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Homepage Archive - June 2020 (page 1)

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

Friday 6

Electronics Design Challenges of Hypersonic Flight

Electronics Design Challenges of Hypersonic Flight - RF Cafe "Hypersonic munitions present an intimidating set of environmental challenges, raising the bar to an entirely new level of difficulty. Contrary to popular opinion, there is nothing new about hypersonic flight. Nazi Germany's V-2 rocket achieved speeds of Mach 5, but was not called hypersonic, a term not coined until 1946 by Hsue-shen Tsien, an aerodynamicist at the California Institute of Technology. In 1949, the two-stage Bumper rocket achieved a speed of Mach 6.7 before burning up on atmospheric reentry. Yuri Gargarin became the first human to travel at hypersonic speed during his historic orbital flight in 1961. The following month, Alan Shepard joined that unique club when his suborbital flight exceeded Mach 5 on reentry..."

The 20 Greatest Hoaxes in the History of Engineering

The 20 Greatest Hoaxes in the History of Engineering - RF CafeThe Design News website has another one of their slideshows on technology subjects, this one entitled The 20 Greatest Hoaxes in the History of Engineering. The iLoo is one of the funniest, and is suspected to be more of a prank than a serious claim. "From scandals and cons to faux innovations and pranks, here's a look at the most infamous hoaxes throughout engineering history. The history of science and technology is rife with cons, false conclusions, and outrageous claims. From faux innovations, perpetual motion, and fake artificial intelligence, to the biggest tech scandal of the last decade, here's a look at the most infamous hoaxes throughout engineering history."

Winston Churchill at U.S. Maneuvers 

Winston Churchill at U.S. Maneuvers, September 1942, Radio-Craft - RF CafeBiographical historians spend endless hours searching old media for bits of information on their subjects. Finding useful material on more renowned personalities is not a problem, but filtering out relevant bits for a particular theme can be daunting. On the other hand, finding useful information on lesser known people can be frustrating because there is so little information readily available. Great Britain's World War II era superstar Winston Churchill undoubtedly falls into the former category. While scanning through my many vintage electronics and science magazines for interesting fodder to post on RF Cafe, I'm always on the lookout for cameo appearances like this one of Prime Minister Churchill talking on a walkie-talkie (aka 'handie-talkie' at the time) in this 1942 edition of Radio-Craft. It shows him participating in a parachuting exercise at the U.S. Army's Fort Jackson training base, in South Carolina...

Bizen Transistor Obsoletes CMOS

Bizen Transistor Obsoletes CMOS - RF Cafe"Bizen is a new semiconductor process that applies the principles of quantum tunnel mechanics to any computing or power technology. When compared to CMOS, Bizen results in a five-fold lead time reduction - down from 15 weeks to just three weeks. Moreover, the new process achieves a three-fold increase in gate density that produces a matching three-fold reduction in die size. Importantly, Bizen halves the number of process layers required. All this is achieved while equaling or bettering the speed and low power capabilities offered by current CMOS devices. 'Bizen has the ability to enable the UK to develop a leadership position in semiconductor manufacturing,' says Summerland. Bizen technology lets designers create a simpler circuit with far fewer layers and increased logic density..."

Triad RF Systems: RF/Microwave Amplifiers and Amplifier Systems

Triad RF SystemsTriad RF Systems designs and manufactures RF power amplifiers and systems. Triad RF Systems comprises three partners (hence 'Triad') with over 40 years of accumulated knowledge of what is required to design, manufacture, market, sell and service RF/Microwave amplifiers and amplifier systems. PA, LNA, bi-directional, and frequency translating amplifiers are available, in formats including tower mount, benchtop, rack mount, and chassis mount. "We view Triad more as a technology partner than a vendor for our line-of-sight communications product line." Please check to see how they can help your project.

Thursday 5

Note: I will be traveling today so e-mail responses will be delayed. Thank you.

Bell Labs Germanium Refining

Bell Labs Germanium Refining, May 1954 Radio & Television News - RF CafeBell Labs, having been responsible for creating the first positive amplification point contact transistor just before Christmas 1947, continued to lead the way in semiconductor research and new product announcements for many decades. This little tidbit was tucked away at the bottom of page 120 in the May 1954 issue of Radio & Television News magazine. It reported on "the purest substances in the world" being created there in the form of 99.99999999% (aka 10N) pure germanium crystals, which are used as seed for growing boules for device production. That's one rogue impurity atom in ten billion germanium atoms. Modern monocrystalline silicon boules are typically 7N or better...

