Thursday the 7th
According to the Wikipedia entry, "the
Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE) was a professional organization which existed
from 1912 until December 31, 1962. On January 1, 1963 it merged with the American
Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE) to form the Institute of Electrical and
Electronics Engineers (IEEE)." The IRE's annual convention, quite often held in
New York City at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, was the equivalent to what is (was)
today (except 2020 and likely 2021, 2022, ...) the IEEE MTT-S International Microwave
Symposium (IMS). Product vendors hacked their wares, technical presentations were
made, and professional liaisons were made. A visit to the IMS 2021 website shows
they are pretending as if there really will be a physical show in Atlanta, Georgia.
Georgia is one of the 14 states which as of December do not require face masks...
Teledyne e2v HiRel is adding two new, ruggedized
GaN power HEMTs (High Electron Mobility Transistors) to its industry-leading,
650-volt, high-power family of products based on GaN Systems technology. The two
new high-power HEMTs, TDG650E30B and TDG650E15B, deliver lower current performance
of 30- and 15-amp respectively, while the original 650 V introduced last year,
the TDG650E60, delivers 60 A. These 650 V GaN HEMTs are the highest voltage
GaN power devices available on the market for demanding high-reliability military,
avionics, and space applications. They are an ideal fit for applications like power
supply, motor control, and half bridge topologies...
"It's been almost a century since Wolfgang
Pauli mooted the idea of 'hidden rotation:' a new quantum variable that would double
the number of possible electron states. Today, this variable is known as
spin angular momentum, and it's widely accepted as an intrinsic property of
fundamental particles. Yet despite the ubiquity of spin, there is still no real
consensus about its physical meaning. For photons, the usual explanation is that
spin is related to circular polarization - a state of affairs in which the direction
of the electromagnetic field in a beam of light rotates in a plane perpendicular
to the direction of propagation, like hands round a clock face. This explanation
has a straightforward consequence: no polarization, no spin. Now, however, an international
collaboration of researchers..."
It really was not all that long ago when
wiring images for news stories literally meant transmitting photographs over
a twisted pair of telephone lines either to a fax machine or to a computer on standby
waiting for incoming files. Videocasts were being regularly performed via satellite
of ground relay microwave stations since the 1960s, but most still shots were sent
via phone lines. For the last decade and a half, both still shots and videos have
been transmitted as a routine matter via camera-equipped cellphones, and as with
most technologies we have quickly become so accustomed to the convenience that memories
of the old ways are quickly (even thankfully) forgotten. This article from a 1936
edition of Radio-Craft describes one of the really early systems. Notice that coupling
to the telephone line is via induction to the handset, not via a hardwire connection
to the phone circuit...
RF Cafe's raison d'être is and always has
been to provide useful, quality content for engineers, technicians, engineering
managers, students, and hobbyists. Part of that mission is offering to post applicable
job openings.. HR department
employees and/or managers of hiring companies are welcome to submit opportunities
for posting at no charge. 3rd party recruiters and temp agencies are not included
so as to assure a high quality of listings. Please read through the easy procedure
to benefit from RF Cafe's high quality visitors...
The year 2021 marks the
of Radio Shack's founding. A fairly extensive Web search did not turn up an
exact date for when the doors opened in Boston, Massachusetts. A pair of brothers
from London, Theodore and Milton Deutschmann, were the proprietors. Their stock
consisted largely of surplus military gear and was marketed to Amateur Radio operators
and other hobbyists. Facing bankruptcy in 1963, the company was sold to Texas businessman
Charles Tandy for a mere $300k. Radio Shack / Tandy peaked in 1999 with a presence
in 5 countries of more than 7,300 stores. It went bankrupt again in 2015. In November
2020, Retail Ecommerce Ventures (REV) bought the company, intending to revive the
brand. A visit to the Radio Shack website
shows there are many more products than just a few months ago. Many of the resistors,
capacitors, ICs, switches, connectors, cable, LEDs, transistors, fuses, project
boxes, tools, etc., from the old days are available again. There is also a selection
of drones, radios, computer and cellphone accessories. Hopefully, people will support
Radio Shack enough to ensure their success. Here are all published
Radio Shack catalogs.
Since 1996, ISOTEC has designed, developed
and manufactured an extensive line of RF/microwave
connectors, between-series adapters, RF components and filters for wireless
service providers including non-magnetic connectors for quantum computing and MRI
equipments etc. ISOTEC's product line includes low-PIM RF connectors components
such as power dividers and directional couplers. Off-the-shelf and customized products
up to 40 GHz and our low-PIM products can meet -160 dBc with 2 tones and
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Designs that are cost effective practical and repeatable.
