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Homepage Archive - June 2021 (page 1)

See Page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 of the June 2021 homepage archives.
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Monday the 7th

TECC Force - Keysight Techie Comic Book

TECC Force by Keysight - RF CafeKeysight Technologies is trying a new form of promotion for its line of test and measurement products - a high tech comic book collection called "TECC Force." This first issue of the "Conspiracy in Chaos" series is entitled, "Dropping Like Drones." I have to admit I thought it would be full of political correctness, but was pleased to discover it is a very well-done adventure story with excellent illustrations. You might even not notice the subliminal purpose is to pitch Keysight's products. Team TECC Force's key characters thus far are Kane Shaw, Kyung-Min "Minnie" Park, Genevieve Flood, and Marc Vega. There are no X-Men-like superpowers involved, just super smart mortals beating the bad guys. "Join Team TECC Force on their adventures and their quest to save the world, one precision measurement at a time." BTW, I couldn't find what TECC stands for (Test Equipment Cyber Crime?, Test Equipment Cleanup Crew?, Training and Education Coordinating Center?). Click here for a direct download if you cannot register for some reason. - Kirt B.

New for 2021! RF & Electronics Symbols for Office™

RF & Electronics Schematic & Block Diagram Symbols for Office™ r2 - RF CafeIt was a lot of work, but I finally finished a version of the "RF & Electronics Schematic & Block Diagram Symbols" that works well with Microsoft Office™ programs Word™, Excel™, and Power Point™. This is an equivalent of the extensive set of amplifier, mixer, filter, switch, connector, waveguide, digital, analog, antenna, and other commonly used symbols for system block diagrams and schematics created for Visio™. Each of the 1,000 or so symbols was exported individually from Visio in the EMF file format, then imported into Word on a Drawing Canvas. The EMF format allows an image to be scaled up or down without becoming pixelated, so all the shapes can be resized in a document and still look good. The imported symbols can also be UnGrouped into their original constituent parts for editing. Check them out!

Electronics Distributors Outlook for 2021

Electronics Distributors Outlook for 2021 - RF Cafe"Business is booming for electronics distributors as industries worldwide emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and get back to business. And while supply chain interruptions, extended order lead times, labor shortages and lingering pandemic impacts continue to affect the way organizations do business, the electronics distributors we interviewed for this article concur on at least one thing: Business is brisk right now, and there's no sign of a slowdown in sight. 'We've had record-breaking bookings and sales in Q1, along with a sustained flow of activity that has extended into the second quarter of the year,” says Frank Flynn, president at Sager Electronics..."

Thanks to PCBONLINE for Continued Support!

PCBONLINE - RF CafePCBONLINE supplies complex rigid and flex-rigid printed circuit boards (PCBs),and one-stop production with maximum flexibility ranging from prototype sample to mass production. Rigid-flex, HDI, multilayer, IC-loadboard, LCP 5G optical module, ceramic, MCPCB. Materials include Rogers, Taconic, Arlon, Isola, Bergquist, Kapton, Panasonic, and more. After more than 15 years of continuous efforts, PCBONLINE constantly updates our equipment, improves our technology, and serves you with the highest quality. Cost and delivery quotations online without the need for multiple phone call and/or e-mails.

The Amazing Electron Microscope

The Amazing Electron Microscope, November 1959 Popular Electronics - RF CafeOptical magnification is only useful to the point where resolution is limited by the wavelength of light representing the object under observation. Astronomer William Dawes first provided a means of quantification based on an ability to visually resolve closely spaced stars. Known as the Dawes Limit, a value of 4.56/D arc seconds was empirically determined (D is aperture of instrument in inches). A theoretical upper limit to magnification of any optical system with perfect optics is around 2,000. As this 1959 Popular Electronics article describes, the electron microscope removed that resolving limit by shooting a stream of electrons with radii much less than the wavelength of visible light, and measuring its reflection...

Dean Taylor Added to USAF Radar Tech Honored List

Dean Taylor Added to USAF Radar Tech Honored List - RF CafeThanks to the family of U.S. Air Force radar technician SSgt. Dean Taylor for providing this bunch of photos from his service in Berlin, Germany, with the 1946th Communication Squadron at Tempelhof Air Base and other assignments. If you recognize and can identify any of the other people and/or equipment and/or locations in the photos, please shoot me an e-mail. For that matter, if you or anyone you know served as an Air Traffic Control Radar Repairman (AFSC 303x1), please send your service information for addition to the honored list.

Many Thanks to ConductRF for Continued Support!

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! 

