Today in Science History -
As I have reminded you many times when
posting these articles from vintage electronics magazine like the 1938 Radio
in-home service calls were commonplace for just about everything serviceable
in the house. That included humans - particularly children - who were tended to
in domus by their family doctors. Successful servicemen learned the lesson related
in this story: "I work on the set owner in the house, and save the set work for
the shop." That of course holds true for situations where the radio, television,
record player, etc., needed to go back to the shop for repair. When repairs could
be effected in situ, a combination of customer relations and technical skills was
required. In addition to the aforementioned, another skill that needed to be honed
was getting the customer to pay his bill. There were no credit cards in the day,
so cash or an in-store line of credit was required for payment. In most cases the
customer did not already have that credit line. If a piece of equipment is in the
shop, then it can at least be sold in lieu of payment, but walking out of someone's
Electronics technicians trained by the
U.S. Navy (and, ahem, the U.S. Air Force) have always been highly regarded in private
industry because of the excellent classroom instruction, rigorous on-the-job training
(OJT), and hands-on experience maintaining both legacy and state-of-the-art equipment.
Electronics tech schools begin with teaching the fundamentals of electricity and
electronics, and then branches off into areas of specialty, depending on the type
of equipment the enlistee will be assigned to maintain. The military works under
the assumption that you have no significant former knowledge of the topic - although
being admitted into certain programs requires passing an aptitude exam prior to
enlistment. This NAVPERS 10622 course chapter introduces
concepts and governing equations for transformers...
"Researchers at the University of California
at Santa Barbara in the US have reconstructed a representation of the electron's
wave nature - its
Bloch wave function - in a laboratory experiment for the first time. The work
could have applications in the design and development of next-generation electronic
and optoelectronic devices. Like all matter, electrons behave as both particles
and waves. One of the main goals of condensed-matter physics is to understand how
the wavelike motion of electrons through periodically-arranged atoms give rise to
the electronic and optical properties of crystalline materials. Having such an understanding
is especially important when designing devices that take advantage of the electron's
wavelike nature, explains Joseph Costello, who co-led the UC Santa Barbara team..."
Antenova Ltd, the UK-based manufacturer of
antennas and RF antenna modules for M2M and the IoT, has revealed its latest antenna,
Atta, part number SRFI079, for LTE and smart wireless deployments in the 410 MHz
and 450 MHz bands. The Atta antenna is a flexible printed circuit (FPC)
form and measures 101.0 x 20.0 x 0.15 mm. It is supplied with an I-PEX mating
connector for direct integration to a circuit board, and a self-adhesive pad to
fix it easily in position. It is therefore easy to integrate into a design. The
LTE 450 spectrum is relatively new, with 65 deployments in North America, South
America, Europe, Africa and Asia, and LTE 450 is available in 25 of these. This
is expected to grow, as spectrum is allocated in more regions...
You have heard of the pumped laser and maser.
Here is a new type of pumped energy system: the "vaser." "Laser" is an acronym for
"light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation," and "maser" is an acronym
for "microwave amplification by stimulated emission of radiation." I coined the
term "vaser" after reading an article in the June 2014 edition of Model Aviation
about a relatively new form of radio controlled (R/C) model sailplane sport -
- that, using a specially developed technique to exploit geography and prevailing
winds, produces aircraft speeds of more than 400 miles per hour. Per my definition,
"vaser" is an acronym for "velocity amplification by stimulated enhancement of energy"
(OK, it's a lame attempt at being clever). It occurred to me that the mechanism
used to add energy to electrons in atoms is fundamentally the same as that used
to add energy to the sailplane in dynamic soaring. In pumped laser and maser systems,
an external power source (stimulus) is used to cyclically add energy...
Having spent many years professionally scouring
the Internet while attempting to
identify electronic components as part of a reverse engineering effort, I can
appreciate how difficult life would be when the only resources available were a
few manufacturers' databooks and a magazine article or two. You might think it would
behoove a company to make certain that its products are clearly marked if not with
a part number, at least with an easily identifiable logo. That way a researcher
could call the company, describe the part, and get the required information. Even
with today's nano-size packages, laser marking could do the job. Sometimes, the
maker of the next higher assembly (which might be the finished product) purposely
either removes the identification from select components or instructs the vendor
to only partially mark or not mark the package. That is done for competition reasons
specifically to prevent or make very difficult the reverse engineering of products.
