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Electronics & Tech  Headlines

Tech Industry Headlines - RF Cafe - Archive -

• ECSN UK/Ireland Electronic Components Market "Back to Normal"

• CTIA Recommends Additional 100 MHz of Spectrum to Fuel 5G

• FCC Grants 1st Batch of 2.5 GHz Licenses

• China's Latest Regulation on 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Equipment

• Nova Scotia Students Contact Astronaut via Ham Radio

• Manufacturing Orders from China down 40%

• Universities Recruited for Defense Research (a la the olden days)

• Ookla Finds Starlink Speeds Continue to Dip

Practical Techniques of Square-Wave Testing

Practical Techniques of Square-Wave Testing, July 1957 Radio & TV News - RF CafeIf you work with oscilloscopes on a regular basis, you know know one of the first things you do (or should do) is to calibrate the frequency response of the probe by hooking it onto the squarewave port and tweaking the probe capacitor for no overshooting or undershooting at the waveform edges, and then verify that the displayed amplitude is correct. I remember being amazed during engineering courses at learning that any periodic waveform can be described mathematically as the sum of sinewaves at various frequencies, amplitudes, and phases. Knowing the theory behind those waveforms - particularly standard ones like squarewaves, trianglewaves, sawtooths, etc. - really helps in understanding what you see on the o-scope and in troubleshooting problems. The same goes for interpreting the impulse and step function responses as influenced by resistance, capacitance, and inductance effects. Perhaps the most amazing thing I learned about squarewaves is that, based on the Gibbs phenomenon, anything short of an infinite series of additive sinewaves when representing a squarewave results in an overshoot - albeit vanishingly minute - at the edge. In the real world, complex reactive/resistive effects render the effect undetectable...

Exodus AMP2136P−LC−8KW, 2-4 GHz, 8 kW, S−Band SSPA

Exodus 2.0-4.0 GHz, 8 kW, Solid State S-Band Pulse Amplifier - RF CafeExodus Advanced Communications is a multinational RF communication equipment and engineering service company serving both commercial and government entities and their affiliates worldwide. We are pleased to present the new Exodus Model AMP2136P−LC−8KW, a pulse amplifier designed for Pulse/HIRF, EMC/EMI Mil-Std 461/464 and Radar applications. AMP2136P−LC−8KW provides superb pulse fidelity and up to 100 μsec pulse widths. Duty cycles to 6% with a minimum 69 dB gain. Available monitoring parameters for forward/reflected power in watts and dBm, VSWR, voltage, current, temperature sensing for outstanding reliability and ruggedness for compact integrations.

Short-Wave Report: Reception Versus Jamming

Short-Wave Report: Reception Versus Jamming, April 1959 Popular Electronics - RF CafeNobody younger than about 35 years old was alive when the "Iron Curtain" was still in place. That was where the Communist countries were able to keep outside information from the rest of the free world from getting to their oppressed citizens. The Soviet Union, China, North Korea, and other regimes had a vested interest in keeping people from learning that not everybody lived in squalor as they did. Maybe you remember the tales of Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Ward catalogs needing to be secreted into the countries because the Communists feared their influence. The type of radio signal jamming mentioned in this 1959 issue of Popular Electronics magazine was common during the Cold War era. Modern communications has made information dissemination ubiquitous, even in the still-Communist countries - like Russia, China, and North Korea...

RF & Electronics Stencils for Visio

RF & Electronics stencils for Visio r4 - RF CafeWith more than 1000 custom-built stencils, this has got to be the most comprehensive set of Visio 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...

Many Thanks to Axiom Test Equipment for Continued Support!

Axiom Test Equipment - RF CafeAxiom Test Equipment allows you to rent or buy test equipment, repair test equipment, or sell or trade test equipment. They are committed to providing superior customer service and high quality electronic test equipment. Axiom offers customers several practical, efficient, and cost effective solutions for their projects' TE needs and is committed to providing superior customer service and high quality electronic test equipment. For anyone seeking a way to offload surplus or obsolete equipment, they offer a trade-in program or they will buy the equipment from you. Some vintage items are available fully calibrated. Please check out Axiom Test Equipment today - and don't miss the blog articles!

