Cornell-Dubilier Electric Corporation has been
manufacturing capacitors for more than a century - 109 years as of this writing to be
more precise. That is utterly amazing, especially since they still use the name of the
William Dubilier. In 1933, they merged with Cornell Radio to form Cornell-Dubilier
Electronics. If you have been in the electronics field for a while, you no doubt have
heard of their capacitors. In fact, William Dubilier was the inventor of mica-based
capacitors. According to this obituary in a 1969 issue of Radio-Electronics magazine
(he died on July 25th), Mr. Dubilier held 600 patents. I found a newspaper obit
that claims that Dublilier was offered, but did not accept, a knighthood and pension
for life by the British as a reward for inventing a submarine detection ...
"Researchers have discovered that materials called
dichalcogenides can enable unprecedented computer speeds and memory
capabilities. While computers have come a long way since the early days of machines like
the Commodore 64 in terms of memory and performance, researchers are constantly seeking
ways to improve aspects of the technology. Now, researchers at Georgia State University
(GSU) have made what they think is a key breakthrough involving materials called transition
metal dichalcogenides (TMDCs). Specifically, they discovered that TMDCs possess
optical properties that could make computers run at unprecedented memory speeds ..."
Shipboard radio operators have
been a crucial part of commercial and military transport since first being implemented
in the early 20th century. Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company's operators
(John "Jack" Phillips and Harold Bride) onboard the
RMS Titanic are credited for saving the ship after it ran into an iceberg
in the north Atlantic, as are the radio operators aboard the RMS Lusitania after German
U-boats mercilessly torpedoed it. Today's sailing vessels, as well as aircraft, are as
reliant upon skillful radio operators and radio equipment as back then. Much has been
automated, but ultimately it is the human element...
The feature story in the November issue of
Microwave Journal is titled, "Defense Opportunities and Challenges in 2019." Most of the mainstream
electronics news focuses on commercial projects like cellular systems, smartphones, WiFi,
the IoT, and Bluetooth. Publications like Aerospace & Defense Technology and
Aerospace Electronics, as you might expect, are just the opposite, but I digress.
"The 2019 defense budget seems to have something for everyone - including the first pay
raise for troops in nine years - and sailed through the House with a 361 to 74 vote and
was signed by the President. It is the first time in a decade this was achieved before
the end of the fiscal year. By any unit of measure, 2019 should be a good year for the
RF and microwave industry ..."
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"MIT researchers have developed materials that
can potentially replace silicon for the future of
flexible electronics. Silicon is a good semiconducting material because
it's abundant and cost-effective. Yet researchers have been looking for alternative materials
that can perform even better for high-performance electronics. Researchers at MIT think
they can identify some of those alternatives with a new technique for fabricating ultra-thin
semiconducting films comprised of exotic materials other than silicon. The scientists
created flexible films from gallium arsenide, gallium nitride, and lithium fluoride.
They have exhibited better semiconducting performance than silicon, but until now have
been cost-prohibitive in terms of the production of functional devices ..."
Spectrum crowding issues began almost as soon
as wireless communications was started. Early spark transmitters spewed RF radiation
all over the place, and (nearly) filterless receivers picked it up to convert the simple
CW signals into dits and dahs from Morse code messages. As more people climbed onto the
radio bandwagon with ever increasing transmitter power levels and receiver sensitivity
levels, differentiating between desirable and undesirable signals became a frustrating
task - like trying to hold a conversation in a room full of yakking people. Filters on
transmitters and receivers provided much relief. User numbers continued to grow and phone
(voice) communications, which occupies a few kilohertz of bandwidth instead of only a
hundred or so Hz, started straining spectrum availability yet again. Newer modulation
techniques like single sideband freed up some space, but then the digital age came along
and started sucking up spectrum again. During the entire time, advances in electronic
components and circuit design ...
always have been and always will be a daunting subject to a lot of people. For electronics
types, the issue of when to multiply the
logarithm of the ratio by 10 or by 20 seems to be the biggest stumbling
block. After many years of working with decibels, it becomes second nature. There are
still instances, though, where I see seasoned engineers and technicians routinely confuse
unreferenced decibel units (dB, the logarithm of a ratio) with logs of ratios referred
to some base value (dBm, dBV, etc.). The bel unit was originally created to quantitatively
assign changes in perceived levels of sound loudness...
