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About RF Cafe

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

All trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other rights of ownership to images and text used on the RF Cafe website are hereby acknowledged.

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Nowhere to Hide
Kirt's Cogitations™ #246

RF Cafe University"Factoids," "Kirt's Cogitations," and "Tech Topics Smorgasbord" are all manifestations of my rantings on various subjects relevant (usually) to the overall RF Cafe theme. All may be accessed on these pages:

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With each new advance in communications technology, we are warned by groups of usually well-intentioned - if not a bit paranoid - people and groups of people* that the development is yet another step closer to the government wielding complete control over our movements and habits. In the days before omnipresent video surveillance cameras, RFID tags, and easily tracked cellphones, the monitoring was carried out by human agents. Electronics bugs, telephone tapping, radio signal interception, and visual observations were the tools of the day (and are still used today in conjunction with the aforementioned).

* e.g., KOOKS - Keepers Of Odd Knowledge Society, a hard-to-track-down brotherhood of conspiracy theorists who don't even have a website.

Old methods required that an agent be expecting an event worthy of his time and trouble, since it is very expensive to maintain an army of "watchers" just in case something interesting happened to occur. New methods, being comprised of full-time electronic sentries, are to human assets what robots are on the production line that have replaced human operators - they are reliable, highly repeatable, economical, can keep a record of their actions for later inquiry, and don't ask for time off. Prior to 1949 there was not a universally adopted name for an omniscient, omnipresent government presence, but thanks the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four we now have a term: Orwellian.

The latest cause célèbre for privacy-obsessed types is Google Earth's Street View feature. Google Earth and Microsoft's Virtual Earth use a combination of satellite and airplane photographs to generate its legendary maps with resolutions measuring in feet in some areas of the world. That level of detail is good for detecting whether or not a person or vehicle is in a particular photo, but it cannot discern faces or license plate numbers. Launched on May 25, 2007, Street View does that job - a bit too well for some people. In fact, lawsuits have been filed against Google for the voyeuristic nature of the method. Google argues (usually successfully) that the images they obtain can be duplicated by anybody with a camera, and it is not illegal to take pictures.

Google Earth Street View Car with Camera (copyright acknowledged - whoever owns it)

Street View images are obtained by vehicles that are equipped with high-resolution, high-speed cameras that capture panoramic views of everything in the vehicle's path. GPS coordinates tag the images for correlation to map coordinates. Both vans and cars are used to host the special cameras. Early cameras were housed in blocky turrets, but the new generation devices remind me of a star projector head from a planetarium. After seeing its configuration, the range of perspectives available from the Street View shots is understandable. A supplement to the Google vehicle-obtained photographs are a series of images submitted by individuals of particular objects or areas. BTW, GPS-photo correlation devices are available for mortals as well - check out GiSTEQ PhotoTrackr.

Google Earth Street View Camera Head (copyright acknowledged - whoever owns it)

Many websites exist with examples of images ranging from very funny to very intrusive. A simple search will turn up hundreds. Unfortunately, Google has edited out, blurred out, or completely replaced the most noteworthy images. In fact, a face recognition feature in their processing software now automatically blurs human faces and tag numbers for all their images. I spent probably half an hour looking through Street View images all over the world, and did not see a single non-blurry face. However, you can bet that if the need arises, as with receiving a request by law enforcement for a clear version, an un-blurring algorithm is readily applicable. We know unfuzzification can be done, because every couple weeks Charlie does something like that for the FBI on Numb3rs. Local PDs, the FBI, CIA, NSA, and other 3-letter agencies have ready access to all manner of data that it can and does use to fight crime (and probably to cover its own footprints when necessary).

Indeed, pictures obtained by the Street View cameras have caused a stir amongst even governments on more than one occasion. The latest incident was when a vehicle was allowed passage onto the grounds of Fort Sam Houston Army Base, in Texas. Shortly thereafter, all military installations were instructed to deny entry. Entire towns in Europe have banned the vehicles by an administrative fiat - they require that a permit be applied for, and then deny the permit. Try anywhere in China to find a Street View shot (Doh, poor choice of words in a sentence with China).

Even the satellite views from both Google Earth and Microsoft's Virtual Earth have been known to shock militaries worldwide. To name a few, there was the exposure of the top secret low cavitation propeller (oops, sorry, "screw") on an Ohio-class nuclear submarine in dry dock. That is the first time I had ever seen it, and can recall reading an article about the one-of-a-kind, super-sophisticated, 5-axis, CNC machine that took something like 18 months to cut it. Google Earth captured a Chinese Jin-class sub for the first time. Hmmm, maybe it is time that navies start painting the tops of their submarines to look like whales? The Indian Air Force had a fit over satellite images of its bases showing in fine detail positions of bunkers, hangers, aircraft parking, and everything else an attacker could hope for. Again, you can find umpteen hundred similar examples with an online search. Security for just about every installation on Earth has been compromised - at least in part - by the readily available images.

