Sunday the 14th
Science-Theme Crossword Puzzle for March 14th has many words
and clues related to... you guessed it... RF 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 12th
ceramic capacitors are vastly different from most of those
from the middle of the last century. While the ceramic capacitor in your modern
electronic circuit is likely in the form of a thin circular or rectangular
package, or of a tiny surface mount outline, those described in this Radio-Electronics
magazine article were rather large tubular devices that had the appearance
of a wirewound power resistor. The advantages of ceramic capacitors over other
types available in the 1950 (paper and mica) are basically the same as today
- high voltage handling and tight tolerances of down to ±1%. Table I
lays out a comparison. Wikipedia has an extensive comparison of modern capacitor
types, illustrating how far technology has advanced since then...
"When Kevin Wells's private jet lost
its GPS reception on the approach to Hayward Executive Airport in California's
Bay Area in February 2019, he whipped out his phone and started filming the
instrument panel. For a few seconds, the signals from over a dozen GPS satellites
can be seen to blink off, before slowly returning as Wells continues his descent
and eventually makes a safe landing. Wells was quick to film the incident
because this was not the first time he had suffered GPS problems. Less than
a month earlier, his Cessna had been hit by a similar outage, at almost the
identical location. 'At that point it was pretty clear to me that it was either
inadvertent or purposeful jamming,' he told IEEE Spectrum. 'And I wanted to
track it down.' Wells had fallen victim to
GPS interference events..."
If terms like "magnetostriction," "mu-metal,"
and "D-ring" arouse your technostimulus receptors, then this quiz on
Magnetic Phenomena should be just what you've been waiting
for. It appeared in a 1962 edition of Popular Electronics, but the
principles therein have not changed since then. I must admit that I had never
given thought to the orientation in which bar magnets should be stored when
in close proximity to each other, especially since trying to store them the
"wrong" way results in them trying to reconfigure themselves to the "right"
way automatically. Not mentioned here is that a soft iron or other ferrous
metal should be placed across the ends to help concentrate the magnetic fields
within the magnets, thereby reducing the possibility of demagnetization due...
PCBONLINE 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
Anatech Electronics offers the industry's
largest portfolio of high-performance
standard and customized RF and microwave filters and filter-related
products for military, commercial, aerospace and defense, and industrial applications
up to 40 GHz. Two new filters have been introduced: A surface mounted
LTE 1542 MHz /1643 MHz L-Band Ceramic Duplexer having a bandwidth of 34 MHz
(±17 MHz) in both bands with 50 dB isolation between bands, and
a 5500 MHz Suspended Substrate Highpass Filter with rejection of 60 dB
from DC to 4950 MHz at up to 15 watts. Custom RF power directional
coupler designs can be designed and produced when a standard cannot be found,
or the requirements are such that a custom approach is necessary...
Nova Microwave is a leader in technically
differentiated electronic and radio frequency Ferrite
and Isolators that connect, protect and control critical commercial and
military wireless telecommunications systems. Our staff is dedicated to research
and development of standard and custom design quality Ferrite Circulators
and Isolators from 380 MHz to 26.5 GHz. Available in single or multi-junction
topographies, the Nova Microwave product line of is specifically designed
for use in varied environmental and temperature extremes.
Thursday the 11th
Here's a good article for the train
lovers out there (there are many). According to an article I found in the
Allentown Morning Call, the world's first
radio broadcast from a moving train took place on Sunday,
March 27, 1932. The feat was accomplished by radio station WJZ out of New
Jersey, while aboard a Baltimore and Ohio (B&O) train. As reported in
Radio News magazine a decade later, radio was being used for reliable
communications between not only the attached cars (which also often had some
wired interconnections), but between other trains and between the train and
depots and switch yards. Given the era, no doubt the accomplishment relied
at least partly on technology developed during World War II. Radio facsimile
allowed printed messaging to replace the previous method of using a hook to
Every angle is covered now for anyone
needing high quality, professional-looking
graphical shapes for creating block diagrams, schematics, and
test setups. I spent hundreds of hours creating these formats to play
well with Visio, Word, Excel, and Power Point. All versions' components can
be broken into constituent parts for editing, and can be re-sized without
pixelation. Page Templates with border and title block are provided as well.
At $35 each (or all 3 for the price of 2), the cost is easily justified. Site
Licenses available. Your support will be greatly appreciated.
"Researchers at the U.S. Naval Research
Laboratory (NRL) integrated an accurate and efficient model of nuclear fission
into a new software suite to give users a powerful and flexible tool to quickly
and accurately model new and highly complex nuclear detection scenarios.
SoftWare for Optimization of Radiation Detectors (SWORD)
is an integrated software package that offers an interface to radiation transport
codes, allowing users to design and optimize radiation detectors, which results
in the faster development and evaluation of radiation detection equipment.
