG) has released a standard for
Bluetooth mesh networking. The mesh capability is based on Bluetooth Low
Energy (LE) and utilizes the PHY and link layer for Bluetooth 4.x. So supporting it on existing
hardware will typically be a matter of providing a suitable protocol stack and application
support. For example, Silicon Labs' Bluetooth mesh stack builds on the existing Bluetooth
link layer ..."
Poor 'ol Marcelo Claure is at the bottom of the heap
with a mere $7.5M for 2016, while Tim Cook received $145M. Google's Sundar Pachai topped the
list with a cool $200M - not being evil pays well. "It's that time of year again when we sift through
an avalanche of regulatory filings to find the highest paid executives. This year, we present
the highest paid execs across pay TV, telecom and wireless as a unified list, since many of
the names are prominent figures in all three industries. These figures are from last year,
but are the most recent available. Click through the above slideshow to see the
25 highest paid executives ..."
No list of engineering
job hunting and career issues
is complete without an article on LinkedIn, so the obligatory bit of advice from one source
is included. There is also a collection of recommendations gathered from the standard 'experts'
(at least in their opinions) in the art of professional career
enhancement counselors. I have to admit to being glad of now residing outside the realm of
job hunting and its requisite machinations. After being self-employed for over a decade, it
is hard to imagine needing to craft a resume and cover letter, or go on another interview.
But, for those who do, happy hunting! ...
Peregrine Semiconductor, founder of RF SOI (silicon
on insulator) and pioneer of advanced RF solutions, introduces the
a high-power receiver protection RF switch. Ideal for wireless infrastructure applications,
this reflective switch is optimized for emerging radio architectures such as massive multiple
input, multiple output (MIMO). The PE42823 delivers excellent single-event peak power handling,
low power consumption and high linearity. Offered in a compact form factor, this high-power
switch features built-in ESD protection—a key benefit for systems that ...
"Researchers from nanoelectronics research institute
IMEC (Leuven, Belgium) have shown how to optimize
field effect transistors based on 2D materials high performance logic
beyond the 10nm node. The researchers worked with scientists from KU Leuven in Belgium and
the University of Pisa in Italy and also presented guidelines on how to select 2D materials
in a paper in Nature Scientific Reports. The benefit of 2D materials, such as graphene, is
that they physically constrain electrons in the plane of the material while creating enhanced
mobility in that plane ..."
Before plug-in crystals were widely available for band
selection on radios, LC tank circuits did all the frequency discrimination heavy lifting.
Accordingly, owners often had a selection of
swappable inductors on-hand to enable listening to a variety of shortwave transmissions.
During the time period of this article in a 1935 Short Wave Craft magazine, new 'all wave'
radios were hitting the showroom floors that largely mitigated the need for swapping components
semiconductor content of electronics systems is forecast to be 28.1% in
2017 breaking the previous record of 25.9% set in 2010, according to IC Insights. This is
because while electronic system market growth will be just 2% to take the market to $1.49T
the global semiconductor market is expected to surge by 15% in 2017 to $419.1B. IC Insights
forecasts that the total semiconductor market will exceed $500B in 2021. The growth in
global unit shipments of cellphones (0%), automobiles (2%), and PCs (-2%) forecast to be weak
in 2017 ..."
BBTLine offers a unique patented
combiner / splitter design that allows
for more compact devices while maintaining low insertion loss, excellent return loss and excellent
amplitude/phase balance. These are not standard Wilkinson-style RF splitters. 2- and
4-way, broadband 0.5 - 6 GHz, low loss (0.7 dB @ 6 GHz), excellent amplitude / θ balance (±0.1
dB, ±1°), surface mount & connectorized. Please visit BBTLine today to see how they can
help your project ...
Please take a few moments and vote in this new poll.
Thanks for your participation. - Kirt B.
"Researchers at Brown University have developed a new
kind of polarizing beam splitter for
terahertz radiation, which could prove useful in imaging and communications
systems. The technique uses stacks of carefully spaced metal plates to make a polarizing beam
splitter, a device that splits a beam of light by its differing polarization states, sending
vertically polarized light in one direction and horizontally polarized light in another. Such
a beam splitter could be useful in a wide variety of systems that make use of terahertz radiation,
from imaging systems to future ..."
One of the first things a knowledgeable restorer of
vintage electronic gear does prior to plugging in a newly acquired piece of hardware is to
replace all of the original
paper capacitors. Those things notoriously lose the internally contained smoke that makes
them work soon after power is applied. Episodes of conflagration often ensue. According to
Mac McGregor, the typical shelf life of a paper capacitor (and some mica and ceramics back
in the day) is about five years. In that time the insulation resistance can drop from 5000 MΩ
to less than 2 MΩ. Ohm's Law quickly reveals that with used across ...