You have likely seen "teardowns" of consumer electronic items like smartphones...
With more than 1000
custom-built stencils, this has got to be the most comprehensive set of
Stencils available for RF, analog, and digital system and schematic drawings!
Every stencil symbol has been built to fit proportionally on the included A-, B-,
and C-size drawing page templates (or use your own page if preferred). Components
are provided for system block diagrams, conceptual drawings, schematics, test equipment,
racks (EIA 19", ETSI 21"), and more. Test equipment and racks are built at a 1:1
scale so that measurements can be made directly using Visio built-in dimensioning
objects. Page templates are provided with a preset scale (changeable) for a good
presentation that can incorporate all provided symbols...
ASC designs and manufactures hybrid, surface
mount flange, open carrier and connectorized amplifiers for low, medium and high
power applications using gallium nitride (GaN), gallium arsenide (GaAs) and silicon
(Si) transistor technologies. ASC's thick film designs operate in the frequency
range of 300 kHz to 6 GHz. ASC offers thin film designs that operate up
to 20 GHz.
This episode of John T. Frye's "Carl
and Jerry" technosaga entitled "Joking and Jeopardy" is another of the slightly
far-fetched adventures of the popular pair of electronics hobbyist chums, but as
usual the story is a combination of drama and technical instruction. In this case
it involves a remote-controlled model submarine which is signaled underwater by
a pulsed ultrasonic transducer. The receiver decoded commands by causing a stepper
relay (not a stepper motor) to increment a predetermined number of spaces to make
the craft dive or surface, turn left or right, or start and stop. Remote control
systems for models - be they airplanes, cars, or boats - did not have the luxury
and convenience of proportional control in 1963 when this appeared in Popular
Electronics magazine as we have nowadays...
Helen Duncan has an interesting article
in the January 2022 issue of Microwave Journal magazine entitled "The RF/Microwave
Industry in the UK and Ireland, Birthplace of Radar and the GaAs MMIC." In it,
she recounts the proud history of her native country's role in research, development,
and system production beginning with "The Father of Radar," Robert Watson Watt (a
great surname for an electronics guy), and Arnold Wilkins during World War II.
She writes, "This review of the microwave marketplace in my home country is inevitably
a more personal one than those in previous years. In addition to profiling some
of the main players in the market in 2021, I will reflect on some of the home-grown
heroes of the microwave industry in the U.K. and Ireland who have influenced my
own career and whose achievements continue to shape the landscape today..."
When reading technical articles, I very often
see the authors incorrectly refer to a certain point on a curve as being the
point. It is not merely a point at which a curve changes direction. That was
the case in an article I read today that dealt with open-loop polar modulation in
EDGE amplifiers. There exists an unambiguous definition of an inflection point,
and all engineers were taught it in school. Pardon me if this seems trivial or picayune,
but the purpose of the magazine articles is to teach, so if this factoid can eliminate
the misconception in future articles, then it will have accomplished its objective.
Here is a brief review of what an inflection point is, and, equally important, what
an inflection point is not. An inflection point is the point at which the second
derivative of a continuous curve equals zero. Accordingly, it is the point where
a curve changes from concave up to concave down. A curved region is concave up if
all the data points in that region lie above a line tangent to it. A curved region
is concave down if all the data points in that region lie below a line tangent to
it. The Excel plot that accompanies this article illustrates all of these concepts...
Bittele Electronics, a Toronto-based
Turn-key PCB Assembly firm specializing in prototype and low-to-mid volume printed
circuit board (PCB) manufacturing and assembly, is highlighting its very successful
Online Ordering Service featuring Live Chat and Zoom meeting support. This new,
state-of-the-art tool allows customers to complete turnkey PCB assembly orders faster
and with up to 25% price discounts. Bittele's Online Ordering Service enables a
customer to complete all steps to complete a PCB Fabrication and Assembly order
in under 20 minutes while qualifying for exclusive discounts that are automatically
applied to the order. Once an online order is placed, it will be immediately processed
and released to Bittele's production team. "Our goal with this service is to help
simplify our customers' ordering experience, as well as giving them attractive benefits..."
"For many years, a bottleneck in technological
development has been how to get
processors and memories to work faster together. Now, researchers at Lund University
in Sweden have presented a new solution integrating a memory cell with a processor,
which enables much faster calculations, as they happen in the memory circuit itself.
