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Kirt Blattenberger - RF Cafe Webmaster

Copyright: 1996 - 2024
Webmaster:
    Kirt Blattenberger,

    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 World Wide Web (Internet) was largely an unknown entity at the time and bandwidth was a scarce commodity. Dial-up modems blazed along at 14.4 kbps while typing up your telephone line, and a nice lady's voice announced "You've Got Mail" when a new message arrived...

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"Building a Heathkit was the electronics equivalent of painting a Rembrandt by the numbers." - Robert Lucky

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Tech Industry Headlines

Tech Industry Headlines - RF Cafe- Archive -

• TIM Reportedly Says Arrivederci to Huawei

• Apple Takes Lead as 5G Smartphone Sales Boom

• GlobalFoundries Moving HQ to NY as It Expands Fab Capacity (must like high taxes)

• Circulating Currents Inside Gold Nanoparticles

• Nokia Says Massive MIMO Radio Coming Soon

• New Vulnerability Affecting Computers Globally

• Huawei, China Mobile May Look to Stars for 6G

• mmWave 5G Remains Elusive for U.S.

Fundamental Crystal Control for Ultra-High Frequencies

Fundamental Crystal Control for Ultra-High Frequencies, April 1932 QST - RFCafeYou always need to pay careful attention to "breakthrough" type articles when they appear in April issues, since many magazines have a tradition of burying an "April Fools' Day" item without notice. This April 1932 issue of QST magazine seems to be legitimate. The term "lycopodium pattern" aroused my suspicion, but it turns out to refer to a pattern of vibration that resembles the needle orientation of certain pines and cedars. As radio frequencies continued to increase during the early years of "wireless" development, the use of quartz crystals as a stable reference source ran into a physical limitation because as crystal slices reached a certain thinness, overtone and subharmonics appeared that caused problems in circuits. A new mineral called tourmaline saved the day. With an elasticity much greater than quartz, tourmaline is able to vibrate at higher fundamental frequencies for a given thickness...

Senior RF Engineer Wanted by Triad RF Systems

Senior RF Engineer Wanted by Triad RF Systems - RF CafeTriad RF Systems is a fast-growing leader in the design and manufacture of RF power amplifiers, bidirectional amplifiers, and RF systems. We are looking for a Senior RF Design Engineer to join our team in New Jersey. The Senior RF Design Engineer will lead the development of new SSPA and transmit / receive products for our rapidly expanding catalog and customer base. Required skills and qualifications include Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering or equivalent related experience, minimum 5 years professional experience in RF engineering, experience with the simulation, design, test, and realization of RF power amplifiers and low noise receiver front-ends operating up through C Band, SSPA design knowledge or experience up to 50 W...

Exodus Intros 1-2 GHz, 4 kW SS Pulse Amplifier

Exodus Advanced Communications Intros 1-2 GHz, 4 kW Solid State Pulse Amplifier - RF CafeExodus Advanced Communications' AMP2043P-4KW Solid State Pulse Amplifier (1.0-2.0 GHz, 4 kW Pulse) is designed for Pulse/HIRF Mil-Std 461/464 and Radar applications. Other frequency ranges & power levels available all providing Superb Pulse Fidelity. Up to 100 μsec pulse widths, 6% duty cycles and 66 dB gain. Available monitoring parameters for Forward/Reflected power, VSWR, voltage, current, temperature sensing for outstanding reliability and ruggedness in a 10U chassis. Features Small form factor rack-mounted system, Class AB linear advanced technology design, instantaneous L-Band octave bandwidth, linear high peak pulse applications, designed for EMI/RFI, lab, HiRF/pulse applications...

Many Thanks to LadyBug Technologies for Their Continued Support!

LadyBug Technologies RF Power Sensors - RF CafeLadyBug Technologies was founded in 2004 by two microwave engineers with a passion for quality microwave test instrumentation. Our employees offer many years experience in the design and manufacture of the worlds best vector network analyzers, spectrum analyzers, power meters and associated components. The management team has additional experience in optical power testing, military radar and a variety of programming environments including LabVIEW, VEE and other languages often used in programmatic systems. Extensive experience in a broad spectrum of demanding measurement applications. You can be assured that our Power Sensors are designed, built, tested and calibrated without compromise.

Electronics-Themed Comics: Radio Term Illustrated

Electronics-Themed Comics: Radio Term Illustrated, April and May 1946, Radio-Craft - RF CafeHere is another trio of vintage electronics-themed comics from Radio-Craft magazine. Two are part of illustrator Frank Beaven's "Radio Terms Illustrated" series, where readers would write in with suggestions and Mr. Beaven would put the ideas in ink. These two are "Poor Reception, and "Regeneration." If you look at the bottom of the page, you will find a big listing of other comics, with many of the other "Radio Terms Illustrated" instances ("High Potential," "Signal Generator," "Overload Capacity," "Amplitude," "Transmission Loss," etc.) labeled. Enjoy!

