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Homepage Archive - May 2021 (page 3)

See Page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 of the May 2021 homepage archives.

Friday the 21st

Designing a Low-Distortion 12-Watt Amplifier

Designing a Low-Distortion 12-Watt Amplifier, August 1958 Radio-Electronics - RF CafeWebsite visitor Daniel O. wrote to request that I post this "Designing a Low-Distortion 12-Watt Amplifier" article from the August 1958 issue of Radio-Electronics magazine, which of course I was glad to do. It is nice to know there is still some interest in building vacuum tube circuits, just to keep the knowledge alive. When reading through the vintage magazines in search of good articles, I typically do not include ones like this not because I don't think they are worthy of posting, but because they are narrowly focused and would not be of interest to a wide number of people. If you run across an article which appears in the table of contents of one of the hundreds of old magazines I have posted, let me know and I'll be glad to do the same for you...

Silicon-Based Multiplexer for Terahertz Wave 6G

Silicon-Based Multiplexer for Terahertz Wave 6G - RF Cafe"Researchers from Osaka University, Japan, and the University of Adelaide, Australia have worked together to produce the new multiplexer made from pure silicon for terahertz-range communications in the 300 GHz band. Terahertz waves are a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that has a raw spectral bandwidth that is far broader than that of conventional wireless communications, which are based upon microwaves. The team has developed ultra-compact and efficient terahertz multiplexers, thanks to a novel optical tunneling process. 'To control the great spectral bandwidth of terahertz waves, a multiplexer, which is used to split and join signals, is critical for dividing the information into manageable chunks that can be more easily processed and so can be transmitted faster from one device to another,' said Associate Professor Withawat Withayachumnankul..."

All-Way FM Antenna

All-Way FM Antenna, March 1948 Radio-Craft - RF CafeHave you heard of an Alford Loop antenna? I hadn't until reading this article. It is a four-sided structure consisting of identical folded ½-wave dipoles on each side, with a common feed. Opposing sides have their elements 180° out of phase with respect to each other. The intention is to provide nearly omnidirectional FM radio reception across the entire 88-108 MHz band. A little research on the Alford Loop reveals that Mr. Andrew Alford developed this configuration to enable simultaneous, co-located transmissions of FM radio stations. In that case the four antennas are individually fed by transmitters on different frequencies. Alford is credited with inventing antenna systems for the VFH Omnidirectional Range (VOR) and Instrument Landing System (ILS) navigational aids...

Many Thanks to Nova Microwave for Continuing Support!

Nova Microwave Circulators & Isolators - RF CafeNova Microwave is a leader in technically differentiated electronic and radio frequency Ferrite Circulators 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. 

Earth's 26-Second Heartbeat

Earths 26-second pulsation, Mike Ritzwoller - RF CafeSomehow I missed this. According to stories this science and news publications last fall is renewed interest in a mysterious low-level pulsation recorded on seismographs with a 26 second period (a "microseism"). It was discovered by researcher John "Jack" Oliver in the 1960s. Renewed interest occurred in 2005 when graduate student Greg Benson and advisor Mike Ritzwoller performed a triangulation process to locate the signal's origin in the Gulf of Guinea. The effort was published in the 2006 Geophysical Research Letters article, "Source location of the 26 sec microseism from cross-correlations of ambient seismic noise."

Please Thank Lotus Communication Systems for Their Support!

Lotus Communication Systems Modular RF/Microwave Components - RF CafeLotus 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.

Thursday the 20th

Using the Nuvistor on V.H.F. Bands

Using the Nuvistor on V.H.F. Bands, August 1962 Electronics World - RF CafeThe nuvistor triode amplifier, a component largely unknown to most people, even during its brief heyday in the late 1950s through the early 1960s, was an attempt to bridge the technology gap between the sunsetting of vacuum tubes and solid state transistors. Its relatively low noise figure, small size, ruggedness, metal shield, and higher operating frequency (near a gigahertz) were the main marketing features when RCA introduced the nuvistor in 1959. Although adopted enthusiastically by many aware of its existence, the nuvistor, as pointed out in this 1962 Electronics World article, tended to oscillate if its metal body was not adequately grounded. You might expect the schematics included in the article to explicitly show a ground connection to the can, but that is not the case. Ultimately, a quick adoption of transistors by industry and hobbyists, with their rapidly improving specifications and decreasing price, rendered the nuvistor to the dustbin of electronic history...

