"It is hard for one to believe that
there is room for
further reduction in size and weight from what we are accustomed to today."
So wrote Radio & TV News magazine editor William Stocklin in
1958. It was a decade after invention of the transistor (1948), and the first
integrated circuit had not yet been developed (Robert Noyce, 1959), but even
so it seems fairly short-sighted for a major electronics magazine editor.
While being amazed at the shirt-pocket-size transistorized radio and hearing
aid, he still found hope for the future of miniaturization of vacuum tubes,
such as diodes recently released by General Electric that would "fit into
the shell of a standard type of transistor." Sure, it is easy in hindsight
to pick on someone's contemporaneous view of an emerging industry...
Atenlab Corporation has produced a
video of the
R−2 Compact Antenna Test Range (CATR) Over-the-Air (OTA) Measurement System.
It is the smallest, lightest, and very mobile type self-contained cabinet
enclosure that easily fits in a typical laboratory or office-size room. MIMO,
antenna near-field measurement, EMI, EMS, 3G, 4G, 5G, WiFi, and other modern
wireless standards are easily tested. The R−2 is suitable for measuring small
antennas and devices with integrated antennas. It covers a frequency range
of 10 to 80 GHz. A DUT positioner moves in 0.1° increments. Chamber exterior
size is 1.8 x 0.8 x 1.8 m. RF absorber lines the interior. Atenlab's
Maxwell and Maxwell Lite software automates measurement and presentation of
collected data in 2D or 3D...
"Chocolate is the latest material
colorized by nanotechnology instead of chemical dyes. While so many of
us are working at home during the [Wuhan Flu] pandemic, we do worry that serendipitous
hallway conversations aren't happening. Last year, before the pandemic, it
was one of those conversations that led researchers at ETH Zurich to develop
a way of making chocolates shimmer with color - without any coloring agents
or other additives. The project, announced in December, involves what the
scientists call 'structural color.' The team indicated that it creates colors
in a way similar to what a chameleon does - that is, using the structure of
its skin to scatter a particular wavelength of light..."
Ever heard of the revolutionary
Graphechon Tube, by RCA?
Neither had I, until I saw it mentioned in an ad for RCA televisions in a
1950 edition of The Saturday Evening Post. My curiosity was piqued enough
to do some research. First, here is the text of the ad: "Scientists at RCA
Laboratories work with split-seconds of time too infinitesimal for most of
us to imagine. Their new electron tube, the Graphechon, makes it possible.
For instance, in atomic research, a burst of nuclear energy may flare up and
vanish in as little as a hundred-millionth of a second. The Graphechon tube
oscillograph, taking the pattern of this burst from an electronic circuit,
"remembers" what happened - and re-creates it in a slow motion image which
can last for a minute and a half. Scientists may then observe the pattern...
ConductRF LSA series of
low loss, performance flexible RF cable assemblies, provide microwave
system designers with a versatile solution for most applications. Here we
offer customers a solution for 0.086" diameter cable that facilitates greater
flexibility and handling or, 0.141" diameter that exploits the same great
performance but with almost half the loss. Connector options include SMA,
Type-N, TNC & SMP that provide excellent VSWR between DC and 18 GHz,
also solutions for MCX & SMB are available in a wide array of configurations.
These assemblies are built using our own double shielded, FEP jacketed cable,
that was developed specifically for performance solutions. With shielding
effectiveness exceeding 90 dB through 18 GHz...
Axiom Test Equipment allows you to
buy test equipment, repair test equipment, or
sell or trade
test equipment. They are committed to providing superior customer service
and high quality electronic test equipment. Axiom offers customers several
practical, efficient, and cost effective solutions for their projects' TE
needs and is committed to providing superior customer service and high quality
electronic test equipment. For anyone seeking a way to offload surplus or
obsolete equipment, they offer a trade-in program or they will buy the equipment
from you. Some vintage items are available fully calibrated. Please check
out Axiom Test Equipment today!
Raytheon is another of the stalwart
early American electronics and technology manufacturing company. It began
operations in Cambridge, Massachusettes in 1922 under the name of the American
Appliance Company. The name was changed to
Raytheon in 1925 to reflect its growing vacuum tube usiness. Did you know
the name Raytheon means "light from the gods?" In this case, the light refers
to the orange glow from the tube heater filiment. If you have ever had the
privilige of seeing in a darkened room vacuum tubes glowing inside a vintage
radio, you will understand the relationship to a godly sight. Not too many
years ago, there were still a few companies like Tesslor manufacturing new
tube radios, but now you'll have to go to eBay or similar venues to find used
radios. The prices are not too bad. ...but I digress. This 2-page advertrisement
in a 1955 issue of Radio & Television News magazine pitched a division...
