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Homepage Archive - July 2020 (page 4)

See Page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | of the July 2020 homepage archives.

Tuesday 28

They're Taking the Guesswork out of Scatter Communications

They're Taking the Guesswork out of Scatter Communications, September 1969 Electronics Illustrated - RF CafeAs with many areas of electronics communications, much of both the initial and continued research in atmospheric scattering of electromagnetic signals was/is done by amateur radio operators. The phenomenon is routinely used for accomplishing long distance communications (DX, in Ham terms) by exploiting the reflection property of ionized layers when radio signals impinge at a certain angle. The portion of the signal that returns to the transmitter location, when monitored, can provide information to the sender about the height, distance, and frequency range of the reflecting atmospheric layer. Some of the first indications of backscattering were noticed by radar operators who would receive echo returns from "phantom" targets that were really atmospheric reflections...

Non-LoRa Members Can Now Certify with the LoRaWAN Standard

Non-LoRa Alliance Members Can Now Certify Devices with the LoRaWAN Standard - RF Cafe"LoRa Alliance, the global association of companies backing the open LoRaWAN standard for the Internet of Things (IoT) low-power wide-area networks (LPWANs), has announced a new Certification Affiliate option for certifying devices with the LoRaWAN standard. The new Certification Affiliate program offers a path for non-LoRa Alliance members to obtain LoRaWAN device certification. The LoRaWAN certification program includes full protocol testing, interoperability, and RF performance, which is critical for open global standards. The Certification Affiliate program will increase the number and breadth of LoRaWAN CertifiedCM devices available in the market to serve the IoT needs of companies and users around the world. LoRaWAN Certification is more important..."

Bell Telephone Laboratories Advertisement - Crystal Timekeeping

Bell Telephone Laboratories Advertisement - Crystal Timekeeping, January 1946 Radio News - RF CafeI don't know about you, but I really miss the hard-wired POTS (Plain Ordinary Telephone System) days of remote communications. Unless the conversation was with an overseas telco system, there was never a noticeable delay where both parties were constantly either 'stepping' on each other's words or having to consciously wait before speaking to make sure the other guy has finished. Whether it be cellphone-to-cellphone or cellphone-to-VoIP, nearly every conversation is annoying. Sometimes when one party is on the POTS line with either a cell or Internet connection it can go well, but if you want a hassle-free conversation (assuming the person you're talking to is not a PiTA), you need a hard-wired connection on both ends. People loved to hate Bell Telephone back in the day...

ConductRF Performance Alternative to Crimp RF Assemblies

ConductRF Performance Alternative to Crimp RF Assemblies - RF CafeConductRF has developed many RF connectors in recent years to enhance RF performance in our LSA series cable assemblies. Low Profile SMA R/A male connectors that operate to 27 GHz are just one example. Component Engineering challenges often require finding a "commonly available solution," for a specific application that meet broad, often conflicting requirements, determined by colleagues in electronics. Assuming knowledge of standards like RG cables and widely available solutions, our expertise can be useful when those will not work. ConductRF can provide options for higher frequency, lower loss, greater mechanical integrity and more. When connector modules or jumping RF across PCB's, try these RF cable assembly options from ConductRF...

Substitute Teacher Mr. Garvey

Substitute Teacher Mr. Garvey - RF CafeHave you seen this video yet? It qualifies for reference on RF Cafe because it is STEM-related. I first saw it a couple months ago and have probably rerun it half a dozen times. It is one of the funniest videos ever. Substitute teacher Mr. Garvey's extensive experience as an inner city teacher doesn't quite work in this suburban classroom. I won't spoil it for you by commenting, but be prepared to laugh yourself to the point of tears.

Nova Microwave: RF & Microwave Circulators & Isolators

Nova Microwave Circulators & Isolators - RF CafeNova Microwave is a leader in technically differentiated electronic and radio frequency Ferrite Circulators and Isolators that connect, protect and control critical commercial and military wireless telecommunications systems. Our staff is dedicated to research and development of standard and custom design quality Ferrite Circulators and Isolators from 380 MHz to 26.5 GHz. Available in single or multi-junction topographies, the Nova Microwave product line of is specifically designed for use in varied environmental and temperature extremes. 

