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Homepage Archive - January 2024 (page 4)

See Page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | of the January 2024 homepage archives.

Wednesday the 31st

National Radio Institute (NRI)

National Radio Institute, October 1942 Popular Mechanics - RF CafeImagine being able to earn $10 ($183 in 2023 money) or more per week in your spare time as an electronics repairman! That was the hope given to guys reading the two-page National Radio Institute (NRI) advertising spread in a 1942 issue of Popular Mechanics magazine. The same ad - or ones a lot like it - were also commonly seen in other mechanics and electronics magazines of the day. The Wikipedia entry for National Radio Institute shows a magazine ad from 1926, and they were still in business through the late 1980s, because yours truly took NRI's "Electronic Design Technology" home correspondence courses, and received a certificate in July of 1987. NRI reportedly finally closed its doors in 2002. The tests at the end of each section were mailed back to NRI for grading...

ADCs for Radar Phased Array Applications

ADCs for Radar Phased Array Applications - RF CafeMany papers discuss the system trade-offs and relative merits of digital vs. RF beamforming, and the hybrid blend thereof. Building on prior work, this article uses RF-to-ADC cascade modeling to show dynamic range (linearity and noise) and sample rate trade-offs against DC power consumption in a multichannel system with varying channel summation in both the RF and digital realms. The optimal selection of sample rate, ADC ENOB, and RF vs. digital channel combining is weighed against DC power consumption. The popular Schreier and Walden ADC figures of merit (FOMs) are proposed as extensible to a multichannel system to express a single system FOM portraying optimal dynamic range normalized for DC power expense. The article has two parts. Part 1 explains the method of modeling the system, and 'How to Select the Best ADC for Radar Phased Array Applications - Part 2' analyzes the results and draws conclusions from system FOMS..."

The Origin of Ohm's Law

The Origin of Ohm's Law, May 1972 Popular Electronics - RF CafeGeorg Simon Ohm's eponymous "law," i.e., Ohm's law, is perhaps the best-known formula in the realm of electricity and electronics. Although Mr. Ohm did not know it at the time, his conclusion holds up in both the macro and micro scale worlds of electron behavior. Voltage is equal to the product of a resistance and the current flowing through it, E = I * R. It is hard to believe that we have only had his result, announced in 1825, at our disposal for less than 200 years. A thorough grasp of Ohm's law is a minimum requirement for entry into the fields of electrical and electronics work; fortunately, only a fundamental grasp of algebra is required. Kirchhoff's law is a relatively easy next step. The big hurdle comes with wanting to get an engineering degree where mastery of Maxwell's equations and the calculus necessary to work with the formulas in their various forms. Mr. David L. Heiserman published this brief lesson on "The Origin of Ohm's Law," in the May 1972 issue of Popular Electronics magazine...

Anatech Electronics January 2024 Newsletter

Anatech Electronics January 2024 Newsletter - RF CafeSam Benzacar of Anatech Electronics, an RF and microwave filter company, has published his January 2024 newsletter that, along with timely news items, features his short op−ed entitled "Shadow Warriors: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Reshape the Battlefield." In it, he discusses how drones (aka Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) are rapidly replacing human presence in war fighting. These semiautonomous surveillance and/or weapons delivery platforms are at the leading edge of technology, and unlike their flesh and blood counterparts, have no conscience or fear. Sort of like with the V−1 Buzz Bombs that the Nazis sent to rain down indiscriminate terror on London during the early days of World War II, these UAVs do not provide much advance notice. These large drones have noisy internal combustion or jet engines that can at least be heard a short ways off. I wonder whether any of the highly classified system elements from RQ-170 UAV that the Iranians hijacked in 2011 were incorporated into the drone that just killed three American soldiers and wounded many others? I still don't know why we didn't bomb the @(%^#>$ out of them at the time. Instead, we delivered >$400M in cash...

Communications Satellites

Communications Satellites, March 1972 Popular Electronics - RF CafeAuthor Len Buckwalter states in this 1972 "Communications Satellites" article from Popular Electronics magazine that at the time, radio channels were so crowded in California that police were using spectrum in the television broadcast band for communication. The FCC was denying recreational boaters channel space on favor of commercial operators. The problem could not be blamed on available frequency space, but rather on the lack of inexpensive electronic components that worked above a kHz or so. Nowadays when you read in the news about such desperate need of spectrum that network owners pay millions or billions of dollars for a few measly MHz of bandwidth, the cause is truly an overabundance of devices vying for space. Although truthfully, you could claim that exactly the same scenario is playing out today while semiconductor companies strive to bring low cost components in the millimeter wave bands above 30 GHz...

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!

