Homepage Archive - May 2018 (page 3)

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.

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See Page 1 | 2 | 3 of the May 2018 homepage archives.


Friday 25

Solder-Wick Trick Characterizes Bypass Caps

Solder-Wick Trick Characterizes Bypass Caps - RF CafeIstvan Novak has a clever low budget, close-enough type fixture for quickly measuring the impedance (and determine the self-resonant frequency) of capacitors up through a few tens of MHz. Mr. Novak's application is bypass capacitor characterization. "Bypass capacitors are used in large numbers in power Istvan Novak - RF Cafedistribution networks. Most vendors today supply not only typical characteristics, but also various simulation models. Nevertheless, doing our own characterization of these components is still useful and often necessary. In this short article, I'll show you how to create simple home-made fixtures for these measurements. For bypass capacitors, measuring impedance over a reasonably wide frequency range ..."

Super Selectivity for Your Receiver

Super Selectivity for Your Receiver, August 1965 Popular Electronics - RF CafeRestoring and/or upgrading vintage radio receivers is still a very popular pastime for hobbyists, and for that matter for some professional servicemen who preform maintenance on established equipment installations. Three of the most significant changes that can be made to older receivers to improve sensitivity are to clean up the power supply DC output, replace noisy components like vacuum tubes and leaky capacitors, and tune / modify / replace RF and IF filters. This article discusses a method of replacing a stock LC filter with a high selectivity mechanical filter. The nice thing about an analog receiver is that narrowband, steep-skirt filters can be substituted without concern for group delay at the band edges that can (and will) wreak havoc on digital signals ...

Saelig Introduces LoRa/FSK Smart Modem Transceiver

Saelig Introduces LoRa/FSK Smart Modem Transceiver - RF CafeSaelig Company has introduced the Circuit Design SLR-434M Smart Modem - a compact, easy to use narrow-band embedded radio modem operating in the 434 MHz ISM band. It incorporates LoRa® technology to achieve extremely long range for low bit-rate data with low power. The SLR-434M's excellent receiving sensitivity allows communication into areas once considered difficult for RF to penetrate, and making it possible to transmit 1800 feet or more. The SLR-434M is also switchable to accommodate ...

Supersonic Waves Might Help Electronics Beat the Heat

Supersonic Waves Might Help Electronics Beat the Heat - RF Cafe"A new discovery may dramatically improve heat transport in insulators and enable new strategies for heat management in future electronics devices. The discovery was made by researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory who made the first observations of waves of atomic rearrangements, known as phasons, propagating supersonically through a vibrating crystal lattice. The discovery gives a different way to control the flow of heat. It provides a shortcut through the material ..."

Thursday 24

Plug-and-Play Chip Cuts Size, Weight of Radar Antennas

Plug-and-Play Chip Cuts Size, Weight of Radar Antennas - RF Cafe"A new beamforming chip promises to shrink the size and weight of aircraft antennas by eliminating the need for mechanical steering linkages. The chip could serve in radar for defense aircraft and for in-flight broadband on commercial jets. Analog Devices, maker of the new chip, also foresees it being used in air traffic control, surveillance, weather monitoring, and even 5G communications. ADI engineers say the key is the product’s inherent ability to cut size and weight. “By going to an electronically steered antenna design, we are able to reduce the size of the antenna element itself and eliminate the mechanical arm and motor ..."

5G Update: Standards Emerge, Accelerating 5G Deployment

5G Update: Standards Emerge, Accelerating 5G Deployment - RF CafeRF component manufacturer Pasternack Enterprises has a useful article in the May issue of Microwave Journal titled, "5G Update: Standards Emerge, Accelerating 5G Deployment." I am still a bit fuzzy on what exactly 5G entails, other than it must be better than 4G since it's a whole number higher. This helps a little. "Though the expected features and use cases for 5G are diverse and extensive, the start of the 5G rollout will likely address only a few of the featured use cases: enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), ultra-reliable low latency communications (URLLC) and massive Internet of Things (mIoT) or massive machine-type communications (mMTC) ..."

Recent Developments in Electronics 

Recent Developments in Electronics, December 1959 Electronics World - RF CafeSugar Grove, West Virginia, is within the U.S. National Radio Quiet Zone (NRQZ), which also encompasses the Green Bank, WV area. It was established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1958 to protect hypersensitive, cryogenically cooled radio astronomy receivers from manmade terrestrial signal sources. As you can imagine, there are not many places remaining in human-inhabited regions of earth that are not massively invaded by radio frequency energy. If you visit the area today, you had better not have your cellphone, computer, or other RF-producing device turned on or you can be subject to a hefty fine. Roving signal detecting trucks monitor the region for offenders. This 1961 report on advances in electronics also features the world's first computerized bank check ...