Solving the Space Junk Problem

Solving the Space Junk Problem - RF Cafe "Space is getting crowded. Aging satellites and space debris crowd low-Earth orbit, and launching new satellites adds to the collision risk. The most effective way to solve the space junk problem, according to a new study, is not to capture debris or deorbit old satellites: it's an international agreement to charge operators 'orbital-use fees' for every satellite put into orbit. Orbital use fees would also increase the long-run value of the space industry, said economist Matthew Burgess, a CIRES Fellow and co-author of the new paper. By reducing future satellite and debris collision risk, an annual fee rising to about $235,000 per satellite would quadruple the value of the satellite industry by 2040, he and his colleagues concluded in a paper published today..."

Broadcasting - As I Imagined It...

Broadcasting - As I Imagined I..., February 1939 Radio-Craft - RF CafeDr. Lee DeForest might have had something like National Public Radio (est. 1970) in mind when he penned this article in 1933. In it, the famous vacuum tube amplifier inventor lamented and criticized the commercialization of broadcasts because of all the paid product announcements (aka commercials) that had been steadily increasing over the years. He also was critical of the "hit-or-miss, higgeldy-piggeldy mélange program basis" of programing; i.e., the same station playing a mix of jazz, opera, swing, syndicated story-telling, etc. The good doctor did not elaborate on where funding for such dedicated, uncorrupted broadcasts would originate if not from paying advertisers, and I do not recall ever reading about a DeForest Radio Network paid for by his vast fortune. I don't like commercials any more than the next person, but a company deserves time to pitch its products and/or services if it helps deliver a source of entertainment to you that...

Post Your Engineer & Technician Job Openings on RF Cafe for Free

Engineering Job Board - RF CafeRF 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 (of course a gratuity will be graciously accepted). 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 ...

MECA Electronics: Passive RF & Microwave Components

MECA Electronics

Since 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.

Wednesday 4

FM Beep Signals

FM Beep Signals, June 1951 Radio-Electronics - RF CafeThis news bit from a 1951 issue of Radio-Electronics magazine reports on the FCC's declaration of illegality the practice by some FM broadcasting stations of providing a means for blanking out commercials and station identification to entities willing to pay for the special receivers and pay for a subscription. Nobody I have ever known looks forward to enduring commercials on television or radio (or Internet these days). The only way most of us could listen to music without interruption was to by a record, tape, or CD. VHS tapes and DVDs provide some relief from commercials, although even though you pay for them there are typically promotions for other movies at the beginning. Commercials on radio and television (and now the Internet) have consumed a larger part of each hour of programming with each passing year. The DVD collections we have of 1960s and 1970s Prime Time TV shows average run times of about 54-55 minutes...

8 Satellites Will Track Hypersonic Weapons

8 Satellites Will Track Hypersonic Weapons - RF Cafe"The Space Development Agency wants to put an initial batch of satellites capable of tracking hypersonic weapons on orbit in fiscal 2022, according to a draft request for proposals the agency released May 11. The draft comes as SDA prepares to launch its first tranche of about 20 satellites in FY22, the first step toward its goal of hundreds of interconnected satellites operating in low Earth orbit. The agency is taking a spiral development approach, launching additional satellites with increasingly advanced capabilities in two-year tranches. The second tranche, to be launched in FY24, will place 150 satellites on orbit. According to the draft RFP, the agency wants a contractor to design and build eight Wide Field of View, or WFoV, satellites with infrared sensors capable of demonstrating..."

Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS)

Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS), LEMOS Technologies - RF CafeLemos International Technologies, founded in 1996 when wireless technology developed for military and aerospace was beginning to be transitioned into the commercial realm. As a technology adoption leader, Lemos just published a white paper entitled "Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS)" to promote the plug-and-play nature of transmitter and receiver modules available at very low cost. Use of many type of these self-contained modules enables wireless connectivity product development with the need for in-house RF expertise and/or FCC emissions certification. Per the MURS Wikipedia article : "In the United States, the Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS) is a licensed by rule two-way radio service similar to Citizens Band (CB). Established by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission in the fall of 2000, MURS created a radio service allowing for licensed by rule (Part 95) operation in a narrow selection of the VHF band, with a power limit of 2 watts. The FCC formally defines MURS as "a private, two-way, short-distance voice or data...