Atenlab has been operating in Taiwan
for more than a decade, and has sold and installed hundreds chambers around
the world. Holistic, affordable Over-the-Air
(OTA) measurement systems perform comprehensive measurement and test in
a controlled environment. Compact Antenna Test Range (CATR) with one-touch
operation supports multiple systems - 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G - and major instrument
brands. [M]ulti-probe OTA measurement systems offer reduced time measurements
over single-probe systems.
This might be my oldest copy of
QST, being Vol. XIII, Number 6. Up until a few decades ago, authors
commonly appropriated themes and characters from familiar fairy tales and
fables for use in articles of instructional nature. Some publications even
used comic book style formats for teaching to beginners. The term 'wabbulation'
(aka "wobbulation" and "wobulation") is spoken to Uncle Jimmy by the fabled
Piper, and I have to admit not being familiar with the term. According to
W2PA's story, 1920s era QST technical editor Robert Kruse coined the word
to describe inadvertent modulation of the carrier frequency during CW or phone
operation. Per the Wikipedia entry, "wobulation is Hewlett-Packard's term
for a form of interlacing designed for use with fixed pixel displays...
Modelithics, the leader in high-frequency
simulation models and precision RF, microwave, and mmWave measurement services,
is pleased to announce it is now a member of the GLOBALFOUNDRIES® (GF®)
RFwaveTM Partner Program. The partnership between GF and Modelithics will
enable mutual clients to accelerate the launch of new products, based on accurate
testing results and the ready availability of Modelithics to assist GF and
its clients in modeling activities. GF's RFwave program is an ecosystem of
partners that provide unique mmWave test and characterization capabilities
along with design services, IP, and EDA solutions that will enable designers
to build highly optimized RF solutions for a range of wireless applications
such as Internet-of-Things (IoT), wireless connectivity, 5G, and automotive
"Researchers from ETH Zurich have
achieved what scientists have been attempting to do for some 20 years: in
their laboratory work as part of European Horizon 2020 research projects,
they have manufactured a chip on which fast electronic signals can be converted
ultrafast light signals - with practically no loss of signal quality.
This represents a significant breakthrough in terms of the efficiency of optical
communication infrastructures that use light to transmit data, such as fiber
optic networks. In cities like Zurich, these fiber optic networks are already
being used to deliver high-speed internet, digital telephony, TV, and network-based
video or audio services (streaming). Today's optical networks achieve data
transmission rates in the region of gigabits per second..."
Centric RF is a company offering
from stock various RF
and Microwave coaxial components, including attenuators, adapters, cable
assemblies, terminations, power dividers, and more. We believe in offering
high performance parts from stock at a reasonable cost. Frequency ranges of
0-110 GHz at power levels from 0.5-500 watts are available off the shelf.
Order today, ship today! Centric RF is currently looking for vendors to partner
with them. Please visit Centric RF today.
July 19th's custom
Electrical Engineering crossword puzzle contains some words particular
to radio, radar, analog and digital circuits, components, and other tech-themed
words and clues. Each week for two decades I have created a new technology-themed
crossword puzzle using only words (1,000s of them) 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, find someone or something in the otherwise excluded list
directly related to this puzzle's technology theme, such as Hedy Lamarr or
the Bikini Atoll, respectively. Avid cruciverbalists amongst us: the gauntlet
has been thrown down.
Here is the Radio Data Sheet for
Zenith radio models 8H032, 8H033, 8H050, 8H052, 8H061 as published in
a 1947 issue of Radio-Craft magazine. Some of the electronics magazines
used to include this type of high level documentation so that hobbyists and
even service shops with budgets too small to afford cabinets full of SAMS
data packets could work on the radios. Most of the radio manufacturers would
not even sell factory-prepared documentation to anyone who was not an "authorized"
service center. The RadioMuseum website has nice examples of restored vesions
of both the Zenith 8H032 and the Zenith 8H034 tabletop radios. The electronics
are similar but the chassis designs are completely different. They sport three
bands: the 540-1620 kHz AM band, the pre-WWII 42-48.5 MHz FM band,
and the current 88-108 MHz FM band...
Sam recently wrote to let me know
about his company Skynet Labs' services
for developing custom NI LabVIEW test software applications. Based in Unionville,
Connecticut, Skynet Labs specializes in product configuration, automated product
test and manufacturing, implementation of data acquisition hardware and test
software with NI LabVIEW and Visual Basic. They will develop custom signal
processing and analysis software with MATLAB, Python for scientific applications
including electronics and biomedical industry. Certified LabVIEW Architect,
Certified LabVIEW Developer, Certified TestStand Developers on staff with
more than 15 years of experience. Contact Sam today to learn how Skynet Labs
can help your project!
RF Cafe's raison d'être is and always
has been to provide useful, quality content for engineers, technicians, engineering
managers, students, and hobbyists. Part of that mission is offering to post
applicable job openings.