Tuesday the 30th

Keep Away from Point Mugu!

Keep Away from Point Mugu!, October 1948 Popular Science - RF CafeJust about anyone familiar with the Electronic Warfare and Radar Systems Engineering Handbook, a must-have resource back in the 1980s(?) and up through even today, knows it was published by the Naval Air Warfare Center's Weapons Division Avionics Department, Electronic Warfare Division at Point Mugu, California. I don't know when the first edition was put out, but the most recent is 2013. My introduction to it was after arriving at General Electric's Aerospace Electronic Systems Division, in Utica, New York, right after graduating from the University of Vermont in 1989. It was, and still is, a valuable resource for RF and microwave systems design. This 1948 issue of Popular Science magazine contained an article entitled, "Keep Away from Point Mugu!," to inform the public of the dangerous airborne weapons systems being developed and tested there. Remotely controlled and self-piloted missiles and drones, radar systems, secure communications systems, and other highly advanced, top secret projects were and still are to this day in process...

Portable Antenna Restores Communication After Disasters

Portable Antenna Restores Communication After Disasters - RF Cafe"Researchers from Stanford and the American University of Beirut have developed a lightweight, portable antenna that can communicate with satellites and devices on the ground, making it easier to coordinate rescue and relief efforts in disaster-prone areas. When an earthquake, flood, or other disaster strikes a region, existing communication infrastructure such as cell phone and radio towers are often damaged or destroyed. Restoring emergency communications as quickly as possible is vital for coordinating rescue and relief efforts. Researchers at Stanford University and the American University of Beirut (AUB) have developed a portable antenna that could be quickly deployed in disaster-prone areas or used to set up communications in underdeveloped regions. The antenna, described recently in Nature Communications, packs down to a small size and can easily shift between two configurations to communicate either with satellites or devices on the ground without using additional power..."

Comics with an Electronics Theme

Comics with an Electronics Theme, March & November 1972 Popular Electronics - RF CafeHere are two more tech-themed comics from vintage Popular Electronics magazines. The year was 1972, which was at the peak of NASA's Project Apollo moon manned exploration era. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to the agency at the time, it was also near the end of the era as the moon exploration portion of the program was abruptly cancelled after Apollo 17, in December of 1972. No man has set foot on the moon since then - 45 years as of this writing. One of the comics humorously depicts a situation that for many government departments would be a "situation normal" scenario, but given NASA's overwhelming success, it would not be as expected. The other comic deals with a workplace concept that, while much more "futuristic" at the time, is rapidly becoming a concern of workers today where even fast food workers are being replaced by robots...

OTA Measuring of Integrated RF Antennas

OTA Techniques for Measuring Integrated RF Electronics and Antennas - RF Cafe"With higher frequencies, the integration of antennas and RF electronics means that many measurements now must be performed over the air. This article addresses the challenges of testing integrated antenna systems in e.g. phased array, antenna-on-chip and antenna-in-package configurations. This article details the latest over-the-air (OTA) measurement techniques for metrics such as noise figure, out-of-band emissions and radiated power spectral density. An ongoing trend in the mmWave regime is towards highly integrated wireless system designs. These efforts are being undertaken to reduce costs and increase efficiency. This integration often means that the antenna and the RF electronics cannot be separated, creating a new dimension in testing RF front-end performance. Some of the most integrated designs involve antennas-on-chip or antennas-in-package, which are becoming especially popular in high frequency applications, such as automotive radar. Figure 1 shows a 2×1 mm, 30 GHz monopole antenna integrated with a low noise amplifier..."

The Paris Radio Exhibition

The Paris Radio Exhibition, February 1935 Short Wave Craft - RF Cafe"All-wave" radios were all the rage in the 1930s. Such technological marvels (they truly were back in the day) gave listeners access to not just local commercial broadcasts, but to radio stations around the world. Farm families and suburb dwellers suddenly became nouveau cosmopolitans. It was akin to how the Internet, aka the "Information Superhighway," provided on-demand access to stored data in the 1990s. "Onramps" like RF Cafe provided organized, classified venues for the teeming masses. But, I digress... Not only were new radios being designed as all-wave, but tuning kits were sold for radio service shops to retrofit existing sets. Covering such a wide spectrum of tuning required banks of selectable inductors and capacitors. Supplying a one-size-fits-all module required adequate shielding and isolation to minimize coupling to and from the all-wave tuner. This unit was featured at the 1934 Paris Radio Exhibition...

RF Cascade Workbook

RF Cascade Workbook - RF Cafe RF Cascade Workbook 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...