In an article in Nature Electronics, the researchers present a new configuration,
in which a memory cell is integrated with a vertical transistor selector, all at
the nanoscale. This brings improvements in scalability, speed and energy efficiency
compared with current mass storage solutions. The fundamental issue is that anything
requiring large amounts of data to be processed, such as AI and machine learning,
requires speed and more capacity. For this to be successful, the memory and processor
need to be as close to each other as possible..."
Just before Christmas in 1947, Bell Labs'
John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, and William Shockley announced their invention of
the first semiconductor device capable of producing positive signal amplification.
They dubbed it the "transistor"
because it was a transconductance amplifier. In very short order, the laboratory
experiment consisting of a metallic point contact (a piece of gold foil) interfaced
with a slab of purified and doped germanium became commercially available at a price
that easily competed with a vacuum tube amplifier when the cost of the socket and
high voltage biasing transformers were factored in. Transistors would not be able
to entirely replace tubes for many decades, especially for high power and high frequency
applications, but as you can see today, the only vacuum tube the average person
will find anywhere...
New Scheme rotates
all Banners in all locations on the page! RF Cafe typically receives 8,000-15,000
website visits each weekday.
RF Cafe is a favorite of engineers,
technicians, hobbyists, and students all over the world. With more than 12,000 pages
in the Google search index, RF Cafe returns in favorable positions on many
types of key searches, both for text and images. New content is added on a daily
basis, which keeps the major search engines interested enough to spider it multiple
times each day. Items added on the homepage often can be found in a Google search
within a few hours of being posted. I also re-broadcast homepage items on LinkedIn.
If you need your company news to be seen, RF Cafe is the place to be.
LadyBug 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.
This custom made
crossword puzzle for January 16th, 2022, from RF Cafe has an electrical engineering
theme. All RF Cafe crossword puzzles are custom made by me, Kirt Blattenberger,
and have only words and clues related to RF, microwave, and mm-wave engineering,
optics, mathematics, chemistry, physics, and other technical subjects. As always,
this crossword puzzle 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
A few (many, actually) new terms have been
added to the
transistor lexicon since 1958, but this list from Radio-Electronics
magazine contains more than 150 definitions that are still useful today. It is amazing
that this list was created just a decade after the transistor was invented, and
now half a century later the most commonly used terms have not changed much. A huge
number of elemental compounds, configurations, and process terms have been added
since then, though. All of these are included in my custom dictionary used for creating
the weekly crossword puzzles - compiled over more than two decades...
Dave Harbaugh did a number of different
humorous features for Popular Electronics magazine back in the 1960s and
'70s (see list at bottom of page). "Hobnobbing
with Harbaugh" was one of the more popular comic series he did. Article topics
ranged from husband-wife relationships where the husband is an über-enthusiastic
technophile of some sort and the wife has to put up with his crazy schemes and inventions.
These comics poke fun at technical schools and colleges, and their alumni. My favorite
is the "suicidal" waveform.
"A combined team of researchers from the
University of Arizona and MIT reports that
quantum radar might be able to boost the accuracy of radar systems more than
has been thought. In their paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters,
the group describes a new approach to developing quantum radar and the obstacles
that stand in the way of its development. Radar works by firing microwave radiation
at an object and then measuring the signals that bounce back from it. And while
quite effective for many applications, it still falls short for long-distance applications.
Over the past few decades, as scientists came to learn more about quantum entanglement,
some suggested it might be used to improve radar systems. And indeed, sending just
one of two paired photons to a target..."
Alphabet Quiz" created by Robert Balin appeared in the December 1963 issue of
Popular Electronics magazine. Years from now most people will probably
have forgotten about how prominently Greek letters appeared in the news in this
current era (2022) regarding the COVID-19 plandemic and the destruction caused by
politicians and others with power and financial agendas. Delta and Omicron variants
(but notably not Xi since it might offend the leader of the country of the virus'
origin) are the most publicized. For centuries prior, from a scientific and engineering
perspective we looked either positively or benignly toward Greek letters when assigning
them as unique identifiers for quantitative units or physical configurations. When
Robert Balin created this "Greek Alphabet Quiz" for Popular Electronics magazine
in 1963, he had no idea how the aforementioned people would manage to bastardize
the revered letters. No vaccination, mask, or social distancing is required while
working this quiz...