Gowanda Expands Magnetics Offerings with Acquisition of HiSonic

Gowanda Expands Magnetics Offerings with Acquisition of HiSonic - RF CafeGowanda Components Group is pleased to announce that its offerings of RF and microwave passive magnetic components are expanding in connection with the acquisition of HiSonic in Olathe, Kansas. "HiSonic's designs, technologies and customers complement those within our Magnetics Division," said GCG CEO Don McElheny. "The synergy in our capabilities and applications will enable us to offer a broader range of innovative inductor and transformer solutions to design engineers in commercial, medical, microwave, military, space and other markets around the world ..."

Achieving Unprecedented Frequency Control in Miniature Lasers

Achieving Unprecedented Frequency Control in Miniature Lasers - RF Cafe"Only a few decades ago, finding a particular channel on the radio or television meant dialing a knob by hand, making small tweaks and adjustments to hone in on the right signal. Of course, we now take such fine tuning for granted, simply pressing a button to achieve the same effect. This convenience is enabled by radio frequency synthesis, the generation of accurate signal frequencies from a single reference oscillator. The need for better radar in World War II drove the development of radio frequency control, and its miniaturization in subsequent decades revolutionized a host ..."

Wednesday 23

How to Get the Most out of Your Key and Bug

How to Get the Most out of Your Key and Bug, July 1966 Popular Electronics - RF CafeWith a fair helping of chagrin, I admit to being a "10-4 Good Buddy" type of Ham radio operator. That moniker is applied liberally by pre-1991 (February 14, to be exact) amateur radio licensees to post-1991 licensees because that was the year in which the FCC no longer required aspiring Hams to pass a Morse code proficiency test for an entry level license. It was a sort of Valentine's Day gift. In 2003, the ITU announced the rescinding of its code requirement and allowed countries to set their own standards. By 2007, General and Amateur Extra exams no longer required code tests. I earned my Technician license in 2010 ...

New Book: Technologies for RF Systems

Technologies for RF Systems - RF CafeWritten by Terry Edwards, "Technologies for RF Systems" is a comprehensive resource provides an introduction to the main concepts, technologies, and components in microwave and RF engineering. This book presents details about how to design various amplifiers, circuits, and chips for communication systems. It offers insight into selecting appropriate ADC and DAC technology. Several worked examples are found throughout the book. This book provides a summary of 21st century RF systems and electronics and discusses the challenges of frequency bands and wavelengths, software-defined radio (SDR) and cognitive radio. RF semiconductors are covered, including band gap, drift velocity ...

Magnetic Lattice Material Promises Dramatic Increase in Battery Life

Magnetic Lattice Material Promises Dramatic Increase in Battery Life - RF Cafe"A new magnetic lattice material developed by researchers at the University of Missouri could be used to increase the battery life of electronic devices by more than a hundred times, it is claimed. Singh's team developed a two-dimensional, nanostructured material created by depositing a magnetic alloy, or permalloy, on the honeycomb structured template of a silicon surface. The new material conducts unidirectional current, or currents that only flow one way. The material also has significantly less dissipative power compared to a semiconducting diode, which is normally included in electronic devices ..."

Lafayette Radio Electronics Advertisement

Lafayette Radio Electronics Advertisement, January 1965 Popular Electronics - RF CafeA lot of nostalgia gets waxed here on RF Cafe, to which frequent visitors can readily attest. Old timers (if you're not one now, you some day will be) often like to see remembrances of days of yore, the halcyon days of past hobbies, family, long naps, school (yuk), vacations, and other pleasurable times. Hopefully, you already have or will soon have a few of your own. This 3-page Lafayette Radio Electronics spread from a 1965 issue of Popular Electronics magazine is typical of what what avid electronics hobbyists would have read and drooled over with so many great items in the offering. If you were like me, the cost of most of the things I wanted were well outside my budgetary reach. Prices for electronics gizmos were quite high ...

everythingRF Adds Searchable RFID Vendor Catalog Resource

everythingRF Adds Searchable RFID Vendor Catalog Resource - RF Cafeeverything RF has created the largest database of searchable RFID products. We have compiled complete catalogs from the leading RFID manufacturers across 6 categories and make the products searchable by specification: RFID antennas, RFID reader ICs, RFID reader modules, RFID readers, RFID tag ICs, and RFID tags. everythingRF has also created parametric search tools in each category and are now adding more products and companies to the system ...

Making Radio Chips for Heck

Making Radio Chips for Hell - RF Cafe"There are still some places the Internet of Things fears to tread. Researchers at the University of Arkansas and the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, in Sweden, are building a radio for those places. This month, in IEEE Electron Device Letters, they describe a mixer, a key component of any wireless system, that works just fine from room temperature all the way up to 500 ºC. It's the first mixer IC capable of handling such extremes. Of several projects 'one of the more sexy is trying to put a rover or some sort of instrument on Venus that will last for more than two hours ..."