Sunday the 6th

Radio Theme Crossword Puzzle for June 6th

Radio Theme Crossword Puzzle for June 6th, 2021 - RF CafeFor twenty years now, I have been creating weekly crossword puzzles for the education and enjoyment of the technically minded visitor like you. This Radio Theme Crossword Puzzle for June 6th has many words and clues related to RF, microwave, and mm-wave engineering, optics, mathematics, chemistry, physics, and other technical subjects. 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., Reginald Denny or the Tunguska event in Siberia). The technically inclined cruciverbalists amongst us will appreciate the effort. Enjoy!

Friday the 4th

Electronics-Themed Comics from Electronics World

Electronics-Themed Comics, August 1962 Electronics World - RF CafeHere are a couple new-old electronics themed comics for your pre-Saturday enjoyment. They appeared in a 1962 issue of Electronics World magazine. If you never had a television antenna on your roof, then you might not see the humor in the first comic. Actually, a lot of roof-top antennas are still being installed, but they're most often the newer compact type antenna with a built-in preamplifier and rotator motor. A huge list of other tech theme comics I have posted is at the bottom of the page. They would make good fodder for your at-work presentations to put attendees in a good mood.

AFRL SWORD Lab for Space Warfighting Research

AFRL SWORD Lab for Space Warfighting Research - RF CafeThe Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate held a ribbon cutting ceremony May 20 to celebrate the opening of its newest facility, the Space Warfighting Operations Research and Development, or SWORD, laboratory. Col. Eric Felt, the director of AFRL's Space Vehicles Directorate, hosted the event with AFRL commander, Maj. Gen. Heather Pringle as the presiding officer and keynote speaker. The SWORD Lab is a 26,000 square foot, $12.8 million state-of-the-art facility, with office and laboratory space that will house the 65 scientists, engineers...

Care and Handling of Coaxial Connectors

Care and Handling of Coaxial Connectors the Quick, Foolproof Way, August 1970 Popular Electronics - RF CafeYou have probably seen some pretty atrocious coaxial cable connector installations. You might have even been responsible for a few of them ;-(   It could be tempting, at least for frequencies in the lower megahertz range, to allow yourself to be a little sloppy with coaxial cable preparation and connector attachment, but doing so can result in marginal functionality if power levels are high or if power levels are extremely low. When voltage levels are high, excessive air gaps between the inner and outer conductors can result in arcs, and poor connections can generate intermodulation products high enough to cause interference (possibly subjecting you to a violation citation from the FCC). At very low power levels, distortions and lack of symmetry in the interface between the cable and the connector...

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 (click here for screen capture). 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...

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.

Thursday the 3rd

War-Radio Lessons - Hugo Gernsback Editorial

War-Radio Lessons (Hugo Gernsback Editorial), March 1946, Radio-Craft - RF CafeAlthough you might expect everyone would be so thrilled with the end of World War II that letters to the editor of magazines like Radio-Craft would not contain picayune gripes about things like whether or not information on formerly secret technical systems should be published for the general public. Of course no publication would knowingly expose such details, especially given that in the day the vast majority of the population was patriotic and put the country's good over their own. You can be sure that if mention of loran, radar, handi-talkies, and other strategic intelligence would compromise the nation's security, it would never have made it to the printing press. Otherwise, those responsible would be quickly rounded up and sentenced to long prison terms, and I don't recall reading about a bunch of editors disappearing during or after the war. Hugo Gernsback recounts...

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. Blog posts offer advice on application and use of a wide range of test equipment. Please visit Allied Test Equipment today to see how they can help your project.

Patents Added to RF Cafe Visitor List

Dr. Marek Klemes Patents - RF CafeAfter recently mentioning a new patent issued to RF Cafe visitor Dave Hutchinson, I discovered that another contributor, Dr. Marek Klemes, has 10 patents assigned to him. They include titles such as "Pseudo-doppler receiving architecture for OAM and MIMO transmissions, "Phase-noise cancellation apparatus and method", and "Adjustable stacked phase-mode feed for 2D steering of antenna arrays." The illustrations alone are very impressive. Thomas Edison, with 1,093 patents assigned, is not immediately threatened in number at this point, but Dr. Marek probably isn't finished inventing yet ;-)  Please let me know if you would like to add your patents to the RF Cafe Website Visitors' Patents list. You probably won't get any richer by doing so, but it is another great venue where birds of a feather can flock together.

