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Homepage Archive - March 2016 (page 1)

These archive pages are provided in order to make it easier for you to find items that you remember seeing on the RF Cafe homepage. Of course probably the easiest way to find anything on the website is to use the "Search RF Cafe" box at the top of every page. About RF Cafe.

Homepage Archive Pages

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Click here for Page 2 of the March 2016 homepage archives.


Diminished Manufacturing Sources

and End of Life Component Supplier

Force Technologies: Diminished Manufacturing Sources - RF CafeForce Technologies, located in Marlborough, UK, has been added to the Obsolete Components page on RF Cafe. They are a is a continued manufacturing source for discontinued or obsolete semiconductors, such as memories, microprocessors, linear, logic, opto and discrete, devices in order to support many legacy products in all industries. Manufacturing / re-creation solutions are both in accordance with Mil-Std 883 and AS9100 compliant, delivering quality replacements to plastic, & hermetic parts for DMS (diminished manufacturing sources) and EOL (end of life) products. +44(0)1264-731200

Over the Horizon Radars Becoming

Routine Visitors on Amateur HF Bands

Over the Horizon Radars Becoming Routine Visitors on Amateur HF Bands"The International Amateur Radio Union Region 1 (Europe/Africa) Monitoring System (IARUMS) reports a spate of over the horizon (OTH) radar signals on various Amateur Radio HF bands - exclusive and shared. Many of these signals are being heard outside of the Region 1 confines. A 50 kHz wide Russian OTH radar has been heard in the evening on 80 meters, often in the CW part of the band. An 'often long-lasting' Russian OTH signal about 13 kHz wide is being heard on the 7000-7100 kHz segment of 40 meters, while some digital traffic ..."

Submarines - Are We Open

to Sneak Attack?

Submarines - Are We Open to Sneak Attack?, February 1956 Popular Electronics - RF CafeSubmarines first proved their deadly capabilities during World War II when Adolph Hitler's navy used them to torpedo not just military ships but merchant ships in commercial trade routes between the Americas and Europe. Hideki Tojo's navy used subs to conduct surveillance prior to the deadly surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Their naturally stealthy environment - underwater - proved to be a difficult realm both for detection and for attack. Fortunately, sensor technology developed quickly during the war, and soon a combination of air and sea based methods were in use and proved very effective. Submariners no longer sailed in relative security from being treated to a violent, icy burial at sea ...

Wireless Technology Creating New

Opportunities in EMI Shielding Industry

Orbel: Wireless Technology Creating New Opportunities in EMI Shielding Industry - RF CafeOrbel Corporation is a designer and manufacturer of custom EMI/RFI shielding, photo-etched precision metal parts and stamping. Advancements in Wi-Fi, GPS, 3G, RFID, Bluetooth, and complex cell phone and tablets are creating both challenges and new opportunities within the the EMI shielding industry. EMI is generated almost anywhere on earth, and the amount of electronics requiring protection from it is only going to continue to grow. According to recent BCC Research estimates, the global EMI shielding market is expected to reach $6.6B by 2019 ...

Carrier Mobility in Organic

Semiconductors Overestimated

Carrier Mobility in Organic Semiconductors Overestimated - RF Cafe"U.S. researchers are questioning the claims made for carrier mobility in some organic semiconductors. The team, from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Wake Forest University and Penn State University, see errors up to 10x. The problem is the use of silicon transistor models. Typically, said NIST, measurements are analyzed as though they were of silicon field-effect transistors – where drain ..."

Notable Tech Quote: Quasianonymous

Notable Tech Quote re Morse Code Requirement - RF Cafe"I do like to say that I'm proud to be a twentieth century, 20 WPM Extra and not a 10-4 good buddy, Roger Dodger licensee." - Quasianonymous* (actually not Anonymous to me, but the originator prefers to remain anonymous to everyone else). For a sufficient sum of untraceable currency, I shall disclose the name of this wit (just kidding... $orta). There is a well-established rift, sometimes serious and sometimes not, between pre-required-Morse-code and post-required-Morse-code Hams. Morse code requirements for all levels of Amateur radio licenses was dropped by the ITU in 2003, and by the FCC in 2007. *Bonus factoid: Quasimodo ...

DesignCon 2016 Keysight Education

Forum (KEF) Sessions Available

DesignCon 2016 Keysight Education Forum (KEF) Sessions Available - RF CafeYou can now watch the DesignCon 2016 Keysight Education Forum (KEF) sessions from the convenience of your desk. Get complimentary access to the materials that made KEF a huge success with more than 600 attendees this year. View the video footage and presentation slides from all 8 Keysight Education Forum (KEF) workshops: Mastering Measurement Requirements for 16 GBit/s Devices, Identify and Remove Crosstalk from your High-Speed Signals, Signal Integrity Tips and Techniques Using TDR, VNA and Modeling, Updates on Measurement Solutions for PAM-4 Signaling, and more ...