Flash Memory's 2D Cousin 5,000x Faster

Flash Memory's 2D Cousin is 5,000x Faster - RF Cafe"A 2D cousin of flash memory is not only roughly 5,000 times faster, but can store multiple bits of data instead of just zeroes and ones, a new study finds. Flash drives, hard disks, magnetic tape and other forms of non-volatile memory help store data even after the power is removed. One key weakness of these devices is how they are often slow, typically requiring at least hundreds of microseconds to write data, a few orders of magnitude longer than their volatile counterparts. Now researchers have developed non-volatile memory that only takes nanoseconds to write data. This makes it thousands of times faster than commercial flash memory and roughly as speedy as the dynamic RAM found in most computers..."

Many Thanks to Res-Net Microwave for Continuing Support!

Res-Net Microwave Components - RF CafeRes-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.

ARRL Employment Opportunities

ARRL Employment Opportunities - RF CafeThe American Radio Relay League (ARRL) has been running an announcement in its QST magazine regarding employment opportunities. Amongst current openings are Acquisitions Editor, Director of Information Technology, Director of Operations, Public Relations & Outreach Manager, and Senior Lab Test Engineer. It says, "Start each day with enthusiasm and purpose, knowing you're working to advance and grow the hobby you love! ARRL is looking for energetic and motivated professionals with passion for Ham Radio to join our team.

Plywood-Clad Satellite "Woodsat" Set to Launch

Plywood-Clad Satellite "Woodsat" Set to Launch - RF CafeHere a new twist in product promotion: Finland's specialty plywood manufacturer WISA is launching a CubeSat - codenamed "Woodsat" - with its sides covered in the company's birch plywood. Check out their project slogan: "WISA Woodsat will go where no wood has gone before." That will endear them to Trekkies. "The WISA Woodsat project, being sponsored by plywood supplier WISA in an unconventional PR initiative, is poised to place a wooden satellite into orbit by the end of the year. The idea is to test the suitability of treated wood as a low-cost and widely available material for space applications. The IARU posting for Woodsat indicates that several amateur radio experiments will be on board as well as photo downlinking, including selfies..."

Electronic Analogy Quiz

Electronic Analogy Quiz, November 1961 Popular Electronics - RF CafeIt is common in electronics courses for an analogy to be drawn between electrical and mechanical phenomena. In fact, a lot of circuit analysis methods and equations apply directly to mechanics, and vice versa. An LC (inductor-capacitor) oscillating tank circuit is akin to a spring and dashpot. Resistance of a wire is likened to skin friction of water flowing through a hose. Who among us can forget those lessons? This Electronic Analogy Quiz from the November 1961 edition of Popular Electronics presents a challenge both because some not-so-familiar examples of analogies are offered, and because some are a real stretch. Therefore, don't feel too bad if you don't get a few. That's my way of saying that I didn't get all of them right ;-)...

Many Thanks to Bittele Electronics for Continued Support!

Bittele Electronics PCB Fabrication - RF CafeSince 2003, Bittele Electronics has consistently provided low-volume, electronic contract manufacturing (ECM) and turnkey PCB assembly services. It specializes in board level turnkey PCB 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.

Wednesday the 19th

World's Biggest Betatron

World's Biggest Betatron, March 1946, Radio-Craft - RF CafeBetatron particle accelerators date back to 1935 with the one built by Max Steenbeck in Germany. The name is a portmanteau of "beta" + "electron," which is sort of a superfluous redundancy. This news piece is about the world's biggest betatron having been built, with dimensions of 9 feet high, 6 feet wide and 15 feet long, and 24,000 volt energizing coils. Strangely (it seems to me), the article interchanges the terms "xxx-volt electrons" and "xxx electron-volts. I suppose its fundamentally the same thing, but just unusual to see it that way. Note the robustness of the machine as required to rigidly contain such powerful magnetic forces...

PicoScope 6000E Series 1 GHz Oscilloscopes

PicoScope 6000E Series 1 GHz Oscilloscopes - RF CafeAnnouncing new 750 MHz and 1 GHz model PicoScope 6000E Series PC-based oscilloscopes from Pico Technology. These top end devices also offer 4 analog channels, 16 available digital channels, FlexRes capabilities, up to 4 GS of capture memory and 21 built-in serial protocol decoder/analyzers plus much more. They are ideal for design engineers working with high-performance embedded systems, signal processing, power electronics, mechatronics and automotive designs, as well as scientific research. These oscilloscopes, with PicoScope 6 application software, are ideal for design engineers working with high-performance embedded systems, signal processing, power electronics, mechatronics and automotive designs...

Notable Tech Quote: Scott Willoughby on the JWST

Notable Tech Quote: Scott Willoughby - RF Cafe Unfortunately the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is now 20x over budget and 14 years behind schedule. "'It's like building a Swiss watch at 40-feet-tall... and getting it ready for this journey that we take into the vacuum at minus 400 degrees Fahrenheit (−240 °C), four times further than the Moon,' said Scott Willoughby of lead contractor Northrop Grumman. He was speaking at the company's spaceport in Redondo Beach, California, from where the telescope will be shipped to French Guiana to be launched on an Ariane 5 rocket, with NASA targeting October 31 for liftoff."