Monday 27

Time for Another Breakthrough

"It Seems to Us..." Time for Another Breakthrough, August 1976 QST - RF CafeAmateur radio operators - and all electromagnetic spectrum users for that matter - have always lamented crowded bands and interference (QRM and QRN). That goes for licensed and unlicensed bands. In 1976 when this editorial was printed in the ARRL's QST magazine, spectrum occupation within allocated bands was defined by commonplace analog AM and FM methods. Co-existence was generally not possible for operation within a common frequency range. Spread spectrum modulation / demodulation changed all that beginning in the 1990s, but prior to then such schemes were largely the exclusive domain of military communications, as were many other spectrum-saving methods which are commonplace today. A big part of the reason is the significant advances in digital processing hardware and software, along with declassification of some of the algorithms that eventually found their way into cellphone, WiFi, and other commercial applications. Given that many of the professional engineers...

Radar-Based Blood Pressure Sensors on the Way

Radar-Based Blood Pressure Sensors on the Way - RF Cafe"Infineon Technologies has announced an agreement with Blumio to jointly develop a wearable blood pressure sensor based on Infineon's Xenxiv chipset. The new sensor is expected to make a strong contribution to the wearable cardiovascular monitoring device market, enabling continuous and accurate measurement without a cuff. The project combines Infineon's radar sensor expertise with Blumio's software technology. A kit combining the two technologies should facilitate time-to-market for easy integration into blood pressure monitoring devices..."

Please Welcome Aegis Power Systems as a Sponsor

Aegis Power Systems - RF Cafe Aegis Power Systems is a leading supplier of AC-DC and DC-DC power supplies for custom and special applications. Aegis has been designing and building highly reliable custom power supplies since 1995. They offer a complete line of switch mode power supplies and power converters for a variety of markets including defense, industrial, aircraft, VME, and telecom. Supports military, aircraft, EV, telecom, and embedded computing applications. Design and manufacture of custom power supply solutions to meet each customer's exacting specifications. Please visit Aegis Power Systems today to see how they might help your project.

Job Posting: CMT Needs a Lead RF Design Engineer

Copper Mountain Technologies Needs a Lead RF Design Engineer - RF CafeCopper Mountain Technologies (CMT) is seeking a Lead RF Design Engineer to develop new VNAs for customers all over the world. Our USB VNAs are next generation analyzers designed to meet the needs of 21st Century engineers. Our VNAs include an RF measurement module and a processing module, a software application which runs on a Windows or Linux PC, connecting to the measurement hardware via USB interface. The Lead RF Design Engineer will lead a team of engineers developing new USB VNAs, meeting new customer requirements, and evolving current product line. This individual will work closely with product management, manufacturing and other engineering teams to ensure delivery of quality solutions to customers. Take this opportunity to join a great company. Preferred location for this position...

SPURS Software - RF Design Magazine Software Contest

SPURS Software - RF Design Magazine Software Contest Winner (November 1992) - RF CafeWay...... back in 1992, RF Design magazine ran a software contest. Those were the days when most engineers and hobbyists wrote software in either Basic or Fortran. I happened to use Turbo Pascal, by Borland. At the time, I was working as an RF engineer for Comsat, in Germantown, MD. Having done a lot of frequency conversion designs in my previous work at General Electric, and even more there at Comsat, I had already written a crude program to calculate mixer spurious products, so this challenge gave me the excuse I needed to refine the user interface and add some creature comfort features like loadable mixer spur files and detection of spectral inversion if present. Although I did not win the grand prize, I did win the runner-up prize (along with, I think, a couple other people). The prizes included having the following article published...

RF & Electronics Symbols for Visio

RF Electronics Wireless Analog Block Diagrams Symbols Shapes for Visio - RF CafeWith more than 1000 custom-built symbols, this has got to be the most comprehensive set of Visio Symbols available for RF, analog, and digital system and schematic drawings! Every object has been built to fit proportionally on the provided A-, B- and C-size drawing page templates (or can use your own). Symbols are provided for equipment racks and test equipment, system block diagrams, conceptual drawings, and schematics. Unlike previous versions, these are NOT Stencils, but instead are all contained on tabbed pages within a single Visio document. That puts everything in front of you in its full glory. Just copy and paste what you need on your drawing. The file format is XML so everything plays nicely with Visio 2013 and later...