Mathematical Puzzles, 1982 Old Farmer's Almanac

Mathematical Puzzles, 1982 Old Farmer's Almanac - RF CafeEach autumn I used to anxiously await the appearance of the newest edition of The Old Farmer's Almanac on the store shelf, and such was the case with this 1982 issue. It is not that I was/am an avid farmer, just that I enjoy reading the anecdotes, tales, and interesting historical tidbits included amongst the pages along with tables of high and low tides, moon and sun rising and setting times, astronomical events, and weather patterns expected for the year that lay ahead. Most of all, I liked working the puzzles and riddles. Over the years the difficulty levels gradually got lower and lower (aka dumbed down), to the point where for the last decade or so I have not even bothered buying the OFA. Now it is full of numbnut stuff. Because quite a few of the Mathematical Puzzles from the older editions are worthy of an engineer's cerebratio

Webinar: Pulse Stability Measurement of Radar Signals

Webinar: Pulse Stability Measurement of Radar Signals - RF CafeRohde & Schwarz has produced a webinar entitled "Pulse Stability Measurement of Radar Signals," which is available for viewing on their website. They appreciate your registering, but if for some reason it doesn't work, click on the thumbnail above to go directly to it. "With the arrival of sophisticated radar and communication systems, phase noise has become the most important factor engineers focus on during the design and validation phase. Phase stability is the key parameter for defining target acquisition in radars, spectral integrity in communication systems and precision beam steering capabilities in active electronic scanned array antennas (AESA)..."

The Conical Monopole Antenna

The Conical Monopole Antenna, November 1966 QST - RF CafeIt is important to concentrate your transmitter power into the proper beam if you wish to deliver the best signal to the other fellow's receiving antenna. This has logically led to the popularity of the Yagi beam antenna on the higher-frequency amateur bands. A beam antenna for the 80-meter band should have a 140-foot reflector and a 77-foot boom on a 250-foot tower. This makes the beam antenna impractical for the 80-meter band, and even for 40-meter operation a full-size Yagi is a forbidding structure to the neighbor's narrow-minded view - even a well-trained XYL might view such a monster beam with alarm. There is no easy solution to the need for a good DX antenna at low frequency, but the conical monopole antenna may be of interest to the more eager radio amateur as a more practical solution. The conical monopole antenna is a base-fed vertical antenna that has an omni-directional pattern in azimuth but with an elevation...

Axiom Blog: Test Equipment Are Investments in Low Carbon Footprint

Axiom Blog: Test Equipment Are Investments in Low Carbon Footprint - RF CafeAxiom Test Equipment, an electronic test equipment rental and sales company, has published a new blog post that aims at informing people about the importance of carbon neutrality and about the different test equipment that support it with the help of regenerative energy. It suggests a thinking-out-of-the-box approach regarding how "test applications can strive for low carbon footprints by characterizing the quality of a device under test (DUT) that supports carbon neutrality, such as regenerative energy in an EV's charging system. Efficient use of energy is possible by feeding power generated by a DUT during the measurements back to the power grid, rather than dissipating the energy as heat lost to the environment." On a single DUT (Device Under Test) basis that might seem insignificant, but when hundreds of millions of vehicles are being tested of time, the energy saved can be enormous...

Many Thanks to Exodus Advanced Communications for Their Support

Exodus Advanced Communications - RF CafeExodus Advanced Communications is a multinational RF communication equipment and engineering service company serving both commercial and government entities and their affiliates worldwide. Power amplifiers ranging from 10 kHz to 51 GHz with various output power levels and noise figure ranges, we fully support custom designs and manufacturing requirements for both small and large volume levels. decades of combined experience in the RF field for numerous applications including military jamming, communications, radar, EMI/EMC and various commercial projects with all designing and manufacturing of our HPA, MPA, and LNA products in-house.

The RCA Antennalyzer

The RCA Antennalyzer, May 1946, Radio-Craft - RF CafeIt is little wonder that advancements in technology, mathematics, finance, medicine, chemistry, and other disciplines requiring massive numerical computation began accelerating at a rapid pace following the invention of computers. The mechanical computers of Blaise Pascal and Charles Babbage were some of the earliest attempts to make laborious, repetitious calculations faster and less error prone, and they quickly led to many other types of general- and special-purpose machines that by the mid-twentieth century were calculating ballistic flight paths, astronomical positions, electrical circuit functions, probabilities, and other quantities. Programmable electronics computers like the ENIAC greatly enhanced the ability to apply mathematics to just about any problem. However, even by the early Apollo era the government and private institutions employed teams of human calculators to crank out large volumes of tabular data...

