Whether or not this is a true story does
not matter- it is
both instructive and funny, especially if you catch the import of the closing
statement. Electronics magazines from the era of repairable entertainment electronics
devices like radios, television, and phonographs often carried stories of the woes
experienced by servicemen. Tales of in-home work were the most interesting, especially
when the homeowner tried to bilk the poor technician out of paying or accusing him
of purposely inflating the bill with unneeded parts and service charges. This 1941
issue of Radio News magazine is a good example of how frustrating the business
"The U.S. Army is developing a new tool to
gain an advantage in the cat and mouse game that is the electromagnetic spectrum
mission. Currently in the early concepts stage, the Army detailed its idea for the
Modular Electromagnetic Spectrum Deception Suite, or MEDS, that will seek to
confound the enemy within the invisible yet highly dynamic maneuver space of the
electromagnetic spectrum. Despite the fact forces cannot see it, the spectrum is
an extremely important space they must cautiously move through just as a unit would
in formation through a valley. U.S. adversaries have proven their ability to locate
units based solely on their signature in the electromagnetic spectrum, leading to
If you are not in the habit of listening
closely to the words of songs, you could easily miss the the fact that many make
passing mention of topics on
science and mathematics,
while others integrate it as the primary theme. There are a lot of songs written
and produced by people whose primary vocation is in the sciences; their songs are
a secondary "hobby" type of endeavor - often with a touch of humor. Don't miss Tom
Lehrer's incredible "Elements Song."
Other songs are created by mainstream popular groups and happen to integrate themes
of science, mathematics, engineering, etc. One of the earliest examples I can recall
noticing was produced by the Moody Blues - "The Word." At the time, I did not fully
appreciate the profoundness of the lyrics in terms of how they described the electromagnetic
spectrum in its entirety, but an examination of the lyrics (below) reveals the profundity
of the words...
Now available for direct purchase from DigiKey
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gear with its Precision RF Coaxial Connector support. We offer a broad range of
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Type-N, TNC and SMP solutions for many higher performance cables from the industries
leading manufacturers like Times Microwave, Harbour Industries, Insulated Wire,
Semflex and more. Often with Precision RF Coaxial solutions, everything comes down
to the RF performance...
"Make your voice heard in the largest industry-wide
salary survey of its kind and enter a prize draw for £100 of retail vouchers. Last
year, in our fourth annual
salary survey, we asked UK engineers from across industry to tell us how they
felt about their jobs and how much they get paid. With almost 1600 engineers from
across 11 sectors of UK industry taking part, the survey provided an illuminating
picture of life in engineering, from levels of job satisfaction and how pay and
benefits in some sectors differ to others, to the number of women in the profession
and how their earnings compare to those of their male colleagues..."
PCB Directory is the largest directory of
Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Manufacturers,
Assembly houses, and Design Services on the Internet. We have listed the leading
printed circuit board manufacturers around the world and made them searchable by
their capabilities - Number of laminates used, Board thicknesses supported, Number
of layers supported, Types of substrates (FR-4, Rogers, flexible, rigid), Geographical
location (U.S., China), kinds of services (manufacturing, fabrication, assembly,
prototype), and more. Fast turn-around on quotations for PCB fabrication and assembly.
For 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. This December 7th
Pearl Harbor Day crossword puzzle has a few words and clues relating to the
surprise attack in 1941. As always, the crossword contains no names of politicians,
mountain ranges, exotic foods or plants, movie stars, or anything of the sort unless
it/he/she is related to this puzzle's technology theme (e.g., Hedy Lamarr or the
Bikini Atoll). The technically inclined cruciverbalists amongst us will appreciate
the effort. Enjoy!!!
