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Copyright: 1996 - 2024


    Kirt Blattenberger,


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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Spreadsheets for System Planning - RF Cafe Forums

RF Cafe Forums closed its virtual doors in 2012 mainly due to other social media platforms dominating public commenting venues. RF Cafe Forums began sometime around August of 2003 and was quite well-attended for many years. By 2010, Facebook and Twitter were overwhelmingly dominating online personal interaction, and RF Cafe Forums activity dropped off precipitously. Regardless, there are still lots of great posts in the archive that ware worth looking at. Below are the old forum threads, including responses to the original posts.

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Kirt Blattenberger
 Post subject: Spreadsheets for System Planning
Posted: Sun Apr 16, 2006 9:37 pm 
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Sun Aug 03, 2003 2:02 pm

Posts: 701

Location: Erie, PA


As many RF Cafe visitors know, I have provided a series of "RF Cascade Workbook" spreadsheets for performing high-level RF system analysis. The latest version is 2005. I am trying to decide whether to continue the series with a new version, but honestly do not know what additional features would be considered valuable by users. Theoretically, an infinite number of new calculations could be added, but at some point the interface becomes too crowded and navigation difficult. The alternative would be to undertake the significant task of developing an executable software program.

One of the most useful aspects of a spreadsheet is the ability of the user to modify it to either add or delete features to meet his particular needs. Excel has extremely powerful built-in functions and charting capabilities that are laborious to reproduce in software. Excel even has, and I exploit in the "RF Cascade Workbook" series, the ability to error-trap user inputs for data type and range. A disadvantage of spreadsheets, according to some users, is that they do not create as much of a refined presentation for use in reports, etc. I personally like to see spreadsheet work in reports and slideshows because it gives the appearance of a tailored effort. You might not agree.

So, I am creating this poll in hopes of ascertaining your opinion on the usefulness of spreadsheets vs. hard-coded software. Thank you for your time.


- Kirt Blattenberger :smt024

RF Cafe Progenitor & Webmaster

 Post subject:
Posted: Mon Apr 17, 2006 1:25 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Aug 20, 2003 11:47 am

Posts: 101

Location: Santa Barbara, CA


I have long used all of your tools to good effect. I recently started using the latest version of RF Cascade Workbook for a new design and it is really great. Yes! By all means, continue the series.

I think what I would like to see is the spur web capablity from RF Workbench (Tx/Rx) on a more modern platform (other than DOS). It still works well but it is kind of slow and difficult to use with other applications - can't copy n' paste, for example. It would be nice to calculate, but perhaps not plot on the spur web, spurs higher than 9th order. I would like to be able to cut and paste all the calculated spurs into a Word document. Also, I would like to be able to have a predicted signal level associated with each spur. This is possible with RF Workbench but it is somewhat tedius to do since you have to manually select which spur to calculate. With the increased computational power of the machines these days, I think those spur levels could possibly be generated automatically without slowing things down too much. I don't think that such a capability would have to be within the same file as RF Cascade Workbook but Excel is a decent platform.

Just my thoughts.


Posted  11/12/2012

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