Kirt's Cogitations™ #221
RFCafe.EU's Raison d'Être
With a last name like Blattenberger, it is
obvious that my ancestors came from Europe – Germany to be exact. Born
in 1958, I am something like a third generation American. My great-grandfather,
originally surnamed Schuldberg which, according to
means “Mountain of debt,” and his family fled Germany in the mid-1800s
when a warrant for his arrest was issued due to his involvement in an
embezzlement scandal. They huddled for three months in the belly of
an oil tanker as fugitives, sending the children out at night to scavenge
for food from the officer’s mess just to survive. Once in The New World,
he started a lawn maintenance business, and changed his last name to
Blattenberg, which means “Mountain of leaves.” The name was further
Anglicized later to its current form of Blattenberger.
about the reason for and method of getting to America, of course, but
I am of German descent. I made up the part about the name change, too,
but Blattenberg does mean “mountain of leaves.” Oh, and there were no
oil tankers in the mid 1800s, either.
Why this inanity, you ask?
It is really just a lame lead-in for introducing the new
Most Americans of my era are of European ancestry, so we have a relatively
recent familial tie to The Old World. Cultures might vary widely and
sometimes deeply between here are there, but bloodlines run closely.
The European Union
has, since its formal beginning on November 1, 1993, assembled a strategic
collection of 25 independent, democratic member states. Efforts began
as early as 1958 when the
European Economic Community was formed following the Treaty of Rome
(c. 1957, in fact the Europa site’s slogan is “Together Since 1957”).
After two devastating World Wars and much debate, the neighboring countries
of Europe came to an agreement on common terms that would greatly reduce
the likelihood of one or more of them waging war against the other(s).
Building interdependence for the purposes of both economic stability
and military security, while allowing for the preservation of individual
national identities, has required a lot of give-and-take on the part
of diplomats and ordinary citizens. So far, so good.
We did the
same type of thing here in the United States about 250 years ago (although
individual states, not independent countries), and it has worked well,
with a few notable upsets; e.g., the Civil War.
common currency, the
was introduced in an attempt to eliminate constantly changing exchange
rate issues involved when transacting business deals and forming partnerships.
On December 31, 1998, the relative value of each member country’s currency
was set by the European Commission based on the market rates, so that
one European Currency Unit (ECU) would equal one euro. A special euro
currency sign (€) was designed as the result of a public survey. The
European Commission then chose the final design. On January 1, 2002,
the first hard currency was distributed. The dollar coin is particularly
attractive with its dual metal, concentric construction (I collect them
in any condition, so feel free to mail your spares to me).
a perusing of the many Vendor pages on RF Café will attest to, there
is a plethora of electronics product manufacturers located in EU member
countries. Some of them even advertise on (i.e., subsidize the existence
of) RF Café. To name a few:
As with many American firms that exist to support the military and aerospace
industry here, there are also a huge number of companies in the EU that
contribute to similar unified efforts there. There is not yet, however,
a single defense force or aeronautics program for the EU analogous to
the United States’ Department of Defense (DoD) and National Space and
Aeronautics Administration (NASA), respectively. Companies like
EADS (European Aeronautics
and Defence Company) are major players for aircraft and space vehicles,
and represents a consortium of EU countries. Airbus, while based in
France, is a multinational venture formed by EU members to compete in
the multi-billion dollar civilian and military aircraft markets. The
newly formed Joint
Research Center (JRC) has committed billions of dollars to basic
research and development projects that will fuel the high-tech industry
for member countries. Many others come to mind. The product and services
generated by those efforts incorporate a large amount of electronics
components and assemblies. That the EU electronics industry policies
has influence worldwide needs no other example than the
RoHS (Restriction of the use of certain Hazardous Substances in
electrical and electronic equipment) directive, which has become a de
facto standard for acceptance of electrical components.
of the already very large and growing European RF and electronics industry
in particular and the high technology industry in general, we (I) at
RF Café have decided to create a website that will serve the needs of
the many engineers and hobbyists from member countries that already
regularly visit RFCafe.COM.
RFCafe.EU is that
website. Although I may have missed it, there is no other single website
that I have found on the .EU top level domain that serves such a purpose.
Hopefully, a new frontier is being forged. Visitor involvement is highly
encouraged. Submission of articles for publication, participation in
the RF Café Forums, notices for events, news headlines, important dates
in history, product announcements, and any other relevant items are
hereby requested. Thanks in advance for your contributions.
please, whether you happen to be a resident of a European Union country
or not, spend some time looking over the new RFCafe.EU website. Then,
come back often to witness and influence its evolution.
Due to some logistical issues with separating the .COM and .EU website
content (forum, borders, menus, etc.), the site will be taken down until
resolved. I would rather wait to launch when all features are working
properly. Sorry for the inconvenience. I will announce when it is up