Occasionally when I post a Bell Telephone
Laboratories (aka Bell Labs) promotion from a vintage electronics magazine, someone
writes to challenge the claim being made by Bell Labs of having been the progenitor
of the idea. This full-page ad apparently claiming to have developed the process
needed to grow high purity crystals appeared in a 1947 issue of Radio-Craft
magazine. The huge
EDT (Ethylene Diamine Tartrate) crystal shown was created over a three-month
period. Its intended use was for filters in telephone communications circuits. Development
of the crystal growing process is yet another case of "necessity being the mother
of invention," given that the massive increase in demand for phone service across
the country left the company short on filter crystals. Bell Telephone Laboratories'
manufacturing arm, Western Electric...
"The search for a superconductor that can
work under less extreme conditions than hundreds of degrees below zero or at pressures
like those near the center of the Earth is a quest for a revolutionary new power
- one that's needed for magnetically levitating cars and ultra-efficient power grids
of the future. But developing this kind of
temperature" superconductor is a feat science has yet to achieve. A University
of Central Florida researcher, however, is working to move this goal closer to realization,
with some of his latest research published recently in the journal Communications
Physics. In the study, Yasuyuki Nakajima, an assistant professor in UCF's Department
of Physics, and co-authors showed they could get a closer look at what is happening
in 'strange' metals..."
L3Harris is dedicated to recruiting and developing
diverse, high-performing talent who are passionate about what they do. We are in
need of a
Lead Advanced Concept Engineer - RF/EW Products at either our Van Nuys, CA,
or Palm Bay, FL, location. L3Harris Technologies is an agile global aerospace and
defense technology innovator, delivering end-to-end solutions that meet customers'
mission-critical needs. The successful candidate will lead technical strategy and
customer technical discussions for engineering in support of the world-class L3Harris
RF interference canceller product line, work with customers to understand their
mission needs and translate those to technical specifications for design teams,
analyze market conditions and forecast trends, examine our position against the
competition, and develop an executable strategy for growing the business, lead the
marketing effort, educate customers, guide the product roadmap, and champion key
electromagnetic world sure is a noisy place and it is getting worse all the time
- in every region of the spectrum. Intentional radiation is not so much of a problem
because it usually falls within well-defined limits and is predictable, but sloppy
engineering and, honestly, ignorance, has made life harder for just about everyone.
Listeners to broadcast radio in both the
AM and FM bands
have really taken a hit. AM has always been prone to interference by its very nature,
so anyone listening expects the occasional pop or hiss from atmospheric phenomena
or a light switch being flipped on or off. Have someone in the house run a blender
or drill and you can forget hearing anything until the task is completed. It comes
with the territory, so to speak. FM was and is largely immune to most forms of interference,
but lately I have been noticing it coming from some of the most unusual places.
For as long as I can remember, I have preferred to have a radio on in the background
whilst whiling away at work and at play...
Custom Microwave Inc. (CMI) has been added
to the Waveguide,
pages on RF Cafe. Operating in Longmont, CO, for more than 25 years, CMI specializes
in passive antennas for high-performance
space and ground applications. They are experts in designing and manufacturing
high-quality, high-performance antennas, feeds, and components from 1 GHz to 1 THz.
Full in-house capabilities are available for computer design, machining, electroplating,
electroforming, and testing (including near and far field radiation patterns, and
PIM) at a 54,000 sq. ft. facility. Contact CMI today at (303) 651-0707 to learn
how they might help you.
Empower RF Systems is a global leader in
power amplifier solutions. Empower RF Systems is an established and technologically
superior supplier of high power solid state RF & microwave amplifiers. Our offerings
include modules, intelligent rack-mount amplifiers, and multi-function RF Power
Amplifier solutions to 6 GHz in broadband and band specific designs. Output
power combinations range from tens of watts to multi-kilowatts. Unprecedented size,
weight and power reduction of our amplifiers is superior to anything in the market
at similar frequencies and power levels.
There is a good reason why Harold Glenn called
this an "Elementary Radio Quiz." It appeared in a 1947 issue of Radio-Craft
magazine. If you have been in the analog and RF electronics field for more than
a couple years and don't score 100%, it has to be due to a misreading of accidental
selecting of the wrong answer. I know what you're thinking - "The fool must have
screwed up and missed at least one and is making excuses." Not this time - although
I don't deny it could have happened. Anyway, it might be a fun quiz to pass out
in the break room or maybe present it to a Ph.D. candidate during an interview ;-)
"Bonne chance!," as Corporal Louis LeBeau might say...