Monday the 29th

Mathematical Puzzles, 1983 OFA

Mathematical Puzzles, 1983 Old Farmer's Almanac - RF CafeThis set of "Old and New Mathematical Puzzles" appeared in the 1983 issue of The Old Farmers Almanac (OFA). In addition to daily times for sunrise and sunset, moonrise and moonset, crop planting tables, animal gestation periods, significant events in history, weather predictions and trends, and many other bits of actual scientific information, the OFA included a set of puzzles requiring a wide range of mathematical and reasoning skills to solve (Difficulty: 1 through 5). Difficulty: 1, might be something like tracing the path along a geographical line drawing without crossing any lines. Difficulty: 3, likely involves some degree of mathematics, often a bit of algebra like solving three equations in three unknowns. Difficulty: 5, being the highest level of challenge, typically does not have solutions provided as do the others. Those solutions are solicited from readers and "the best" for each is published in the next year of publication...

Japan's SLIM Moon Lander Comes Back to Life

Japan's SLIM Moon Lander Comes Back to Life - RF CafeIgnorance is not bliss. Unfortunately, it usually leads to a lot of bad information being widely propagated while those who know the truth are frustrated by how often it occurs*. In this case it is the widely reported "fact" that Japan's SLIM moon lander ended its mission upside down on the lunar surface. In fact, it was designed to tip after touching down (see drawing above), it just unfortunately tipped too far. It is NOT, however, upside down. New was just received that SLIM is functioning, but at a reduced battery charging rate due to solar panels not pointed at the sun. The two detachable autonomous vehicles deployed successfully. Good for Japan! *Akin to Trump supposedly saying "bigly" as an adjective when in fact he often used the idiomatic phrase "big league." As is often the case, it is the ignorant / stupid reporters who are the true fools.

Elser-Mathes Cup Earth-Mars Amateur Contact

Elser-Mathes Cup Communications, October 1970 Popular Electronics - RF CafePlanet Mars QSO - Visitors to the headquarters of the American Radio Relay League, Inc. Newington, Conn., continue to be intrigued by one of the most unusual trophies offered to ham radio operators, It is the Elser-Mathes Cup that will commemorate the "First Amateur Radio Two-Way Communications Earth and Mars." Donated by Colonel Fred Elser, W6FB/W7OX and. Lt. Cmdr. Stanley Mathes, K1CY (deceased), the cup also honors Hiram Percy Maxim (founder of the ARRL), who had an intense interest in communicating with Mars and Venus. When donated to the ARRL in 1929, the idea of ham radio reaching even the moon was considered impractical, but ham-style E-M-E (earth-moon-earth) reflected communications are now almost commonplace. Maybe the first man on Mars will be a ham. If so, his trophy is all ready and waiting for him...

Please Visit Withwave in Booth #1355 at DesignCon 2024

Please Visit Withwave in Booth #1355 at DesignCon 2024! - RF CafeWithwave is a leading designer and developer of a broad range of RF, microwave, and millimeter−wave test solutions and subsystems with a focus on electromagnetic field analysis and signal processing. We invite you to visit with us at DesignCon 2024 in Booth #1355. Our team will be displaying Withwave's extensive line of precision microwave and high speed test products, well suited for 5G and 6G systems, spanning a frequency range of DC to 110 GHz. Included are connectors, cable assemblies, test accessories, high speed multi coax, high speed connectors, calibration kits and modules, absorber material, switch modules, antennas, E−band & sub−THz waveguide components. DesignCon is being held at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Cara, California, on January 31 and February 1, 2024...

Color Code Charts

Color Code Charts, August 1972 Popular Electronics - RF CafeHere is one of the most complete component color code charts that I have seen. It covers resistors, capacitors, and inductors for EIA, JAN, and commercial standards. If you are reading this, you have almost certainly memorized the color / number correlation (BBROYGBVGW = 0123456789, respectively) and know how to read a regular carbon resistor's code for resistance and maybe even tolerance. However, if you encounter a capacitor with an array of colored dots or a component with 5 colored bands, are you sure how to read it? This handy-dandy chart will help. Or, you probably have an app on your phone that will do the same thing. In 1972 when the chart appeared in Popular Electronics magazine, nobody had ever conceived of a phone app...

Promote Your Company on RF Cafe

Sponsor RF Cafe for as Little as $40 per Month - RF CafeBanner Ads are rotated in all locations on the page! RF Cafe typically receives 8,000-15,000 visits each weekday. RF Cafe is a favorite of engineers, technicians, hobbyists, and students all over the world. With more than 17,000 pages in the Google search index, RF Cafe returns in favorable positions on many types of key searches, both for text and images. Your Banner Ads are displayed on average 280,000 times per year! New content is added on a daily basis, which keeps the major search engines interested enough to spider it multiple times each day. Items added on the homepage often can be found in a Google search within a few hours of being posted. If you need your company news to be seen, RF Cafe is the place to be...