National Catalog & NC80X / NC81X Receiver Ad

National Catalog & NC80X / NC81X Receiver Ad, September 1937 QST - RF CafeThe National Company of Cambridge, Massachusetts, was one of the first large distributors of electronics components and appliances. Believe it or not, National began life as the National Toy Company. Thanks to the efforts of Mr. James Millen, W1HRX, in designing and marketing high quality radio products, the company evolved into a favorite source by both amateur radio operators and casual listeners of shortwave radios. The NC80X covered the commercial broadcast band and a couple shortwave bands, whereas the NC81X covered only multiple shortwave bands for amateur radio use. This full-page advertisement appeared in a 1937 issue of QST magazine...

ConductRF FlexiForm RF Cable Assemblies

ConductRF FlexiForm RF Cable Assemblies - RF CafeConductRF FPA Cable Assemblies use a unique, Low Loss, high performance Semi-"FlexiForm" Cable that is formable, but flexible, providing system designers with a versatile solution for High Frequency applications. The product also allows for very tight phase matching to ±0.2º. Available in 3 common cable diameters, with the benefits of higher operating frequencies, shielding effectiveness and stability performance over traditional standard Hand Formable cables, these solutions enhance any application requiring higher performance. FPA Cable Assemblies are manufactured using the latest induction soldering...

Thanks to NextPCB for Continued Support!

NextPCB - RF CafeNextPCB is one of the most experienced PCB manufacturers in China, has specialized in the PCB and assembly industry for over 15 years. NextPCB provides the most innovative printed circuit boards and assembly technologies in the highest quality standards, turnaround time as fast as 24 hours, the lowest manufacturer direct prices, and the most dedicated customer service in the industry. Turnkey service without a broker including components sourcing, PCB prototyping, manufacturing, assembly, quality testing, and final shipment. Certified by IATF16949, ISO9001, ISO14001, UL, CQC, RoHS and REACH.

Wednesday the 2nd

Canadian Citizens Band

Canadian Citizens Band, August 1962 Electronics World - RF CafeJust as in the United States - and most other countries for that matter - Citizens Band radio in Canada has undergone a lot of chances since its inception in the 1960s. This 1962 article in Electronics World magazine reported on the beginnings of Canadian system, known as General Radio Service (GRS). It initially used the same 23 channels (frequencies) as the U.S., although channels 1, 2, and 3 were reserved for Amateur operators and channel 23 was reserved for paging services, leaving only 19 channels for the equivalent of Citizens Band (CB). Both the U.S. and Canada initially charged a nominal fee for an operator license, but neither requires a license today. At the time, some American-made CB radios could not be used in Canada without guaranteeing that the transmit power would not exceed 3 watts (there was no official limit in the U.S., strangely enough)...

Axiom Blog: Create Complex Signals for Next-Generation Testing

Axiom Blog: Create Complex Signals for Next-Generation Testing - RF CafeAxiom Test Equipment, an electronic test equipment rental and sales company, has published a new blog post entitled "Create Complex Signals for Next-Generation Testing" that informs people on how to select the best signal source for a job. A suitable test signal source should provide signals with accurate, repeatable characteristics that can properly exercise the equipment under test (EUT), such as an amplifier, antenna, or filter. Depending upon what is being tested, the requirements for the test signals will differ, such as frequency and power levels. Signals are generated in different forms, including continuous wave (CW), pulsed, and differential pairs that form phase-modulated signals...

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...

EW 105 - Space Electronic Warfare

EW 105 - Space Electronic Warfare (Artech House) - RF CafeArtech House has released a new book by well-known author David L. Adamy entitled "EW 105 - Space Electronic Warfare." There is increasing interest in Electronic Warfare in Space because of the strategic advantages that satellites offer. Because of their elevated positions, they can see a great distance, and they can remain operational for extended periods. Although satellites can be attacked kinetically, it is a great deal of trouble to do so – they are small and far away. This makes them valuable as electronic warfare platforms. A disadvantage of satellites is that they are in general unmanned. This means that communication with a satellite requires an electro-magnetic link which is vulnerable to enemy countermeasures. Another disadvantage of a satellite is that it cannot be easily steered to an optimum location...

The Great Electric Airplane Race

The Great Electric Airplane Race, PBS - RF CafeWebsite visitor Kurt S. let me know about a PBS show entitled "The Great Electric Airplane Race," which first aired on May 26th. It covers a wide range of developments on electric aircraft - from early stages of development to models in or near the commercial production stage. Ingenuity and commitment amongst participants is amazing. The state of the art of electric motors and controllers has advanced significantly in the last two decades to the point where is seems there is not room for much more in that realm. Aircraft structures are necessarily incredibly lightweight and strong. The Achilles Heel of the effort is battery weight, bulk, and safety. Pointed out in the show is how a long distance airliner would require more than 100x the weight of jet fuel in equivalent batteries, and then they wouldn't fit. We (they, actually) will eventually get there, but some radically new type of energy storage will be needed.

