John Frye, creator of fictitious electronics repair
shop owner Mac McGregor and his sidekick technician, Barney, must have been an amateur
brainology[sic]. This episode in a 1969 issue of Electronics World, and
a recent story titled, "Biological Effects of Electrical Shock," which appeared in the
May 1973 edition of Popular Electronics are proof of that. A very good introduction
to the workings of nerve cells, axons, synapses, dendrites, etc., is given here. In a
role reversal, Barney is educating Mac this time based on a psychology course he is taking
at the community college. He goes beyond the "your brain is a ...
By popular request, a new set of shapes has been
added to RF Stencils for Visio:
Panel Components. These are built to the same scale as the test equipment and equipment
racks in v3.0 so they will fit right in with your existing drawings. There are now more
than 780 shapes in v3.1! Still only $35 (free to v3.0 owners) ...
Satellite communication is growing rapidly. Recent
and anticipated launches of new satellite equipment are spurring interest in and demand
for wireless communication. Several companies have stated the intent to provide large
throughput, high-speed communication networks in the coming years. Along with the increased
access to space, this is driving interest in new
satellite communications. Accordingly, we need new communications
technology to supply bandwidth and data rate to support these applications. One challenge ...
"Electronics miniaturization has put high-powered
computing capability into the hands of ordinary people, but the ongoing downsizing of
integrated circuits is challenging engineers to come up with new ways to thwart component
overheating. Scientists at U. Cal., Irvine made a breakthrough recently in verifying
a new material configuration to facilitate cooling. In a study in the journal
Nanotechnology, members of UCI's Nano Thermal Energy Research Group
highlight the attributes of holey silicon, a computer chip ..."
I have to laugh a bit when seeing this article
on how to wire up a set of
3-way switches "[i]f you only have a two-wire cable to work with." There have been
many times when I needed to wire a set of 3-way switches and only had 2-wire Romex cable
on-hand. The simple solution is to simply run two pieces of 2-wire cable and only use
one wire from the second piece. A 250' roll of 14-3 w/ground costs about $79 at the hardware
store. A 250' roll of 14-2 w/ground costs about $45. For short runs, the additional cost
of using two pieces of 14-2 compared to a single piece of 14-3 is diddly. However, if
you want ...
"The 2018 International Microwave Symposium (IMS),
this year, will be held in Philadelphia from the 10 to 15 of June. This year one of the
projects in the Student Design Competition is a 16-quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM)
radio. The competition will be based on a course offered by Dr. David S. Ricketts from
North Carolina State University. The competition leverages Dr. Ricketts' hands-on workshop,
known as 'From Bits to Waves: Building a Modern Radio in One Day,' which successfully
combines the use of NI AWR Design Environment with design labs to ..."
April 26, 2018, 11 am ET. NI AWR Design Environment
will be featured in a webinar on designing a
printed balun for a wide bandwidth L-band 200 W power amplifier (PA).
The design begins with an idealized circuit simulation in Microwave Office circuit design
software using closed-form transmission line models, followed by a more rigorous EM simulation
conducted using AXIEM 3D planar EM solver. The webinar is presented by Dr. Dominic FitzPatrick
of PoweRFul Microwave, who ...
The April issue of Aerospace Defense magazine
has an interesting article titled, "Designing with Plastics for Military Equipment," that discusses how
plastics are replacing metal parts in military equipment. Included is a useful table
of plastic types, their properties, and examples of their applications ...
Here's a gimmick that never really caught on.
In the 1960's, Antenna Specialists promoted their Model M−148 Co-Ax Omni Antenna
visual RF indicator." That indicator was a neon light bulb at the tip which lit up
when the transmitter was keyed on. Not only would this novel feature let you know when
your transmitter was broadcasting, but it would also "guide mobiles visually to your
10-20." OK, maybe at night, but it certainly wouldn't have been bright enough during
the day to even see. Alas, the public evidently didn't impress the buying public as much
as it did the designers. Maybe it had something to do with ...
Transient Specialists, a leader in electromagnetic
compatibility rentals for over 40 years, announces that they will be offering a discount
price on the AVI 3000 for the month of May. This all-in-one 6 waveform portable
test unit allows easy on-site testing to full level 3 threat under all load conditions.
This product is ideal for testing to DO 160 Sec. 22 Level 3 and Mil Std. 461 CS 117 Waveforms
1, 2, 3, 4, 5A, and 6. Transient Specialists, conveniently located in the mid-west, offers
a variety of EMC test equipment rentals to accommodate your testing needs ...
Here are a couple more
electronics-themed comics from a 1969 edition of Electronics World magazine.
I like the radio astronomy comic. Enjoy ...