"There's a serious cyber warfare problem that
may be affecting some deployed U.S. military and aerospace mission-critical embedded
computing systems, and nobody really wants to talk about it. It has to do with a computer
chip no bigger than a grain of rice that's suspected of being installed by Chinese intelligence
agencies on embedded servers made by San Jose, Calif.-based Super Micro Computer Inc.
tiny chips may be enabling China and other U.S. adversaries to monitor
the inner workings of military computers and the data they are processing. Super Micro
embedded computing servers are now, or in the past have been in use by some of the world's
largest corporations, including Amazon and Apple. They also may now, or in the past have
been in use ..."
Having been out of the RF system design realm
for a few years, I do not have much cause to think about
mixer spurious products anymore. I wonder these days how many designers even do much
in the way of frequency planning in conversion systems? Are the RF, IF, and baseband
frequencies as so well defined for most of what is done in the wireless world that all
the spurious product issues have been solved and there are few people who need to calculate
mixer spurious product frequencies and powers? If there is a need, what methods are currently
being used? Do you still cobble together spreadsheets and/or MATLAB worksheets using
equations like those presented here, do you have a favorite smartphone app, a compact
program on your computer, or are you using one of the two or three uber sophisticated
and super expensive design engineering programs ...
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"The technique makes metals smoother and more flexible
for better current flow throughout a metallic circuit. Cellphones, laptops, tablets,
and many other electronics rely on their internal metallic circuits to process information
at high speed. Current metal fabrication techniques tend to make these circuits by getting
a thin rain of liquid metal drops to pass through a stencil mask in the shape of a circuit.
But this technique generates
metallic circuits with rough surfaces, causing electronic devices
to heat up and drain their batteries faster. Future ultrafast devices also will require
much smaller metal components, which calls for a higher resolution to make them at these
nanoscale sizes. This requires molds with higher and higher definition ..."
are moving into the colder days of the year in the northern hemisphere. The normal high
temperature here in Erie, Pennsylvania is around 49°F (35° today with snow on the ground
for the last three days). It is the time of year that causes those less appreciative
of cold weather to conjure up memories of warm summer days with green leaves on tree
branches and colorful flowers in the garden. For those of you like me who actually prefer
the cooler weather, this
Carl & Jerry story about making snow by blasting clouds with ultrasonic energy
just adds to my appreciation of the onset of winter and visions of a white Christmas.
To date there has been no major, efficient progress in the field of snowmaking or rainmaking
(other than seeding clouds with silver iodide). Ski resorts still need sub-freezing weather
Paul Rako posted a great piece on the Electronic Design
website about University of Alabama professor Kenneth Kuhn's
HP Museum. If you
have a Pavlovian response at the mere mention of vintage HP test equipment, then you'd
better put on a bib before visiting his website. Be sure to see the
page. Says the good prof, "This web site is devoted to the history of test equipment
produced by the Hewlett-Packard Company which is now known as Agilent Technologies [Keysight
by now - KRB]. I own a huge collection of vintage Hewlett-Packard test equipment, catalogs,
equipment manuals, and Hewlett-Packard Journals. I also own probably one of the few still
existing HP210A square wave generators ..."
According to this 1972 article in Popular
Electronics magazine, cable television began around 1950. The system was very different
that what we have nearly 70 years later. The familiar acronym CATV does not stand for
CAble TeleVision, but rather
Community Access TeleVision. CATV, as originally implemented, was a means of bringing
broadcast TV to areas either too remote or too shielded from over-the-air (OTA) RF signals
to provide good signal reception. Depending on the need, CATV could range from re-broadcasting
of signals into targeted areas or sending signals through cable (originally unshielded)
to individual homes. As you might expect, opponents of the new system predicted that
such a scheme would eventually be the kiss of death for local broadcasters since large,
well-funded conglomerates would be able to dominate programming selection and dry up ...