Mint Experience in Wales will host 'The Royal
Mint Radio Experience,' July 30 until August 5 at the Royal Mint's new visitor center
in Llantrisant, Wales. School children and members of the public have been invited to enjoy
a fun, informal, and interactive Amateur Radio workshop. According to an announcement from
the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB), visitors will get the chance to use the FUNcube-1
CubeSat, launched in 2013 and used by schools and educational groups around the world. 'We're
delighted to be supporting this event which will give visitors to the Royal ..."
Many moons ago (early-mid 1980s),
I did quite a bit of microcircuit assembly and wire bonding in an engineering prototype lab
at Westinghouse. It was a unique and valuable experience. When this app note notice showed
up in a recent edition of NASA tech Briefs, I though it would be good to let you know about.
"The common failure modes of wire bonds, for instance cratering / peeling, bond wire damage,
trailing wire bond tails, poor adhesion, and missed bond pads, are exacerbated when
wire bonding small MESA chips. There are many variables that need to be
balanced to optimize a wire bond process, and limit the amount of time consuming and costly ..."
"Samsung Electronics has announced that its wafer fab
at Pyeongtaek, South Korea, has started shipping products and that it will focus on the production
of 64-layer vertical NAND ICs. According to reports Samsung Electronics has earmarked 15.6T
won ($13.5B) over the past two years and coming years to build
out Pyeongtaek's line 1. The company has announced it now plans to spend another 14.4T
won ($12.5B) to expand its
semiconductor production capacity there with a Pyeongtaek line Samsung
also plans to invest 6T won in its Hwaseong, South Korea, site ..."
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 puzzle with an asterisk (*) are
pulled from this past week's (7/17 - 7/21) "Tech Industry Headlines" column on the RF Cafe
homepage (see the Headline Archives page for help). Enjoy! ...
I chuckled out loud when I saw this
comic. Of course the situation would never really occur (then again, maybe it could...).
The artist is G. Lyons, who does not appear to have made many other appearances in Electronics
World magazine. He might have been a loyal reader who submitted it as a one-time stint at
"The use of selected Electrical, Electronic, and Electromechanical
commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components in space applications is slowly
expanding - too slowly - and not free of myths. It is imperative to be aware of the pitfalls
posed by these myths to reach a decision whether to use COTS parts in a specific space mission.
Myth 1: The main drive to use COTS in space is cost savings. The use of COTS in space is not
a paved road to cost savings. In order not to misinterpret the term 'cost savings,' it should
be emphasized that for an EEE component the following applies ..."
This Radio Service Data Sheet for the
RCA-Victor Model 15U, which appeared in the April 1938 issue of Radio-Craft,
is the first 3-page instance I remember seeing in all the vintage electronics magazines. The
Model 15U is a fairly sophisticated outfit, but not that much more so than some other pieces.
There is a nice example of the Model 15U on the RadioMuseum.org website (thumbnail at left).
It appears to be fairly clean, but not yet fully restored. A lot of adjustments needed to
be made during the alignment of both the radio (commercial broadcast and shortwave bands)
and the turntable. The electronics repair ...
Triad RF Systems announces the availability of their
TTRM1081, an L-Band bi-directional SSPA suitable for high data-rate wireless
links. Applications include UAVs and military mesh networks. Rx noise figure is approximately
1.3 dB and Tx/Rx switching speed is 1 μS. This class AB LDMOS module is designed
for both military and commercial applications. It is capable of supporting any signal type
and modulation format, including but not limited to 3-4G telecom, WLAN, OFDM, DVB, and CW/AM/FM.
The latest device technologies and design methods are employed ...
For more than a decade, RF Cascade Workbook 2005™
has been the de facto standard for spreadsheet-based RF system cascade analysis.
Wireless System Designer™ is the next phase in the evolution. If you know how to
use Excel and you know anything about cascaded system calculations, then you know
how to use Wireless System Designer™. This is significantly easier and faster than
using the multi-thousand dollar simulators when a quick system analysis is all that is needed.
An intro video takes you through the main features ...
Claude Shannon labored on top-secret war projects at Bell Labs. By night,
he worked out the details of information theory. Looking back on the last months of 1940,
Claude Shannon was quite open about his desire to avoid the World War II draft: 'Things were
moving fast there, and I could smell the war coming along. And it seemed to me I would be
safer working full-time for the war effort, safer against the draft, which I didn't exactly
fancy. I was a frail man, as I am now.... I was trying to play the game, to the best of my
ability. But not only that, I thought I'd probably contribute ..."