Anatech Electronics: Off-the-Shelf and Custom RF & Microwave Filters

Anatech Electronics logo - RF CafeAnatech 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. 

Sunday 26

Radio Engineering Crossword Puzzle for July 26th

Radio Engineering Crossword Puzzle for July 26, 2020 - RF CafeJuly 26th's custom Radio 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.

Friday 24

Facts About Military Electronics Training and Subsequent Civilian Employment

Facts About Military Electronics Training and Subsequent Civilian Employment - RF CafeTo be honest, I don't know whether military electronics training commands the respect in private industry that it did back in 1982 when I separated from the U.S. Air Force. If you left the military within the last 20 years or so and care to share your experience with seeking civilian employment, I'll be glad to add it here as a side note. Many of the electronics technicians I worked with both as a tech myself and then as an engineer (after earning a BSEE) got their initial classroom training in either the Air Force or the Navy. There were probably some from the Marines and Army, but I don't recall any off-hand. I hate to admit it, but I think the Navy vets were even more highly sought after than we Air Force types. This 1969 issue of Electronics Illustrated...

CMT Offers Hands-On Learning with University Kit Solution

Copper Mountain Technologies Offers Hands-On Learning with University Kit Solution - RF CafeCopper Mountain Technologies' University Kit is a complete solution designed to assist educational institutions in teaching engineering students RF skills. The kit has three options of vector network analyzer models and includes the calibration module, sample devices under test (DUTs), and accessories necessary for an array of common VNA measurements. CMT's University Kit is an affordable way to outfit the lab with RF measurement equipment, providing a practical approach to vector network analysis and supporting remote learning. Vector Network Analyzer options for the University Kit include the CMT304U 2-port 3.2 GHz Analyzer, CMT804U 2-port 8 GHz Analyzer, and the CMT808U 4-port 8 GHz Analyzer...

Why the Refurbished Electronics Market is Thriving

Why the Refurbished Electronics Market is Thriving - RF CafeAre we back to the WWII mindset of Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do, or do without? Maybe so, according to this article: "A perfect storm is brewing for consumer electronics Back [not "black"] Market marketplace. The items it specializes in - refurbished smartphones, PCs, tablets and the like - are in high demand as professionals and students work from home during the coronavirus pandemic. In many regions of the world, unemployment has skyrocketed, so consumers are increasingly budget-conscious. Finally, by extending the lifecycle of consumer devices, e-waste - and the pressure to continually upgrade electronics - is reduced. electronics, refurbished, smart phones The online e-tailer, headquartered in Paris, launched in 2014. Awareness of e-waste—the metals, chemicals, plastics and other elements in discarded electronics..."

Crossword Puzzle - Electronics & Other Things

Crossword Puzzle - Electronics & Other Things, November 1960 Electronics World - RF CafeCruciverbalists rejoice! Here is another tech-related crossword puzzle to try your technical prowess. Unlike the weekly RF Cafe crossword puzzle that contains only engineering, science, mathematics and other tech words, this one from Electronics World does have a few unrelated words. The big difference between making crosswords then and now is Mrs. Le Fevre had to construct the grid of words manually, whereas I just create a huge file of words and definitions, draw the grid outline, and then click a button to have software put it all together. I'm guessing it took a couple hours to make this puzzle...

Anatech Microwave July 2020 Product Update

Anatech Microwave July 2020 Product Update - RF CafeAnatech Microwave Company offers the industry's largest portfolio of high-performance standard and customized RF and microwave filters and filter-related products for military, commercial, aerospace and defense, and industrial applications up to 40 GHz. In their July Product Update, Anatech has introduced three new power dividers, all having N connectors (others available): An 8−way resistive power divider for DC−4.0 GHz, a 4−way power divider for 2−18 GHz, and a 2−way power divider for 1−4 GHz. Custom RF power directional coupler designs can be designed and produced when a standard cannot be found, or the requirements are such that a custom approach is necessary.