Chinese Long March to Reenter Atmosphere Uncontrolled

Chinese Long March to Reenter Atmosphere Uncontrolled - RF Cafe"China launched the first module for its space station into orbit late Wednesday, but the mission launcher also reached orbit and is slowly and unpredictably heading back to Earth. The Long March 5B, a variant of China's largest rocket, successfully launched the 22.5-metric-ton Tianhe module from Wenchang Thursday local time... Designed specifically to launch space station modules into low Earth orbit, the Long March 5B uniquely uses a core stage and four side boosters to place its payload directly into low Earth orbit... this core stage is now also in orbit and is likely to make an uncontrolled reentry over the next days or week as growing interaction with the atmosphere drags it to Earth. If so, it will be one of the largest instances of uncontrolled reentry of a spacecraft and could potentially land on an inhabited area..."

Thanks Once Again for Windfreak's Continued Support!

Windfreak TechnologiesWindfreak 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. Since the conception of WFT, we have introduced products that have been purchased by a wide range of customers, from hobbyists to education facilities to government agencies. Worldwide customers include Europe, Australia, and Asia. Please contact Windfreak today to learn how they might help you with your current project.

Radios Serviced by Observation

Radios Serviced by Observation, September 1945, Radio-Craft - RF CafeAnyone who has done a lot of electronics troubleshooting - especially on a wide variety of hardware - knows that proficiency depends on acquiring a 'feel' for how things ought to be. An oft-given example is that bank tellers and store clerks are taught to spot counterfeit bills not by showing them what all the different phony currency looks like, but what real money looks like. That way, anything that does not look familiar is readily apparent. The same philosophy has served technicians and engineers well since the beginning of electrical and electronic circuits. The more senses that can be drawn upon to facilitate troubleshooting, the more quickly you are likely to pinpoint the problem. Depending on the symptoms of the failure, sniffing the assembly for toasted or cracked components and looking for discolored areas is a good first step for catastrophic scenarios. Broken wires and failed solder joints are very common causes, as are partially plugged-in or contaminated...

Triad RF's Amps Power BCT Nano-Sat Radios

Triad RF's Amps Power BCT Radios Soon to Be Released via Nano-Sat from International Space Station - RF CafeTriad RF Systems, a leading designer and manufacturer of innovative RF/Microwave amplifiers and integrated radio systems for challenging environments, is proud to announce that in partnership with Blue Canyon Technologies (BCT), now a wholly owned subsidiary of Raytheon, a Triad RF amplifier is providing high RF power in the transmitter of a BCT nano-satellite. The units are presently stored in the Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft which docked with the International Space Station (ISS) in February of this year. The spacecraft is part of the NG-15 commercial resupply mission and will remain attached to the ISS until May. The BCT nano-satellite powered by the Triad RF amplifier will be released from Cygnus on the return trip. Once launched, it will be enabling the ultra-long range data communication link needed to continuously monitor the spacecraft from earth...

The Radio We Could Send to Heck

The Radio We Could Send to Heck - RF Cafe"There were few bright spots in the pandemic summer of 2020. One of the most dazzling was the flight of U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station and their safe return to Earth aboard a commercial spacecraft from SpaceX. This demonstration was significant for many reasons, one of which was that it suggested a future in which NASA, freed from the demands of getting people to low Earth orbit, could aim much farther. Perhaps as far as Venus. Excitement over a possible mission to Venus was stoked by the (now somewhat disputed) discovery of phosphine gas - a possible sign of microbial life - in that planet's atmosphere. But the second planet from the sun has such an extreme environment that the longest-lasting lander, the Soviet Venera 13, was able to send data for only 2 hours and 7 minutes. The average surface temperature on Venus is 464 °C..."

Many Thanks to Withwave for Continued Support!

Withwave RF & Microwave Components - RF CafeWithwave manufactures an extensive line of metrology quality coaxial test cable assemblies, connectors (wave-, end-, vertical-launch, board edge, panel mount), calibration kits (SOLT), a fully automated 4-port vector network analyzer (VNA) calibrator, between- and in-series connector adaptors, attenuators, terminations, DC blocks, torque wrenches, test probes & probe positioner. Special test fixtures for calibration and multicoax cable assemblies. Frequency ranges from DC through 110 GHz. Please contact Withwave today to see how they can help your project succeed.