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. 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...

Thanks to Copper Mountain Technologies for Continued Support

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.

Tuesday the 1st

Limiting/Limiter Circuits

Limiting/Limiter Circuits, March 1946, Radio-Craft - RF CafeOften when posting this kind of circuit design and/or analysis article from a vintage electronics magazine like Radio-Craft I point out that except for biasing voltage and resistor values, most can conceptually be applied to solid state circuits by substituting semiconductor junction diodes for tube diodes and field effect transistors for tube triodes, tetrodes, and pentodes. In some cases solid state diodes can be directly substituted if the voltage, current, and power handling is sufficient. Many examples of using diodes as voltage limiting devices for the purpose of signal rectification, for leveling, and for protection against an overvoltage condition. Signal detection is another common use for diodes, but that is not covered here. As a visual aid, I created the graphic above to show how you can replace the vacuum tube with a semiconductor diode...

Ingenuity Helicopter "Muscles Through" Glitch on 6th Flight

Ingenuity Helicopter "Muscles Through" Glitch on 6th Flight - RF Cafe"NASA's Ingenuity helicopter safely landed after wobbling, suffering power spikes, and enduring velocity fluctuations on its sixth flight at Mars, officials said Wednesday. The helicopter took off May 22 on its sixth automated flight and completed the first leg of a planned 705-foot excursion without a hitch. But Ingenuity started tilting back and forth in an oscillating pattern, encountering roll and pitch excursions of more than 20 degrees, registering large control inputs, and suffered spikes in power consumption, according to Havard Grip, the helicopter's chief pilot at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. Ingenuity overcame the glitch, which engineers traced..."

New for 2021! RF & Electronics Stencils for Visio

RF & Electronics stencils for Visio r4 - RF CafeWith more than 1000 custom-built stencils, this has got to be the most comprehensive set of Visio Stencils available for RF, analog, and digital system and schematic drawings! Every object has been built to fit proportionally on the provided A-, B- and C-size drawing page templates (or can use your own). Stencils are provided for equipment racks and test equipment, system block diagrams, conceptual drawings, and schematics. Unlike previous versions, these are NOT Stencils, but instead are all contained on tabbed pages within a single Visio document. That puts everything in front of you in its full glory. Just copy and paste what you need on your drawing. The file format is XML so everything plays nicely with Visio 2013 and later...

Alaska Telephone Cable Opened for Use

Alaska Telephone Cable Opened for Use, March 1957 Radio & Television News - RF CafeAlaska and Hawaii were added to the Union as the 49th and 50th states, respectively, in 1959. Prior to that time, both were referred to as possessions or territories. This story from a 1957 edition of Radio & Television News refers to Bell Telephone Systems and the U.S. Army Signal Corps laying the first cable for opening commercial telephone service between Port Angeles (near Seattle), Washington, and Ketchikan, Territory of Alaska. The 900 mile, submarine cable carried 36 circuits, and took 2 years to install at a cost of $20 million ($192 million in 2021 money). Work conditions for crews were nowhere near as accommodating or protected against accidents as they are today. As with so many things, our forebears sacrificed life and limb, literally, to bring us to the comfortable existence we enjoy today...

Resistor Values Are Like 1800s French Army Hot Air Balloons

Resistor Values Like French Army Hot Air Balloons - RF CafeClive "Max" Maxfield has a really interesting article on the Design News website entitled, "How Are Resistor Values Like French Army Hot Air Balloons from the 1800s?" He tells the story of how in 1877, a French military engineer named Charles Renard solved the problem of the military needing to consolidate the numbers of rope sizes being used for tethering reconnaissance balloons. The same principle was eventually applied to standardizing resistor sizes for all the tolerance ranges (1%, 5%, 10%, etc.). The standard resistor value stuff has been on RF Cafe for years, but the rope saga is new information to me.

Many Thanks to Atenlab for Their Continued Support!

Atenlab microwave components - RF CafeAtenlab has been operating in Taiwan for more than a decade, and has sold and installed hundreds chambers around the world. Holistic, affordable Over-the-Air (OTA) measurement systems perform comprehensive measurement and test in a controlled environment. Compact Antenna Test Range (CATR) with one-touch operation supports multiple systems - 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G - and major instrument brands. [M]ulti-probe OTA measurement systems offer reduced time measurements over single-probe systems.

   

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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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