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Homepage Archive - May 2020 (page 3)

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

Friday 23

Electronics-Themed Comics from Vintage "Radio & Television News" Magazines

Electronics-Themed Comics, November 1944 Radio News, October 1949 & June 1951 Radio & Television News - RF CafeHere are three more technology-themed comics from vintage of Radio & Television New magazines. Some issued had multiple comics, but these three had just one apiece, so I combined them onto a single page. There is a huge list of previously posted comics at the bottom of the page. With many of these comics, you might need to be familiar with the mindset of the electronics world back in the day. Today it considered hilarious today to see a video of someone walking into a street lamp pole while staring obliviously into a smartphone. In the middle of the last century, fun was made of wives not understanding their hubbies' hobbies, dealings with servicemen, and and goofy things do-it-yourselfers of the era were doing.

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...

Acoustic Waves in Microchips for Faster Signal Processing

Acoustic Waves in Microchips for Faster Signal Processing - RF Cafe"According to researchers from the University of Sydney Nano Institute and Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, chips that use light and sound, rather than electricity, will be important for the development of future tech, such as high-speed internet as well as radar and sensor technology. This will require the low-heat, fast transmission of information. Scientists in Australia and Europe have taken an important step towards removing 'hot' electrons from the data chips that are a driving force in global telecommunications. Microchips without electrons will allow for the invention of data processing systems that don't overheat, have low energy costs, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This foundational work will help scientists invent systems to achieve those aims..."

Under a Telephone Pole

Under a Telephone Pole, by Carl Sandburg - RF Cafe"There is no new thing under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 1:9. "Everything old is new again." - Peter Allen in All That Jazz. Many such idioms exist regarding how often things tend to run in cycles; it's just that often times people who think they are witnessing a new phenomenon are not aware of the previous occurrences. I have written of examples where 'old timers' lament the attitudes of a fledgling work force when writings show the previous generation of 'old timers' who worked with the current 'old timers' in their youth expressed the same type concern. Experienced Ham operators think newbies cannot carry on the tradition of wireless because they are not required to learn Morse code anymore to earn a license.

Windfreak Technologies: USB-Powered RF Synthesizers, Mixers

Windfreak TechnologiesWindfreak Technologies designs, manufactures, tests and sells high value USB powered and controlled radio frequency products such as RF signal generators, RF synthesizers, RF power detectors, mixers, up / downconverters. Since the conception of WFT, we have introduced products that have been purchased by a wide range of customers, from hobbyists to education facilities to government agencies. Worldwide customers include Europe, Australia, and Asia. Please contact Windfreak today to learn how they might help you with your current project.

Thursday 22

The Saga of the Vacuum Tube - Part 14

The Saga of the Vacuum Tube, November 1944 Radio News - RF CafeHere is Part 14 of a series entitled "The Saga of the Vacuum Tube," by Gerlad Tyne, that appeared in Radio News magazine in 1944. Part 1 was printed in March 1943, and Part 22, the final chapter, was published in April 1946. It could have been a stand-alone book. If I manage to be able to buy issues with some of the other parts, those will be posted as well. You might be aware of the origins of the amplifying vacuum tubes, beginning with the accomplishments of Dr. de Forest and his Audion. As with most new technologies, progress moved very rapidly once other researchers glommed on to the concept. Here, Mr. Tyne discusses the development of the "Kenotron," "Pliotron," "Dynatron," and "Magnetron," by Drs. Langmuir, Dushman and Hull of the General Electric Laboratories, during the years 1913 to 1921.

Quantum Radar Uses Entangled Microwave Photon

Quantum Radar Uses Entangled Microwave Photons - RF Cafe"A quantum radar using entangled microwave photons has been created at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria. Also known as 'microwave quantum illumination,' the demonstration detected objects in a noisy thermal environment - and there are potential applications for it in low-power biomedical imaging and security scanners, according to the Institute. 'What we have demonstrated is a proof of concept for microwave quantum radar,' said researcher Shabir Barzanjeh. 'Using entanglement generated at a few thousandths of a degree above absolute zero, we have been able to detect low-reflectivity objects at room-temperature.' Instead of using conventional microwaves, the researchers entangle two groups of photons - 'signal' and 'idler' photons..."