Sperry Gyroscope Company

Sperry Gyroscope Company, April 1946, Radio-Craft - RF CafeAt the end of World War II, much of the basic technology developed under the cover of secrecy was made available to the public for the purpose of stimulating research and development for commercial purposes. As with selling surplus material to the American public at significant discounts, the plan was to reward citizens for a five-year-long sacrifice in the effort to beat back the advances of Communism, Socialism, Marxism, and the other oppressive forms of "isms" around the world. History shows that the effort resulted in a major post-war era of prosperity and a general feeling of well-being by the country. This Sperry Gyroscope Company advertisement appeared in a 1946 issue of Radio-Craft magazine, promoting its development of gyroscopically stabilized marine radar. Other magazines of the era and into the 1970s...

Radar Safety Warning: "Don't Cross the Streams"

Radar Safety Warning: "Don't Cross the Streams" - RF CafeHere is an interesting article on the EE Times website entitled, "Radar Safety Warning: 'Don't Cross the Streams'." In it, author Junko Yoshida tells a tale of potential problems that can emerge when a highway filled with radar-equipped vehicles need to content with each other's broadcasts. He begins, "The little-noted issue of radar safety is emerging as a potential Achilles heel of driver-assist and highly automated vehicles: radar signals interfere with each other. Radar has become an essential sensing modality complementing CMOS imaging cameras. Radar works in all weather conditions and enables a range of automated driving features, including automatic emergency Brakes (AEB). But radars can be foiled or faulty if they end up, like Ghostbusters' particle accelerators, crossing each other's streams..."

Bionics a Weird World

Bionics a Weird World, October 1962 Popular Electronics - RF CafeHere is an interesting article that appeared in a 1962 issue of Popular Electronics magazine discussing some of the early electronic system developments that were based on sensory elements found in nature. I'm a bit surprised and disappointed that the author made the mistake of equating a bat's sound-based detection and navigation system to radar rather than sonar. Yes, the principles of operation are the same regarding transmitting a signal and then computing the distance based on the round-trip time of the reflected signal, but there is a fundamental difference between radar which uses radio (the 'ra' part of radar) signals and sonar which uses the sound (the 'so' part of sonar) signals. I would bet that if I had the following December or January edition of the magazine, I would find a letter to the editor...

Mathematical Puzzles, 1981 Old Farmer's Almanac

Mathematical Puzzles, 1981 Old Farmer's Almanac - RF CafeEach autumn I used to anxiously await the appearance of the newest edition of The Old Farmer's Almanac on the store shelf, and such was the case with this 1981 issue. It is not that I was/am an avid farmer, just that I enjoy reading the anecdotes, tales, and interesting historical tidbits included amongst the pages along with tables of high and low tides, moon and sun rising and setting times, astronomical events, and weather patterns expected for the year that lay ahead. Most of all, I liked working the puzzles and riddles. Over the years the difficulty levels gradually got lower and lower (aka dumbed down), to the point where for the last decade or so I have not even bothered buying the OFA. Now it is full of numbnut stuff...

Thanks to PCBONLINE for Their Support!

PCBONLINE - RF CafePCBONLINE supplies complex rigid and flex-rigid printed circuit boards (PCBs),and one-stop production with maximum flexibility ranging from prototype sample to mass production. Rigid-flex, HDI, multilayer, IC-loadboard, LCP 5G optical module, ceramic, MCPCB. Materials include Rogers, Taconic, Arlon, Isola, Bergquist, Kapton, Panasonic, and more. After more than 15 years of continuous efforts, PCBONLINE constantly updates our equipment, improves our technology, and serves you with the highest quality. Cost and delivery quotations online without the need for multiple phone call and/or e-mails.

Wireless Theme Crossword Puzzle for May 2nd

Wireless Theme Crossword Puzzle for May 2nd, 2021 - RF CafeThis Wireless Theme Crossword Puzzle for May 2nd has many words and clues related to RF, microwave, and mm-wave engineering, optics, mathematics, chemistry, physics, and other technical subjects. As always, this crossword contains no names of politicians, mountain ranges, exotic foods or plants, movie stars, or anything of the sort unless it/he/she is related to this puzzle's technology theme (e.g., Reginald Denny or the Tunguska event in Siberia). The technically inclined cruciverbalists amongst us will appreciate the effort. Enjoy!

Radio Industry Unfair?