Expert Witness: How Your Rate

Structure Can Influence Your Business

What to Expect When You're an Expert (Rate Structure) - IMS ExpertServices - RF CafeA while back, I asked the folks at IMS ExpertServices whether they had in their archives any papers regarding typical fees charged by expert witnesses based on experience, success rate, professional bona fides, type of legal case, etc. They responded saying that in fact there was a series of white papers being prepared intended to educate both current and prospective experts on requirements and expectation for their service, as well as what range Daubert not Dogbert - RF Cafeof fees can be charged. The first two papers have been published as of this writing. A brief synopsis of each is presented below. It is worth remembering when considering getting involved in the expert testimony world that ...

Of Beer Bottles and Slide Rules

Pickett N515-T and Beer Bottles by M0XPD - RF CafeRF Cafe visitor Paul D. (M0XPD) sent me a link to his brief article that aptly illustrates how a Pickett N-515-T slide rule and a beer bottle can be used to help a student understand resonance in LC tank circuits. It has to do with the oft-used mechanical phenomenon dual of an electrical apparatus - like a wire is a water hose, voltage is the pressure, etc. The Picket N-515-T is a custom slide rule marketed by the Cleveland Institute of Electronics to be used with their series of self-study electronics courses that had their heyday in the 1960s and 1970s.

Win a Free RF / Microwave

Engineering Book!

Monthly Book Drawing - RF CafeEach month I select someone to receive a free book from those graciously provided by top-tier publishers like Artech House and Cambridge University Press. How to enter? Send me an e-mail with "<Month> Book Drawing" in the subject line, and some note in the body (empty e-mails go to spam folder). At least one winner is drawn each month. Beginning with March 2016, the winner will need to pay the shipping cost (typically <$5 in the U.S.). I have never passed contact information of any sort to anyone for any reason ...

Physics & Engineering

Crossword Puzzle

Physics & Engineering Crossword Puzzle for March 13, 2016 - RF CafeFor the sake of avid cruciverbalists amongst us, each week I create a new crossword puzzle that has a theme related to engineering, mathematics, chemistry, physics, and other technical words. You will never be asked the name of a movie star unless he/she was involved in a technical endeavor (e.g., Hedy Lamar). Clues in this week's puzzle with an asterisk (*) are directly from this week's "High Tech News" column on the RF Cafe homepage (see the Headline Archives page if necessary) ...

Darpa Invites Techies to Turn

COTS Products into Weapons

Darpa Invites Techies to Turn COTS Products into Weapons - RF Cafe"The good news is that some of today's most advanced technologies are cheap and easy to find, both online and on the shelves of major chain stores. That's also the bad news, according to DARPA. The defense agency is nervous that criminals and terrorists will turn off-the-shelf products into tools and devices to harm citizens or disrupt American military operations. On Friday, DARPA announced a new project called 'Improv' that invites technologists to propose designs for military applications or weaponry built exclusively from commercial software, open source code, and readily available materials. The program's goal is to demonstrate how easy it is to transform ..."

Saelig High Current & Power 45 MHz

Differential/2-Channel Signal Amplifier

Saelig Announces High Current, High Power 45 MHz Differential/Dual-Channel Signal Amplifier - RF CafeSaelig Company announces availability of the Tabor Model 9260 - a bench-top dual-channel DC-coupled wideband amplifier, designed for high-frequency and high-current signal amplification. With a wide bandwidth of 45 MHz, and delivering 34 Vpk-pk output into 50 ohms with up to 10 W output power, the 9260 is an ideal complimentary amplifier to any signal source that needs a supporting power boost for demanding applications. With a peak output current of 1A, the 9260 enables a continuous power output of up to 10W, making it ideal for a range of pulse applications. The 9260 can be configured to be used ...

c1932-33 Delco & Majestic Vacuum

Tube Radio Service Sheets

Delco 32-Volt Radio Receiver Chasses Radio Service Data Sheet, January 1932 Radio-Craft - RF CafeHere are the Majestic Chassis Models 380 A.C. T.R.F., and 400 A.C.-D.C. Superheterodyne and Delco 32-Volt Radio Receiver Chassis Radio Service Data Sheets as featured in a 1933 edition of Radio-Craft magazine. As mentioned many times in the past, I post these online for the benefit of hobbyists looking for information to assist in repairing or restoring vintage communication equipment. Even with the availability of SAMS Photofacts, there are some models that cannot be found anywhere other than in these vintage magazines ...