This assortment of custom-designed themes
by RF Cafe includes T-Shirts, Mouse Pads, Clocks, Tote Bags, Coffee Mugs and Steins,
Purses, Sweatshirts, and Baseball Caps. Choose from amazingly clever "We Are the World's Matchmakers"
Smith chart design or the "Engineer's Troubleshooting Flow Chart." My "Matchmaker's"
design has been ripped off by other people and used on their products, so please
be sure to purchase only official RF Cafe gear. My markup is only a paltry 50¢ per
item - Cafe Press gets the rest of your purchase price. These would make excellent
gifts for husbands, wives, kids, significant others, and for handing out at company
events or as rewards for excellent service. It's a great way to help support RF
"Faster, smaller, smarter and more energy-efficient
chips for everything from consumer electronics to big data to brain-inspired computing
could soon be on the way after engineers at The University of Texas at Austin created
memory device yet. And in the process, they figured out the physics dynamic
that unlocks dense memory storage capabilities for these tiny devices. The research
published recently in Nature Nanotechnology builds on a discovery from two years
ago, when the researchers created what was then the thinnest memory storage device.
In this new work, the researchers reduced the size even further, shrinking the cross
section area down to just a single square nanometer..."
Something happened at work that reminded
me of a funny event from way back during my time at Westinghouse Oceanic Division
(now part of Northrop Grumman), in Annapolis, MD. There is a moral to this story.
During my electronics technician days there, I spent the first couple years building
PCBs, wiring harnesses, and system-level assemblies for
sonar systems. We had some really slick stuff like towed vehicles with transducer
arrays along the sides, nose cones for smart torpedoes, flow sensors, proximity
fuse elements, etc. The exposure to all that, and the super-smart people that designed
it, fuelled my desire to go to the trouble of earning an engineering degree. One
of my tasks for a while was to build the transducer arrays, which entailed building
the hundreds of tiny transducer elements. The assemblies were made of a machined
aluminum base plate (about 1-inch square), onto which a precisely cut low density
foam block was attached. On the top of that was a set of two machined aluminum plates
that sat on either side of a piezoelectric ceramic transducer element...
L3Harris is dedicated to recruiting and developing
diverse, high-performing talent who are passionate about what they do. We are in
need of a
Scientist, Advanced Concept Engineer (ACE) at our Van Nuys, CA location. L3Harris
Technologies is an agile global aerospace and defense technology innovator, delivering
end-to-end solutions that meet customers' mission-critical needs. The company provides
advanced defense and commercial technologies across air, land, sea, space and cyber
domains. The ACE will identify and/or define customers emerging needs and develop
solutions to those needs. The ACE will maintain a macro view of existing and emerging
products and technologies. The ideal candidate will have significant experience
and knowledge in the Radar Engineering field. Although not a requirement, additional
knowledge of Electronic Warfare (EW) or Electronic Support Measures (ESM) systems
will be considered a plus. This position will focus on breadth rather than depth
and will have technical interface to customers to discover, qualify, and pursue
Anatech Electronics (AEI) manufactures and
supplies RF and microwave
filters for military and commercial communication systems, providing standard
LP, HP, BP, BS, notch, diplexer, 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 for your military and commercial
communications needs. Sam Benzacar's monthly newsletters address contemporary wireless
subjects. Please visit Anatech today to see how they can help your project succeed.
The RETMA referenced in this 1954 Radio &
Television News magazine article entitled "New
Standards for TV Antennas" was commonly known back in the day, but not many
would recognize it nowadays. RETMA, founded in 1953 at the dawn of the commercial
television age, was the Radio Electron[ics] Television Manufacturing Association.