Tuesday 22

Reverse Current Keeps Ferry Afloat

Reverse Current Keeps Ferry Afloat, December 1965 Popular Electronics - RF CafeA news story with a title about a boat and reverse current is more likely to be referring to water flow in a river or stream than about electrical current in a conductor. Having grown up in a neighborhood next to a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay, I spent quite a bit of time around boats, both large and small. Salt water is particularly destructive to metal hulls due to cathodic corrosion, exacerbated by the salt water's conductivity. While working as an electrician in the 1970s, I installed electrical supplies for a few dockside cathodic protection system that probably functioned like the one described in this 1965 issue of Popular Electronics magazine. The principle is fairly simple whereby anodes are placed in the water around the hull and a counter-current is induced ...

Tiny Packages Help Designers Do More with Less

Tiny Packages Help Designers Do More with Less - RF CafeIt'll come as no surprise to any savvy buyer, and certainly not to any design engineer, that each new generation of electronic products packs more performance into a smaller package than the product it replaced. No matter whether it's a remote industrial sensor node or the next smart wearable device, space is becoming an increasingly scarce resource. Aimed at IoT and personal electronics applications, the TLV9061 consumes only 0.64 mm2 and is the world's smallest op amp. Something's gotta give. In this case, many things. Fitting the increased capability into a smaller volume requires the designer to make improvements in multiple areas. The three biggest keys to succeeding, however, are to reduce the overall power consumption ...

Nuclear Radiation ... Insidious Polluter

Nuclear Radiation ... Insidious Polluter, February 1972 Popular Electronics - RF CafeCesium-137, iodine-131, carbon-14, plutonium-239, strontium-90, uranium-235, and the list goes on. These and other radioisotopes associated with nuclear material are the result of explosions, medical treatments, laboratory experiments, or in some cases naturally occurring deposits. Regardless of the source, most people, including me, cringe at the thought of being exposed to the insidious effects of the cell-altering energy they possess. Ionizing radiation is the dangerous type of radiation due to its ability to dislodge electrons from atoms, and in the process forming cancerous cell mutations or killing the cells altogether. Researchers in the early days of radiation discovery experienced sometimes gruesome maladies as a result of the handling isotopes. Some knowingly subjected themselves to harmful doses ...

Saelig Introduces UHF Narrow Band Multi-Channel Transceiver

Saelig Introduces UHF Narrow Band Multi-Channel Transceiver - RF CafeSaelig has introduced the STD-302Z 434 MHz Narrow Band Multi-Channel Transceiver - a half-duplex UHF radio module that is suitable for industrial remote control and telemetry applications operating in the 434 MHz ISM band. The STD-302Z is designed with SAW filter and narrow-band filtering techniques to provide reliable data communication in industrial situations where interference rejection and practical distance range operation are required. Offering 10 mW of RF power from its PLL-synthesized transmitter with programmable RF channels, the STD-302Z's double superheterodyne receiver sensitivity is specified down to -119 dBm ...

Please Thank QuinStar for Helping to Deliver RF Cafe

QuinStar Technology mm-Wave Products - RF CafeQuinStar Technology designs and manufactures mm-wave products for communication, scientific, and test applications along with providing microelectronic assembly, rapid prototyping, and mass customization. Amplifiers, Oscillators, Switches, Attenuators, Circulators, Isolators, Filters, Waveguide, Antennas, Phase Shifters, Transceivers, Mixers, Detectors. QuinStar specializes in cryogenic amplifiers, circulators, and isolators. Please visit QuinStar today to see how they can help your project ...

Smaller, More Efficient Radio Frequency Transformers

Smaller, More Efficient Radio Frequency Transformers - RF Cafe"The future of electronic devices lies partly within the 'internet of things' - the network of devices, vehicles and appliances embedded within electronics to enable connectivity and data exchange. University of Illinois engineers are helping realize this future by minimizing the size of one notoriously large element of integrated circuits used for wireless communication - the transformer. Three-dimensional rolled-up radio frequency transformers take 10 to 100 times less space, perform better when the power transfer ratio increases and have a simpler fabrication process than their 2-D progenitors, according to a paper detailing their design ..."

Monday 21

Electronics Still Thrives as a Hobby

Lou Frenzel Electronics Hobby - RF CafeLou Frenzel has posted a good article titled, "Electronics Still Thrives as a Hobby" on the Electronic Design website. While attending his local Maker Faire in Austin, Texas, he discovered some statistics on the cross-section of electronic hobbyists as gathered by the Jameco Electronics supply company, who sponsored the event. He expressed surprise at the average age of participants, but it actually comports well with that of many - if not most - hands-on (not including game controller and smartphone button pushing) types of hobbies these days ...