Antenova Targets 3G Mobile Data

Market with Small, Flexible Antennas

Antenova M2M Targets 3G Mobile Data Market with Two Small, Flexible FPC Antennas - RF CafeAntenova M2M, manufacturer of antennas and RF antenna modules for M2M, is targeting the fast increasing 3G mobile device market with two new flexible printed circuit board antennas for 3G and MIMO. Both antennas operate at GSM850, GSM900, DCS1800, PCS1900 and WCDMA2100 and will provide full coverage of the 3G bands in all world regions. The two new FPC antennas are designed to be mounted inside a small mobile or wearable device, and are supplied with a cable and a connector so that they are very easy to ...

New Source of Ultra-Bright

Quantum Light

New Source of Ultra-Bright Quantum Light - RF Cafe"A new ultra-bright source of single photons -- 15x brighter than commonly used sources and emitting photons that are 99.5% indistinguishable from one another -- has been developed by researchers from the CNRS, Université Paris Diderot, and Université Paris-Sud. This feat was achieved thanks to the nanometrically-precise positioning of a quantum dot within an optical microcavity. Adding an electrical control to the device helped ..."

Mac's Radio Service Shop:

Remote Control and Colored Snow

Mac's Radio Service Shop: Remote Control and Colored Snow, February 1954 Radio & Television News - RF CafeAny story with 'remote control' in its title piques my interest, so of course this installment of "Mac's Radio Service Shop" met the criterion. Unlike in this story where the remote turned out to be wired, it it the wireless type - like those used to guide radio controlled model airplanes, boats, cars, and helicopter - that really grab my attention. Along with discussing the newfangled (in 1954) Regency television remote control for changing channels, fine tuning the frequency, and adjusting volume, shop owner Mac McGregor discusses how atmospheric conditions affect radio signal strength. In discussing the advent of color TVs, the question ...

Please Welcome Bittele Electronics

as an RF Cafe Supporter!

Bittele Electronics - RF CafeIn business since 2003, Bittele Electronics has established itself as a Turn-Key PCB assembly services provider for prototype and low volume electronic contract manufacturing. Their head office in Toronto, Canada, and sales office in San Jose, CA, supports production facilities in China, providing customers low-cost, quick-turn, One-stop PCB assembly services: PCB fabrication, Parts Procurement and PCB Assembly. Bittele's customers are primarily in the U.S. and Canada in a wide variety of industries. Please visit Bittele Electronics today to see how they might help your project succeed.

'Videos for Engineers' Links

All Working Now!

Videos for Engineers - RF CafeAs you know, anything on the Internet is considered 'old' after just a couple years. Many hyperlinks are broken either from websites moving files around (a la IEEE and most trade magazines) or from the entire Sweathog Clinic for the Cure of Smoking - RF Cafewebsite disappearing. Videos are particularly hard to keep track of. Over the last day or so I have gone through all of my "Videos for Engineers" links and verified, corrected, or deleted as needed to assure everything is working. It was a real pain, but worth it. One of my German Coast Guard What Are You Sinking About - RF Cafeall-time favorites is the German Coast Guard trainee. There are scores of tech-related videos on 25 pages. Enjoy!

Study Finds No Gender Gap

in Tech Salaries

Study Finds No Gender Gap in Tech Salaries - RF Cafe"Even though cash is a bigger motivator for men than for women, they're getting equal pay for equal positions, education, and experience says tech job search firm Dice. No salary gap exists between women and men in tech, says job search firm Dice, looking at its annual survey of 16,000 tech professionals, as long as you are comparing people with equal experience, education, and job titles. That, of course, is a big if. And previous data from Dice found about a $10k pay gap between men and women if not controlled ..."

Leatherman Tread Bracelet

Leatherman Tread Bracelet- RF CafeI saw this 'Tread Bracelet' featured in the December 2015 issue of Popular Science magazine - kinda cool. According to the story, "After Leatherman's president, Ben Rivera, got stopped at security at Disneyland for carrying a multitool, he decided to create one that you'd never need to leave at home - or even in a toolbox. Tread's wearable design features 29 handy tools, such as Allen wrenches, screwdrivers, and a bottle opener.'" It's a bit pricey at $165, but hey, you can't take it with you ;-) ...

Skyworks Revolutionary Technology

Enhancing RF Power Capability

Skyworks Unveils Revolutionary Technology Enhancing RF Power Capability and Efficiency - RF Cafe"Skyworks Solutions, Inc., an innovator of high performance analog semiconductors connecting people, places and things, launched SkyBlue™, a new and revolutionary enabling technology that enhances both the power capability and efficiency in LTE amplifiers and front-end solutions. Designs utilizing SkyBlue™ technology not only deliver twice the power of envelope and average power tracking systems available on the market today, but across much broader power ranges. These efficiencies can be more than 15-20% in medium to high power ranges ..."