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...

Amateurs - Your Thoughts May be Worth Money

Amateurs - Your Thoughts May be Worth Money, Zenith Radio Corporation Letter, March 1939 QST - RF CafeDuring the Golden Age of Radio (admittedly a subjective term), electronics innovators were generally as likely to be hobbyists (amateurs) as they were to be professionals with college degrees. In fact, according to this open letter from Eugene F. McDonald, president of Zenith Radio Corporation, in 1939, his company recognized the fact that most of their best ideas came from amateur radio operators, and that their engineering staff was populated overwhelmingly with Hams. Accordingly, the letter was a solicitation to amateurs to submit their ideas to the company to give designers not just valuable technical information gleaned from real-world experimentation (aka the School of Hard Knocks) but also insight into what type of equipment the Ham world would like to have made available for sale...

Virtual Aperture Imagine Radar

Virtual Aperture Imagine Radar - RF CafeThe homepage of Oculii's website has a video showing a real-time comparison of standard radar vs. its new "virtual aperture imaging radar" (left, right, respectively, in thumbnail). "For decades, commercial radars have suffered from poor angular resolution and limited FOVs because traditional designs require more antennas for higher resolution. Additional antennas increase cost, size, and power exponentially, limiting what is commercially feasible. Oculii's Virtual Aperture Imaging technology fundamentally breaks this tradeoff by using AI software that dynamically learns from and adapts to the environment. This software can increase the resolution of any radar hardware by up to 100x..."

Thanks Again for Windfreak Technologies' Continued Support!

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.

Tuesday the 18th

Sound | Audio | Music Infographic

Sound | Audio | Music Infographic, August 1962 Electronics World - RF CafeThe August 1962 issue of Electronics World magazine featured what could be considered as an early "infographic" on the topic of sound, music, and audio. Frequency and volume, perceived equal loudness levels, the audible frequency spectrum, musical frequency ranges, typical age-related hearing loss, relative sound levels in decibels, and the musical scale are included. The sound power level chart ranges from the threshold of hearing value of 10-16 watts/cm2 (0 dBA) to standing 80 feet from the tail of a North American F-86 Sabre Jet taking off, which is a couple dB above the threshold of pain at 10-3 watts/cm2 (130 dBA). The charts were useful (and still are for that matter) to the audiophiles who looked to electronics magazines of the era for technical information...

Vertical Axis Wind Turbines Stand up to Scrutiny

Vertical Axis Wind Turbines Stand up to Scrutiny - RF CafeI have to admit to not being aware of these - "Based on over 11,500 hours of computer simulation, the research from Oxford Brookes University found that Vertical Axis Wind Turbines (VAWTs) boost each other's performance when clustered together, with grouped pairs seeing a 15 per cent rise in output. This is in contrast to the more traditional Horizontal Axis Wind Turbines (HAWTs), which produce turbulence that affects the performance of other HAWTs downwind. 'Modern wind farms are one of the most efficient ways to generate green energy, however, they have one major flaw: as the wind approaches the front row of turbines, turbulence will be generated downstream,' said lead author of the study, Joachim Toftegaard Hansen, and engineering graduate at Oxford Brookes..."

Television in Space

Television in Space, August 1965 Electronics World - RF CafeA mere five years elapsed from the time Echo, a gas-filled metallized plastic sphere that passively reflected radio signals back to Earth, was launched and the time that 35 television cameras had been launched into space. The Space Race was at a fever pitch. Although the Ruskies beat us in being the first to launch both an active satellite (Sputnik) and a man (Yuri Gagarin) into space, America's deep pool of intellectual resources, consisting of both native scientists and many of the world's top scientists who chose to flourish in freedom here rather than oppression behind the Iron Curtain, fostered the advantage that in short order established the U.S. as the leading super power both in space and on terra firma. TIROS satellites began providing real-time visual data on the Earth's weather in 1960. Not only were cameras transmitting images of the Earth, but a month before this issue of Electronics World went to press the Mariner spacecraft sent close-up images of the planet Mercury's surface...

What is 6G?

6G Technology Definition - RF CafeLots of news headlines are appearing nowadays touting the imminent reality of 6G, at a time when 5G is just getting a solid base. Most people don't even know what 5G is - or 4G for that matter. Based on my interpretation, 5G - which is not only about cellphones - is basically the ability to shed wired connections for just about everything. It encompasses all formats of wireless connectivity - Wi-Fi, cellular, Bluetooth, ZigBee, etc. Moving to 5G brought us Gbps over-the-air data rates, previously the domain of wired systems. 6G takes major leap forward with Tbps data, thereby freeing local device of the need for powerful local processing. It can be done remotely with only user I/O necessary at the phone, appliance, or machine end - a la a mainframe system vs. PCs. That's a significant paradigm shift. The downside is THz radio waves attenuate very quickly over a distance, so massive cellular networks are needed for a broad coverage. Otherwise, it's a local technology. - 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!