Sunday the 28th

Electronics Theme Crossword Puzzle for January 28th

Electronics Theme Crossword Puzzle for January 28, 2024 - RF CafeHere is RF Cafe's electronics-themed crossword puzzle for January 28th. All RF Cafe crossword puzzles are custom made by me, Kirt Blattenberger, and have only 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, Hedy Lamarr, or the Tunguska event in Siberia). The technically inclined cruciverbalists amongst us will appreciate the effort. Enjoy!

Friday the 26th

Magnesium - The Lightweight Giant

Magnesium - The Lightweight Giant, June 1944 Popular Mechanics - RF CafeThe mention of magnesium (Mg) often - maybe usually - invokes thoughts of a material that spontaneously bursts into flames when it comes into contact with water. It is true when a non-oxidized Mg surface meets water, but a protective layer of oxide quickly forms on surfaces exposed to air, rendering it inert. In fact, the machining process continuously exposes raw magnesium, so special precautionary processes are required. This story about the Basic Magnesium, Inc. (BMI) magnesium processing plant just a few miles from the Boulder Dam (now called the Hoover Dam) in Nevada (from which it consumed a third of its generating capacity) appeared in a 1944 issue of Popular Mechanics magazine. At a third the weight of steel (atomic #12), magnesium was a critical component of aircraft structures and engines during World War II. Vast amounts of electric power was required, as evidenced by this passage: "BMI borrowed some 20,000 tons of coin silver from the Treasury, shaped it into metal planks to serve as electrical bus bars, and installed it in the plant. The silver is worth $23,313,000 and will be returned to the Treasury after the war. It is perfectly safe where it is in spite of its value. No one would dare to touch it, considering the heavy current that it carries..."

TV's Trial by Torture

TV's Trial by Torture, March 1956 Popular Electronics - RF CafeNo, it's not a college engineering class prank like the yearly piano drop at MIT's Baker House or University of British Columbia in Vancouver engineering students dangling a VW Bug from the Golden Gate Bridge. This is water "dunking" test carried out by a television manufacturer to assure that its products can survive an accidental exposure to moisture. I assume the water below is fresh water and not salt water. Vacuum tube TV sets were at a great disadvantage for survivability compared to modern solid state sets with LCD displays. Even if the glass itself remains intact, precisely aligned internal elements like deflection coils, grid and plate structures can shift position and change both alignment and affect reliability. Also, in the mid 1950s there was still a lot of point-to-point wiring of components that had them suspended in air by their leads, resulting in mechanical fatigue. The "walking wounded" phenomenon would result in a TV giving up the ghost earlier than it otherwise might...

Nanoantennas Illuminate Radiative Decay Imaging

Nanoantennas Illuminate Radiative Decay Imaging - RF Cafe"Scientists have made a breakthrough in nanophotonics by developing a method to measure nanoscale light interaction, paving the way for advancements in quantum computing and medical diagnostics. In an era where understanding and manipulating light at the nanoscale is increasingly crucial, a groundbreaking paper in Nature: Light Science & Applications reveals a significant leap forward. A team of scientists from the Institut Langevin, ESPCI Paris, PSL University, CNRS have developed a sophisticated method to measure the enhancement of light interaction at the nanoscale using single molecules as probes. Central to this research are dielectric gap nanoantennas - developed and fabricated at the Imperial College London. Such structures are made of gallium phosphide (GaP), a material chosen for its high refractive index and low optical losses. This collaborative work involves an innovative approach using single molecules to probe the enhanced interaction of light facilitated purely by these nanoantennas without modification of the nanosystem with near-field probes..."

$5.00 for Best Short-Wave Kink

$5.00 for Best Short-Wave Kink, June 1935 Short Wave Craft - RF CafeHere for radio hobbyists are eleven handy-dandy "kinks," otherwise known as tricks, shortcuts, or clever ideas, that could prove useful while working in the lab at work or in your shop at home. This set appeared in the June 1935 issue of Short Wave Craft magazine. Some of the ideas presented are timeless, but admittedly, most of these ideas would not have much application with today's ready-made radios, antennas, power supplies, etc. There are still people, though, who build custom equipment and/or repair vintage equipment who might find them useful. The most relevant kink offered here that could come in handy for anybody is to clip off part of a closed ring terminal lug to allow it to be installed and uninstalled without needing to remove the cinching nut and possibly other lugs also on the same binding post...

Get Your Custom-Designed RF Cafe Gear!