Radio Stamps Make Rare Collection

Radio Stamps Make Rare Collection, July 1956 Popular Electronics - RF CafeBoth my father and grandfather were stamp collectors - philatelists is the technical word - who dabbled in a recreational way with commemoratives from foreign countries. Nearly all were canceled (used) stamps that today, as back in their day, have no real value other than to someone interested in history. Of course none are the rare types. I now possess many of those stamps in an album that was painstakingly hand-illustrated and assembled to arrange each stamp according to its country and issue date. At one time I, too, dabbled in the hobby, having collected many plate blocks and special issue U.S. stamps in the 1970s and 1980s, along with purchasing a few designs of special purpose such as those with aerospace and communications themes ...

Stretchable Skin Cloaks Objects

by Trapping Radar Waves

Stretchable Skin Cloaks Objects by Trapping Radar Waves - RF Cafe"A flexible, stretchable and tunable 'meta-skin' that uses rows of small, liquid-metal devices to cloak an object from the sharp eyes of radar has been developed by Iowa State University engineers. The metamaterial can be tuned to reduce the reflection of a wide range of radar frequencies by controlling the stretching and flexing of the polymer meta-skin. 'It is believed that the present meta-skin technology will find many applications in electromagnetic ..."

Narda Measuring Station Monitors

EM Fields in Freely Definable Bands

Narda Measuring Station Monitors EM Fields in Freely Definable Bands - RF CafeNarda Safety Test Solutions has a new selective Area Monitor on the market: AMS-8061. This autonomous measuring station monitors electromagnetic fields from 100 kHz to 6 GHz in up to 20 freely definable frequency bands. This allows the field exposure levels due to e.g. GSM, UMTS, and LTE as well as DAB and DVB-T to be recorded separately. The measurement conforms to ITU-T Recommendation K.83 "Monitoring of electromagnetic field levels." The new type AMS-8061 Area Monitor operates independently. Its solar cells ...

"Marble Machine" by Wintergatan

"Marble Machine" by Wintergatan - RF CafeMaybe you are one of the more than 11 million people who have already viewed this incredible "Marble Machine" video, by Swedish musician Martin Molin. Molin designed and built his wooden music machine using aircraft plywood, ball bearings, Lego blocks, pressure transducers, plastic tubing, lengths of wire, springs, and a host of other off-the-shelf components, none of which appear to have required custom metal machining. The huge wooden gears were designed on his computer, ut out on a band saw, and assembled with glue and screws. 2,000 metal marbles are the lifeblood of the instrument which, by function, must be classified as percussion. Even the integrated base guitar is ...

Scott Adams: How to Fail at Almost

Everything and Still Win Big

How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big - RF CafeHow to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life. Scott Adams has likely failed at more things than anyone you've ever met, including his corporate career, his inventions, his investments, and two restaurants. So how did he go from hapless office worker to the creator of Dilbert, one of the world's most famous syndicated comic strips, in just a few years? In this funny yet serious book full of personal stories, Adams shares the strategies he has used to invite failure in, embrace it, then pick its pocket. Among his contrarian lessons: • Goals are for losers. Systems are for winners. • A combination of mediocre skills ...

Orientation of Magnetism Adjustable

in New Materials

Orientation of Magnetism Adjustable in New Materials - RF Cafe"Nanotechnologists at the UT research institute MESA+ are now able to create materials in which they can influence and precisely control the orientation of the magnetism at will. An interlayer just 0.4 nanometers thick is the key to this success. The materials present a range of interesting possibilities, such as a new way of creating computer memory as well as spintronics applications – a new form of electronics that works on the basis of magnetism instead of electricity. The research was published today in the leading scientific journal Nature Materials ..."

Television-Themed Comics

Television-Themed Comics June 1949 Radio & Television News - RF CafeThe June 1949 issue of Radio & Television News had four television-themed comics. Television at that time was a relatively new home appliance, so there was a huge amount of interest in the technology. It hadn't really been all that long since the public got used to hearing sound (i.e., 'talkies') in the movie theater, so the mystique that surrounded television made it the subject of a lot of puns and jokes. 1949 was a mere four years after the end of World War II, and the post-war economic boom was primed by a surplus of left-over electronic components along with lots of available talent both in the areas of design and assembly ...

Optical Trapping Offers Way

to Launch High-Power Laser

Optical Trapping Offers Way to Launch High-Power Laser - RF Cafe"Researchers have demonstrated, for the first time, that laser light can be used to manipulate a glass optical fiber tapered to a sharp point smaller than a speck of dust, in the middle of an optical fiber with a hollow core. Amazingly, optical forces cause the sharp point, or "nanospike," to self-align at the center of the hollow core, trapping it more and more strongly at the core center as the laser power increases. "Launching very high power laser light into an optical ..."