Quasi-Optical Short Waves Electron Oscillations

Quasi-Optical Short Waves Electron Oscillations, February March 1932 Short Wave Craft - RF CafeIn 2015 we would hardly think of electromagnetic radiation in the 5 cm wavelength realm as being 'quasi-optical' as far as circuit-based manipulation is concerned. Optical wavelengths begin at around 6,300 Å for red light, which is 6.3x10-5 cm, or 630 nm. The 5 cm wavelength used an example in a 1932 article in Short Wave Craft magazine is equivalent to 6 GHz. 6 GHz was an extraordinarily high frequency to be using for communications back then, and the author did not intend to liken it to anywhere near visible light. Instead, his terming its properties as 'quasi-optical' referred to how the waves interacted with physical objects; e.g., reflection, refraction, absorption, and scattering. Barkhausen oscillations were a popular subject of the era, as I pointed out recently in the article "The Spook - Another Weird Effect to Haunt TV..."

Many Thanks for Alliance Test Equipment's Support!

Allied Test Equipment Products - RF CafeAlliance Test Equipment sells used / refurbished test equipment and offers short- and long-term rentals. They also offer repair, maintenance and calibration. Prices discounted up to 80% off list price. Agilent/HP, Tektronix, Anritsu, Fluke, R&S and other major brands. A global organization with ability to source hard to find equipment through our network of suppliers. Alliance Test will purchase your excess test equipment in large or small lots. Please visit Allied Test Equipment today to see how they can help your project.

Triad RF Systems Helps SpyLite Go the Distance

Triad RF Systems Helps SpyLite Go the Distance - RF CafeTriad RF Systems, a leading designer and manufacturer of integrated radio systems and high performance RF/Microwave amplifiers, is positioned to assist in the deployment of Bluebird Aero Systems' SpyLite® Mini-UAS (there's a cool animated video on BAS's homepage). Designed and manufactured by Bluebird Aero Systems, SpyLite® is a mature, advanced, combat- proven, extended performance electric Mini-UAS, optimized to provide covert, "over-the-hill" or extended range real-time visual intelligence. SpyLite is unique in its ability to fly even in severe weather, assuring high operational availability for 3-4 hours and a communication range of over 50 km (can be extended up to 80 km). Fully autonomous, the system delivers autonomous ease of use and high reliability, providing a very versatile and stable ISR platform...

San Francisco Circuits: PCB Fabrications & Assembly Service

San Francisco CircuitsSF Circuits' specialty is in the complex, advanced technology of PCB fabrication and assembly, producing high quality multi-layered PCBs from elaborate layouts. With them, you receive unparalleled technical expertise at competitive prices as well as the most progressive solutions available. Their customers request PCB production that is outside the capabilities of normal circuit board providers. Please take a moment to visit San Francisco Circuits today. "Printed Circuit Fabrication & Assembly with No Limit on Technology or Quantity."

Wednesday 21

Mac's Radio Service Shop: Telephone Pickups and Other Subjects

Mac's Radio Service Shop: Telephone Pickups and Other Subjects, April 1954 Radio & Televsion News - RF CafeAt least in the U.S., laws regarding the recording of telephone conversations seem to be constantly changing and vary from state to state. Violation penalties - including imprisonment - can be severe in both cases. Some states require that all parties in the conversation be apprised of the recording, while others only require that at least one party (obviously the one doing the recording) be aware of it. As mentioned in this 1954 "Macs Radio Service Shop" story, some areas require that an audible "beep" be sounded at regular intervals while recording is occurring. With the ubiquitous use of smartphones featuring built-in recording capabilities, opportunities for recording and being recorded are constant. Cave participantium, to coin a phrase. As with carrying concealed weapons or just transporting them between states, if you have any intention of recording a telephone conversation, you had best check on the most recent statutes before-hand.

On-Chip Optical Frequency Combs Generate Photonic Microwaves

On-Chip Optical Frequency Combs Generate Photonic Microwaves - RF Cafe"Engineers from EPFL have successfully demonstrated a laser-based microwave generator using integrated photonic chips. This new technology could have a plethora of useful applications, and may one day be used in 5G wireless networks, radars, and satellite communications. In order to achieve this feat, scientists had to dramatically lower the optical losses of the photonic waveguides. These waveguides are based on silicon nitride, which was manufactured with the lowest loss in any photonic integrated circuit. With the help of this technology, engineers created coherent soliton pulses with repetition rates in the X-band and the microwave K-band..."