Anatech Electronics, Inc. offers the industry's
largest portfolio of high-performance standard and customized
RF and microwave filters and filter-related products for military, commercial, aerospace
and defense, and industrial applications up to 40 GHz. Anatech has introduced three
new filter designs: a 1533 MHz cavity bandpass filter with SMA connectors, a 850 MHz
LC bandstop notch filter with SMA connectors, and a 698-942/1710-2145 MHz single
in/out duplexer filter with N-type connectors. Custom RF filters designs are used when
a standard cannot be found, or the requirements are such that a custom approach is necessary ...
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used / refurbished test equipment,
we offer short- and long-term rentals. They also offer repair, maintenance and calibration.
Prices discounted up to 80% off list price. Agilent/HP, Tektronix, Anritsu, Fluke, R&S
and other major brands. A global organization with ability to source hard to find equipment
through our network of suppliers. Please visit Allied Test Equipment today to see how
they can help your project ...
"Griffith University researchers have demonstrated
a procedure for making
precise measurements of speed, acceleration, material properties
and even gravity waves possible, approaching the ultimate sensitivity allowed by laws
of quantum physics. Published in Nature Communications, the work saw the Griffith team,
led by Professor Geoff Pryde, working with photons (single particles of light) and using
them to measure the extra distance travelled by the light beam, compared to its partner
reference beam, as it went through the sample being measured - a thin crystal. The researchers
combined three techniques - entanglement (a kind of quantum connection that can exist
between the photons ..."
Echo 1 was put into
orbit on August 12, 1960. This article was written 2½ years earlier in 1958 by Radio-Electronics
editor Hugo Gernsback. A technology visionary and prolific inventor and writer, Mr. Gernsback
astutely outlined the vast number of advantages that had already been and would in the
future be afforded the science community by virtue of a satellite's perspective from
space. Two of the Soviet Union's Sputnik satellites had revealed the surprisingly irregular
shape and gravitational influence of the Earth, information about the upper atmosphere,
and aspects of
space environment effects on radio communications. America was scrambling
to catch up. Gernsback and others postulated the configuration of active relay transceivers
powered by solar cells and storage...
Anokiawave has found a good man in Alastair Upton.
He was a highly respected and well-liked product line manager at RF Micro Devices when
I worked there in the last decade. He was always appreciative of the competitor device
teardown reports I wrote for him or for prying things open for him without breaking them.
"Anokiwave, an innovative company providing highly integrated IC solutions for millimeter-wave
markets and Active Antenna based solutions, today announced the appointment of
Alastair Upton as Senior Vice President of Business Development.
In this role, Upton will lead the company's strategic accounts, manage partnership programs,
and provide telecommunications expertise to the company. This appointment comes at a
strategic time for Anokiwave with tremendous opportunities for continued growth in the
rapidly developing mmW 5G ..."
I remember in one of my circuits classes in college
when the gyrator was introduced, and I thought it was an ingenious invention. The gyrator
circuit, implemented with an opamp and a couple resistors and capacitors, changed its
measured impedance type from that of a capacitance to that of an inductance. That is,
its impedance represents an R + jX Ω
format. Frequency limits are imposed by a combination of the self-resonant frequencies
of the resistors and capacitors as well as the gain-bandwidth product of the opamp, and
power handling is primarily limited by the opamp's voltage and current capabilities.
You might ask why, with all those constraints on its use you would even want to use a
gyrator circuit? The answer is that within its limitations, the gyrator often represents
a less expensive and more compact version of a physical inductor ...