Notable Tech Quote: Ward Silver

Ward Silver (N0AX) notable tech quote - RF Cafe"This isn't impedance matching as much as it is 'impedance hiding'." - Ward Silver (N0AX), in the March 2016 issue of Nuts & Volts magazine. The statement is in reference to using resistive impedance matching rather than reactive matching. Ideal inductors and capacitors have only an imaginary reactive impedance and therefore dissipate no power, whereas ideal resistors have only a resistive impedance and do dissipate power. Although in the real word Rs, Ls, and Cs all have both resistive and reactive (R±jX) parts, the most lossless impedance match if both the source and load are purely ...

Phone Manufacturers Face Jail

If Phones Cannot Be Decrypted

French Phone Manufacturers Face Jail - RF Cafe"French politicians have voted in favour of a law which would penalise smartphone manufacturers who do not cooperate with terrorism inquiries. The government is currently passing new laws to deal with the recent rise in terrorist attacks in the country, but had opposed the amendment, which had been tabled by opposition politicians. The bill is needed so that the country can drop the state of emergency which came into effect following the Paris attacks last November ..."

Elementary Schoolers' CubeSat Ready to Deploy from ISS

Elementary Schoolers’ CubeSat Ready to Deploy from ISS - RF Cafe"The 400 youngsters attending a suburban Washington, DC, parochial school are eagerly awaiting the day the CubeSat they constructed will be deployed from the International Space Station. The little STMSat-1 spacecraft — an educational project of pupils attending St. Thomas More Cathedral School in Arlington, Virginia — is equipped with a slow-scan TV (SSTV) payload that will transmit on 70 centimeters (437.800 MHz). The school won a NASA competition ..."

Aboard a Radar Picket Plane

Aboard a Radar Picket Plane - RF CafeAlthough obviously (but getting less so) before my time, the mention of this airborne radar surveillance system having been built by General Electric, in Utica, New York, struck a chord since that is where I had my first engineering job after having graduated from the University of Vermont with a BSEE degree. It seems to me the work at the time was all done in the converted textile complex on Broad Street. They were the glory days of GE, Westinghouse, Collins, Raytheon, and other electronics titans whose engineers, technicians, assemblers, and program managers ...

Tech News for March 7, 2016

Taiwan Passes South Korea in IC Wafer Fab Capacity

The FCC is About to Ruin AM Radio

Wearable Caffeinated Bracelet Keeps You Energized All Day Long (I'll stick with the liquid form)

242,000 Jobs Added in February: 304,000 Were Part-Time (net loss of full-time)

Harmonic Radars Search

for Hidden Devices

Harmonic Radars Search for Hidden Devices - RF Cafe"Harmonic radars have long held the promise of detecting devices at higher frequencies, although designing such systems involves tight control of internally generated harmonic and spurious signals. To aid in the detection of small, hidden electronic devices, researchers at the Sensor and Antenna Systems Group at the Informatics and Information Security Research Center ..."

Win a Free RF / Microwave

Engineering Book!

Monthly Book Drawing - RF CafeEach month I select someone to receive a free book from those graciously provided by top-tier publishers like Artech House and Cambridge University Press. How to enter? Send me an e-mail with "<Month> Book Drawing" in the subject line, and some note in the body (empty e-mails go to spam folder). At least one winner is drawn each month. Beginning with March 2016, the winner will need to pay the shipping cost (typically <$5 in the U.S.). I have never passed contact information of any sort to anyone for any reason ...

Engineering Crossword Puzzle for March 6, 2016

Electrical Engineering Crossword Puzzle for March 6, 2016 - RF CafeFor the sake of avid cruciverbalists amongst us, each week I create a new crossword puzzle that has a theme related to engineering, mathematics, chemistry, physics, and other technical words. You will never be asked the name of a movie star unless he/she was involved in a technical endeavor (e.g., Hedy Lamar). Enjoy!

Tech Headlines for March 6, 2016

India's Telcos Challenge Call Drop Compensation in Supreme Court

Warwick University Receives £4.8M ($6.7M) to Support 66 PhDs

Man Finds Cache of Century-Old Baseball Cards in Paper Bag

Electro-Acoustic Scan Finds Cracks in Ceramic Capacitors

Electro-Acoustic Scan Finds Cracks in Ceramic Capacitors - RF Cafe"Cracks can be found in 'working' ceramic capacitors, using an electrical tone-burst delivered to the terminals, claims the NIST. The impulse sets up acoustic vibrations (~1 MHz), which can be analyzed electrically at the terminals. Phase shifts versus vibration magnitude are greater when cracks are present. 'Industrial screening, such as automated visual inspection, X-rays and acoustic microscopy, may not find subsurface cracks, especially near corners under ..."