Custom-Designed RF-Themed Cups, T-Shirts, Mouse Pads, Clocks (Cafe Press) - RF CafeThis assortment of custom-designed themes by RF Cafe includes T-Shirts, Mouse Pads, Clocks, Tote Bags, Coffee Mugs and Steins, Purses, Sweatshirts, Baseball Caps, and more, all sporting my amazingly clever "RF Engineers - We Are the World's Matchmakers" Smith chart design. These would make excellent gifts for husbands, wives, kids, significant others, and for handing out at company events or as rewards for excellent service. My graphic has been ripped off by other people and used on their products, so please be sure to purchase only official RF Cafe gear. I only make a couple bucks on each sale - the rest goes to Cafe Press. It's a great way to help support RF Cafe. Thanks...

Thursday the 25th

Zenith Radio

Zenith Radio, October 1942 Popular Mechanics - RF CafeIf you think this Zenith Radio advertisement looks familiar, it could be because you recently saw it on the October 1942 Popular Mechanics magazine table of contents page. Or not. Nearly a year after the United States of America shifted industry production to a wartime footing, no factories were turning out new radio sets for domestic use. The only new radios being made were for Army and Navy use in fighting to defeat Axis forces in Europe, North Africa, and the South Pacific. The ad quotes General (a mere Lt. Colonel prior to the raid) Doolittle's radio broadcast following his air group's raid of Japan's capital city, Tokyo, on April 18th of that year. The Doolittle Raid, as it is known, was the first attack on the Japanese homeland since the surprise attack by their navy on Pearl Harbor. Doolittle's Raiders managed to launch sixteen Mitchell B-25 bombers from the deck of the USS Hornet carrier - a feat never before attempted. Zenith also extolls the superiority of radio communications over wired comms due to its potential worldwide reach without the need of cumbersome and vulnerable landlines...

CompuTemp 5 Electronic Indoor/Outdoor Thermometer

Vintage CompuTemp 5 Electronic Indoor/Outdoor Thermometer - RF Cafe Cool ProductAfter decades of using various outdoor thermometers that used a bimetal coil, mercury, or alcohol, I finally decided after the latest one failed that it was time to get an electronic one. Not wanting a wireless type that would require batteries, I found a vintage thermometer on eBay that had a remote alcohol bulb connected to the indoor display by a thin copper tube. When it arrived, I discovered that the bulb had burst long ago, and the escaped red dye in the alcohol was evident on the packaging. At that point I figured maybe an electronic thermometer using remote thermocouple sensors would be a good option, since being directly wired to the indoor display unit, no batteries would be required. My first choice for a vintage electronic thermometer was one of the Heathkit models, preferably unbuilt, but a pre-built version would be acceptable. After about a week of keeping a watch out for one, none became available, so I looked for something else. This CompuTemp 5 electronic thermometer was offered by a few different eBay sellers. The one I selected appeared to be never used and it had the original packaging...

The Dolby Technique for Reducing Noise

The Dolby Technique for Reducing Noise, August 1972 Popular Electronics - RF CafeThose of us who came of age in the early 1970s are very familiar with the Dolby B noise reduction system since it was the key differentiator when buying stereo equipment in the day. The first commercial products containing the technology appeared in 1968. I am fairly certain that neither I nor any of my friends who insisted on tape decks with the Dolby logo on them had any idea how the circuit worked. At the time to us, filters were those fan-folded things on top of a carburetor and feedback was the annoying squeal that happened when a microphone got too close to a speaker. Knowledge of electronic circuits would begin a few years later. This article which appeared in a 1972 issue of Popular Electronics magazine does a nice job of introducing the theory (in layman's terms) behind Dolby noise reduction. There were no digital circuits, nor computers fast enough in 1968 to do the job, so everything was implemented in analog circuitry...

Diamonds Transforming Semiconductor Technology

Diamonds Transforming the World of Semiconductor Technology - RF Cafe"Researchers have developed a semiconductor device made of diamond, offering a promising solution for achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. This device boasts the highest breakdown voltage and lowest leakage current compared to existing diamond devices, marking a significant advancement in the electrification process. To reach the world's goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, there must be a fundamental change in electronic materials to create a more reliable and resilient electricity grid. A diamond might be a girl's best friend, but it might also be the solution needed to sustain the electrification of society needed to reach carbon neutrality in the next 30 years. Researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have developed a semiconductor device made using diamond, that has the highest breakdown voltage and lowest leakage current compared to previously reported diamond devices. Such a device will enable more efficient technologies needed as the world transitions to renewable energies. The Rising Demand for Electricity It is estimated that currently, 50% of the world's electricity is controlled by power devices..."