Early Radar Development

Early Radar Development - RF Cafe Cool PicWe read a lot about the early radar system that was in operation at Pearl Harbor in December 1941 when the surprise attack by Japanese naval airplanes decimated the fleet with a 3-hour-long raid beginning at around 8:00 on that sleepy Sunday morning. According to "The Untold Pearl Harbor Radar Story," by C.P. West, the SCR-270B (Signal Corps radio #270, rev B) radar system had a range of 250 miles at an altitude of 50,000 feet. Westinghouse built the system in 1940 following a development contract issued by the Army Signal Corps in 1936. Historical documents report of the three systems on the island, two had been shut down and that with the remaining system, operators Joseph Lockard and George Elliot detected a formation of aircraft about 137 miles out to sea. They were told it was a squadron of B-17s and to not worry about it...

RF Cascade Workbook 2018

RF Cascade Workbook 2018 Is Available Now! - RF CafeRF 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...

ConductRF: Precision & Standard Grade RF Cable Assemblies

ConductRF coaxial cables & connectors - RF CafeConductRF 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! 

Tuesday 3

How an Electronic Brain Works

How an Electronic Brain Works, June 1951 Radio-Electronics - RF CafeThis is another example of a multi-part article of which I happen to have discovered only one of installments - Part 9. As is often the case, each article is pretty much stand-alone and does not require that you have already seen the previous sections. In 1951, computers were still mostly analog; digital circuits were just beginning to get serious research thanks to the recent advent of solid state devices. Boolean algebra, truth tables, and combinational logic were just beginning to be taught in engineering courses. ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer), first used in 1945 at the end of World War II, was the world's first general purpose digital computer, and its active elements were vacuum tubes - about 20,000 of them. As you might expect, there was a lot of excitement in the electronics, scientific, and finance world about digital computers that would be inexpensive enough that individual corporations...

Radio WittiQuiz

Radio Wittiquiz, December 1937 Radio-Craft - RF CafeRadio-Craft magazine solicited inputs from its readers for a series of 'WittiQuiz' questions and answers related to radio and electronics, with a stipulation being that there had to be some aspect of humor included. That meant that some of the multiple choice answer options needed to be inane. For most of the questions, the process of elimination is pretty easy, but a couple could cause some head scratching - especially if you are not really sure of the answer. This group starts at number 28, so obviously preceding issues had questions 1 through 27. At some point I will probably acquire them and post other WittiQuizzes.

Please Visit Triad RF Systems to Thank Them for Their Support

Triad RF SystemsTriad RF Systems designs and manufactures RF power amplifiers and systems. Triad RF Systems comprises three partners (hence 'Triad') with over 40 years of accumulated knowledge of what is required to design, manufacture, market, sell and service RF/Microwave amplifiers and amplifier systems. PA, LNA, bi-directional, and frequency translating amplifiers are available, in formats including tower mount, benchtop, rack mount, and chassis mount. "We view Triad more as a technology partner than a vendor for our line-of-sight communications product line." Please check to see how they can help your project.

Atwater Kent Model 649 All-Wave 9 Metal Tube Superhet. Radio

Atwater Kent Model 649 All-Wave 9 Metal Tube Superhet. Radio Service Data Sheet, November 1935 Radio-Craft - RF CafeFor more than a decade, I have been posting these Radio Service Data Sheets for radios and various other audio and visual electronics sets that appeared in vintage electronics magazines. This one for the Atwater Kent Model 649 all-wave, 9 metal tube, superheterodyne console radio set was published in the November 1935 issue of Radio Craft. "All-Wave" radios were popular at the time because they provided access to shortwave bands so listeners could tune in foreign broadband stations - often with the rudimentary built-in antenna. Short Wave Listening was actually a worldwide sport that had its own cadre of enthusiastic participants, including a dedicated magazine entitled Short Wave Listener. Although not as popular today, there are still a few adherents remaining today.

How to Soup up Your Home WiFi

How to Soup up Your Home WiFi - RF Cafe"Does flaky Internet connectivity have you scrounging for solutions? The COVID-19 pandemic increased our demand for Internet service due to working from home, online learning for kids, and video conferencing with colleagues and family members. For many people stuck at home, Internet connectivity issues became more troublesome in recent months. To make matters worse, Internet providers may be unwilling to send repair techs into your home to fix your problems. Construction materials and interior design decisions can have an adverse effect on how far your WiFi signal travels inside. They can slow down the connection speed, especially when everyone is home using a slew of computing devices. Put this do-it-yourself primer to work fixing what ails your home network..."

Copper Mountain Technologies: Vector Network Analyzers

Copper Mountain TechnologiesCopper 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 Vector Network 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.