The Field-Effect Transistor

The Field-Effect Transistor, November 1965 Electronics World - RF CafeHere is a bit of history of the field effect transistor's (FET) history presented in a 1965 issue of Electronics World magazine. Author Gene Jackson mentions how the FET was being researched in laboratories toward the end of World War II, predating the junction type transistor developed by Ball Labs, with the first working model announced in late 1947. A primary difference between the bipolar junction transistor (BJT) and the junction FET is that the BJT is current-controlled and the FET is voltage-controlled (like a vacuum tube). The abbreviation JFET is not mentioned in reference to the junction FET, although MOSFET is used for the metal-oxide-semiconductor FET. Magazine editor William Stocklin adds a comment about the difference between electron current flow (negative to positive) and conventional current flow (positive to negative), which was a relatively new distinction at the time. See the follow-on article...

John Bardeen's Transistorized Music Box

John Bardeen's Terrific Transistorized Music Box - RF Cafe"This simple gadget showed off the magic of the first transistor. In 1949 an engineer at Bell Labs built three music boxes to show off the new transistors. Each Transistor Oscillator-Amplifier Box contained an oscillator-amplifier circuit and two point-contact transistors powered by a B-type battery. It electronically produced five distinct tones, although the sounds were not exactly melodious delights to the ear. The box's design was a simple LC circuit, consisting of a capacitor and an inductor. The capacitance was selectable using the switch bank, which Bardeen 'played' when he demonstrated the box. Bell Labs used one of the boxes to demonstrate the transistor's portability. In early demonstrations, the instantaneous response of the circuits wowed witnesses, who were accustomed to having to wait for vacuum tubes to warm up. The other two music boxes went to Bardeen and Brattain. Only Bardeen's survives..."

Shocking But True

Shocking But True, August 1959 Popular Electronics - RF CafeVictims of electrical shock have been around as long as experiments in electricity and electrical appliances have been around. For that matter, even ancient men unfortunate enough to have come into contact with an electric eel or a lightning bolt, or even those who rubbed against sheep's wool in an arid environment and then reached for a metal implement, know the pain of an electrical shock... or worse. This article in the August 1959 edition of Popular Electronics warns readers of the dangers lurking at the end of every electrical cord. One of the cartoons shows a guy being zapped while using an electric drill. About a year after graduating from high school, a friend of mine was using a power saw in a garage that had a damp, dirt floor. Even as late as the mid 1970s there were still a lot of power tools that had metal bodies, and usually had no ground wire. Electrocutions were not uncommon. My friend died from his contact with 120 VAC...

Curved Lines on Orion Solar Panels?

Orion Solar Panel Curved Lines - RF CafeDo you have any idea what the curved lines and other patterns visible on the Orion Artemis moon probe are? I cannot find any information on them. NASA assembly photos show only a bluish regular matrix of solar cells with no hint of these patterns. They look like digital oscilloscope displays resembling various waveforms and text blocks. I've never seen anything like it. Are they circuit elements showing through from behind the PV cells? Maybe this is a way of communicating with the space aliens who monitor Earth activity and live among us ;-)

Jensen Christmas Radio Advertisement

Jensen Christmas Radio Advertisement, January 1945 Radio News - RF CafeSeeing an advertisement like this from a national corporation - especially one that did work for the government - in a major magazine would be rare these days. In 1945 when this Christmas advertisement was proffered by Jensen Radio Manufacturing Company in Radio News magazine, it was meant as an inoffensive message of thanks and goodwill to all people, and particularly to servicemen. Today, some would like to prosecute the purveyor for the crime of "hate speech," which is basically anything suggesting America's founding was fundamentally righteous and just. "Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"

RF Cascade Workbook

RF Cascade Workbook - RF Cafe RF Cascade Workbook is the next phase in the evolution of RF Cafe's long-running series, RF Cascade Workbook. Chances are you have never used a spreadsheet quite like this (click here for screen capture). It is a full-featured RF system cascade parameter and frequency planner that includes filters and mixers for a mere $45. Built in MS Excel, using RF Cascade Workbook 2018 is a cinch and the format is entirely customizable. It is significantly easier and faster than using a multi-thousand dollar simulator when a high level system analysis is all that is needed. An intro video takes you through the main features...