'Our sponsors and end users are focused on preventing nuclear weapons and
other radiological devices from being smuggled..."
Since 2003, Bittele Electronics has
consistently provided low-volume, electronic contract manufacturing (ECM)
and turnkey PCB assembly services. It specializes in board level turnkey
assembly for design engineers needing low volume or prototype multi-layer
printed circuit boards.
Free Passive Components: Bittele Electronics
is taking one further step in its commitment of offering the best service
to clients of its PCB assembly business. Bittele is now offering common passive
components to its clients FREE of Charge.
This might be the first (and only)
appearance of Carl's father, at least in a drawing. In this episode, John T.
Frye's high-tech teen duo Carl and Jerry design and build a "polecat detector."
In the process, a little drama is thrown in when a stander-by mistakenly believes
he is being insulted. Even if, in spite of the detailed description by Jerry,
you don't learn how a photocell-based threshold crossing circuit works, you
might just learn the meaning of 'lugubriously.' Mr. Frye always worked
valuable technical information into his stories about "Carl & Jerry,"
"Mac's Service Shop," and other regular features which appeared in electronics
magazines for decades.
The Engineer website just
published a very extensive
UK Engineer Salary Survey 2020/21. Cutting to the chase,
the average salary of 845 respondents was £56,807. Oil & gas engineers
toped the list at £75,366, while telecomms / utilities / electronics (TUE)
got 3rd place at £58,412. British citizens who worked outside the country
trumped every other category with a peak of £147,168. Scotland, Wales and
Northern Ireland electronics engineers averaged £105,539 while South West
(England) earned only £43,250. TUE's over 50 years of age constitute 61% of
their category, and under 35 years old is just 12%. That looks like an excuse
to massively import foreigners to fill the looming gap. Roughly half of TUE's
like their jobs and a third like their salary. Half want a new job and half
feel valued in their job.
Read the report...
PCB Directory is the largest directory
of Printed Circuit Board
(PCB) Manufacturers, Assembly houses, and Design Services on the Internet.
We have listed the leading printed circuit board manufacturers around the
world and made them searchable by their capabilities - Number of laminates
used, Board thicknesses supported, Number of layers supported, Types of substrates
(FR-4, Rogers, flexible, rigid), Geographical location (U.S., China), kinds
of services (manufacturing, fabrication, assembly, prototype), and more. Fast
turn-around on quotations for PCB fabrication and assembly.
Wednesday the 10th
"Mediocre and half-baked technicians will be just out of
luck." So said Radio-Craft editor Hugo Gernsback, writing in the
January 1945 issue about the opportunities likely to be awaiting radioservicemen.
Surprisingly, at least to me - but I suspect also to most of his readers at
the time - Mr. Gernsback predicted that the majority of post-war electronics
technician jobs will be for other than the kind of radio service work that
existed before World War II. Major advances in factory automation with
both electrical and mechanical innovations, when combined with recent advertising
by consumer product manufacturers promising all sorts of amazing home appliances
and entertainment gizmos, will assure a much wider and deeper (technically)
variety of service work. Commercial, industrial, and domestic was predicted
to require more troubleshooting, repair and maintenance savvy than merely
swapping out vacuum tubes or tweaking potentiometers until "it seems right."
Hence, the opening comment...
Modelithics announces the release of
the newest version, version 21.0, of the Modelithics COMPLETE Library for
Keysight Technologies' PathWave Advanced Design System (ADS)
software platform. The new release includes compatibility with PathWave ADS
2021 Update 2 as well as 10 new models representing over 220 components. The
Modelithics COMPLETE Library contains over 775 highly scalable Microwave Global
Models™ representing over 22,000 passive and active components. The library
is an indispensable collection of simulation models for all types of passive
and active RF & microwave devices engineered to enable designers to go
from concept to product faster and easier. These models for discrete die,
"Experts at the U.S. Naval Research
Laboratory have created and tested
3D-printed antennas and arrays to advance radar technology
and enable new applications for the U.S. Navy. The lightweight and rapid production
of 3D-printed parts make it an attractive alternative to traditional manufacturing
that often requires expensive materials and specialized equipment. 3D printing
is a way to produce rapid prototypes and get through multiple design iterations
very quickly, with minimal cost. Radar systems perform critical functions
for the Navy and remain an important part of maritime navigation and national
defense. Parts for antennas and arrays, which are multiple connected antennas
Per Wikipedia, "A
selenium rectifier is a type of metal rectifier, invented
in 1933. They were used to replace vacuum tube rectifiers in power supplies
for electronic equipment, and in high current battery charger applications.
The photoelectric and rectifying properties of selenium were observed by C.
