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Homepage Archive - May 2020 (page 2)

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

Friday 15

Basic DC Testing Keeps Drones Flying Longer

Basic DC Testing Keeps Drones Flying Longer - RF CafeAxiom Test Equipment, an electronic test equipment rental and sales company has published a new blog to discuss both what must be tested, and which are the correct instruments to perform DC electrical testing for the design and maintenance of UAVs. By performing regular measurements on a UAV, the efficiency of the UAV's powertrain can be better characterized and optimized. Especially in all-electric drones, scheduled measurements can help to maintain the efficiency of an electric UAV's propulsion system. Discover specific instruments used for maintaining UAV electrical system performance including battery analyzers and simulators, digital multimeters and voltmeters. Drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are quickly being adopted for commercial and industrial applications, almost as quickly as they have been accepted as part of the modern battlefield for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions...

Quantum Effect Triggers Unusual Material Expansion

Quantum Effect Triggers Unusual Material Expansion - RF Cafe"You know how you leave space in a water bottle before you pop it in the freezer - to accommodate the fact that water expands as it freezes? Most metal parts in airplanes face the opposite problem. At high altitudes (low temperatures) they shrink. To keep such shrinkage from causing major disasters, engineers make airplanes out of composites or alloys, mixing materials that have opposite expansion properties to balance one another out. Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory used x-rays to explore an unusual metal that expands dramatically at low temperature. The experiments on samarium sulfide doped with some impurities revealed details about the material's atomic-level structure and the electron-based origins of its 'negative thermal expansion.' The work opens..."

Please Visit Empower RF's Website in Appreciation of Their Support

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.

An Experiment with Gravity

An Experiment with Gravity, January 1970 Popular Electronics - RF CafeThis is pretty cool. If I owned a good receiver (which I don't), I would definitely give it a try. In 1970 when this Popular Electronics article was written, a lot of Hams were still using tube receivers so the recommendation to let the equipment warm up for several hours prior to making the fine frequency adjustments was good advice. Nowadays the warm-up time and stability of receivers should permit 30 minutes or so to suffice (even ovenized frequency references need time to stabilize when first powered up). Unless I missed it, the author does not explicitly state that the frequency change measured over time is due to gravity acting on the mass of the crystal reference, but I suspect that is his intention since part of the experiment involves disconnecting the antenna and shielding the receiver from outside interferers. Over a lunar month period (29.5 days) we experience a leap tide and a neap tide which maximizes and minimizes, respectively, the vector sum...

Teledyne e2v HiRel 10 GHz Gain Blocks for X-Band

Teledyne e2v HiRel Releases New Line of 10 GHz Gain Blocks for X-Band - RF CafeTeledyne e2v HiRel, part of the Teledyne Defense Electronics Group, today announced a new family of 10 GHz RF Gain Blocks using space-qualified InGaP amplifier technology. Spearheaded by an 18.4 dB gain model, this new group of Gain Blocks, TDGB010, is based on an indium gallium phosphide (InGaP) technology suitable for both space and, optionally, defense applications. It achieves this through its ceramic packaging and space qualification. Teledyne e2v HiRel customers now have a standard amplifier solution that stretches from L-band through X-band. Since a standardized amplifier solution reduces the number of new qualified components that flight programs typically require, it greatly simplifies the procurement process for components. The X-band Gain Blocks are available in configurations of 13.6, 16.5 and 18.4 dB which enable RF design...

MPDevice: RF & Microwave Circulators & Isolators

MPDevice - RF CafeMPDevice (MPD) has become a trustworthy and reliable company in the global RF market as a manufacturer of passive RF Devices. Included are attenuators and terminations, coaxial connectors, adapters, and cable assemblies, DC blocks, surge arrestors, power combiner / dividers, and directional couplers. The Korean Telecommunication market is now entering into the era of hyperconnected society. With continuous enhancement in R&D capabilities and quality control, MPD will continue in an effort to become the No. 1 technologically innovative company with a focus on the emerging 5G marketplace.

Thursday 14

PartSim Online Circuit Analysis Simulator

PartSim Online Circuit Analysis Simulator by Aspen Labs - RF CafeSimulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis (SPICE) has been around since 1973. The basic computational engine has always been open source. It began as a simple analog circuit simulator that took a structured text file as the input net list and provided a text file output that contained the calculated values that the user specified such as DC bias points, transient analysis, and AC analysis. Online simulators are now going through the same kinds of growing pains that the earlier iterations of PC-based SPICE simulators experienced. Most are really clunky and always seem to be missing key features and/or easily accessed features - like rotating components on the schematic or routing interconnect lines. Aspen Labs, in a partnership with Digi−Key, has a free online analog circuit simulator called PartSim that seems to have conquered most of the basics. Being able to save and recall your work is a huge benefit...