Many Thanks to Centric RF for Their Continued Support!

Centric RF microwave components - RF CafeCentric RF is a company offering from stock various RF and Microwave coaxial components, including attenuators, adapters, cable assemblies, terminations, power dividers, and more. We believe in offering high performance parts from stock at a reasonable cost. Frequency ranges of 0-110 GHz at power levels from 0.5-500 watts are available off the shelf. Order today, ship today! Centric RF is currently looking for vendors to partner with them. Please visit Centric RF today.

The Integrated-Circuit Industry

The Integrated-Circuit Industry, November 1965 Electronics World - RF CafeAccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, inflation has increased the cost of goods by a factor of 9.4x since 1965 when this article appeared in Electronics World magazine. Although the number does not apply directly to semiconductors, the products made with them generally follow the trend. If you apply 9.4x to the prices here, the cost of a Fairchild uA914 dual, two-input NOR gate would have risen from 99¢ to about $9.31, which is highly unreasonable. The article does mention the rapidly lowering cost of semiconductors. Figure 2 projects the average price of integrated circuits to decrease from $20 to $1 between 1963 and 1970, whereupon the curve flattens. Of course that was based on a knowledge and limitations of existing technology. A dual, two-input NOR gate will cost you 54¢ today from DigiKey (only 13¢ in quantities of 25,000). The single-copy price works out to about 6% of the inflation-adjusted 1965 price...

Electronics and Electrical Engineering Jobs Decline

Electronics and Electrical Engineering Jobs on the Decline - RF Cafe"Electronics and electrical engineering job outlooks are on the decline due to interests and global materials shortages, but that could change based on several dynamics. The pandemic has done its best to hinder chip production on a global scale. But while the shortage shows signs of subsiding, semiconductor companies are encountering another problem that could set them back: a lack of qualified electronics and electrical engineers. In June of this year (2022), Intel engineer Raja Koduri attended the IEEE Symposium on VLSI Technology & Circuits and raised the issue of engineer scarcity within the U.S., which painted a negative forecast for the near future (to say the least)..."

Resistive Attenuators and Pads

Resistive Attenuators and Pads, May 1966 Electronics World - RF CafeHere is a real cornucopia of attenuator information from the May 1966 issue of Electronics World magazine. If you need circuits diagram and equations for "T," Bridged-T, Ladder, Pi, Balanced-H, Balanced Ladder, Potentiometer, and Balanced (Dual) Potentiometer type attenuators, then you've come to the right place. A discussion is included on attenuator selection and specification for ordering rather than designing and building your own. The distinction between a "pad" and an "attenuator" has always been vague to me and I, like most people, use the terms interchangeably. Author Chester Scott seems to believe a "pad" always has a fixed value whereas an attenuator can be either fixed or variable...

Tracking Testers for Radars & Communications Systems

Tracking Testers for Radars & Communications Systems - RF CafeAxiom Test Equipment, an electronic test equipment rental and sales company has published a new press release entitled "Tracking Testers for Radars & Communications Systems," that explains how ideal signal sources for testing communications and radar equipment should combine high performance with versatility. Communications systems transfer information between locations while radars search for targets. A quick review of the essential differences between communications and radar systems can help target the types of test equipment with the capabilities needed to optimize the performance of each type of electronic system. The types of signals used in communications and radar systems are as diverse as the types of systems themselves. Communications systems range from short-range wireless Bluetooth links, such as between a computer and printer, and more complex 5G wireless networks with billions of users worldwide. Radars are now used in all markets, from automotive safety to weather forecasting, with signals covering a wide range of power levels...