Like it or not, this is part of the modern world. You can be sure that if this level of surveillance technology has been "allowed" to become mainstream, then there are other methods already in operation that would scare the socks off of you. One example that comes to mind is the proliferation of Unmanned Arial Vehicles ranging from the Predator to tiny little butterfly-size machines capable of flying either by remote control or autonomously to a target of interest and beaming back intelligence. News stories report that manufacturing cannot keep up with demand from military and law enforcement agencies.

Now, since I have hopefully convinced you that your privacy has been so utterly violated that nothing I could do from my computer could possibly do any harm, let me introduce you to a bit of Google Earth detective work that I have done myself. Below are screen captures of where Google Earth believes each of my RF Cafe advertisers is located. To arrive at their locations, I simply typed in their publically available street addresses. A few locations actually had Street View images that I was able to use to capture a photo of the building - usually with a shot of the sign showing the company name. In one or two cases, the Street View image was made prior to the company having moved into the building, and the previous company's sign is shown. When a company has provided a picture of its building on its website, I included it, too (I hope they don't mind).

I was a bit surprised to discover that a few companies appear to be private residences - like with RF Cafe! Now, it could be that the official mailing address is that of a residence, while the physical location is elsewhere. That is done sometimes for small businesses where the administrative functions for the company are done at home.

Coaxial Dynamics has taken the initiative to register its location on Google Earth (and Google Maps), so that it automatically appears in the list of locations in the nearby area. I just added RF Cafe. You might want to try doing that for your company... unless you have something to hide.

PopSci Article on Google Street View Digital Mapmaking - Goes with This Cogitation

Google Earth + Street Level Views of RF Cafe Advertisers

 RF Cafe: Google Earth Locations - North America

RF Cafe: Google Earth Locations - Europe

RF Cafe: Google Earth Locations - Asia

RF Cafe

RF Cafe

RF Cafe

1639 Westwood Drive

Erie, PA 16506 USA

Praxsym

Praxsym

120 South Third Street

Fisher, Illinois 61843 USA

Antenna Factor / Connector City / Linx

Antenna Factor / Connector City / Linx

Antenna Factor

Connector City

Linx

159 Ort Lane

Merlin, OR 97532 USA

Spectrum Microwave

Spectrum Microwave Palm Bay, FL Facility

Spectrum Microwave

2144 Franklin Dr. N.E.

Palm Bay, FL 32905 USA

Instruments for Industry (IFI)

Instruments for Industry (IFI)

903 South Second Street

Ronkonkoma, NY 11779 USA

Dow-Key Microwave

Dow-Key Microwave

Dow-Key Microwave

Dow-Key Microwave

4822 McGrath Street

Ventura, California 93003 USA

MECA Electronics

MECA Electronics

459 East Main Street

Denville, NJ 07834 USA

Isotec

Isotec

1103 Missy 2000 Bldg. 725

Suseo-Dong, Kangnam-Ku Seoul, Korea

RFdude.com

RFdude.com

271 Edgemoor Road

Rochester, NY 14618 USA

S. M. Electronics

S. M. Electronics

S. M. Electronics

460 S. Highway 5

Fairview, TX 75069 USA

Colby Instruments

Colby Instruments

1715 114th Avenue SE

Woodridge Building

Suite 112

Bellevue, WA 98004 USA

FotoFab

FotoFab

FotoFab

3758 W. Belmont Avenue

Chicago, IL 60618 USA

Stealth Microwave

Stealth Microwave

Stealth Microwave

1007 Whitehead Road Ext.

Trenton, NJ 08638 USA

Polyphase Microwave

Polyphase Microwave

Polyphase Microwave

1111 W. 17th Street

Bloomington, IN 47404 USA

Jyebao

Jyebao

9F, No. 651-7, Chung Cheng Road

Shin Juang City, Taipei Sien, Taiwan

European Antennas

European Antennas

Lambda House

Cheveley, Newmarket

Suffolk CB8 9RG, United Kingdom

Procyon PCB

Procyon PCB

2019 Jolly Road

Baltimore, MD 21209 USA

RFMD

RFMD

RFMD

RFMD

7628 Thorndike Road

Greensboro, NC 27409 USA

JQL Electronics

JQL Electronics

JQL Electronics

500 Lake Cook Road

Suite 350

Deerfield, IL 60015 USA

Pulsar Microwave

Pulsar Microwave Corporation

48 Industrial West

Clifton NJ, 07012 USA

NuWaves

NuWaves Engineering

122 Edison Drive

Middletown, OH 45044 USA

Reactel

Reactel Incorporated

Reactel

8031 Cessna Avenue

Gaithersburg, MD 20879 USA

Radio-Electronics

Radio-Electronics

Adrio Communications

17 Glebe Road

Dorking Surrey RH4 3DS UK

American Microwave Corporation (AMC)