High-Performance Inductor on a Chip: More Than a Metallic Spiral

High-Performance Inductor on a Chip: More Than a Metallic Spiral - RF Cafe"By chemically forming multilayered, microscopic copper tubes on a sapphire substrate, then using capillary action to fill them with iron nanoparticles, a research team was able to fabricate high-impedance on-chip microinductors. Creating a basic indicator on a substrate sounds easy - just metallize the substrate, preferably with a spiral, serpentine, or other pattern. While traditional microchip inductors are relatively large 2D spirals of wire, a team at the University of Illinois Holonyak Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory boosted the performance of its previously developed 3D inductor technology by up to three orders of magnitude using a more sophisticated technique..."

TotalTemp Technologies Now Offers Larger Thermal Platforms

TotalTemp Technologies Now Offers Larger Thermal Platforms - RF CafeTotalTemp Technologies has introduced a new, larger model of their industry-leading thermal testing platform line. The SD450-N Thermal Platform offers 450 square (18" x 25") inches of even, wide range, precise thermal testing from 200°C to -100°C. Extended range options, safety features and alternate cooling methods available. New design allows more accessibility, custom fixturing and clamping choices. Great for MPUs, amplifiers, radios, and other large devices with a flat thermally conductive surface. Advanced programmable Synergy Nano temperature controller can monitor and log one or many points on the device(s) allowing advanced temperature control optimization. We have many new custom covers and other options.

AT&T's New "AirGig" Not Your Father's BPL

AT&T's New "AirGig" Not Your Father's BPL - RF CafeAfter seeing the recently posted Radio-Electronics article entitled "G−String Transmission Line and Helical Wave Coils," RF Cafe visitor and contributor, Bob D., reminded me of AT&T's Project AirGig 5G system which appears to be a form of the G−String surface wave data communications system. AirGig launches 24 GHz and 60 GHz waves along power lines and then distributes signals locally to wireless access points in (Wi-fi routers, cellphones, etc.). AC/DC power for the AirGig node is inductively obtained from the distribution lines. Initial deployment is planned for 2021. The ARRL in 2016 posted a news item entitled "AT&T's New 'AirGig' Not Your Father's BPL," which alludes to Dr. Goubau's G−String technology. Kevin A. referenced a 1974 QST article entitled "Putting the G-Line to Work." AirGig is not likely to interfere with Amateur Radio activities because of its mm−wave operation. Time will tell.

Cadence AWR Design Environment V15 Now Available

Cadence AWR Design Environment V15 Now Available - RF CafeCadence® AWR Design Environment® Version 15 (V15), which includes AWR® Microwave Office, AWR Visual System Simulator™ (VSS) and AXIEM® and Analyst™ electromagnetic (EM) simulators, has been released and is now available for download by current customers and evaluators. This latest release brings RF/microwave design solutions to the Cadence software portfolio for monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC)/RFIC, package/module, and printed circuit board (PCB) designs. The release provides key new features, add-on modules and enhancements driven by 5G, automotive and aerospace and defense applications. V15 improves engineering productivity with new analyses, faster and higher capacity...

Exodus Advanced Communications: RF & Microwave Power Amplifiers

Exodus Advanced Communications - RF CafeExodus Advanced Communications is a multinational RF communication equipment and engineering service company serving both commercial and government entities and their affiliates worldwide. Power amplifiers ranging from 10 kHz to 51 GHz with various output power levels and noise figure ranges, we fully support custom designs and manufacturing requirements for both small and large volume levels. decades of combined experience in the RF field for numerous applications including military jamming, communications, radar, EMI/EMC and various commercial projects with all designing and manufacturing of our HPA, MPA, and LNA products in-house.

Wednesday 13

Sangamo Electric Company Capacitors

Sangamo Electric Company, April 1954 Radio & Televsion News - RF CafeSangamo Electric Company was a "heap" big name in capacitors in the realm in the middle of the last century. The company always featured an American Indian in its electronics magazine advertisements, and usually also included some form of "indian-ese" statements as part of the sales pitch. Of course such marketing schemes would be vehemently raided and those responsible figuratively "scalped," if you will pardon the gratuitous expressions. As with using names like the Washington Redskins, the Atlanta Braves, the Chicago Blackhawks, and the Cleveland Indians to appropriate and celebrate the bravery and might of the named peoples, Sangamo implied quality, durability, and reliability of its products through an association with American Indians. That does not matter to people who seek to create discord amongst the population while, in many cases, seeking notoriety and financial gain for themselves. Sangamo Electric was located in Marion, Illinois, an area where a few other uses of Sangamo are used, but I could not find any direct reference to a Sangamo tribe...