FCC's Secrecy of Communications for CB Radio

Editorial: FCC Secrecy of Communications for CB Radio, May 1969 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsThis is a very interesting article about the FCC's "Secrecy of Communications" rules. Manmade radio interference (QRM in Ham lingo), has been a problem since the early days of wireless communications. You might convincingly argue that it was worse at a time when many transmitters were of the arc type that basically spewed out a mess of RF energy within a specified bandwidth (very wide compared to today) to signal the presence of a "dit" (a digital "1"), with the absence of a signal being a "dah" (digital "0"). Filter technology for both the transmit and receive sides was also poor, allowing unintentional RF noise to be sent over the air and to find its way into the detector circuits. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), first formed in 1934, nearly four decades after Guglielmo Marconi first demonstrated his wireless set in 1896. Sometime around 1952, the FCC allocated a half dozen frequencies in the 27 MHz for radio control (R/C) model use, mixed within the existing citizens band (CB) radio channels. As you might imagine, interference problems were rampant, especially near metro areas and highways with heavy truck traffic. This editorial in a 1969 issue of American Aircraft Modeler magazine reports on just how bad things had gotten, especially that caused by operators using faulty and/or illegally modified transmitters, and even by malicious intentional attempts to "shoot down" model airplanes by keying transmitters in the vicinity of flight activity. In 1965, the FCC allocated...

RF Cascade Workbook

RF Cascade Workbook - RF Cafe RF Cascade Workbook is the next phase in the evolution of RF Cafe's long-running series, RF Cascade Workbook. Chances are you have never used a spreadsheet quite like this (click here for screen capture). It is a full-featured RF system cascade parameter and frequency planner that includes filters and mixers for a mere $45. Built in MS Excel, using RF Cascade Workbook 2018 is a cinch and the format is entirely customizable. It is significantly easier and faster than using a multi-thousand dollar simulator when a high level system analysis is all that is needed. An intro video takes you through the main features...

Many Thanks to ConductRF for Continued Support!

ConductRF coaxial cables & connectors - RF CafeConductRF is continually innovating and developing new and improved solutions for RF Interconnect needs. See the latest TESTeCON RF Test Cables for labs. ConductRF makes production and test coax cable assemblies for amplitude and phased matched VNA applications as well as standard & precision RF connectors. Over 1,000 solutions for low PIM in-building to choose from in the iBwave component library. They also provide custom coax solutions for applications where some standard just won't do. A partnership with Newark assures fast, reliable access. Please visit ConductRF today to see how they can help your project! 

LadyBug Technologies RF Power Measurement Videos

LadyBug Technologies RF Power Measurement Videos - RF CafeFounded in 2004, LadyBug Technologies has quickly built a reputation as one of the world's premier (they would argue "the" world's premier) manufacturers of RF and microwave power measurement test equipment. Their line of fast, accurate and NIST-traceable power sensors cover the 9 kHz to 50 GHz frequency range with 86 dB of dynamic range. In the process, LadyBug engineers have produced many very helpful instructional and educational videos for the benefit of their customers who use the power sensors, but also for anyone interested in making precision power measurements. A few of the videos are presented below, including titles such as "Peak and Pulse Power Demonstration," "RF Noise and Power Sensors Power Meters ," and "75 Ohm RF Power Measurements." and you can access the entire collection on LadyBug Technologies' YouTube channel...

Electronic Crosswords - December 1965 Electronics World

Electronic Crosswords, December 1965 Electronics World - RF CafeUnlike many of the crossword puzzles found in many magazines, the majority of the words and clues in this 1965 Electronics World "Electronic Crosswords" puzzle pertain to electronics, physics, mathematics, and other technical topics. Only a couple pertain to items not used in modern electronics assemblies, but you probably know what they are, anyway. I took the liberty of inserting alternate clues for the non-technical words, thus effectively rendering the entire crossword puzzle as totally compliant as my weekly RF Cafe Crossword Puzzles. You're welcome.