E. Fitts around 1886 but practical rectifier devices were not manufactured
routinely until the 1930s. Compared with the earlier copper oxide rectifier,
the selenium cell could withstand higher voltage but at a lower current capacity
per unit area." Electronics magazines of the era published many articles about
hand-formable RF coaxial cables are available off the shelf
from Digi−Key. ConductRF FM series of Hand Formable RF cable assemblies provides
system designers with a versatile solution that allows RF cables to be physically
routed and set in to position during installation. Standard lengths and connector
types feature performance up to 18 GHz. Low loss, tinned braided cable
of 0.086" diameter with shielding of >100 dB. 100% factory tested
for VSWR & insertion loss. RoHS & Reach compliant. Ideal for
internal module linking and great for RF Testing. When compared to traditional
semi-rigid options, these cables can provide increased installation flexibility
at a substantially lower cost. Made in the USA!
Empower 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.
Tuesday the 9th
As with most new discoveries, advancements
came quickly with
transistors. A little more than six years after Messrs.
Brattain, Shockley, and Bardeen announced their invention of a positive gain,
point contact transistor, this article in Radio-Electronics magazine
reports on the wonders of junction diodes and transistors that eliminate the
mechanical interface of the "cat's whisker" that was vulnerable to failure
due to shock, vibration, and temperature changes. Note how closely spaced
the patent numbers mentioned are for Sidney Darlington's compound transistor
(aka a Darlington pair), Shockley's bistable transistor oscillator, Gordon
Raisbeck's NPN-PNP balanced pair amplifier, and Robert Blakely's 3-terminal
transistor mixer. Bell Labs, IBM, and the other big name research companies
Qorvo®, a leading provider of
innovative RF solutions that connect the world, is proud to have been an integral
part of the
Mars Perseverance 2020 Mission that successfully landed
an unmanned rover on Mars on February 18, 2021. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
(JPL) officials confirmed that Qorvo products were integrated into the Mars
Perseverance's critical descent stage landing radar. This mission-critical
radar guides the rocket-powered "backpack" that helped the Perseverance Rover
land safely on the surface of Mars. James Klein, president of the Infrastructure
and Defense Products (IDP) business, said, "The Qorvo team is proud to support
this historic scientific mission. Mars Perseverance proves that the products
we design, manufacture and test can perform flawlessly, even under the harshest
"The team from the Intelligent Vehicles
Group at Warwick University published its study in the IEEE Sensors Journal,
which details how the researchers specifically simulated and evaluated the
LiDAR sensors in the rain. High-level autonomous vehicles
(AVs) are promised by Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and technology
companies to improve road safety as well as bringing economical and societal
benefits. All high-level AVs rely heavily on sensors to operate. Using the
WMG 3xD simulator, researchers tested an autonomous vehicle's LiDAR sensors
in different intensities of rain..."
An article with instructions relating
to subjects like overthrow, balance, friction, and cleaning could very well
be about a country's revolutionary struggles. In this case, it is an article
about how to
rejuvenate a persnickety or inaccurate mechanical (aka analog)
meter movement. W.R. Triplett, relative (I assume) of meter manufacturer Ray
L. Triplett, is the author (Triplett is now owned by Jewel Instruments). There
are a lot of analog meters around in labs, workshops, and garages. Unless
they have been burnt out, most probably still work like new. Occasionally,
however, the movements get sticky because of accumulations of dirt and dust,
bug filth, or even from corrosion. This article offers some great tips for
making them serviceable again...
Modelithics, Inc. is seeking
Senior RF Test Engineer who is experienced with RF testing,
RF / microwave lab equipment and lab software as well as having experience
with I-V measurements / transistor linear and nonlinear measurements, particularly
high-power load pull. Must have the ability to efficiently multi-task in a
high paced, rapidly changing environment. Primary duties are to develop, manage
assembly and execution of test plans for multiple customer projects. Additional
responsibilities include managing the receipt and inventory of customer DUTs
and other project related components. Additional duties may include data analysis
and review, generating test data reports, develop / design models of calibration
standards, analyze / assess calibration quality as well as support the modeling
engineers and engineering team. Additional assistance may include training...
Joel Brand has an interesting article
on the IEEE Spectrum website entitled, "How To Build a Radio That Ignores Its Own Transmissions."
In it he discusses self-interference inherent in most star networks. Mr. Brand
begins: "Wireless isn't actually ubiquitous. We've all seen the effects: Calls
are dropped and Web pages sometimes take forever to load. One of the most
fundamental reasons why such holes in our coverage occur is that wireless
networks today are overwhelmingly configured as star networks. This means
there's a centrally located piece of infrastructure, such as a cell tower
or a router, that communicates with all of the mobile devices around it in
a starburst pattern. Ubiquitous wireless coverage will happen only when a
different type of network, the mesh network, enhances these star networks.