Carl & Jerry: Bosco Has His Day

Carl & Jerry: Bosco Has His Day, August 1956 Popular Electronics - RF CafeIt has been quite a while since posting a Carl & Jerry adventure tale. The teenage-neighbors-cum-Ham-radio-operators-cum-electronics-hobbyists-cum-amateur-detectives-cum-pranksters are the creation of John T. Frye. He published a monthly episode in Popular Electronics magazine. Mr. Frye is also the author of the Mac's Radio Service Shop series of instructional stories that ran in Radio & Television News magazine. This adventure is quite a digression from the typical storyline in that the boys actually engage in a bit of deceit in order to save face based on a bet ...

Optical Warfare is Aim of Lockheed, L-3 Projects

Optical Warfare is Aim of Lockheed, L-3 Projects - RF Cafe"Optical warfare at sea is getting more dangerous and deadly with a U.S. Navy contract to Lockheed Martin Corp. Wednesday to help surface warships defend themselves from maritime weapons that home-in on their targets using lasers and other kinds of electro-optical sensors. The contract calls for electro-optical surface ship defense experts at Lockheed Martin to enhance surface warship multi-band defenses against concentrated enemy ..."

Google Building Big, Mysterious Radio Transmitter in Desert

Google Building Big, Mysterious Radio Transmitter in Desert - RF CafeIn Spaceport America, New Mexico: "According to an FCC document unearthed by Brian Benchoff, the internet giant applied for an experimental radio license to be built in the New Mexico desert. Much of the report is redacted. It will work in ranges typically utilized for communications devices (2.5 GHz and 5.8 GHz), but includes higher millimeter bands. As Benchoff points out, there's a transmitter in the 70-80 GHz band. That band isn't regulated much by the FCC, and is typically used ..."

Radio Shack Advertisement, August 1947 QST

Radio Shack Advertisement, August 1947 QST - RF CafeRadio Shack, like so many of America's original great companies, was born and lived long and prospered during its glory days, then eventually waned into insignificance and obsolescence within the last decade or so. It is not always simply an unwillingness to adapt to new technologies and methods that dooms them. The forces behind those life cycles are often beyond their control because start-ups vying for market share do not carry the burden of and have to deal with established investments in people, facilities, and infrastructure ...

Top 10 Countries with Most Engineering Graduates

Top 10 Countries with Most Engineering Graduates - RF Cafe"Which country produces the largest number of engineering graduates per year? The United States? No. Japan? No. These two countries might be the obvious choices but it looks like neither one of them made the top of the list. According to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, the country that produces the highest number of engineering graduates per year is Russia, followed by the United States and Iran. According to their report, Russia produces ..."

Tech News for March 4, 2016

Explosive Start Not Needed for Fast Radio Bursts

Study Links Mobile Device Addiction to Depression and Anxiety

Chip Makers Need New Business Models

Big in Japan! Geomagnetic Indoor Positioning

BAE to Demonstrate Next-Gen EW Detection for the Navy

1,000-Pixel Headlights Could Offer Improved Vision at Night

NI Presents Dr. Steve Cripps' "Doherty at Eighty" Webinar

NI Presents Dr. Steve Cripps' "Doherty at Eighty" Webinar - RF CafeNI will sponsor a Microwave Journal hosted webinar entitled "Doherty at Eighty," presented by power amplifier design expert Dr. Steve Cripps. The Doherty power amplifier (DPA) was originally introduced back in 1936 and continues to evolve, benefitting from the increasing intrusion of digital controls into the synthesis of complex digitally-modulated communications signals. Wednesday, March 9, 2016 8 11 AM ET ...

Thin Air, My Foot!

Thin Air My Foot!, July 1956 Popular Electronics - RF CafeNew word alert: 'din,' as in "It was dinned into me." OK, maybe you already knew that, but surely I should have been aware of its alternate meaning other than being a loud noise ("the agitated cat made quite a din."). Fortunately, I am not subject to a household of people who refuse to put things back in their respective places when through with them, but this tale of woe tells what might be a familiar scenario to you. To be honest, this could have been written about me as a boy - before the U.S. Air Force taught me a thing or two about organization and neatness ...

RFMW Offers High Power PIN Diodes for T/R Switches

RFMW Offers High Power PIN Diodes for T/R Switches - RF CafeRFMW announces design and sales support for two Skyworks, Inc. high power, PIN diodes suitable for T/R and attenuator applications. The SMP1331-085LF (shunt connected) and SMP1331-087LF (series connected) diodes are capable of handling 50 W CW power in a shunt connected switch configuration. Large signal attenuator applications ranging from 10 MHz to beyond 6 GHz are also possible. Typical resistance for the SMP1331-085LF and SMP1331-087LF is 0.50 Ω at 100 mA ...

New Electron-Beam Imaging Sees Normally 'Invisible' Elements

New Electron-Beam Imaging Sees Normally 'Invisible' Elements - RF Cafe"Electrons can extend our view of microscopic objects well beyond what's possible with visible light--all the way to the atomic scale. A popular method in electron microscopy for looking at tough, resilient materials in atomic detail is called STEM, or scanning transmission electron microscopy, but the highly-focused beam of electrons used in STEM can also easily destroy delicate samples. This is why using electrons to image biological or other organic compounds, such as chemical ..."