Wednesday the 6th
impedance matching between the source and load has been the cause of many poor
performance issues ever since the wavelength of the transmitted signal became less
than the length of the interconnecting line. A generally accepted rule of thumb
is that when the line is more than about a tenth of the wavelength of the highest
frequency, impedance matching is probably required lest standing waves cause problems.
An impedance mismatch causes part - or maybe all - of the incident signal to be
reflected back towards the source. That results in part of the signal not being
transferred to the load, and the rest is dissipated as heat and/or radiated as an
electromagnetic wave. In some circumstances the reflected signal can cause damage
to the source because the reflected voltage can be much greater than the output
circuit can withstand. VSWR is not just a concern for transmitters...
Magnetic Domain Wall Speed Is Fundamentally
"A team of researchers from MIT and several
institutions in Korea has found that the
speed of magnetic domain wall movement is fundamentally limited. In their paper
published in the journal Science, the group describes testing a theory regarding
the maximum speed of domain walls to prove them correct. Matthew Daniels and Mark
Stiles with the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the U.S. have
published a Perspective piece outlining the work by the researchers in the same
journal issue and sum up the implications of their findings. One of the basic tenets
of Einstein's theory of special relativity is that there is no particle that can
travel faster than the speed of light..."
MPDevice (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.
Underwriter's Laboratory (UL) is an entity that seems to have been around forever.
A lot of people - maybe most people - assume that it is a government entity. In
fact, it is a non-profit organization sponsored by the National Board of Fire Underwriters.
Its roots are traceable back to the Chicago World's Fair in 1893. Concern over the
potential fire hazard of Edison's light bulbs was the impetus for the effort. Another
aspect of the UL that a lot of people don't know is that the UL label of approval
is no guarantee that the device works properly, only that is passes standards of
safety as it relates to fire hazards. This article in the August 1955 edition of
Popular Electronics magazine gives a brief history...
If you don't like banks of windmill electricity
generators peppering the landscape, you'll really hate these things. At least windmills
look cool. This 110-meter-high behemoth is being built in the Swiss City of Ticino,
near the Italian border. It will
use electricity to lift massive weights during off-peak demand times and then
exploit gravity's pull to drive generators when demand is high. It is akin to hydroelectric
plants that pump water from lower levels to higher levels during off-peak hours.
Another gravity-powered design raises and lowers weights in a hole in the ground
- a much more visually friendly sight. Here's an idea: How about integrating gravity-powered
generators into the inner area of cell towers (where they won't be as noticeable)
to create a large distributed network of energy reserves? Doing so eliminates much
of the cost and environmental disturbances while eliminating risky single-point
failures of large installations.
TotalTemp Technologies has more than 40 years
of combined experience providing thermal platforms.
Thermal Platforms are
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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.
Tuesday the 5th
Radio-Electronics magazine ran regular
column entitled "The Radio Month" with industry, government, and academic news briefs.
This 1951 issue included, amongst other tidbits, a report on TV pioneers Hugo Gernsback,
publisher of Radio-Electronics, and Isidor Goldberg, president of Pilot
Radio Corporation, having been presented scrolls by student members of the Institute
of Radio Engineers and the American Institute of Electrical Engineers at New York
University in recognition of their contributions to the development of television.
Pilot Radio manufactured kits for electronics hobbyists. In other news, the FCC
discovered its first instance of an
illegal television broadcast. It never takes long for the criminally insane
to corrupt a good thing; however, in this case it was a Sylvania Electric Products
test site operating without a license. Evidently they had adopted the philosophy
of "It's easier to beg forgiveness than to ask for permission...
"A DARPA network technology program recently
concluded field tests demonstrating novel software that bridges multiple disparate
radio networks to enable communication between
incompatible tactical radio data links - even in the presence of hostile jamming.
The technology is transitioning to Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) and the Marine
Corps, which plans to put the software on a software reprogrammable multi-channel
radio platform for use on aircraft and ground vehicles. Started in 2016, the Dynamic
Network Adaptation for Mission Optimization program, or DyNAMO, has developed technologies
that enable automated, real-time dynamic configuration of tactical networks to ensure
that heterogeneous radio nodes..."
Werbel Microwave is a manufacturer of RF
directional and bidirectional couplers (6 dB to 30 dB) and RF power dividers
/ combiners (2- to 16-way) with select models operating up to 18 GHz and 100 W
of CW power (3 kW peak). All are RoHS and REACH compliant and are designed and manufactured
in our Whippany, NJ, location. Custom products and private label service available.
Please take a couple minutes to visit their website and see how Werbel Microwave
can help you today.