First Person DX'ing

First Person DX'ing, February 1970 Popular Electronics - RF Cafe"DXing" is amateur radio shorthand for long distance communications. While there is no formal exact distance beyond which an operator has officially made a 'long distance' contact, a generally accepted range is maybe 50 miles or so. To some extent, DX is relative to the equipment and power being used. For instance if you have a maximum legal transmitter output power of 1500 watts and an optimally sited, mounted and tuned, high gain antenna, with low loss transmission cable, and super sensitive receiver, etc., and make a successful contact 100 miles away, no one would give you kudos for your effort. However, if you managed the same result using a handheld transceiver with a 'rubber duck' stub antenna while walking through a deep valley, you would be considered a DX superman. This article describes a much more rare and difficult means of making DX contacts and collecting QSL cards - bodily travelling across the globe to visit other amateur radio operators at their home bases (although I'm not sure doing so qualifies for a QSL card unless radio contact is made)...

RF & Electronics Symbols for Visio

RF Electronics Wireless Analog Block Diagrams Symbols Shapes for Visio - RF CafeWith more than 1000 custom-built symbols, this has got to be the most comprehensive set of Visio Symbols 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). Symbols 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...

Many Thanks to Amplifier Solutions Corporation for Continued Support!

Amplifier Solutions Corporation (ASC) - RF CafeAmplifier Solutions Corporation (ASC) is a manufacturer of amplifiers for commercial & military markets. ASC designs and manufactures hybrid, surface mount flange, open carrier and connectorized amplifiers for low, medium and high power applications using Gallium Nitride (GaN), Gallium Arsenide (GaAs) and Silicon (Si) transistor technologies. ASC's thick film designs operate in the frequency range of 300 kHz to 6 GHz. ASC offers thin film designs that operate up to 20 GHz. ASC is located in an 8,000 sq.ft. facility in the town of Telford, PA. We offer excellent customer support and take pride in the ability to quickly react to evolving system design requirements.

Wednesday the 24th

Looking into Space with Radio Eyes

Looking into Space with Radio Eyes, July 1954 Popular Science - RF CafeIn 1933, Karl Jansky, at Bell Telephone Laboratories, reported electromagnetic radiation coming from the center of our Milky Way galaxy in the direction of Sagittarius. It was the first time radio signals were knowingly detected in space. This, by the way, was not the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR) that Penzias and Wilson discovered, also at Bell Labs, in 1964. Reported in this 1954 issue of Popular Science magazine are advances made in radio astronomy since the early efforts to detect and map the radio sky as a supplement to the visible light map. In most cases at the time, "radio stars" were coincident with known visible light stars; however, new stars were discovered which had no visible signature. Since that time, with the advent of larger telescopes and vastly more sensitive light detectors, many of those radio-only stars have been determined to also have a visible light component. Quite interestingly, the author mentions, "Many radio stars outshine the sun in radio 'brightness.' A bright one in the constellation of Cygnus, the Swan, was the first discovered, by Australian observers." Could this have been Cygnus X-1, the first x-ray star determined to be a black hole, which was discovered in 1971?

Transistor Enters the Nanosheet Era

Transistor Enters the Nanosheet Era - RF Cafe"The world is heading into the age of gate-all-around (GAA) or nanosheet transistors. While it was never going to save Moore's Law by itself, the new device is opening the door to continuous device scaling. It's the end of the transistor as we know it. The world's most advanced chip companies are racing to roll out a new generation of transistors based on the gate-all-around (GAA) architecture at scale. While they're all at varying stages of the transition, they intend to start integrating these 'nanosheet' transistors at 3- and 2-nm process nodes, with mass production likely hitting its stride in 2024 and into 2025. It will take time for the likes of Intel and TSMC to unlock the full potential of these transistors and the larger semiconductor industry to feel the full impact of the transition. But such devices are bound to become the gold standard in CPUs, GPUs, and other advanced logic chips at the heart of everything from AI to high-performance computing (HPC). These transistors are designed to be faster and less power-hungry..."

Carl & Jerry: Electronic Trap

Carl & Jerry: Electronic Trap, March 1956 Popular Electronics - RF CafeJerry missed an opportunity to patent his capacitive touch switch, the sort used to control everything from living room lamps to kitchen sink faucets. Untold millions of dollars in royalties could have paid for his engineering degree at Parvoo University and then the rest used as seed money for a startup business. When I started reading this particular adventure of Carl & Jerry in the March 1962 issue of Popular Electronics magazine, I thought they were going to rig the metal door to issue a high voltage pulse to whatever touched it. However, that probably would have been too much of a liability for the publisher to risk since readers would sometimes replicate the devices described in the articles. An element of stupid has always existed...