Where Do the Scientists Belong?

Where Do the Scientists Belong?, February 19, 1949, The Saturday Evening Post - RF CafeHere is a good quiz that tests your knowledge of classifications of science fields. It appeared in a 1949 edition of The Saturday Evening Post magazine. Even if you do not particularly know the relationships, you should be able to get most if not all twelve correct with a combination of surety, recognition of word roots, and a process of elimination. Good luck ...

3D Smith Chart Inventor Interviewed by IEEE

3D Smith Chart Andrei Muller IEEE YP Interview - RF CafeIEEE Young Professionals editor-in-chief Eddie Custovic recently published on the IMPACT Blog an interview with 3D Smith Chart 3D Smith Chart Trademark (1) - RF Cafe3D Smith Chart Trademark (1) - RF Cafeinventor Mr. Andrei Muller. A European trademark was recently registered for the 3D Smith Chart logo. You can check out this unique tool on the 3dsmithcart.com website.

Please Welcome MECA Electronics as an RF Cafe Sponsor!

MECA ElectronicsSince 1961, MECA Electronics has designed and manufactured an extensive line of RF / Microwave components with industry leading performance including Attenuators, Directional & Hybrid Couplers, Isolators / Circulators, Power Dividers / Combiners, RF Loads, DC Blocks, Bias MECA electronics AttenuatorsTees and Adapters & Cables. MECA has long been the 'backbone' of high performance wired and air-interfaced networks such as in-building, satellite, radar, radio, telemetry, mobile radio, aviation & air traffic communications.

Tech News for March 3, 2016

The End of the Smartphone? (it's been a long time since I last read a Robert Lucky piece)

USB-C Power Cords May Be Hazardous to Your Device

First Mobile Trader Sentenced Following Commission's Mobile Trader Report

13 Women Who Changed Science

McDonald's Turns Happy Meal Boxes into Virtual Reality Viewers

Eerie Math Could Predict Terrorist Attacks (a job for Charlie Epps in NUMB3RS)

The BOMARC IM-99's 'X-Bit' in IFF Radar

BOMARC, August 1958 American Aircraft - Airplanes and RocketsIs the BOMARC an airplane or a rocket? If it is an airplane, then it is the pilotless type (aka 'drone'). If it is a rocket, then it is the ultimate in controlled trajectory hardware - at least in its day. The DoD referred to it as a surface-to-air guided missile. The name is a combination of 'BOeing Airplane Company' and 'Michigan Aeronautical Research Center.' Clever, non? If memory serves me correctly (it's been 30+ years), the AN/TPX-42 IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) secondary radar system I maintained as an air traffic control radar technician reserved a special 'X' bit in its data ...

Early AC Power: 16-2/3 Hz, 25 Hz, 40 Hz

General Motors 7-Tube Superheterodyne Chasses S1A 60 Cycles and S1B 25 Cycles Radio Service Data Sheet, January 1932 Radio-Craft - RF CafeThis is interesting. The title for the General Motors S1B radio says it is a 25-cycle model, as compared to the S1A, 60-cycle model. According to an IEEE Xplore paper, "At 8:53 PM on 12 October 2006, a 66-kV circuit breaker tripped and locked out at the Harper Substation in Niagara Falls, New York, due to downed transmission conductors near Buffalo, New York. That event marked the end of over 111 years of 25-Hz alternating current (ac) electric power service on the American side of the Niagara Frontier." 25 Hz was considered a good, low frequency for ...

Make Your Own Tube Testers and Electron Tube Equipment - RF Cafe"Make Your Own Tube Testers and Electron Tube Equipment," by Gary Steinbaugh, PE, AF8L, shows audio connoisseurs and amateur radio enthusiasts how to construct and use their own vacuum tube testers. In addition, it describes how to make electron tube equipment, how to design high voltage supplies, how to work with metal, plastic, and glass, and more. The reader can make a shiny new tube tester that produces laboratory-quality results for a fraction of the price of a worn-out vintage tube tester. Gary kindly sent me a copy - very nice!

Army's New Radio Strategy Is Unrelenting Competition

Army's New Radio Strategy Is Unrelenting Competition - RF Cafe"Yesterday, the Army awarded three companies a $12.7B, 10-year contract for over 60,000 manpack radios.. But execs at General Dynamics, Harris, and Rockwell Collins shouldn't pop champagne corks yet. The Army has radically changed how it buys radios in recent years so that what the 'winning' companies have actually won, in essence, is the right to compete for the right to compete — with the possibility of more competitors coming in in the future. Normally, the award of a full-rate ..."