Yonghui Shu, president of SAGE Millimeter, offers
a primer on
Gunn diodes used as mm-wave oscillators. It appears on the HFE website.
"The semiconductor used in the Gunn oscillator is called the 'Gunn diode.' The Gunn diode
is a two-terminal 'negative' resistance device. The Gunn diode is also referred to as
a 'Transferred Electron Device' which was invented by J. B. Gunn in 1963. Since their
invention, Gunn oscillators have been playing a unique role in replacing the tube to
generate low to medium level ...
Cafe's continued existence depends on companies like ERZIA providing support. ERZIA produces
microwave and mm-wave modular amplifiers
and integrated assemblies operating from Low frequencies up to 100 GHz. Their catalogue
of standard amplifier modules comprises more than 100 different models, having also a
high capacity of customization for amplifiers and integrated assemblies. Some of products
have space heritage and are used in aerospace, commercial, military and scientific systems,
having a wide range of final applications ...
"A manufacturer of III-V photonic devices claims
to have proven the feasibility of 60-GHz radio over fiber (ROF) transmission at a 1,270-nm
wavelength, paving the way to potential solutions for 5G networks. CST Global, a Scotland-based
subsidiary of Sivers IMA Holdings AB in Kista, Sweden, carried out the feasibility study
as part of an EU Horizon 2020 research project. The company says that ROF networks are
emerging as a completely new and promising communication paradigm for delivering broadband
wireless access services and ..."
Testing multi-antenna systems such as phased array
or beamforming antennas requires a test system capable of providing
multiple signals with constant phase relationships between them.
The coherent test signals must have a specific or definable phase difference (relative
phase) and definable amplitude. Some of the challenges for such a test system include
compactness, phase control capability and simplicity in handling. In particular, phase
stability between the channels is of importance. This application note ...
Mr. Matt Spexarth, of National Instruments, offers
his insight into the
future of automotive radar testing in his Microwave Journal
article. "Radar has multiple advantages over alternative sensing technologies, securing
its role in automotive active safety and autonomous driving well into the future. Radar
has the unique abilities to instantaneously detect the velocity of detected objects via
the Doppler shift of their radar signatures, and to penetrate inclement weather conditions
such as rain, fog and snow. These benefits are driving automakers ..."
Are There Too Many Short-Range Wireless
Lou Frenzel has another good article over at the
Microwaves & RF website. Sez Mr. Frenzel, "Do you know how many
wireless standards there are? More than you think. Just recently I made a list of
all the short-range wireless standards I could think of - more than 30 in total. I did
not include any proprietary designs that fit things like garage door openers, remote
keyless entry on vehicles, weather stations, tire pressure monitoring, or all those other
unique ISM band wireless devices. That got me to thinking about how an engineer chooses
a standard ..."
You probably won't find too many people
stacking television antennas these days, but many Hams still do it. Vertical stacking
is used primarily to increase overall gain without appreciably altering the azimuth beam,
while horizontal stacking forms a tighter azimuth beam without appreciably affecting
the overall gain. When it comes to optimizing antenna designs installations for operations
below about a gigahertz, Amateur Radio practitioners have pretty much written the book
on the subject - actually, they have written hundreds of books on the subject. Antenna
stacking is often used ...
Anatech Electronics (AEI) manufactures and supplies
RF and microwave
filters for military and commercial communication systems, providing standard and
custom RF filters, and RF products. Standard RF filter and cable assembly products are
published in our website database for ease of procurement.
Custom RF filters designs are used when a standard cannot be found, or the requirements
dictate a custom approach. Please visit Anatech today to see how they can help your project
"Silicon Valley has become a must-visit destination
for Department of Defense leaders in recent years. But the push for more public-private
partnerships could have an unintended side effect - overlooking government's longstanding
research and development resources. Arun Seraphin, a professional staff member for the
U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services, said he thinks the fixation on startup-culture
innovation has gone too far. 'We like to say that every time a senior leader flies to
"Confusion and erratic enforcement at the US communications
agency is sending satellite makers abroad. When officials at the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) denied launch authorization for four innovative
satellites from startup Swarm Technologies last December, the agency
was unequivocal as to the reason. 'The applicant proposes to deploy and operate four
spacecraft that are smaller than 10 centimeters in one of their three dimensions,' read
a letter to Swarm's CEO and founder Sara Spangelo. 'These spacecraft are ..."
Pasternack, a leading provider of RF, microwave
and millimeter wave products, has just launched a new, innovative line of
coaxial RF probes and probe positioning hardware. These new products
are well-suited for signal integrity verification, chip evaluations, coplanar waveguide,
circuit debugging and test fixture applications. Pasternack's new product line consists
of four coaxial RF probes and one RF PCB probe positioner with unique designs. The RF
coaxial probes deliver frequency performance up to 20 GHz and return loss better than
10 dB ...