American Microwave Corporation (AMC)

7311-G Grove Road

Frederick, MD 21704 USA

Apex Wireless

Apex Wireless

Apex Wireless

Apex Wireless

5345 Arapahoe Ave.

Suite 5

Boulder, CO 80303 USA

US Microwaves

US Microwaves

US Microwaves

2968 Scott Blvd.

Santa Clara, CA 95054 USA

Radiotronix

Radiotronix

905 Messenger Lane

Moore, OK 73160 USA

Applied Wave Research (AWR)

Applied Wave Research (AWR)

Applied Wave Research (AWR)

1960 E. Grand Avenue, Suite 430

El Segundo, CA 90245 USA

Coaxial Dynamics

Coaxial Dynamics

Coaxial Dynamics Headquarters - Cleveland, Ohio, USA

Coaxial Dynamics

6800 Lake Abram Drive

Middleburg Heights, OH 44130 USA

Anatech Electronics

Anatech Electronics

Anatech Electronics

70 Outwater Lane

Garfield, NJ 07026 USA

Test Equipment Connection

Test Equipment Connection

Test Equipment Connection

30 Skyline Drive

Lake Mary, FL 32746 USA

Guided Wave Technology

Guided Wave Technology

Gadeledsvej 30 DK-3400

Hillerod, Denmark

Spectrum Microwave

Spectrum Microwave

Spectrum Microwave Philadelphia, PA Facility

Spectrum Microwave

2707 Black Lake Place

Philadelphia, PA 19154 USA

Skyworks Solutions

Skyworks Solutions

20 Sylvan Road

Woburn, MA 01801 USA

L-3 Communications

L-3 Communications

L-3 Communications

Narda Microwave - East

435 Moreland Road

Hauppauge, NY 11788 USA

Amplifier Solutions

Amplifier Solutions

2950-K Advance Lane

Colmar, PA 18915 USA

Amplical / Noisewave

Amplical / Noisewave Corporation

11 Melanie Lane, Unit 3

East Hanover, NJ 07936 USA

Empower RF

 Empower RF

Empower RF

Empower RF

316 West Florence Ave.

Inglewood, CA 90301 USA

Comdel

Comdel

11 Kondelin Rd.

Gloucester, MA 01930 USA

Tharsus Engineering

Tharsus Engineering

Glen Street, Hebburn,

Tyne and Wear, NE31 1NG, UK

American Standard Circuits (ASC)

ASC HQ

American Standard Circuits (ASC)

475 Industrial Drive, West Chicago, IL 60185 USA

GigaLane

GigaLane

GigaLane

8F, E-dong Digital Empire Bldg.

980-3 Yeongtong-dong,

Yeongtong-gu, Suwon-si,

Gyeonggi-do, South Korea

PCB Material World

PCB Material World

PCB Material World

1601 Wilkening Road

Schaumburg, IL 60173  USA

Z-Communications

Z-Communications

Z-Communications

Z-Communications

9939 Via Pasar

San Diego, CA 92126, USA

Applied Computational Sciences (ACS)

Applied Computational Sciences (ACS)

1061 Dragt Place

Escondido, CA 92029 USA

AXSEM

AXSEM

Oskar-Bider-Str. 1 8600 Dübendorf

Zürich, Switzerland

Innovative Power Products

Innovative Power Products

1170-7 Lincoln Avenue

Holbrook, NY 11741 USA

Wenteq Microwave

Wenteq Microwave

Wenteq Microwave

735 West Duarte Road

Suite 401

Arcadia, CA 91007 USA

RFAC Solutions

RFAC Solutions

377 Van Ness Way #1205

Torrance, CA 90501 USA

BC Systems

BC Systems

BC Systems

200 Belle Mead Road

Setauket, NY 11733 USA

vidaRF

vidaRF

71 Brian Rd

Lancaster, MA 01523 USA

RFtronics

RFtronics

2621 Green River Road Suite 105

Corona, CA 92882 USA

Microwave Circuits

Microwave Circuits

Microwave Circuits

1611 Kemper Street

Lynchburg, VA 24501 USA

JFW Industries

JFW Industries

JFW Industries

5134 Commerce Square Drive

Indianapolis, IN 46237 USA

Alliance Test Equipment

Alliance Test Equipment

35 Pearl Street

Webster, MA 01570 USA

antennas.us

antennas.us

antennas.us

Myers Engineering

5425 N.W. 24th Street, Unit 202

Margate, FL 33063 USA

3Gmetalworx

3Gmetalworx

101 Planchet Road

Concord, Ontario L4K 2C6 Canada

Microphase

Microphase

587 Connecticut Avenue

Norwalk, CT 06854 USA

Boonton / Noisecom

Boonton

Noisecom

25 Eastmans Road

Parsippany, NJ 07054 USA

Ho-Bid.com

Ho-Bid.com

140th Avenue North

Suite 308

Clearwater, Florida 33762 USA

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