Coming "Secret" Weapons - Sound Familiar? 

Coming "Secret" Weapons, November 1944 Radio-Craft - RF CafeUsually, when I read about yet another launching of rockets from Gaza into Israel, what comes to mind is the barrage of V1 Buzz Bombs and ultimately the V2 rockets that Germany terrorized London with during World War II. Although overall not very effective individually, they did cause brief spells of horror for the localized group of people that were affected through maiming, killing, or property destruction. The difference between the Nazi's weapons and Hamas' weapons is that the Germans didn't depend on other terrorist entities to supply them with their weapons of destruction; they were brilliant people who had evil intentions of world domination. Hugo Gernsback writes here that the initial plan for the V2 was to deliver an electromagnetic impulse that would disable all electrical and electronic systems within 8,000 feet of its detonation point - what we nowadays call an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapon. BTW, the 'V#' designation stood for...

Many Thanks to Centric RF for Their Continued Support!

Centric RF microwave components - RF CafeCentric 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.

The New Brownshirt World in Which We Live

The New Brownshirt World in Which We Live - RF CafeThanks to the COVID-19 virus which originated in Wuhan China and was allowed to spread throughout the world by CCP officials, our idiotic state governors have assumed warden status over millions of Americans who are being denied the opportunity to go to work and earn an honest living. Instead, politicians want to magnanimously issue government checks so people can barely eke out an existence, while being effectively sentenced to house arrest with excursions outside requiring the wearing of a face mask (the new-world ankle bracelet). Scare tactics have caused many folks to willingly accept the orders. This short video by Kevin James (never heard of him) entitled "Out of Touch" perfectly captures the outrageousness of the situation. Hitler's Brownshirts would be proud.

Notable Tech Quote: Crow T. Robot

Tech Quote: Crow T. Robot - RF Cafe"Just because it's futuristic doesn't mean it's practical." - Crow T. Robot, MST3K, 'Design for Dreaming,' Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K). MST3K was a TV series in the 1980s-1990s where a human was forced by evil scientists to watch B movies, with automatons Mystery Science Theater 3000 - RF CafeCrow T. Robot and Mike Servo provided for comfort. Their silhouettes are seen in the theater's front row as they make wise cracks about and gestures toward the movie as it plays. One of my favorite clips is from the "Space Mutiny" film, where Crow, Mike, and Servo roll out a long string of insulting names for the 'hero' character. You'll definitely get a laugh out of it.

Withwave: RF & Microwave Components

Withwave RF & Microwave Components - RF CafeWithwave manufactures an extensive line of metrology quality coaxial test cable assemblies, connectors (wave-, end-, vertical-launch, board edge, panel mount), calibration kits (SOLT), a fully automated 4-port vector network analyzer (VNA) calibrator, between- and in-series connector adaptors, attenuators, terminations, DC blocks, torque wrenches, test probes & probe positioner. Special test fixtures for calibration and multicoax cable assemblies. Frequency ranges from DC through 110 GHz. Please contact Withwave today to see how they can help your project succeed.

Tuesday 12

Predicting the Future of Radio Communications

Predicting the Future of Radio Communications, June 1951 Radio-Electronics - RF CafeSyzygy is a great word for a Scrabble game. If you use it on a Triple Word Score (TWS) space where the "Z" sits on a Double Letter Score (DLS) space, it will net you 105 points. About the only way to do better is to use all 7 letters on a TWS play, where you earn 50 bonus points added to your word score (I've done it twice in the last year). Syzygy is an astronomical term referring to an alignment of three or more celestial bodies - not necessarily in exact alignment, but within a few degrees. Astrologers (not to be confused with astronomers) have since their knuckles no longer dragged on the ground exploited such scenarios to predict various events both good and bad. That was even before they knew those "wandering" orbs (planet means "wanderer") were different than the (seemingly) stationary points of light. Until Galileo turned his rudimentary telescope on the planets, the only celestial objects with a discernable disk shape were the sun and moon, and possibly the earth. But I digress. It was long thought that the vector sum of gravitational influences was responsible for certain phenomena on our planet, including weather, tides, and earthquakes...