This thankful commemoration of the 20th anniversary
of U.S. Air Mail service from Burgess Battery Company, which appeared in a 1941 issue
of QST magazine, encompasses most of my major lifetime interests. First and foremost,
from my earliest memories, is a love of airplanes (and all things that fly for that matter).
A DC−3 (my favorite multi-engine propeller plane) is shown in one of the photos as is
a Ford Trimotor, which Melanie and I have flown on. Next comes the electrical, electronics,
and radio communications aspects, which encompasses the aircraft wiring ...
Coilcraft is offering a free app note titled "Inductors as RF Chokes." "Many consumer products communicate with
each other over broadband networks. From television to fiber trans- mission networks,
the bandwidth of data communication is increasing, and the integrity of RF signals has
become a major design concern. This paper provides examples of how different inductors
can be used for RF isolation in a range of circuits from relatively narrow band applications
like portable devices up to broadband networks for data distribution. The different types
of inductors ..."
"Within the aerospace industry, 2016 and onwards
could be looked upon as the tipping point for direct metal printing (DMP), as the technology
increasingly made the jump beyond prototyping to production parts and assemblies ready
for flight. During that time frame, Airbus Defense and Space worked with 3D Systems (Rock
Hill, SC) to achieve a major breakthrough: The first 3D-printed radio frequency (RF)
filter tested and validated for use in commercial telecoms satellites. The project built
upon research funded by the European Space Agency ..."
Each week, for the sake of all avid cruciverbalists
amongst us, I create a new
technology-themed crossword puzzle using only words from my custom-created lexicon
related to engineering, science, mathematics, chemistry, physics, astronomy, etc. You
will never find among the words names of politicians, mountain ranges, exotic foods or
plants, movie stars, or anything of the sort. You might, however, see someone or something
in the exclusion list who or that is directly related to this puzzle's theme, such as
Hedy Lamar or the Bikini Atoll, respectively ...
waveguide antenna (CCWA) is a short backfire microwave antenna capable of simultaneously
supporting the transmission or reception of two distinct signals having opposite circular
polarizations. Short backfire antennas are widely used in mobile satellite communications,
tracking, telemetry, and wireless local area networks because of their compactness and
excellent radiation characteristics. Achieving simultaneous dual-circular ..."
Rohde & Schwarz (R&S) is promoting the
availability of their free
RF Component Pocket Guide. I posted an article about it and some
of their posters
and pocket guides. R&S develops, produces and markets test & measurement,
information and communications technology. It focuses on test and measurement, broadcast
and media, cybersecurity, secure communications and monitoring and network testing, areas
that address many different industry and government-sector market segments. Specifically:
test and measurement for the wireless market, automotive industry ...
When is the last time you heard someone refer
to electronics as "solid
state?" It was a necessary differentiator during the era of transition from vacuum
tubes to semiconductors. Mere utterance caused fear in some, and futuristic hope in others.
"Solid State" was a big buzz phrase in marketing to household consumers and industry
planners. Why, I ask, was "solid state" chosen as the term to counter vacuum tube electronics?
Did we ever refer to tubes as "gaseous state" or "plasma state" devices? Maybe the "solid"
part of "solid state" evoked a sympathetic emotion with the coincident hippie / beatnik
era population's usage ...
doing a little research about a Popular Electronics article, I ran across some
examples of electronic
component art / sculpture. A Google image search on the topic yields hundreds of
results, with most being duplicates. I always try to locate the original image so as
to give proper credit to the designer, but more often that not the pictures are posted
on websites without a reference. To avoid unfairly attracting attention from the creator's
work, I always use thumbnails and provide hyperlinks to the websites where I found ...
fourth annual IEEE MTT-S 2018 International Conference on Microwaves for Intelligent
Mobility (ICMIM 2018) will be held
on 16-18 April, 2018 in Munich, Germany. This conference covers a broad range of topics
that enable intelligent mobile systems through RF / microwave / mm-wave components, circuits
and systems. Potential applications include cognitive and autonomous automobiles and
robots, wireless communications between automobiles and industrial machines. ICMIM2018
is sponsored by the IEEE MTTS and technically ...
inaudible signal that translates to white noise in the microphone
can prevent unauthorized persons from recording voices. Researchers have designed a sound
that is completely inaudible to humans (40 kHz or above), yet is audible to any microphone.
The sound combines multiple tones that, when interacting with the microphone's mechanics,
create what researchers call a 'shadow' - a sound that the microphones can detect ..."