The convenience and awesome power of the Internet
has for practical purposes always existed for anyone born in the 1990s or later. Having
been a teenager in the relatively prehistoric 1970s, the possibility of smartphones and
cars run by microprocessors was the domain of
Illustrated magazine visionaries who also dreamed up flying cars, personal nuclear
power generators, and a pill to cure the common cold. Nothing that would come to fruition
in my lifetime - right? Sure, this is just yet one more person's nostalgic waxing about
before the Internet was, but go ahead and take a look. It all strikes
a familiar chord with me ...
At VidaRF, the phrase 'Providing Simple Solutions
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"FCC has already allocated 12.55 gigahertz of
millimeter wave spectrum. Millimeter wave spectrum is key to delivering
on the ultra-high throughput speeds associated with 5G. In the U.S., the Federal Communications
Commission is gearing up auction 28 GHz and 24 GHz licenses on Nov. 14, and domestic
operators AT&T and Verizon are launching their first 5G services using the 39 GHz
and 28 GHz bands respectively. This momentum, coupled with other regulator-led activity
in key global markets, highlights the fundamental role of millimeter wave in 5G. In Europe,
U.K. officials plan to allocate 26.5 GHz to 27.5 GHz in the 2020 timeframe as do their
counterparts in Spain, Austria, Finland and France ..."
Don't let the title fool you. This is not a "bees-birds-and-flowers
routine" being provided to Barney by his boss, Mac. It turns out to be a brief introduction
into the fine art of
troubleshooting intermittent problems in radio and television circuits. As is usually
the case, while the specifics of the scenarios Mac describes might not apply to your
challenge at hand, the general philosophy always does. It is basically the old process
of elimination where after rapping components mechanically and/or heating or cooling
them in hopes of observing a tell-tale change in performance, the next step is to divide
the suspected circuit portion in half (electrically, but sometimes also physically) and
look in one direction. If the problem isn't there, then
Electro-Photonics is a global supplier of
RF & Microwave components.
Their products include SMT hybrid and directional couplers, wire bondable passive components,
mounting tabs, filters, transmission lines, and very useful test boards for evaluating
components (spiral inductors, single-layer capacitors). The Electro-Photonics team can
support your small R&D design requirements with RF & Microwave test fixtures
and save you valuable design and characterization time. Please take a moment to visit
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"Engineers at the California Institute of Technology
(Caltech) have created the world's smallest
optical gyroscope, a sensor that could be used in smartphones and
drones. The tiny device, which is smaller than a grain of rice, determines its position
in three-dimensional space using what's known as the Sagnac Effect. Based on the principles
of general relativity, the Sagnac Effect occurs when a beam of light is split and the
two resulting beams travel in opposite directions in a circle, arriving at the same light
detector. Despite the fact that the speed of light is constant, rotating the plain in
which these beams move causes one beam to arrive earlier than the other. When these loops
are placed on each axis of orientation ..."
(as most are) can be mysterious entities even when you
are familiar with their many interdependent physical and electrical properties. Because
of interwinding capacitance and a sometimes (when a large number
of turns are involved) rather significant series resistance, the equivalent circuit
model gets quite complex - literally in a mathematical sense. If you have the luxury
of staying far away from the self-resonant frequency (SRF)
of the coil, your component will behave very much like an ideal inductor, that is, XL
= 2πfL. This
article delves into what causes inductors to
with the theme of there's no such thing as too much information about vintage radio and
its history, here is a website titled "General Electric FM Mobile
Radio History." It includes lots of good photos of and descriptions from original
publications and restored equipment. Part 1 focuses on the General Electric plant
in Lynchburg, Virginia, up through 1959, and Part 2 covers 1960 and later. Enjoy ...
"This year, the
World Communications Awards 2018 received a record number of nominations
across 23 categories The winners of the 2018 World Communication Awards have been revealed,
at a glittering ceremony in London's West End. Celebrating innovation and achievement
across the full spectrum of the telecoms value chain, the awards recognized some of the
biggest projects and initiatives in the industry. 'We've been really impressed with the
quality and scope of the entries this year. Whether you're talking about the emergence
of 5G mobile networks, full fibre broadband rollout or smart city and industry initiative ..."