Did you know that you are likely a TLV? That's
Television Looker. The modern equivalent is CP - Couch Potato. In the early
years of television, TLVs were as fascinated with the device itself and the technology
as they were with the information being displayed. As this story tells, Hams were
involved in TV transmission (ATV) early on. I did not know that amateur television
was banned during World War II. During WWII, all amateur radio operations were suspended
with the exception of those authorized to continue under the Radio Amateur Civil
Emergency Service (RACES)...
Mr. Kishore Ramaiah has an interesting
article on the EDN website entitled, "Antenna-on-Package
Technology Simplifies Automotive In-Cabin Radar Sensor Design." 60 GHz
and 77 GHz have quarter wavelengths of 1.25 mm (0.0492") and 0.973 mm
(0.0383"), respectively, meaning efficient radiators (antennas) can be fabricated
directly on the IC substrate, thus saving some of the complexity and expense of
creating and matching an off-chip antenna. The story begins: "Millimeter-wave (mmW)
radar is one of the primary sensing modalities for automotive and industrial applications
because of its ability to detect objects from a few centimeters to several hundred
meters with high distance, angle, and velocity accuracy, even in challenging environmental
conditions. A typical radar sensor consists of a radar chipset along with other
electronic components such as the power-management circuit, flash memory, and interface
peripherals assembled on a PCB. Transmit and receive antennas are also typically
implemented on the PCB..."
Artech House announces the publication of
A 360 Degree View of IoT Technologies, by John Soldatos. This exciting book
explores the past, present and future of IoT, presenting the most prominent technologies
that comprise IoT applications, including cloud computing, edge computing, embedded
computing, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI), blockchain and cybersecurity.
A comprehensive description of the full range of the building blocks that comprise
emerging IoT systems and applications is provided, while illustrating the evolution
of IoT systems from the legacy small scale sensor systems and wireless sensor networks,
to today's large scale IoT deployments that comprise millions of connected devices
in the cloud and smart objects with (semi)autonomous behavior... New Release
price discount to $104 is available for a short time.
Innovative Power Products (IPP) has over
30 years of experience designing & manufacturing RF & microwave passive
components. Their high power, broadband couplers, combiners, resistors, baluns, terminations and attenuators
are fabricated using the latest materials and design tools available, resulting
in unrivaled product performance. Applications in military, medical, industrial
and commercial markets are serviced around the world. Please take a couple minutes
to visit their website and see how IPP can help you today.
Monday the 4th
Prior to news of the A-bombs dropped at the
end of World War II, most people had no idea what nuclear anything was. My
guess is school textbooks made scant mention of it mainly because what was known
of the science was kept under wraps at the Department of War. The Department of
Energy (DoE), which currently administers nuclear policy and oversight, did not
formally exist as a separate entity until 1977. Per their website, "Although only
in existence since 1977, the DoE traces its lineage to the Manhattan Project effort
to develop the atomic bomb during World War II, and to the various energy-related
programs that previously had been dispersed throughout various Federal agencies."
In 1955 when this episode of "Mac's Service Shop" appeared in Radio & Television
News magazine, one of the popular items for electronics hobbyists was Geiger
counters (along with metal detectors)...
"Who needs a sensor from the manufacturer?
Researchers from the University of Washington have equipped their drone with one
of nature's finest detectors: a
moth antenna. 'Nature really blows our human-made odor sensors out of the water,'
said UW doctoral student Melanie Anderson , lead researcher of the aerial vehicle
known as the 'Smellicopter.' 'By using an actual moth antenna with Smellicopter,
we're able to get the best of both worlds: the sensitivity of a biological organism
on a robotic platform where we can control its motion.' The live antenna responds
to chemical signals, allowing the flying vehicle to navigate toward specific odors..."
Copper Mountain Technologies develops innovative
and robust RF test and measurement solutions for engineers all over the world. Copper
Mountain's extensive line of unique form factor
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.