"Researchers have discovered a new mechanism to
explain stochastic resonance, in which sensitivity to weak signals is enhanced
by noise. The finding is expected to help electronic devices become smaller and more
energy efficient. Noise is generally a nuisance that drowns out small signals. For example,
it can prevent you from catching what your partner is saying during a conversation. However,
it is known that living organisms find it easier to detect predators in noisy environments
since noise enhances the sensitivity of the sensory ..."
Windfreak Technologies attended WAMICON 2018 in Sand Key, FL, as
an exhibitor in the vendors hall. Windfreak demonstrated its new product the
SynthNV PRO which is the next generation of the popular SynthNV. Windfreak Technologies
has shipped thousands of the original SynthNV around the world since its release in 2010.
The SynthNV PRO is a highly calibrated 51 MHz to 6.6 GHz RF Signal Generator
plus 8 GHz broadband RF detector / power meter. The SynthNV accomplishes Scalar
Network Analysis for both through and reflected responses ...
Filtering, timing, coupling, and energy storage
are the most common uses for
capacitors (not to mention their use in electronic component sculptures). Metallized
paper or plastic, plastic film, mica, ceramic, electrolytic, and a few other capacitor
types have been around for a long time, with newer formulations of electrolytics providing
higher charge storage density, lower leakage, greater stability, lower cost, wider operational
temperature ranges, more robust construction, etc. We now have supercapacitors that ...
to RF Cafe visitor Alois B. for providing additional resources for the material
constants page. Now included are
Properties of Insulators and
Dielectric Properties of Materials.
Saelig Company announces the availability of the
Teledyne LeCroy WaveSurfer 3000z 4−channel Oscilloscope range, offering 100 MHz
- 1 GHz bandwidth, capacitive touch capabilities, huge memory, and a comprehensive
tool box - all at a remarkably affordable price in a compact, small footprint product.
Featuring the industry's most advanced user-interface - MAUI - on a 10.1" capacitive
touch screen, the scopes all have 20 Mpts of memory, multi-instrument capabilities,
a selection of powerful internal test tools and a sample rate of up to ...
"Radio Frequency Systems (RFS) is helping major
U.S. broadcasters future-proof their systems against the Spectrum Repacking announced
by the FCC. The FCC released a public notice announcing that they will repack the television
band by assigning television stations to new channels. Nearly 1,000 stations will be
moved to new channels starting November 2018. RFS is using its patented
Variable Polarization Technology (VPT), to address global deployments
and US-specific demand. They have now installed ..."
Anatech Electronics, a manufacturer of RF
and microwave filters, has published its
newsletter. In it, Sam Benzacar digresses from his usual insight into military and
commercial telecommunications topics to address the potential for election fraud. It
is not a politically charged treatise, but a commentary on the vulnerability of cybersecurity
efforts - basically concluding that other than with old fashion paper ballots, meddlers
have ample opportunity to rig the system without ever physically showing up at polling
sites. Of course we ...
RF, IF and baseband amplifiers; RF, IF, and baseband
filters; fixed and tunable local oscillators, single- and double-balanced mixers, attenuators,
envelope detectors and phase detectors, directional couplers, power combiners and dividers,
et cetera, are all component types used for
receiver systems regardless of whether vacuum tubes or transistors comprise the active
parts. In 1972 when this article appeared in Popular Electronics magazine, people
were beginning to get comfortable with the idea of transistorized products replacing
the familiar tube. Instant-on televisions and radios were ...
Rohde & Schwarz has published a new app note
titled, "High-Resolution Measurements with R&S Oscilloscopes." It is available
as a free download. "The introduction of high-resolution oscilloscopes is the response
to the increased necessity for more in-depth signal analysis in particular in A&D,
automotive, medical and power analysis applications where it is often required to view
signals with both large and small voltage details. Characterizing Switched Mode Power
Supplies (SMPS) is one example. To perform accurate power measurements the oscilloscope
must acquire the ..."
"Making the next generation of ultralow-power
communications and sensory devices smaller and with greater detection and tuning ranges,
researchers at Case Western Reserve University are developing atomically thin 'drumheads' able to receive and transmit signals across a radio frequency
range far greater than what we can hear with the human ear. The drumhead is tens of trillions
times smaller in volume and 100,000 times thinner than the human eardrum. Sensing and
communication are key to ..."
"One tethered, autonomous
aerostat [aka 'blimp'] flying at 250 meters can provide as much coverage
as 20 or 30 cell towers. It's 2018 and more than 16 million people living in the rural
United States still lack adequate access to mobile broadband. But building out that infrastructure
is an expensive endeavor. One analysis from 2017 estimates it would take 37,500 new cell
phone towers and run upwards of $12.5 billion to bring 4G to rural areas in the United
States, including Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico ..."