ConductRF Performance TSA89 Flexible RF Test Cables to 40 GHz

ConductRF Performance TSA89 Flexible RF Test Cables to 40 GHz - RF CafeManufacturing of all our products continues to operate at full capacity as part of the "Essential Business" community. Professional high frequency TSA89 series of RF test cables with performance to 40 GHz. Precision connector choices include; SMA, Type-N, 3.5mm, 2.92mm, & 2.4mm. Key features: High-frequency point to point cable, light weight rugged double-shielded, flexible cable, low loss <0.68 dB/ft @ 40 GHz, low VSWR < 1.35:1 (Typical < 1.25:1), RF leakage >−100 dB to 18 GHz, temperature rated from -55ºC to 125ºC. 100% factory VSWR and insertion loss tested. Cables are in stock and available immediately from Digi−Key. Made in the USA.

Electro-Voice Microphones Advertisement

Electro-Voice Microphones Advertisement, February 1943 QST - RF CafeHere is an advertisement for Electro-Voice Manufacturing Company microphones that I scanned from page 101 of my copy of the February 1943 QST magazine. As with many companies during the World War II era, this one's theme is the service their products are providing to America's servicemen. Per the ad: If you were receiving radio messages from men in the midst of ear­splitting battle noises, you'd hear crisp speech undistorted by background sound effects. Electro-Voice Microphones, in military service, are helping to make it possible. Similar microphones, designed to achieve such results, will be available for specific commercial applications ... after our wartime job is done...

Withwave Intros New Line of 1.85 & 2.92 mm Right Angle Adapters

Withwave Intros New Line of 1.85 & 2.92 mm Right Angle Adaptors - RF CafeWithwave's new line of 1.85 and 2.92 mm Right Angle Adapters are designed based on precision microwave interconnection technologies. These 1.85 mm & 2.92 mm / 2.92 mm to 2.92 mm types are manufactured to precise microwave specifications and constructed with male and female gender on both side. The precision microwave connector interfaces ensure an excellent microwave performance up to 40 GHz. Features include: Frequency range of DC to 40 GHz, VSWR of 1.20:1 (max) @40 GHz, and the body is made of passivated stainless steel...

RF Superstore: Supplier of RF & Microwave Components

RF Superstore coaxial cable, connectors, adapters - RF CafeRF Superstore launched in 2017, marking the return of Murray Pasternack, founder of Pasternack Enterprises, to the RF and microwave Industry. Pasternack fundamentally changed the way RF components were sold. Partner Jason Wright manages day-to-day operations, while working closely with Mr. Pasternack to develop RF Superstore into a world class RF and microwave component supplier. RF coaxial connectors & adapters, coaxial cable & cable assemblies, surge protectors, attenuators. Items added daily. Free shipping on orders over $25. We're leading the way again!

Tuesday 20

The Taylor "Super-Modulation" Principle (part 2)

The Taylor Super-Modulation Principle, October 1948 Radio & Television News - RF CafeRobert Taylor, along with inventing the concept of "super-modulation," also coined the new communications term "Intelligence Transmission Efficiency." It refers in part to the ratio of power in the intended sideband relative to power in the at least partially suppressed other sideband and carrier. Admittedly, I have not read this material enough to fully comprehend the concept of super-modulation, but at least based on the Fig. 1 waveform, there seems to be an element that adds a DC bias to the detected signal due to a nonsymmetrical (about 0 Vdc) transmitter modulation by pumping more power into the positive peaks. I'm happy to be corrected by any knowledgeable reader. For that matter, if you have experience with super-modulation and care to share it with RF Cafe visitors, I'll be glad to post your comments...

Home TV Via Satellite

Home TV Via Satellite, May 1966 Electronics World - RF CafeIt would be more than a decade after the publishing of this article before the first direct-to-home satellite television broadcasts would be a reality, so it shows how long plans were being made for such systems. Rural landscapes are still peppered with the large vestigial C-band (~4 GHz) satellite dishes, many with faded eyeballs and other clever (and ugly) artwork on them. Before coaxial cable was strung beyond suburbs, country dwellers who either could not pull in over-the-air broadcasts from downtown locations or just wanted more viewing options paid dearly for satellite service. Equipment and installation costs on early systems could run into the $30k realm. Today's satellite TV systems use much smaller antennas operating in the Ku band (~12 GHz), with equipment and installation being free with a 2-year commitment. C-band DBS (direct broadcast satellite) systems are still available, BTW...