Thermex-Thermatron Systems

Thermex-Thermatron Systems - RF CafeThermex-Thermatron Systems, a major designer and maker of RF and microwave welder and sealer systems, wrote to request a listing on the Manufacturing Equipment vendor page. Their RF and microwave heating systems are ideal for medical manufacturing process such as sealing blood and IV bags, cuffs, air and water mattresses. Thermex-Thermatron can custom design and engineer an RF welder or sealer system to meet even the most complex specification. Dedicated RF or microwave units available to test a wide variety of materials and processes at little or no cost to you, to evaluate your product's suitability for microwave or RF welding/sealing.

PCB Directory: Printed Circuit Board Fabrication & Assembly

PCB  Directory - RF CafePCB 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.

Thursday 23

Radio Terms Illustrated

Radio Terms Illustrated, August 1947 Radio-Craft - RF CafeThese "Radio Term Illustrated" comics from vintage Radio-Craft magazines are some of my favorite tech-themed comics. Most were drawn by Frank Beaven in response to suggestions / requests by magazine readers. The one here from page 80 entitled "Crystal Gazing" was done by Franklin Folger. If you didn't know that it appeared in a 1947 edition, you might assume it depicts a Steam Punk themed LCD computer monitor mounted atop a Morse code straight key, but of course it is not. At the time, cathode ray tubes (CRTs) were the only form of video display, and while small like the one in the drawing (and round, unlike the drawing), they were far from flat. Little did the artist suspect that his "Crystal Gazing" idea meant to imply a type of mystic's medium for seeing...

Mac's Radio Service Shop: A Little Lightning

Mac's Radio Service Shop: A Little Lightning, July 1948 Radio News - RF CafeBenjamin Franklin is famous for his kite-flying experiment whereby he 'discovered' not electricity (as many people believe), but that lightning is a form of electricity (most people thought it was a jet of gas). A lesser known fact about Mr. Franklin is that he invented the lightning rod after realizing the electrical nature of lightning. His understanding of electric fields facilitated an implementation whereby hefty iron cabling interconnected a tall, pointed rod installed at the tallest point on a building and a spike driven into the ground. Lightning typically strikes the object that is the shortest distance (in terms of electrical field strength) from it because the discharge can begin at the lowest voltage. The presence of the grounded lightning rod above the highest point on a structure effectively brings that point all the way down to ground level...

Get Your Custom-Designed RF Cafe Gear!

Custom-Designed RF-Themed Cups, T-Shirts, Mouse Pads, Clocks (Cafe Press) - RF CafeThis 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 Cafe. Thanks...

Poking Holes in Thin Film Electronic Components

Poking Holes in Thin Film Electronic Components - RF Cafe"A new method could help pave the way for widespread commercial availability of flexible electronics. In the future, scientists imagine that the mobile devices we use every day will be flexible, not rigid. However, in order to achieve this long-term vision, researchers must develop stable flexible electronic components, many of which will be comprised of thin films that are currently in development. One drawback to these thin films is that they tend to crack when bent or folded repeatedly, which has led scientists from Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST) in South Korea to design a potential solution to this problem..."

Review: CMT's IoTest Antenna Testing Kit

Review: CMT's IoTest Antenna Testing Kit - RF CafeKenneth Wyatt, a consulting engineer, has a very useful article on the EDN website entitled, "Kit for Testing Wireless and IoT Antennas," which features Copper Mountain Technologies' IoTest Antenna Testing Kit. FCC certification can be an expensive process, so if you are developing a wireless product, a setup like this could save you a bundle by allowing you to do an initial level of measurement prior to submission to a certification lab or consultant. Mr. Wyatt begins, "In recent years, many of my clients have been developing products that incorporate wireless and cellular communications into IoT products. I've also been partnering with a local CTIA-approved wireless test lab, BluFlux in Louisville, Colorado, to help mitigate various EMC issues. In working with BluFlux, the major issue seemed to be self-generated EMI affecting the cellular LTE and GPS receiver sensitivity..."

Empower RF Systems: RF & Microwave Power Amplifiers

Empower RF Systems - RF CafeEmpower 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.