RF Cafe Morse Code Player Working Again

Morse Code page - RF CafeIf you look just beneath the RF Cafe page title, you will see the Morse code dits and dahs that represent this website's name. Click on it and you will be taken to the Morse Code information page, and therein is an audio player that will sound out the code for you. The music file was originally created in MIDI format in order to keep it as small as possible. At the time, all the web browsers supported MIDI files. Times have changed and now most browsers will not support them. I finally got around to converting the file to MP3 format, so now the embedded player will provide the intended code transmission ...

DARPA Project to Examine THz for Wireless Communications

DARPA Project to Examine THz for Wireless Communications - RF Cafe"It may be too early for the wireless industry to make major investments in spectrum above 95 GHz, but it is the right time for researchers to take a closer look at the spectrum and see where it might lead. ComSenTer is a newly formed hub for advanced wireless and sensing research founded by a consortium of industrial partners and the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). ComSenTer researchers are developing technologies for the high gigahertz and terahertz spectrum that present opportunities for imaging and sensing capabilities at transmission speeds that are largely unheard ..."

Electronic Countermeasures - The Art of Jamming

Electronic Countermeasures - the Art of Jamming, December 1959 Electronics World - RF CafeDo you own one of those RFID-blocking wallets to keep your credit cards from being read unawares? If so, you are engaging in electronic countermeasures. Anyone interested in the history of electronic countermeasures (ECM) and electronic counter-countermeasures (ECCM) will benefit from this 1959 Electronics World article. ECM has been practiced as early as World War I when wireless communications was first used for military purposes. ECCM, of course, followed immediately on its heels. Electronic countermeasures range from simple jamming of receivers to emitting spoofing signals that fool receiver. In extreme cases ECM can destroy receiver front-ends by overdriving and burning out circuitry. ECM and ECCM ...

Thanks to Rigol for Their Continued Support

Thanks to Rigol for Their Continued Support - RF CafePlease express your appreciation to Rigol Technologies for their support of RF Cafe. Rigol's extensive line of products includes digital and mixed signal o-scopes, spectrum analyzers and RF signal generators, arbitrary waveform generators, power supplies, sensitive measurement products, and data acquisition systems. Applications include applications such as technical education, embedded design, WiFi integration, EMC, and manufacturing. Backed with a 3 year warranty and a 30 day no questions asked return policy ...

Normally-Off GaN Nanowire Transistors w/Inverted P-Channel

Normally-Off GaN Nanowire Transistors w/Inverted P-Channel - RF Cafe"Researchers based in Germany claim the first vertical GaN nanowire MOSFETs with an inverted channel, allowing a positive 2.5 V threshold voltage and giving enhancement-mode normally-off behavior. The high threshold was achieved by using p-GaN as the channel material. With 0 V on the gate, the channel blocks current flow. Increasing the gate potential inverts the channel, increasing the electron density and allowing transport. The team from Technische Universität Braunschweig, Universität Kassel and Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt sees advantages from GaN ..."

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Tunable 3rd Harmonic Generation in Graphene

Tunable 3rd Harmonic Generation in Graphene - RF Cafe"Graphene Flagship researchers have shown for the first time gate tunable third harmonic generation in graphene. This research, led by Graphene Flagship Partner University of Cambridge, in Collaboration with Politecnico di Milano and IIT-Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia in Genova and published in Nature Nanotechnology, could enable on-chip broadband optical switches for data transport in optical systems. Optical harmonic generation is the creation of new frequencies (colours) when high intensity light interacts with a nonlinear material. Third Harmonic Generation (THG) can create light ..."

These 3 Stocks Could Help You Benefit from the 5G Revolution

These 3 Stocks Could Help You Benefit from the 5G Revolution - RF CafeThe Motley Fool sez: "5G is the next step in the evolution of mobile wireless technology, promising faster speeds, better coverage, and lower network energy consumption. With most smartphones currently running on 3G or 4G networks, 5G deployment is still at least a couple of years away. Tech companies are starting to prepare for what will be the key to powering fast data speeds required by the Internet of Things (IoT) and self-driving cars. Skyworks Solutions provides radio frequency chips to enable wireless connectivity in smartphones and other devices. It could have a key role in the 5G era through its connectivity modules ..."

Memristor Adds Cybersecurity Layer to IoT Devices

Memristor Adds Cybersecurity Layer to IoT Devices - RF Cafe"While we embrace the way the Internet of Things already is making our lives more streamlined and convenient, the cybersecurity risk posed by millions of wirelessly connected gadgets, devices and appliances remains a huge concern. Even single, targeted attacks can result in major damage; when cybercriminals control and manipulate several nodes in a network, the potential for destruction increases. UC Santa Barbara electrical and computer engineering professor Dmitri Strukov is working to address the latter. He and his team are looking to put an extra layer of security ..."