It set standards for electronics components like resistors (e.g., the 1%, 2%, 5%,
10% series), capacitors, inductors, equipment racks, and antennas. After many name
iterations, what began as the Radio Manufacturers Association (RMA), it changed
to RETMA in 1953, then to Electronic Industries Association (EIA, well-known for
its 19" rack standards) in 1957, and today it is known as the Consumer Technology
Association (CTA). The cost of letterhead and promotional material changes over
the years must have been enormous ;-) Tracing the full history is difficult, but
between Wikipedia and the JEDEC websites you can get a pretty good picture. The
"Antenna Section" spoken of here is the area of the RETMA manual pertaining to antennas...
Gowanda Electronics, a designer and manufacturer
of precision electronic components for broadband radio frequency and power applications,
announces the introduction of a new
microwave RF conical inductor series - C070 - available in Surface Mount (C070SM)
and Flying Lead (C070FL) configurations to enhance utility for the electronic design
community. Gowanda's new C070 series was developed to address market needs and industry
trends calling for ever-increasing performance from broadband conical components.
It was designed for use in communication applications for bias T's (filter signals,
remove noise), broadband chip manufacturing, communication platforms, high frequency,
"IEEE has released the results of a survey
that they conducted with Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and Chief Technology
Officers (CTOs) in the U.S., U.K., China, India and Brazil. The objective of the
survey was to identify the
most important technologies for 2021, understand the impact of the COVID-19
pandemic on the speed of their technology adoption and figure out which industries
are expected to be most impacted by technology in the year ahead. Among total respondents,
nearly one-third (32%) say AI and machine learning, followed by 5G (20%) and IoT
(14%). Manufacturing (19%), healthcare (18%), financial services (15%) and education
(13%) are the industries that most believe will be impacted..."
"These pulses speed toward the moon at the
fantastic speed of light… through the ionosphere and on into the unknown void surrounding
the earth's atmosphere." Hard as it might be to imagine nowadays, in 1946 there
was no empirical data regarding the Earth's upper atmosphere other than the few
instrumented sounding rockets that had been launched for studies. Orbiting man-made
communications satellites were still a decade away when engineers at the Evans Signal
Corps Engineering Laboratory in New Jersey made the first
Earth-Moon-Earth (EME, aka "moon bounce") signal bounce using a massive radar
and antenna that blasted 10 MW EIRP pulse at the lunar surface. It was a big
deal then; it's no big deal today. Amateur radio hobbyists routinely conduct EME
communications from the comfort of their home-based Ham shacks, using equipment
vastly superior to and less expensive than the 1946 setup...
RF Cafe website visitor and contributor Joseph B.
sent me a note about this article by Lou Frenzel on the Electronic Design
website entitled, "Heathkit:
An Employee's Look Back." It begins: "For those of you who do not know or remember,
Heath Company was the largest kit company in the world. Heath designed and put
practically every type of electronic product into kit form. Its products, called
Heathkits, were exceptionally popular and many are still in use today. Over the
years, Electronic Design has published many Heathkit-related articles and blogs.
Recently, I had a chance to talk with Chas Gilmore, who was a Heath executive. For
those of you who fondly remember Heathkit and miss its products, here's a look back
at this amazing company and the lessons it offers..."
RF Cascade Workbook 2018 is the next phase in the evolution
of RF Cafe's long-running series, RF Cascade Workbook. Chances are you
have never used a spreadsheet quite like this. It is a full-featured RF system cascade
parameter and frequency planner that includes filters and mixers for a mere $45.
Built in MS Excel, using RF Cascade Workbook 2018 is a cinch and
the format is entirely customizable. It is significantly easier and faster than
using a multi-thousand dollar simulator when a high level system analysis is all
that is needed. An intro video takes you through the main features...
Teledyne Defense Electronics (TDE) this week
unveiled a new interactive
Virtual Trade Show online as a vehicle to promote key product lines and capabilities
to customers in a permanent, ongoing manner. Once customers enter the Virtual Trade
Show (VTS) they begin an immersive online experience, the perception of being physically
present in a non-physical world. That experience includes a 360º panorama view that
surrounds the VTS user, enabling customers to "look" left, right, up, down, and
move freely from one area on the VTS floor to another navigating by a laptop mouse.