Opportunity Mirror: Reflections on Your Future

Opportunity Mirror: Thoughtful Reflections on Your Future, May 1970 Popular Electronics - RF CafePreparing for a technician career in electronics today is not so different than it was in 1970, when this article on resume preparation appeared in Popular Electronics magazine. Sure, particular job descriptions have changed, but the basics are pretty much the same. In 1970, being able to list television and radio repair on your resume was a valuable indication of your schematic reading and troubleshooting prowess. The keywords Sams Photofacts would jump right off the page at a knowledgeable interviewer (you can still buy documentation packages from Sams Technical Publishing). Then, as now, having a two-year college electronics degree or a stint in the armed forces as an electronics technician - or both, preferably - is almost a requirement for landing a job at a defense or aerospace electronics company...

The Transistor at 75

The Transistor at 75 - RF Cafe"Seventy-five years is a long time. It's so long that most of us don't remember a time before the transistor, and long enough for many engineers to have devoted entire careers to its use and development. In honor of this most important of technological achievements, this issue's package of articles explores the transistor's historical journey and potential future. In 'The First Transistor and How it Worked,' Glenn Zorpette dives deep into how the point-contact transistor came to be. Then, in 'The Ultimate Transistor Timeline,' Stephen Cass lays out the device's evolution, from the flurry of successors to the point-contact transistor to the complex devices in today's laboratories that might one day go commercial. The transistor would never have become so useful and so ubiquitous if the semiconductor industry had not succeeded in making it small and cheap..."

Ham Radio Earth-Moon-Earth Contact

Ham Radio Earth-Moon-Earth Contact, October 1960 Electronics World - RF CafeWe recently passed the 62nd anniversary of the first successful earth-moon-earth (EME) communication path by amateur radio operators. What is today a routine operation by Hams was a big deal back in the day. The moon was still a mystery to most of the world since at the time not even an unmanned probe had been sent for exploration. As reported in this 1960 issue of Electronics World magazine, 1,296 MHz was the frequency of choice using a 1 kW klystron on the transmit end and a highly sensitive parametric amplifier on the receive end, with high gain parabolic antennas on both ends. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has allocated the 144.00-144.20 MHz, 222.0-222.025 MHz, 432.00-432.07 MHz, 902.8-903.0 MHz, 1295.8-1296.05 MHz, and 2303.9-2304.2 MHz bands for various modes of EME operation per Part 97 rules...

Integrated Circuit Techniques

Integrated Circuit Techniques, November 1965 Electronics World - RF CafeMy first exposure to bare die integrated circuits was in the early 1980's, while working at the Westinghouse Oceanic Division in Annapolis, Maryland. It was my first job as an electronics technician after separating from the U.S. Air Force. After working there on the evening shift for a couple years building sonar systems for the U.S. Navy, I had an opportunity to move to the day shift if I could pass muster for a high level security clearance. A small group of engineers, with just one technician, was formed to serve the needs of a "special" customer. A couple other guys with more seniority them me interviewed for the position, but they failed the background check, which included two polygraph tests ...but I digress. Part of my job entailed building microcircuit assemblies using bare IC die and surface mount passive devices epoxied to very tiny printed circuit substrates, and then using a thermosonic wirebond machine to do the interconnections. 1 mil gold wire was used. A week-long class at the company's plant in Baltimore provided the basics, but the work we did was very unique and required developing new techniques that probably would not pass inspection by the crotchety Navy inspectors...

Please see the RF Cafe Homepage Archives for previous items of interest...

Exodus Advanced Communications Best in Class RF Amplifier SSPAs - RF Cafe
Noisecom
Lotus Communication Systems Modular RF Component Building Blocks - RF Cafe

Anritsu Test Equipment - RF Cafe

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Copyright: 1996 - 2024

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    Kirt Blattenberger,

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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 tying up your telephone line, and a nice lady's voice announced "You've Got Mail" when a new message arrived...

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