Wednesday 22

Powder Puff Derby

Powder Puff Derby Peanuts July 6, 1975 - RF CafePrior to seeing this new tidbit in a 1976 issue of QST magazine, I had no idea that the wife of Peanuts comic strip creator Charles Schulz was an airplane pilot - and that is with having been a huge Peanuts fan for decades. Other than one of Snoopy's alter egos being that of a World War I flying ace, there is no other theme of airplanes in the strip, although according to this article, there was a 1975 Sunday comic strip with Peppermint Patty and Marcie flying atop Snoopy's doghouse, from California to Michigan. The Straits Area Radio Club (W8GQN) provided communications for the Powder Puff Derby, aka the Women's Air Derby, race in which Mrs. Jean Clyde Schulz took part in 1970, 1971, and 1975. It was a very long course - more than 2,000 miles as the crow flies...

Triad RF Systems Achieves Record 1st−Half Results

Triad RF Systems Achieves Record 1st−Half Results - RF CafeTriad RF Systems, an industry-leading provider of stratospheric communications platforms first called on TRIAD, is proud to announce aggressive revenue growth and a record 1st half of the year. We are achieving record-setting performance driven by our strong reputation for developing fully-integrated and optimized radios that deliver some of the highest data-rates and longest range ISR wireless links for Unmanned Land, Sea, and Air Systems. We expect to continue to deliver increases for 2020, driven by the continued acceptance of our products in a growing number of defense programs. Financial & Program Highlights: First-half revenue grew 45% over last year and our bookings growth was 126% year to date .Our participation in critical long-distance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems programs...

Defense Innovation Unit Issues Unmanned Orbital Outpost Contract

Defense Innovation Unit Issues Unmanned Orbital Outpost Contract  - RF Cafe"The Defense Innovation Unit has awarded Sierra Nevada Corporation a contract to build an orbital laboratory that would serve as a kind of unmanned space station, the company announced July 14. The unmanned orbital outpost will be placed in low Earth orbit to be used for experiments and demonstrations. The autonomous, free flying vehicle will be able to host payloads and support space assembly and manufacturing, microgravity experimentation, logistics, training, testing and evaluations. Under the contract, Sierra Nevada Corporation will repurpose their Shooting Star transport vehicle into a scalable, autonomous space station that can be used for experiments and demonstrations. The Shooting Star vehicle is a 16-foot attachment..."

Negative Feedback Transistor Amplifiers

Negative Feedback Transistor Amplifiers, May 1957 Radio & TV News - RF CafeThe big graphic with Figures 1 through 17 reminds me of the kinds of study sheets I used to make when cramming for exams in my college circuits courses. Did I ever tell you about the wise guy instructor I had for my first Circuits class at the University of Vermont? Anyway, this article provides an introductory level treatment of using negative feedback in amplifier circuits. Lots of illustration and formulas are included. Frequencies are at baseband, so you won't learn any secrets for high frequency amplifier stabilization, but then even RF and microwave circuits eventually need to convert down to baseband at some point for sampling or for use as audio or video...

Withwave Intros High Performance Cable Assemblies

Withwave Intros High Performance Cable Assemblies - RF CafeWithwave announces a line of High Performance Cable Assemblies with 0.047" cable diameter. Flexible, semi−rigid, and & semi−flexible cable types are perfect for various kinds of interconnection solutions such as high speed testing, short range, and telecommunication applications. Frequency ranges include DC to 26.5 GHz, 40 GHz, 50 GHz, and 67 GHz. Standard and custom cable options are available with connector types such as SMA, 2.92 mm, SMPM, 2.4 mm, and 1.85 mm...

Measuring Semiconductor Device Input Parameters with Vector Analysis

Measuring Semiconductor Device Input Parameters with Vector Analysis - RF CafeJoe Cahak, owner of Sunshine Design Engineering Services in Ramona, California, has written a white paper entitled, "Measuring Semiconductor Device Input Parameters with Vector Analysis." This article covers a recent test experience that utilized some thinking about the test fixture, the bias requirements and the device mounting and special calibration offsets needed to de-embed the test fixture response from the device response within the test fixture. The device also had to have bias on several ports simultaneously. We had to establish a "reference plane" within the fixture, from which we can use the Vector Network Analyzer's Port Extension or Phase Offset to dial out the distance from our 1 port calibration reference plane to the point of short reference within the fixture. With this phase offset compensation we can then measure...

Res-Net Microwave: Precision RF & Microwave Components

Res-Net Microwave Components - RF CafeRes-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.


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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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