HR department employees and/or managers of hiring companies are welcome to
submit opportunities for posting at no charge. 3rd party recruiters and temp
agencies are not included so as to assure a high quality of listings. Please
read through the easy procedure to benefit from RF Cafe's high quality visitors...
"In the not-too-distant future, flexible
electronics will open the door to new products like foldable phones, tablets
that can be rolled, paper-thin [get it? paper -
wood] displays and wearable sensors that monitor health data. Developing
these new flexible / bendy products means using materials like new plastics
and thin films to replace the rigid circuit boards and bulky electronic components
that currently occupy the interiors of cell phones and other gadgets. New
research by a University of Wisconsin-Madison engineer leverages a surprising
and inexpensive substance -
wood - to make the flexible microwave circuits that can power modern communications.
In a paper published in the journal Nature Communications..."
Long before their college days at
Parvoo U., our two amateur electronics sleuthing buddies were on the job tracking
down and trapping bad guys by using their combined knowledge of circuits and
physics. In this episode,
Carl and Jerry are tasked with helping a hobby store owner stop a rash
of thefts that always seems to occur during a busy time right after school
lets out for the day. Their first inclination was to devise a system like
the big department stores were installing that used passive tags on items
that would trigger an indicator when passed through the detector at the exit
door. That was in 1958 when the anti-theft tags were first being utilized.
Unfortunately, the system they were able to build was not sensitive or selective
enough, so they came up with a different scheme...
National Instruments (NI) will present
a webinar on July 29th entitled, "Build
a Web App for Your Test System in 30 Minutes." Learn how to build a modern,
flexible web application for your LabVIEW 2014+ or C# test system in 30 minutes.
Join us for a step-by-step walkthrough on how to create a WebVI for your existing
LabVIEW application, and get it published on the web. All you need to create
WebVIs are your LabVIEW skills and the LabVIEW NXG Web Module, no web development
knowledge required. WebVIs run entirely in the browser, don't need extra installs,
and adapt to any screen size.
Copper Mountain Technologies develops
innovative and robust RF test and measurement solutions for engineers all
over the world. Copper Mountain's extensive line of unique form factor
Analyzers include an RF measurement module and a software application
which runs on any Windows PC, laptop or tablet, connecting to the measurement
hardware via USB interface. The result is a lower cost, faster, more effective
test process that fits into the modern workspace in lab, production, field
and secure testing environments.
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...
"In our information society, the
synthesis, distribution, and processing of radio and microwave signals happen
ubiquitously in wireless networks, telecommunications, and radars. The current
tendency is to use carriers in higher frequency bands, especially with looming
bandwidth bottlenecks due to demands for 5G and the Internet of Things.
Microwave photonics, a combination of microwave engineering and optoelectronics,
might offer a solution. A key building block of microwave photonics is optical
frequency combs, which provide hundreds of equidistant and mutually coherent
laser lines. They are ultra short optical pulses emitted with a stable repetition
rate that corresponds precisely to the frequency spacing of comb lines. The
photodetection of the pulses produces a microwave carrier..."
An engineer friend
wrote saying he is in immediate need of 50 pieces of the Cree
CMPA0060025F, 25 W, 20-6000 MHz, GaN MMIC power amplifier. If
you can supply any quantity, please contact me at
firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know. Time
is of the essence. Thank you very much!
Not everyone who visits RF Cafe is
a seasoned engineer or technician. Some are just getting into electronics
as part of a career path and/or hobby endeavor and appreciate the availability
of entry-level information. As an oft-quoted sage-type person famously said,
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step." Accordingly, here
is a short article explaining the basic physics and application of the of
backward diode, which is akin to a Zener diode and tunnel diode in that
it is meant to operate in the reverse bias region. National Semiconductor,
Texas Instruments (TI), and Raytheon were the manufacturers in 1958 when this
article appeared in Radio−Electronics magazine. National Semiconductor was
swallowed up by Texas instruments in 2011...
The everythingRF website
has a short article on current
5G spectrum allocation around the world. Frequencies are
added and/or removed occasionally depending on who controls the government
agencies and which lobbyists have enough money to influence said officials.
The chart was created in 2018 and promises to be updated as needed. Hopefully,
the author is watching the industry and making adjustments as needed.
1961, MECA Electronics has designed and manufactured an extensive line of
RF & microwave components
for in-building, satellite, radar, radio, telemetry, mobile radio, aviation &
ATC. Attenuators, directional & hybrid couplers, isolators & circulators,
power dividers & combiners, loads, DC blocks, bias-Ts and adapters &
cables. MECA has long been the 'backbone' of high performance wired and air-interfaced
networks such as in-building applications, satellite communications, radar,
radio communications, telemetry applications, mobile radio, aviation &
air traffic communications.