Charge Earbuds Wirelessly with NFC

Charge Earbuds Wirelessly with NFC - RF CafeGood news - another excuse to blasting your brain with electromagnetic waves! "It's going to get a lot easier to wirelessly charge earbuds and smart watches following the release of upgraded specifications for Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. The NFC Forum announced Tuesday the adoption of new standards that will permit the wireless charging of small battery-powered consumer devices using a smartphone and other NFC-capable devices. The new standard, called Wireless Charging Specification (WLC), can transmit both data and power wirelessly to NFC-equipped devices. Charging capacity will be capped at 1 watt, which is sufficient for small devices such as earbuds, security fobs, fitness trackers and digital pens. Larger devices such as smartphones and laptops require greater charging capacity and would not benefit from the new specifications. For those devices, QI wireless technology that provides up to 14 watts of power..."

How Soon Shall We Have Television?

How Soon Shall We Have Television?, May 1935 Short Wave Craft - RF CafeIf you think government bureaucracies meddling in the affairs of private business is a relatively new phenomenon, think again. Elected and unelected persons and agencies have since the inception of control over the populace made it their business to dictate which pursuits of technology are sanctioned and which are not. Often, the motivation lies in who within those bureaucracies stands to benefit monetarily from the decision. In this story lamenting the painfully and, in the author's opinion, unnecessarily long time experienced in bringing commercial broadcast television to the marketplace - in 1935. One of the primary stumbling blocks was the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) preventing companies from televising paid commercials during programs because, in the FCC's view, picture quality was not good enough to serve advertisers' interests. In the process...

NI / AWR LabVIEW Free Student Edition

NI / AWR LabVIEW Free Student Edition - RF CafeNI (National Instruments) has made their LabVIEW Student Edition software product available as a free download for students needing it for school projects. The license is good for 6 months. You can always download a trial of standard LabVIEW, but it only has a 30-day license. The LabVIEW Student edition includes most of the same features as the full LabVIEW suite but adds a watermark on the front panel and block diagram. The download screen requires some personal information if you do not already have a NI account set up, but that is not unusual or unreasonable when a company is offering you trial software. I did the download and was going to set it up and get some screen shots, but after 15 minutes or so it was still installing (and that's on a solid state drive, SSD), so I killed the process and figured I'd find a video that someone else had done. If I had a use for the program I would have let it go ahead and complete the installation, but otherwise I didn't want that much new stuff on my SSHD. Even though it is called Student Edition, there is no requirement that you prove that you are a student...

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...

TotalTemp Technologies: Thermal Platforms for −100°C to +200°C

TotalTemp Technologies - RF CafeTotalTemp Technologies has more than 40 years of combined experience providing thermal platforms. Thermal Platforms are available to provide temperatures between −100°C and +200°C for cryogenic cooling, recirculating circulating coolers, temperature chambers and temperature controllers, thermal range safety controllers, space simulation chambers, hybrid benchtop chambers, custom systems and platforms. Manual and automated configurations for laboratory and production environments. Please contact TotalTemp Technologies today to learn how they can help your project.

Monday 11

G-String Transmission and Helical Wave Coils

G-String Transmission and Helical Wave Coils, June 1951 Radio-Electronics - RF CafeWho says engineers and scientists have no sense of humor? This is not an April Fools joke or an attempt to punk you into reading the story. An Internet browser with strict parental control settings enabled might even prevent this page from even being displayed. In actuality, the term "G−String Transmission Line" was so dubbed by its inventor, Dr. George Goubau, as a tribute to his own name - both first and last. Out of an abundance of caution, I reference the Library of Congress' "G−String" entry for the good doctor and the device's legitimacy. A drawing similar to Fig. 1 in this 1951 issue of Radio-Electronics magazine can be seen on the chalkboard behind Dr. Goubau in the LoC photo. To be honest, I do not recall ever having heard of the G−string transmission line. Its enthusiastically, nearly evangelically extolled virtues must not have panned out in real-world practice because we do not find G−strings...

Solving Tough Timing Challenges of 5G Wireless Infrastructure

Solving the Tough Timing Challenges of 5G Wireless Infrastructure - RF CafeDr. Gary Giust has an article on the High Frequency Electronics website entitled, "Solving the Tough Timing Challenges of 5G Wireless Infrastructure." He begins: "Timing is the heartbeat of any electronic system and 5G networks will be particularly dependent on the accuracy, stability and reliability of their clock sources. Traditional quartz timing devices used in 4G networks are faced with new challenges to support higher bandwidths and narrower channels of coming 5G networks. MEMS technology solves these problems, meeting all timing requirements while performing significantly better than quartz solutions in the presence of dynamic environmental stressors such as shock, vibration, and rapid temperature changes. In addition, a 100% semiconductor supply chain inherently provides MEMS solutions with superior quality and reliability compared to quartz, which is critical to supporting the quality-of-service planned for 5G applications..."