Many Thanks to San Francisco Circuits for Continued Support!

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."

Monday the 17th

H.F. Crystal Diodes

H.F. Crystal Diodes, March 1946, Radio-Craft - RF CafeCrystal diodes have been used as detectors in radio circuits since the 1910s. Originally, the rectification process was effected via a point contact "whisker" (aka "cats whisker") pressed against the crystal's face. It was not mechanically rugged (vibration could cause erratic operation), was sensitive to heat and humidity (if not contained in a hermetic case), and operated at fairly low frequencies. Vacuum tube diodes provided some improvement, but were still limited to operation in the lower hundreds of MHz. Once germanium and silicon crystals became available, operational frequencies climbed into the upper MHz to lower GHz realm, even though, as shown in this 1946 Radio-Craft article, the diodes were of the point contact type. PN junctions at those frequencies were still a few years off. Their smaller size and construction largely mitigated the environmental issues of the early types. The 1950s- vintage S-band radar...

Materials Capable of Self-Propulsion

Materials Capable of Self-Propulsion - RF Cafe"Researchers have discovered how to make materials that snap and reset themselves, relying only upon energy flow from their environment. The discovery may prove useful for various industries that want to source movement sustainably. The team uncovered the physics during a mundane experiment that involved watching a gel strip dry. The researchers observed that when the long, elastic gel strip lost internal liquid due to evaporation, the strip moved. Most movements were slow but every so often, they sped up. These faster movements were snap instabilities that continued to occur as the liquid evaporated further. Additional studies revealed that the shape of the material mattered..."

COVID-19 Vaccination Effort Has No Statistically Significant Control Group

COVID-19 Vaccination Effort Has No Statistically Significant Control Group, Kirt's Cogitations #329 - RF CafeLet me begin by stating that in general, I am not an "anti-vaxxer." Since my days in the USAF, I have chosen to get an annual flu shot, and my kids received all the required / recommended vaccinations during their school years. I've even had the second-generation shingles shots. No problemo. All those vaccines were subject to the full scientific regimen of development and testing prior to being administered to the general public. The current crop of COVID−19 vaccines, however, are a major exception - especially the mRNA varieties. None have been thoroughly vetted with the traditional multi-year studies which include a very wide cross-section of voluntary participants. Furthermore, none have been approved by normal guidelines - these are emergency approvals. Statistical studies were performed which attempted to correlate cause and effect. If necessary, necessary modifications to the formulation were made and then trials began anew. Once the medical and science community had enough data...

Among the Novice Hams - Inductors

Among the Novice Hams - Inductors, March 1958 Popular Electronics - RF CafePliers of the amateur radio hobby have since the beginning put forth a lot of effort training fledgling entrants in the realm of electronics and communications. Up until the latter part of the last century, there were a number of magazines - Popular Electronics among them - that would regularly print articles covering the basics of electronics. Other than the ARRL's QST magazine, it seems maybe Nuts and Volts is the only monthly still in print that you can go to for such information. I suppose it was inevitable with the emergence and now domination of the Internet as a source for most knowledge. The "Among the Novice Hams" column in Popular Electronics often included short primers on subjects like the basics of capacitors and inductors. Here is one on inductors from March 1958...

Mahle's Rare Earth-Free Brushless Motor

Mahle's Contact-Free Electric Motor, No Rare Earths Needed - RF CafeIEEE's Spectrum magazine has a story about a new type of 95% efficient brushless motor that promises to be a game-changer in the e-vehicle realm. If successful, it will significantly weaken China's dominating leverage of rare earth magnet resources. "Automakers outside China are scrambling to develop electric motor designs that use no permanent magnets, partly because the magnets require rare earths, and mining rare earths causes pollution. It's also partly because the mining is done in China, a formidable automotive competitor. These alternative motors turn the rotor using electromagnetic force alone; we've covered more than one such motor recently. One problem: Designs that put copper windings in the rotor have to transmit electricity to a moving target, and the point of contact - the slip ring - is subject to wear and tear..."

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.

Sunday the 16th

Electronics Theme Crossword Puzzle for May 16th

Electronics Theme Crossword Puzzle for May 16th, 2021 - RF CafeThis Electronics Theme Crossword Puzzle for May 16th 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!

Many Thanks to Centric RF for Their Long-Time 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.

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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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