2023 Honesty & Ethics Ranking for Professions

2023 Honesty & Ethics Ranking for Professions - RF CafeRuh-roh, engineers took a hit in the latest survey of 23 professions, as measured in Gallup's 2023 Honesty and Ethics poll. Nurses fared the best at 78% (down 7 points from pre-Covid 2019). Engineers rank 3rd at a mere 60% (-6 pts.), behind dog doctors at 65%. People doctors come in at 56%, behind dentists. The medical community lost a lot of support due to the Covid scam once reports surfaced about financial, social, and vaccine abuses. Bankers and journalists hit 19%. As usual, politicians are at rock bottom in the 6-8% realm. Not surprisingly, rankings given to professionals by other professionals (those with college degrees) were higher than those assigned by people without degrees.  Conspicuously absent is a ranking for pollsters like Gallup. I could not find a similar poll ranking skilled trade workers like electricians, plumbers, and carpenters, only polls showing Gen−Zers as a group don't want to get their hands dirty with such occupations.

Carl Kohler's Boner Box

Carl Kohler's Boner Box, March 1956 Popular Electronics - RF CafeRumor (according to me) has it that Carl Kohler and his better half, Sylvia, were a real-life couple who lived in the Syracuse, New York, area, and that his stories came from actual experiences. This one is very believable, even if the details were changed a bit to make it more interesting.  Comical side note: Whenever I see or hear the first word in the title, it reminds me of a time in Annapolis Junior High School (early 1970s) when the teacher in a history class was running a film (pre-digital media days) and the announcer used the word (which has an alternate meaning) in a sentence when describing a mistake someone had made. A girl in the class burst out laughing so hard and uncontrollably that she actually peed herself. That, of course, caused riotous laughter from the entire class, which drew a lot of attention from neighboring classrooms. It's amazing how such experiences stick with you for a lifetime...

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 Amplifier Solutions Corporation for Contined Support!

Amplifier Solutions Corporation (ASC) - RF CafeAmplifier Solutions Corporation (ASC) is a manufacturer of amplifiers for commercial & military markets. ASC designs and manufactures hybrid, surface mount flange, open carrier and connectorized amplifiers for low, medium and high power applications using Gallium Nitride (GaN), Gallium Arsenide (GaAs) and Silicon (Si) transistor technologies. ASC's thick film designs operate in the frequency range of 300 kHz to 6 GHz. ASC offers thin film designs that operate up to 20 GHz. ASC is located in an 8,000 sq.ft. facility in the town of Telford, PA. We offer excellent customer support and take pride in the ability to quickly react to evolving system design requirements.

Tuesday the 23rd

Radium Uses: Frozen Billions

Radium Uses: Frozen Billions, October 1942 Popular Mechanics - RF CafeWhat does the 1942 Popular Mechanics magazine article entitled "Frozen Billions" have to do with radium, you might reasonably ask? The answer is that the most prolific radium ore mine is located on a rocky point extending into Great Bear Lake in the Northwest Territories in Canada. At the time of the mine's discovery, radium was selling for $1,960,000 an ounce. This story about Marie and Pierre Curie's (oddly, not mentioned in the article) 1898 discovery tells the history of the mine as well as the many applications for radium's gamma ray emissions in industry, medicine, and the military. Its properties made it worth billions of dollars in sales, but its value in helping to beat back the Axis Powers in World War II was priceless. The extreme high penetration of gamma rays (stronger than x−rays) made it useful for inspecting massive solid mechanical devices like engine blocks, electric generator housings, ship and airplane motor and transmission housings, and similar cast metal shapes where internal voids can form. In small doses it treats cancer, makes aircraft instrument and wristwatch dials readable at night, a generates low levels of heat. With a half life of 1,690 years, a little radium goes a long way.

Connecting the Dots of Grid Decentralization

Connecting the Dots of Grid Decentralization - RF CafeAh, the idyllic EV scenario of a duplex home with neighbors charging their EVs on a sunshiny day. Beautiful - birds are singing, butterflies are flittering. Note, however, the cars are outside because of fire risk when doing so inside. Oh, and the charging cord is laying on the ground causing both an electrical and tripping hazard. Fast forward six months and imagine digging the cord out of snow and ice accumulated overnight, and trying to disconnect the plug where it's frozen to the side of the car. If you've lived in the frigid north, you know of what I speak. "Population growth [including millions of illegal immigrants, RFC], electronics consumption and climate change present complex challenges for today's electric grid operators and policymakers. Fortunately, emerging trends and technologies in energy infrastructure are driving progress toward a more decentralized and connected future that involves renewable, supplementary sources. These decentralized systems must also coexist with the centralized grid to meet overall energy demands. To keep up, the semiconductor industry..."