Radio Industry Unfair?, May 1946, Radio-Craft - RF CafeTo some extent, I agree with the readers of Radio-Craft magazine who wrote to editor Hugo Gernsback complaining about the lack of opportunity available to radio servicemen returning from the battlefield at the end of World War II. As noted in this editorial entitled, "Radio Industry Unfair?," many are people who sold or took leave from their established electronics service and/or stores in answer to their country's call to go abroad to fight for the free world. However, Radio-Craft was, throughout 1945, filled with advertisements by electronics manufacturers promising jobs and opportunities and anticipated demand for representation by service shops and sales outlets. Evidently, it did not turn out to be so, at least to the degree predicted. Gernsback does have a good point, though, that if the letters submitted to him are an indication...

High Throughput Satellites

High Throughput Satellites (Artech House) - RF CafeArtech House today announced the publication High-Throughput Satellites, by Hector Fenech. This exciting new book discusses the motivation for the evolution of a new breed of High Throughput Satellites (HTS) that have emerged from traditional communications satellites. It explores the commercial sectors and technical context that have shaped HTS. The historical underpinnings of HTS are provided to highlight the requirements that dimension these satellites. A survey of operational GEO HTS systems is also included. Readers will understand the technical, operational and commercial context of HTS systems, as well as the performance of the current HTS system. This initial breed of satellites was limited to geostationary satellites, but it is quickly projecting into low earth orbit (LEO) constellations, often referred to as mega-constellations. The industrial and operational facets of LEO constellations are challenging...

Thanks Again to Exodus Advanced Communications for Continued Support!

Exodus Advanced Communications - RF CafeExodus Advanced Communications is a multinational RF communication equipment and engineering service company serving both commercial and government entities and their affiliates worldwide. Power amplifiers ranging from 10 kHz to 51 GHz with various output power levels and noise figure ranges, we fully support custom designs and manufacturing requirements for both small and large volume levels. decades of combined experience in the RF field for numerous applications including military jamming, communications, radar, EMI/EMC and various commercial projects with all designing and manufacturing of our HPA, MPA, and LNA products in-house.

Nixie Tubes Add Victorian Charm to Projects

Add Victorian Charm with Segment Displays and Nixie Tubes - RF CafeThe Victorian era ran from 1837 through 1901, years prior to the 1955 advent of Nixie tubes, but I get what Clive "Max" Maxfield means when he wrote his article entitled, "Add Victorian Charm with Segment Displays and Nixie Tubes." Only a valvephobe (my word) could fail to appreciate the pleasing ambience contributed by the warm, orange glow of a vacuum tube. Max's article on the Design News website begins, "Modern incarnations of the technologies of yesteryear - such as Nixie tubes and 21-segment Victorian displays - add charm to modern devices. My current hobby project involves creating a 21st Century incarnation of a super-tasty 21-segment Victorian display technology. I will explain more in a moment, but first... I don't know about you, but I'm a big fan of the steampunk aesthetic, which I feature in many of my hobby projects. This is especially true in the case of display technologies. Take Nixie tubes, for example..."

A New Arm of the Law

A New Arm of the Law, March 1930 Radio News - RF Cafe"In my judgment, it will be only a few years before all police departments will be equipped with radio," Superintendent A. A. Carroll, Grand Rapids Police Department. Such a statement could have been deemed risky - or even career-ending back in the late 1920 to early 1930s when radio communications was still in its infancy. A lot of public figures denounced radio for anything other than a means of receiving entertainment at home. After all, the equipment was physically large and very power hungry. It was considered folly by many people to believe that an automobile's electrical generation capability would ever be able to power a vacuum tube receiver, much less a transmitter that would have enough range to be useful. Still, police and fire departments forged ahead and became some of the leaders in technology implementation. It was a huge deal in 1930 when a police station installed radios in its fleet of patrol cars, often requiring special fund raising activities or raiding of funds originally set aside for other projects...

IMS2021 and Microwave Week Registration for In-Person and Virtual Events

IMS2021 and Microwave Week Opens Registration for the In-Person and Virtual Events - RF CafeThe 2021 IEEE MTT-S International Microwave Symposium (IMS2021) and Microwave Week, the world's largest event for RF and microwave technology will be presented in a hybrid format, comprised of in-person and virtual participation options. With 200 exhibiting companies, IMS2021 will be host to the industry's top innovators. The in-person event will be held June 7-10, 2021 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, GA. A virtual event will follow on June 20-25, 2021 with on-demand content available through the end of July. The theme for both events is "Connecting for a Smarter, Safer World." Registration is now open and there are a variety of options to provide as many people as possible the opportunity to participate. Registration for in-person IMS or RFIC gives access to the merged IMS and RFIC symposiums, technical lectures on Monday, and the exhibition...

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