Monday 2

Electronics-Themed Comics, 1954 Radio & Television News

Electronics-Themed Comics, April and September 1954 Radio & Television News - RF CafeToday has been a busy day, so a couple electronics-themed comics from issues of vintage Radio & Television News magazines help to relieve the stress a bit. I could never figure out why these comics were buried deep inside most issues at the ends of article continuations. These two were on pages 88 and 93. The top one is meant to demonstrate just how obsessed the public was with the relatively new television phenomenon - just look at what they chose to ignore on the display TV in order to get a peek at the inside workings of a television set. The other comic, while clever in its intent, would never pass editorial muster in today's world because of the great hazard it represents. Enjoy.

Navy Inks Deal for Synthetic Aperture Radar

Navy Inks Deal for Synthetic Aperture Radar - RF Cafe"Capella Space announced May 13 that it signed a deal to provide synthetic aperture radar to the U.S. Navy, even though the company has yet to put a satellite on orbit. Unlike traditional electro-optical satellite imagery, which can be degraded or denied by adverse lighting conditions or weather, SAR creates images with radar, meaning it can produce images regardless of the weather or lighting conditions. Additionally, SAR sensors can provide data on material properties, moisture content, precise movements, and elevation, meaning that SAR can be used to build 3D recreations of a given geographical area. Capella says its planned SAR satellite constellation will be able to collect sub-0.5 meter imagery, capable of identifying various types of aircraft or vehicles at ground level..."

Carl Kohler: Thin Air My Foot!

Carl Kohler: Thin Air My Foot!, July 1956 Popular Electronics - RF CafeWhilst reading this Carl Kohler technodrama entitled "Thin Air My Foot!," I happened upon this word new to me: 'din,' as in "It was dinned into me." OK, maybe you already knew that, but surely I should have been aware of its alternate meaning other than being a loud noise ("the agitated cat made quite a din."). Fortunately, I am not subject to a household of people who refuse to put things back in their respective places when through with them, but this tale of woe tells what might be a familiar scenario to you. To be honest, this could have been written about me as a boy - before the U.S. Air Force taught me a thing or two about organization and neatness - since I continually frustrated my father by leaving his tools (and hardware and lumber and paint) scattered in forgotten places around the house and yard...

Many Thanks to Axiom Test Equipment for Continued Support!

Axiom Test Equipment - RF CafeAxiom Test Equipment allows you to rent or 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!

Free General-Purpose Scientific and Engineering Plotting Library w/Smith Chart

DISLIN Scientific and Engineering Plotting Library w/Smith Chart - RF Cafe Cool ProductDr. Scott Best, of SiberSci RF engineering services, sent information about the FREE general purpose DISLIN scientific and engineering plotting software library that includes Smith Chart support. The graphics library was initially created at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research beginning in 1985 by Mr. Helmut Michels. Its continual series of upgrades is as recent as May 2020. The DISLIN library is available for Unix, Linux, FreeBSD, Windows, Mac OSX, and MS-DOS systems. It supports a variety of public domain and commercial compilers for Go, Perl, Python, Java, Ruby, TCL, Julia, FreeBASIC, Free Pascal, R, C/C++, and Fortran (77, 90, and 95). If you are a software developer, you probably know that most development platforms are supplied with either no plotting components or very rudimentary versions of for-purchase products. Many cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars...

Triad RF Systems Low-Cost Amplified S-Band Radio for Long-Range Links

Triad RF Systems Low-Cost Amplified S-Band Radio for Long-Range Links from a COTs Microhard pMDDL2450 PicoRadio - RF CafeTriad RF Systems, continues to add to its THPR series of ready-to-install amplified radios. Eliminating the need to integrate standalone components to create a long-range wireless and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) radio links working in S-band, Triad has combined high power RF subsystems with a Microhard pMDDL2450 core radio that operates from 2402 - 2482 MHz. Triad model THPR1006 is an efficiently packaged, highly reliable, dual-channel MIMO, turnkey radio system that includes bi-directional amplifiers (BDAs), RF filtering, and optional real-time power measurements, link diagnostics, and innovative SoC-based monitoring and controls. This integrated amplified radio system delivers maximum power output of 40 W at ~5 Mbps on its max power setting, and 10 W at ~20 Mbps on its max data rate setting. Unmanned system engineers can expect...

everythingRF: Their Name Says It All

everything RF Searchable Database - RF CafePlease take a few moments to visit the everythingRF website to see how they can assist you with your project. everythingRF is a product discovery platform for RF and microwave products and services. They currently have 267,269  products from more than 1397 companies across 314 categories in their database and enable engineers to search for them using their customized parametric search tool. Amplifiers, test equipment, power couplers and dividers, coaxial connectors, waveguide, antennas, filters, mixers, power supplies, and everything else. Please visit everythingRF today to see how they can help you.

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