Electronics-Themed Comics

Electronics-Themed Comics, October 1949, April & June 1951 Radio & Television News - RF CafeMaybe if you're having a challenging week, these three electronics-themed comics from vintage Radio & Television News magazines (1949 and 1951) might ease the stress level a tad. The first one might seem like a stretch, but in fact when I was in the USAF back in the early 1980s I made two lamps using the big glass-encased thyratron tubes from our S-band airport surveillance radar sets as the central column. One of them broke, and the other I can't recall what happened to it; I might have given it to someone as a gift. I'm not sure what the horse racing comic is meant to depict, other than maybe nowadays you can watch your pick lose the horse race on the TV rather than needing to actually be at the track. The ham comic is almost punny ;-) Enjoy...

NASA and Lockheed Martin Quiet Supersonic Aircraft

NASA and Lockheed Martin Quiet Supersonic Aircraft - Airplanes andRockets"NASA has unveiled an experimental quiet supersonic aircraft that it claims could pave the way for a new generation of commercial aircraft that can travel faster than the speed of sound. Developed in partnership with Lockheed Martin, the X-59 is the centerpiece of NASA's Quesst mission, which focuses on providing data to help regulators reconsider rules that prohibit commercial supersonic flight over land. For 50 years, the U.S. and other nations have prohibited such flights because of the disturbance caused by loud, startling sonic booms on the communities below. The X-59 is expected to fly at 1.4 times the speed of sound, or 925 mph while generating a quieter sonic thump. At 99.7 feet long and 29.5 feet wide, the aircraft's shape and the technological advancements it houses will make quiet supersonic flight possible. The X-59's thin, tapered nose accounts for almost a third of its length and will break up the shock waves that would ordinarily result in a supersonic aircraft causing a sonic boom...."

What Are All Those Extra Components For?

What Are All Those Extra Components For, August 1973 Popular Electronics - RF CafeMaybe what piqued my interest in electronics enough during my teenage years to eventually enter into the field as a lifelong vocation was wondering what the heck all those components were doing that were sprinkled around circuit boards and inside product housings. The circuits I was building at the time were typical beginning hobbyist types with just enough capacitors, resistors, inductors, diodes, etc., to make the lamps blink properly or to pick up a strong local AM radio station. Even in undergraduate college circuit design classes we rarely went beyond noise bypass capacitors on ICs or counter-EMF-snubbing diodes across solenoid coils. Having already been in the electronics world for many years before college, I knew there was much more involved in producing reliable, trouble-free circuits that worked well in a range of environments, and therefore was surprised to find that those aspects of product design were left...

Promote Your Company on RF Cafe

Sponsor RF Cafe for as Little as $40 per Month - RF CafeBanner Ads are rotated in all locations on the page! RF Cafe typically receives 8,000-15,000 visits each weekday. RF Cafe is a favorite of engineers, technicians, hobbyists, and students all over the world. With more than 17,000 pages in the Google search index, RF Cafe returns in favorable positions on many types of key searches, both for text and images. Your Banner Ads are displayed on average 280,000 times per year! New content is added on a daily basis, which keeps the major search engines interested enough to spider it multiple times each day. Items added on the homepage often can be found in a Google search within a few hours of being posted. If you need your company news to be seen, RF Cafe is the place to be...

Thanks Once Again to everythingRF for Long-Time Support!

everything RF Searchable Database - RF CafePlease take a few moments to visit the everythingRF website to see how they can assist you with your project. everythingRF is a product discovery platform for RF and microwave products and services. They currently have 267,269 products from more than 1397 companies across 314 categories in their database and enable engineers to search for them using their customized parametric search tool. Amplifiers, test equipment, power couplers and dividers, coaxial connectors, waveguide, antennas, filters, mixers, power supplies, and everything else. Please visit everythingRF today to see how they can help you.

These archive pages are provided in order to make it easier for you to find items that you remember seeing on the RF Cafe homepage. Of course probably the easiest way to find anything on the website is to use the "Search RF Cafe" box at the top of every page. About RF Cafe.

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TotalTemp Technologies (Thermal Platforms) - RF Cafe

About RF Cafe

Kirt Blattenberger - RF Cafe Webmaster

Copyright: 1996 - 2024

Webmaster:

    Kirt Blattenberger,

    BSEE - KB3UON

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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All trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other rights of ownership to images and text used on the RF Cafe website are hereby acknowledged.

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Werbel Microwave (power dividers, couplers)

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