Electronic counter-warfare (ECW) has been
around nearly as long as electronic warfare (EW) itself. Controlling what a population
hears on its radios is a fairly simple process since overwhelming a commercial broadcast
station signal requires only a more powerful transmitter. It was commonplace during
wartime for an invading force to set up high power stations in population centers
to block signals meant to inform people of aggressor activity, or even to play music
(a form of psychological warfare as well). Often, not only was the possession of
a personal radio verboten, but even getting caught listening to one could spell
real trouble. However, as with booze during Prohibition, the mere fact that something
was outlawed did not prevent a large percentage of the population from owning and/or
listening to broadcasts. This article by Hugo Gernsback proposes a method for informing
a local area of an impending invasion force in order to forestall panic and irrational
is an interesting article written by Geoffrey Pohanka entitled, "Electric
Vehicles and Their Drawbacks," which assesses the associated production, maintenance,
and operating costs. For the record, I am a proponent of electric cars and would
like to be able to afford a nice Tesla, but I also believe certain politically and
financially entities are masking the truth about total carbon footprint over the
cradle-to-grave lifetime of electric vehicles. He begins, "Electric-powered cars
are now the rage. Tesla's market capitalization is seven times larger than that
of General Motors and fourteen times larger than Ford's, though it builds a fraction
of the vehicles that those companies do. Many politicians are even considering banning
gasoline-powered cars within a few years in favor of electric vehicles (EVs), all
in the name of saving the planet..."
Lotus Communication Systems began in 2009,
setting up CNC machine shop and RF/microwave assembling and testing lab in Middlesex
Country, Massachusetts. Lotus is committed to highest quality and innovative products.
Each RF/microwave module meets exceedingly
high standards of quality, performance and excellent value, and are 100% MADE IN
USA. Lotus' RF/microwave products cover frequency band up to 67 GHz. Lotus also
offers an COTS shield enclosures for RF/microwave prototyping and production. All
products are custom designed. We will find a solution and save your time and cost.
Lotus has multiple 4 axis CNC machines and LPKF circuit plotters.
Sunday the 3rd
Crossword Puzzle of 2021 has many words and clues related to... you guessed
it... engineering - and mathematics, chemistry, physics, and other technical words.
As always, this crossword contains no names of politicians, mountain ranges, exotic
foods or plants, movie stars, or anything of the sort unless it/he/she is related
to this puzzle's technology theme (e.g., Hedy Lamarr or the Bikini Atoll). The technically
inclined cruciverbalists amongst us will appreciate the effort. Enjoy!
Friday the 1st
The March 1944 issue of Radio-Craft
magazine published an article entitled, "Magnetic
Current - Discovery of the Age?," which reported on Austrian physicist Dr. Felix
Ehrenhaft's announcement that he had discovered "magnetic charges," aka magnetic
monopoles. The breathtaking news set the physics world astir as believers and non-believers
quickly sought to prove or disprove, respectively, his claim. A maxim in science
is that the most effective way to validate a theory or claim of discovery is to
try, but fail, to invalidate it. We have seen time and again, even to this day,
where all attempts to show Einstein's Theory of General Relativity to be wrong have
ultimately only further qualified it. Radio-Craft publisher Hugo Gernsback
was one of the first to glom on to the magnetic current phenomenon and exposited
gloriously about it in the same month's editorial column...
"As a viable technology, 6G is quite a way
off. But some of the doubts about its feasibility may be overblown. Here's a look
what 6G is, what it might bring to the table, and what it'll take to get there.
Even though 5G is far from being fully realized, researchers throughout the world
are already concentrating on the next generation. There's obviously considerable
speculation about precisely what 6G will be, and while it's far too early to make
precise predictions, it's not too early to see how researchers are approaching the
challenges. When the details and expectations for 5G were released, there were plenty
of skeptics - and many remain that way - as the new standard pushes operating frequencies
to orders of magnitude higher than 4G..."
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Ever heard of the revolutionary
Graphechon Tube, by RCA? Neither
had I, until I saw it mentioned in an ad for RCA televisions in a 1950 edition of
The Saturday Evening Post. My curiosity was piqued enough to do some research.
First, here is the text of the ad: "Scientists at RCA Laboratories work with split-seconds
of time too infinitesimal for most of us to imagine. Their new electron tube, the
Graphechon, makes it possible. For instance, in atomic research, a burst of nuclear
energy may flare up and vanish in as little as a hundred-millionth of a second.
The Graphechon tube oscillograph, taking the pattern of this burst from an electronic
The persona of Scott Adams' 'Dilbert' is
described exactly in the opening sentence of this article in a 1930 edition of
Radio-Craft magazine. It is amazing - if not frustrating - to realize how
long the perception of science-minded people being introverts has been around. Dilbert's
'pointy-haired-boss' is nailed in the second sentence.
Georg Wilhelm Alexander Hans Graf von Arco is celebrated here as a major contributor
to the advancement of early radio, particularly wireless telegraphy equipment development.
Interestingly, as brought to my attention by Melanie as she did the text clean-up
after OCRing the magazine page, von Arco worked at the Sayville radio transmission
station on Long Island, New York, where the Telefunken Company's Dr. K.G. Frank
was arrested and interred for the duration of the World War I for sending out
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