Nanotubes Cut Thermal Resistance of Heatsink Interface

Nanotubes Cut Thermal Resistance of Heatsink Interface - RF Cafe"Fujitsu Laboratories has created a thin flexible adhesive sheet thermal interface material for heatsinking that achieves up to 100W/mK thermal conductivity. 'Unlike previous technologies, the carbon nanotube adhesive sheets are also flexible, making them easy to cut and handle for use on variety of surfaces,' according to the lab. 'This technology promises to deliver practical improvements and cost-effectiveness for power modules for electric vehicles.' Carbon nanotubes have high thermal conductivity along their length, but poor thermal conductivity across their width, requiring them to be aligned through the thickness of a layer if it is to be used to conduct heat from one face to the other..."

RF Cascade Workbook 2018 v1.20 Fixes Negative NF

RF Cascade Workbook 2018 Is Available Now! - RF CafeAn RF Cascade Workbook 2018 user pointed out an error in the minimum noise figure (NFmin) calculation where it sometimes can go negative. I changed the formulas to never allow NF to go below 0 dB. Instructions with screen shots are provided if you want to fix it yourself, or please send me an e-mail and I'll be glad to send you a replacement (v1.20), with apologies.

TRIAD Amplified Radio Systems Extend Link Ranges up to 10X

New TRIAD Amplified Radio Systems Extend Link Ranges up to 10XTriad RF Systems, a leading designer and manufacturer of integrated radio systems and high performance RF/Microwave amplifiers, is pleased to announce the launch of a line of TRIAD Amplified Radios that extend the range of the most widely used mobile ad hoc network (MANET) and multiple input multiple output (MIMO) wireless mesh radios in the industry. The creation and launch of these turnkey high-power radios is in direct response to customer challenges experienced when Bi-directional amplifier (BDA) modules are "bolted-on" to a MIMO Radio system. These in-house integrations frequently fail to achieve the size, weight, performance, and cost objectives (SWaP-C) required of a long distance radio link. Unmanned aerial vehicles/systems (UAV/UAS) and ground/surface vehicles (UGV/USV) that frequently operate in harsh weather conditions...

How He Killed the iPhone

How He Killed the iPhone - RF CafeRF Cafe visitor Kevin A. sent me a link to another interesting video, this one where the über smart guy on the Applied Science YouTube channel demonstrates how vulnerable the MEMS-based oscillator used in iPhones is to even a tiny amount of helium gas. Ben Krasnow, a self-described technology junkie, does an amazing job concocting experiments to demonstrate and explain all kinds of processes and phenomena. In this episode, Mr. Krasnow shows how a partial helium (He) gas pressure as low as 2% will cause MEMs oscillators in some iPhone and Apple Watch models to stop functioning after mere moments of exposure. Recovery can take weeks. He mentions that the problem was first identified in an MRI facility where technicians were exposed to He used for cooling the high power magnets. Helium, being both nonreactive and one of the smallest atoms, is notorious for permeating through many types of materials - even metal!

Electro-Photonics Offering RF & Microwave Products

Electro-PhotonicsElectro-Photonics is a global supplier of RF & Microwave components. Their products include SMT hybrid and directional couplers, wire bondable passive components, mounting tabs, filters, transmission lines, and very useful test boards for evaluating components (spiral inductors, single-layer capacitors). The Electro-Photonics team can support your small R&D design requirements with RF & Microwave test fixtures and save you valuable design and characterization time. Please take a moment to visit Electro-Photonics' website and see how your project might benefit.

Monday 19

The Taylor "Super-Modulation" Principle (part 1)

The Taylor Super-Modulation Principle, September 1948 Radio & Television News - RF CafeRobert Taylor claims - without contention from what I can find - to have invented the concept of "super-modulation," whereby the normal "splatter" created by greater than 100% amplitude modulation (AM) can be mitigated through use of specialized circuits. As with many paradigm-changing discoveries, much was made of super-modulation in the late 1940s through early 1950s, and then it pretty much dropped off the charts. The cause might have been that the sophistication of circuitry needed to keep everything tuned and tracking properly to prevent harmonic and sideband was deemed not worth the trouble once frequency modulation (FM) came on the scene. FM quickly gained in popularity due to its relatively high noise immunity; in fact, many commercial radio broadcast market prognosticators declared AM to be on life support by the end of the 1950s, with total death to come shortly thereafter. Mr. Taylor describes in great detail the concept and circuitry behind his super-modulation system in a two-part series of articles in 1948 issues of Radio & Television News magazine. You'll need to put your thinking cap on when reading these.