This multi-media experience showcases the flagship offerings of TDE's 15 business
units, each of whom have their own booth...
Res-Net Microwave has a complete line of
precision RF & microwave
components including attenuators, terminations, resistors, and diode detectors
for commercial, military, and space applications. Products range from the small
flange type to large 2,000 watt connectorized power attenuators and/or terminations
at frequencies up to 26.5 GHz. In-house photo etch and laser trim capability.
The company is a leader in development and production of the films required for
these type of RF/microwave components. Please check out Res-Net Microwave's website
to see how they can help with your current project.
Radio Corporation of America (RCA) was not
the inventor of the telegram, but it did decide that the status quo transmitting
and delivery services available like the Marconigram were in need of improvement.
Accordingly, in 1929 the company initiated its
RCA Radiogram, as promoted in this 1947 issue of Radio-Craft magazine. A promotional
brochure printed by RCA in 1950 entitled, "What it is - What it does," contrails
a lot of detail about the radiogram, including many photos of the operational offices.
RCA Radiograms initially could be sent from ship to shore, shore to shore, ship
to ship, or shore to ship. No mention was made of being able to send them to/from
aircraft. At the time, the cost was 21¢ per word. As with most things, authentic
For many years Melanie and I have been collecting
and reading The
Radio Boys series of thirteen books, which were written in the 1920s by Allen
Chapman. It was a time in history when the miracle of radio communications was capturing
- even enrapturing - the public with its seemingly miraculous ability to convey
messages across town and around the world without the need for wires, hence "wireless."
The stories center around four teenage buddies, namely Bob Layton, Joe Atwood, Herb
Fennington, and Jimmy Plummer (aka Doughnuts") who, with the assistance of a local
pastor, Dr. Dale, took an avid interest in radio and built from scratch a successful
crystal radio. Their enthusiasm compounds upon itself as adventures and experiences
using wireless foster interest in building better receivers and then building transmitters
for sending Morse code and audio ("phone"). In order to appeal to his intended audience
- primarily young boys - villains, good guys, hapless bystanders, government agents,
local law enforcement, family, and even the occasional damsel in distress...
Withwave's W6 Series are complete line of
high performance flexible microwave cable assemblies. Specially, W601 Series have
low density PTFE structure to achieve velocity propagation of 80%. These series
RF performance up to 110 GHz with 1.0 mm Connectors. Features include
silver-plated copper center conductor, low density PTFE dielectric, silver-plated
copper outer conductors, and an FEP jacket. Please contact Withwave for your project's
Part 1 of this 3-part article, titled
"Influence of the Antenna of the Choice of Wavelength for Best Communications,"
appeared in the February 1952 issue of QST magazine. Unfortunately, I do
not yet own that edition. However, I do have Part 3, which subsequently appeared
in the August 1952 edition. It will eventually get posted here. QST does
not have a publicly available archive, but if you happen to be an ARRL member, you
can access Part 1 after signing in. In this series, author Yardley Beers discusses
effects, modulation systems, and receiver techniques. A particularly interesting
topic included in this installment is that of using a form of pulse modulation in
FM broadcasting in order to exploit the 'capture effect' whereby a signal in the
presence of noise will tend to suppress the noise. I don't think modern stations
use that method, possibly because of incompatibility with stereo channels and data
added for digital readouts...
The SourceToday website has posted their
2020 Salary & Career Trends survey. It is broken out into five different
sections: The Impact of Onshoring on American Manufacturers, How Automation is Affecting
the Purchasing Profession, Key Demographic Trends Impacting Purchasing Professionals,
Compensation Trends for the Purchasing Profession and Workforce Dynamic Trends.
A slideshow summary of results is openly accessible, but you will need to register
to download the full report..."
Axiom Test Equipment allows you to
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