Back in the day,
Bell Telephone Labs' name was synonymous with cutting edge technology
and brainiac scientists and engineers, similar to IBM (International Business
Machines), Boeing, Chevrolet, Westinghouse, and Hewlett Packard, amongst others.
Bell Labs often ran full-page promotions in electronics magazines like this
one in a 1955 issue of Radio & Television News that spotlighted a method
they developed for inspecting relay contacts without having to remove it from
the circuit. Prior to solid state switches, electromechanical relays did the
circuit routing for the millions of calls crossing the United States (prior
to that, ladies sitting in front of switchboards used cables and plugs to
route calls manually). Those relays opened and closed thousands of times each
day, so they were subject to a lot of wear and tear. Bell Telephone invested
a lot of time and money into designing high quality relays that would stand
up to the usage...
"Since the discovery of graphene,
two-dimensional materials have been the focus of materials research. Among
other things, they could be used to build tiny, high-performance transistors.
Researchers at ETH Zurich and EPF Lausanne have now simulated and evaluated
one hundred possible materials for this purpose and discovered 13 promising
candidates. With the increasing miniaturization of electronic components,
researchers are struggling with undesirable side effects: In the case of
nanometer-scale transistors made of conventional materials such as silicon,
quantum effects occur that impair their functionality. One of these quantum
effects, for example, is additional leakage currents, i.e. currents that flow
'astray' and not via the conductor provided between the source and drain contacts.
It is therefore believed that Moore's scaling law..."
Please welcome the addition of
Scott Eichfeld to the list
of honored U.S. Air Force Radar Shop service
members. Scott was stationed at Tinker AFB in Oklahoma, in the 3th Combat
Communications Group (3CCG) from 1981 through 1992, assigned to the TPN−19
mobile airport surveillance radar (ASR) and precision approach radar (PAR)
system. He spent some time TDY helping to write a technical order (TO) at
the 5th MOB (5CCG) at Robins AFB in Georgia. When he arrived at the 5CCG,
I had been there a couple years working on the decades old MPN−14 predecessor
to the TPN−19. The MPN−14's RF circuits were mostly vacuum tube based whereas
the TPN−19 was almost completely solid state.
Thanks to the Wuhan Virus, QSO
Today's Ham Expo 2020
will be an online-only event via your laptop, tablet, and smartphone. It will
be held on the weekend of August 8th and 9th. "Participate in this ground
breaking, virtual international amateur radio expo. Packed with world renowned
speakers, exhibitors, and special conference rooms built on a virtual reality
platform." More than 70 internationally renown are scheduled. Register by
July 24th to receive early bird prize incentives.
Register by July 24th for free
Everyone reading the is familiar
with the "bell curve," and most have been exposed to the mathematics of it.
Standard deviations, normal distribution, mean, median, variance, etc., are
seen often in technical writings. John Dunn has a good intro (or refresher)
on the EDN website entitled, "The
Mathematics of Gaussian Probability Distribution." It begins: "All sorts
of physical processes in this analog world exhibit some degree of randomness.
Think of noise, for example. Many noisy processes are described by Gaussian
probability distributions. We should take a look at the mathematics of that.
Consider the equation of the 'bell curve' for a Gaussian probability distribution
by starting with a very simple equation..."
How far do you commute each day for
the privilege of doing your part to push back the frontiers of technical ignorance
and to boldly go where no engineer - or technician - has gone before. Do you
know what the cost equates for you each year? This handy-dandy infographic
lays out some gruesome
numbers. Those with a weak stomach probably should pass on viewing this
one. Here's a hint at what you will see: See that big $795 in the thumbnail
image? That's the average cost per year for commuting -- per mile! Yessiree,
if you live just 10 miles from work, you're losing nearly $8,000 per year,
depending on you automobile type, on gas, tires, maintenance, devaluation,
and loss of your personal time (which is valuable, after all). Back in the
early 1990s I drove about 45 miles each way to Comsat, which took about 65
minutes due to miserable traffic, which is 130 minutes round-trip, or 2 hours
and 10 minutes (about the run time of an average movie) each day. Figuring
two weeks vacation and 10 holidays, that leave 48 weeks x 5 days/week = 240
days per year of commuting. 240 days x 130 minutes = 31,200 minutes =
520 hours per year. That's a fourth of a man-year (2,080 hours) on the road.
It was a great job, but combined with working 60-70 hours per week...
ConductRF is continually innovating
and developing new and improved solutions for RF Interconnect needs. See the
latest TESTeCON RF Test
Cables for labs. ConductRF makes production and test coax cable assemblies
for amplitude and phased matched VNA applications as well as standard &
precision RF connectors. Over 1,000 solutions for low PIM in-building to choose
from in the iBwave component library. They also provide custom coax solutions
for applications where some standard just won't do. A partnership with Newark
assures fast, reliable access. Please visit
ConductRF today to
see how they can help your project!