NASA Working with Tom Cruise on Movie on International Space Station

NASA Working with Tom Cruise on Movie on International Space Station - RF CafeTom Cruise has been one of my favorite actors ever since "Top Gun." He is one of the few that do their own stunts, and he is a real-life pilot, even owns a P−51 Mustang.  "NASA said Tuesday it is working with Tom Cruise to film a movie on the International Space Station, but details on the arrangements are scarce. The news that Cruise was in talks with to shoot an action-adventure film on the space station was first reported Monday by Deadline, which said the actor is working with SpaceX on the project. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted Tuesday that the agency is 'excited to work Tom Cruise on a film aboard the space station. We need popular media to inspire a new generation of engineers and scientists to make NASA's ambitious plans a reality.' Cruise, the 57-year-old star of Top Gun and the 'Mission: Impossible' film franchise, has performed daring stunts before. NASA did not confirm Tuesday whether Cruise would himself fly to the space station as part of the film. SpaceX has not confirmed its role in the film project, but Cruise could fly to the space station on the company's Crew Dragon spaceship..." Hopefully, China won't be involved and be able to force the exclusion of a Taiwan patch from Cruise's uniform as in "Top Gun: Maverick."

Nuhertz Filter Synthesis & Simulation Software

Nuhertz Filter Synthesis & Simulation Software - RF Cafe"Filter design software from Nuhertz Technologies® provides fast, easy to use, and high powered solutions to electrical engineering challenges in synthesizing, analyzing, and simulating complex filter designs. Originally released in 1999, the flagship program, FilterSolutions® has continued to incorporate and introduce new and useful features and topologies. The program features 'Quick' and 'Advanced' user design panels for maximum design flexibility and a built-in skills upgrade path. The interoperability of FilterSolutions software is being continuously enhanced with "best-in-class" industry applications. Included in the linked capabilities are: artwork generation tools; circuit simulators; physical measurement models; S-Parameter and Spice component models and electromagnetic analysis programs."

2020's Perfect Storm: Wi−Fi 6, BLE, and AI?

2020's Perfect Storm: Wi-Fi 6, BLE, and AI? - RF CafeWi−Fi 6 is a familiar term, but it is not as well defined or understood as 5G - not that 5G is all that well understood. Richard Edgar has a piece on the Electronic Design website entitled, "2020's Perfect Storm: Wi−Fi 6, BLE, and AI?," which helps unmuddy the waters a bit for Wi−Fi 6. He begins, "The innovations of connectivity and AI are about to shift into full gear as new advances - edge computing, Wi-Fi 6, and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) v5.2, to name a few - arrive in full force. These developments are quite significant. Wi-Fi 6 will improve robustness and performance, while Bluetooth audio sharing will make it possible for multiple consumers to personally enjoy the audio of a single device. In addition, edge computing will give a significant boost to the Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT). This is a win-win for those wishing to utilize these technologies, but not everyone will feel like a winner in 2020. The year could bring hardship to AI hardware startups that have risen up after years of long-term and highly intensive R&D. In many ways, this process has led to incredible results, including complex..."

Qorvo / Custom MMIC: Off-the-Shelf and Custom MMICs

Qorvo / Custom MMIC- RF CafeQorvo / Custom MMIC is a fabless RF and microwave MMIC designer entrusted by government and defense industry OEMs. Custom and off-the-shelf products include switches, phase shifters, attenuators, mixers and multipliers, and low noise, low phase noise, and distributed amplifiers. From next-generation long range military radar systems, to advanced aerospace and space-qualified satellite communications, microwave signal chains are being pushed to new limits - and no one understands this more than Custom MMIC. Please contact Qorvo / Custom MMIC today to see how they use their modern engineering, testing and packaging facility to help your project. 

Sunday 10

Radar & Radio Crossword Puzzle for May 10

Radar & Radio Crossword Puzzle May 10, 2020 - RF CafeSince 2000 - that's 20 years - I have been creating custom technology-themed crossword puzzles for the brain-exercising benefit and pleasure of RF Cafe visitors who are fellow cruciverbalists. The jury is out on whether or not this type of mental challenge helps keep your gray matter from atrophying in old age, but it certainly helps maintain your vocabulary and cognitive skills at all ages. A database of thousands of words has been built up over the years and contains only clues and terms associated with engineering, science, physical, astronomy, mathematics, chemistry, etc. You will never find a word taxing your knowledge of a numbnut soap opera star or the name of some obscure village in the Andes mountains. You might, however, encounter the name of a movie star like Hedy Lamarr or a geographical location like Tunguska...


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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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