Unlike a star network, a mesh network consists of nodes that communicate with
one another as well as end-user devices. With such a system, coverage holes
in a wireless network can be filled by simply adding a node..."
Res-Net Microwave has a complete line
of precision RF & microwave components including attenuators, terminations,
resistors, and diode detectors for commercial, military, and space applications.
Products range from the small flange type to large 2,000 watt connectorized
power attenuators and/or terminations at frequencies up to 26.5 GHz.
In-house photo etch and laser trim capability. The company is a leader in
development and production of the films required for these type of RF/microwave
components. Please check out Res-Net Microwave's website to see how they can
help with your current project.
Monday the 8th
One of the great benefits of buying
and reading these vintage electronics (and other types) magazines is running
across information you have read or heard about from a historical perspective,
but was late-breaking contemporary news at the time of publication. Although
I cannot cite a specific instance off the top of my head, there have been
times when the original sources told a very different story than the one often
heard in second-, third-, or fourth-hand versions far removed from the actual
event. It is like a Xerox copy of a document that has been through many iterations
of copies of copies of copies. This 1954 issue of Radio-Electronics
magazine reports on a petition submitted to the FCC by none other than Senator
Joseph McCarthy, seeking to require all radio stations, including those of
It's not quite as monumental a find
as discovering the Dead Sea Scrolls in a cave, or an original showroom-new
Ford Model T sitting in a barn, but what Martin H. came upon in
the attic of a old house in Gorlitz, Germany, definitely rates an "amazing!"
response. Sitting on the Polish border, previously owned by an East German
policeman, the domicile contained one each of the following pieces of vintage
Rhode & Schwarz test equipment in brand new condition: • R&S
Resonance Frequency Meter, Type WAM, BN 4312/2 (ca 1968) • R&S
Phase Meter, Type PZN, BN 1941 (ca 1965) • R&S Power Signal
Generator, Type SMLM, BM 4105 (ca 1974). Martin is looking for a
buyer for all three of these magnificently preserved pieces of electronics
history. The photos show no sign of damage, contamination or fading...
Axiom Test Equipment allows you to
buy test equipment,
repair test equipment, or
sell or trade test equipment. They are committed to providing
superior customer service and high quality electronic test equipment. Axiom
offers customers several practical, efficient, and cost effective solutions
for their projects' TE needs and is committed to providing superior customer
service and high quality electronic test equipment. For anyone seeking a way
to offload surplus or obsolete equipment, they offer a trade-in program or
they will buy the equipment from you. Some vintage items are available fully
calibrated. Please check out Axiom Test Equipment today!
"Electrical and Electronic Equipment
(EEE) has become indispensable in modern societies and is enhancing living
standards, but its production and usage can be resource-demanding. After its
use, EEE is disposed of, generating an
e-waste stream that contains hazardous and valuable materials.
EEE includes a wide range of products with circuitry or electrical components
with a power or battery supply, according to The Global E-Waste Monitor, a
report produced annually by United Nations University and other international
"There's a WAR to be won." So goes
the headline in an advertisement in the April 1942 edition of QST
magazine. Like many American companies during World War II,
Cardwell Manufacturing Corporation gave its highest priority
to serving the needs of our nation's military. Patriotism was actually taught
in schools back in the day, and the majority of citizens understood the need
to devote their efforts to achieving victory, even if it meant putting personal
interests on hold. The ad content typifies that attitude: "Though all our
facilities of men and machines have long been pledged to the fulfillment of
our assigned tasks, and though hundreds of thousands of Cardwell components
are in active service on the far flung battlefronts of the United Nations,
many times this effort is needed. And so, to our loyal personnel, we are saying,
'Let's redouble production again..."
How come nobody told me about this?
With all the articles I've read about the Perseverance rover recently landed
on Mars, none come to mind which mentioned a
message on the underside of the parachute used to lower
the atmospheric entry spacecraft and its load to the point where retrorockets
took over just above the surface. It only took a moment to figure it all out
- much simpler than Carl Sagan's team's cryptic message on the
and 11 interplanetary explorers, but a bit more tricky than "We come in peace
for all mankind" on Apollo 11's Eagle lunar module. Très cool, IMHO.
Anatech Electronics (AEI) manufactures
and supplies RF and microwave filters for military and commercial communication
systems, providing standard LP, HP, BP, BS, notch, diplexer, and custom RF
filters, and RF products. Standard RF filter and cable assembly products are
published in our website database for ease of procurement. Custom RF filters
designs are used when a standard cannot be found, or the requirements dictate
a custom approach for your military and commercial communications needs. Sam
Benzacar's monthly newsletters address contemporary wireless subjects. Please
visit Anatech today to see how they can help your project succeed.