We Have a February Book Drawing Winner!

Filter Synthesis Using Genesys S/Filter - RF CafeCongrats to February 2016 RF Cafe Book Drawing winner Lowell H., of Tucson, Arizona! Lowell wisely selected Filter Synthesis Using, Genesys S/Filter, by Randall Rhea. If you would like to have a chance at winning a free book, read the no-hassle rules here.

Free Engineering Magazine Subscriptions

Free Engineering Magazine Subscriptions!, March 2016 - RF CafeTradePub has an impressive collection of engineering magazines offering FREE subscriptions to qualifying applicants. You might want to take a couple minutes to see what's available there. BTW, there are many other types of magazines available as well, such as for business, finance, education, sales, industry, automotive, manufacturing, and marketing. I earn a few pennies when you sign up ...

Tech Headlines for March 2, 2016

New Tracking Antenna to Communicate with Rockets & Satellites

A Major Flaw in AM Revitalization?

Plans for Europe's Biggest Onshore Wind Project

To Get Wind Power You Need Oil

Is Your Smartphone Listening to You?

Armed Forces Day 2016 Communication Test to Include Direct Military-Ham Contact on 60 Meters

STMicroelectronics Highly Integrated Automotive 77 GHz Radar Chip

STMicroelectronics Highly Integrated Automotive 77 GHz Radar Chip - RF Cafe"STMicroelectronics is now supplying its latest long-range (77 GHz) radar chips to leading automotive customers. 24 GHz systems have spearheaded the introduction of on-board automotive radar by enabling affordable, short- and mid-range smart-driving features such as blind-spot detection, collision avoidance, and lane-departure warning. ST has delivered over 35 million 24 GHz radar transceiver ICs to date, and continues to build its customer base ..."

U.S. Amateur Radio Numbers Continue to Soar

U.S. Amateur Radio Numbers Continue to Soar - RF Cafe"Amateur Radio is alive and well! Growth in the US continued in 2015, with a record 735,405 licensees in the FCC's Universal Licensing System (ULS) database by the end of the year. That's up 9130 over December 2014, a 1.2 percent rise, continuing a steady increase in the Amateur Radio population in every year since 2007. In 2014, the Amateur Radio ranks grew by a net 8149 licensees. The figures, compiled ..."

Keysight Technologies Announces Inaugural Scope Month Event - 1 Scope Each Day in March!

Keysight Technologies Scope Month, March 2016 - RF CafeThis is pretty amazing - I just entered. "Mark your calendars: March 1, 2016, starts the first annual Keysight Technologies Scope Month! We're giving away more than $500,000 in oscilloscopes—one every day and two on Fridays. During Scope Month, look for: helpful measurement tips; new content on oscilloscopes; access to industry experts; and your chance to win a scope." They even have a 'live' broadcast of the drawing on ...

How to Use Ohm's Law

How to Use Ohm's Law, February 1956 Popular Electronics - RF CafeFortunately, there is a constant flow of people newly interested in electronics who are seeking information on basic principles. Some will find an article this one on Ohm's law fundamentals and decide maybe being just a user of electronics is good enough. Others will, as did you and I, read this kind of material and be amazed at how ultimately predictable electrical circuit parameters are. If he or she continues and launches into a career in electronics or electrical engineering, it won't be long before he or she will, as do you and I ...

Notable Tech Quote: Ron Wayne Who?

Original Apple Computer Logo by Ron Wayne - RF Cafe"I honestly don't regret walking away at all." - Ronald (Ron) Wayne, the 'other' Apple Computer founder of whom you've never heard. He sold his 10% stake in Apple to Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak ('the Woz') for $800 in 1976. It would be worth tens of billions today. Does Mr. Wayne really expect us believe he doesn't regret walking away from all that dough? Somehow a lifetime designing slot machines doesn't seem like a suitable substitute. He gambled and lost - big time ...

Win a Free RF / Microwave Engineering Book!

Monthly Book Drawing - RF CafeEach month I select someone to receive a free book from those graciously provided by top-tier publishers like Artech House and Cambridge University Press. How to enter? Send me an e-mail with "<Month> Book Drawing" in the subject line, and some note in the body (empty e-mails go to spam folder). At least one winner is drawn each month. Beginning with March 2016, the winner will need to pay the shipping cost (typically <$5 in the U.S.). I have never passed contact information of any sort to anyone for any reason ...

Tech News for March 1, 2016

How We Got Here: Advice from Women Engineers

Raspberry Pi 3 Adds Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

Stuff Keeps Getting Cheaper (interesting charts)

Anadigics Chooses II-VI's Final Matching Bid over Chinese Firm's Offer

4 Ways Engineering Resources Have Changed

China's New Radar Installation Raises Stakes in Pacific

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    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 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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