SpaceX to Debut Satellite-Dimming Sunshade on Starlink 

SpaceX to Debut Satellite-Dimming Sunshade on Starlink - RF Cafe"A new sunshade, or visor, designed to reduce the brightness of SpaceX's Starlink broadband Internet satellites will debut on the company's next launch, a measure intended to alleviate astronomers' concerns about impacts on observations through ground-based telescopes, SpaceX founder Elon Musk said Monday. Beginning with the next launch of Starlink satellites - scheduled as soon as May 7 from Cape Canaveral - SpaceX will try out a new light-blocking panel to make the spacecraft less visible to skywatchers and astronomers. 'We have a radio-transparent foam that will deploy nearly upon the satellite being released (from the rocket),' Musk said Monday in a virtual meeting of the National Academies' Decadal Survey on Astronomy and Astrophysics 2020 panel, a committee charged with setting the top priorities for U.S. astronomy for the next decade..."

Please Welcome LadyBug Technologies as RF Cafe's Newest Supporter!

LadyBug Technologies RF Power Sensors - RF CafeLadyBug Technologies was founded in 2004 by two microwave engineers with a passion for quality microwave test instrumentation. Our employees offer many years experience in the design and manufacture of the worlds best vector network analyzers, spectrum analyzers, power meters and associated components. The management team has additional experience in optical power testing, military radar and a variety of programming environments including LabVIEW, VEE and other languages often used in programmatic systems. Extensive experience in a broad spectrum of demanding measurement applications. You can be assured that our Power Sensors are designed, built, tested and calibrated without compromise. Please visit LadyBug today to learn how they might help you.

LabVIEW Community Edition

LabVIEW Community Edition - RF CafeAfter seeing the piece I posted about LabVIEW offering a free Student Edition of their product, RF Cafe visitor and contributor Joe Cahak wrote to remind me that last year the company began making the LabVIEW and LabVIEW NXG Community Edition available free for non-commercial use. For anyone not familiar with LabVIEW, it provides a drag-and-drop graphical programming approach to help you visualize every aspect of your application, including hardware configuration, measurement data, and debugging. "Program the way you think with intuitive graphical programming. Connect to almost any hardware with unparalleled hardware support. Quickly gather and visualize data Interoperate with other software tools." The LabVIEW Community edition includes all of the capabilities found in the LabVIEW Professional editions, the LINX toolkit for use with Raspberry Pi, BeagleBoard, and Arduino, plus access to the LabVIEW NXG Web Module for creating web-based applications...

After Class: Subatomic Footprints

After Class, Subatomic Footprints, September 1956 Popular Electronics - RFCafeBy now, most people involved in science and engineering have seen the iconic photos of cosmic rays and other subatomic particles leaving a signature of their presence as streaks in a cloud chamber. Invented by Scottish physicist Charles Wilson, the cloud chamber is a sealed volume containing super-saturated water vapor that can be ionized by energetic particles passing through it. The result is a tell-tale whitish line that can be straight arced, or even a spiral, depending on the nature of the particle. First developed in the early part of the 20th century, many particles predicted by researchers were detected and identified. Many unexpected particles were also encountered that gave physicists reasons to sharpen their pencils and develop new theories to explain. Similar research and discoveries occur today using super-sensitive electronic detectors instead of cloud chambers. CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is currently the world's grandest particle collider for performing atomic and subatomic particle research...

Reactel: RF & Microwave Filters of All Types

Reactel Filters - RF Cafe

Reactel has become one of the industry leaders in the design and manufacture of RF and microwave filters, diplexers, and sub-assemblies. They offer the generally known tubular, LC, cavity, and waveguide designs, as well as state of the art high performance suspended substrate models. Through a continuous process of research and development, they have established a full line of filters of filters of all types - lowpass, highpass, bandpass, bandstop, diplexer, and more. Established in 1979. Please contact Reactel today to see how they might help your project.

Sunday 18

Engineering & Science Crossword Puzzle for May 17

Engineering & Science Crossword Solution May 17, 2020 - RF CafeBeginning in the year 2000 and running through today, May 17, 2020, I have been creating weekly custom technology-themed crossword puzzles for the brain-exercising benefit and pleasure of RF Cafe visitors who are fellow cruciverbalists. 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, familiar company names 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, Russia, for reasons which, if you don't already know, might surprise you...


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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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