Monday the 7th
Technologies is trying a new form of promotion for its line of test and measurement
products - a high tech comic book collection called "TECC Force." This first issue
of the "Conspiracy in Chaos" series is entitled, "Dropping Like
Drones." I have to admit I thought it would be full of political correctness,
but was pleased to discover it is a very well-done adventure story with excellent
illustrations. You might even not notice the subliminal purpose is to pitch Keysight's
products. Team TECC Force's key characters thus far are Kane Shaw, Kyung-Min "Minnie"
Park, Genevieve Flood, and Marc Vega. There are no
X-Men-like superpowers involved,
just super smart mortals beating the bad guys. "Join Team TECC Force on their adventures
and their quest to save the world, one precision measurement at a time." BTW, I
couldn't find what TECC stands for (Test Equipment Cyber Crime?, Test Equipment
Cleanup Crew?, Training and Education Coordinating Center?). Click
here for a direct download if you cannot register for some reason. - Kirt B.
It 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!
"Business is booming for
electronics distributors as industries worldwide emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic
and get back to business. And while supply chain interruptions, extended order lead
times, labor shortages and lingering pandemic impacts continue to affect the way
organizations do business, the electronics distributors we interviewed for this
article concur on at least one thing: Business is brisk right now, and there's no
sign of a slowdown in sight. 'We've had record-breaking bookings and sales in Q1,
along with a sustained flow of activity that has extended into the second quarter
of the year,” says Frank Flynn, president at Sager Electronics..."
PCBONLINE supplies complex rigid and flex-rigid
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efforts, PCBONLINE constantly updates our equipment, improves our technology, and
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the need for multiple phone call and/or e-mails.
Optical magnification is only useful to the
point where resolution is limited by the wavelength of light representing the object
under observation. Astronomer William Dawes first provided a means of quantification
based on an ability to visually resolve closely spaced stars. Known as the Dawes
Limit, a value of 4.56/D arc seconds was empirically determined (D is aperture of
instrument in inches). A theoretical upper limit to magnification of any optical
system with perfect optics is around 2,000. As this 1959 Popular Electronics
article describes, the
electron microscope removed that resolving limit by shooting a stream of electrons
with radii much less than the wavelength of visible light, and measuring its reflection...
Thanks to the family of U.S. Air Force radar
technician SSgt. Dean Taylor for
providing this bunch of photos from his service in Berlin, Germany, with the
1946th Communication Squadron at Tempelhof Air Base and other assignments. If
you recognize and can identify any of the other people and/or equipment and/or locations
in the photos, please shoot me an e-mail. For that matter, if you or anyone you
know served as an Air Traffic Control Radar Repairman
(AFSC 303x1), please send your service information for addition to the honored list.
ConductRF is continually innovating and
developing new and improved solutions for RF Interconnect needs. See the latest
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iBwave component library. They also provide custom coax solutions for applications
where some standard just won't do. A partnership with Newark assures fast, reliable
access. Please visit ConductRF today to see how they can help your project!
Sunday the 6th
For twenty years now, I have been creating
weekly crossword puzzles for the education and enjoyment of the technically minded
visitor like you. This
Theme Crossword Puzzle for June 6th has many words and clues related to RF,
microwave, and mm-wave engineering, optics, mathematics, chemistry, physics, and
other technical subjects. As always, this crossword contains no names of politicians,
mountain ranges, exotic foods or plants, movie stars, or anything of the sort unless
it/he/she is related to this puzzle's technology theme (e.g., Reginald Denny or
the Tunguska event in Siberia). The technically inclined cruciverbalists amongst
us will appreciate the effort. Enjoy!
Friday the 4th
Here are a couple new-old
electronics themed comics for your pre-Saturday enjoyment. They appeared in
a 1962 issue of Electronics World magazine. If you never had a television
antenna on your roof, then you might not see the humor in the first comic. Actually,
a lot of roof-top antennas are still being installed, but they're most often the
newer compact type antenna with a built-in preamplifier and rotator motor. A huge
list of other tech theme comics I have posted is at the bottom of the page. They
would make good fodder for your at-work presentations to put attendees in a good
The Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles
Directorate held a ribbon cutting ceremony May 20 to celebrate the opening of its
newest facility, the
Space Warfighting Operations Research and Development, or SWORD, laboratory.
Col. Eric Felt, the director of AFRL's Space Vehicles Directorate, hosted the event
with AFRL commander, Maj. Gen. Heather Pringle as the presiding officer and keynote
speaker. The SWORD Lab is a 26,000 square foot, $12.8 million state-of-the-art facility,
with office and laboratory space that will house the 65 scientists, engineers...
You have probably seen some pretty atrocious
coaxial cable connector installations. You might have even been responsible
for a few of them ;-( It could be tempting, at least for frequencies
in the lower megahertz range, to allow yourself to be a little sloppy with coaxial
cable preparation and connector attachment, but doing so can result in marginal
functionality if power levels are high or if power levels are extremely low. When
voltage levels are high, excessive air gaps between the inner and outer conductors
can result in arcs, and poor connections can generate intermodulation products high
enough to cause interference (possibly subjecting you to a violation citation from
the FCC). At very low power levels, distortions and lack of symmetry in the interface
between the cable and the connector...
RF Cascade Workbook 2018 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...
Centric 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
Thursday the 3rd
Although you might expect everyone would
be so thrilled with the end of World War II that letters to the editor of magazines
like Radio-Craft would not contain picayune gripes about things like whether
or not information on
formerly secret technical systems should be published for the general public.
Of course no publication would knowingly expose such details, especially given that
in the day the vast majority of the population was patriotic and put the country's
good over their own. You can be sure that if mention of loran, radar, handi-talkies,
and other strategic intelligence would compromise the nation's security, it would
never have made it to the printing press. Otherwise, those responsible would be
quickly rounded up and sentenced to long prison terms, and I don't recall reading
about a bunch of editors disappearing during or after the war. Hugo Gernsback recounts...
Alliance 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.
recently mentioning a new patent issued to RF Cafe visitor Dave Hutchinson, I discovered
that another contributor, Dr. Marek Klemes, has
assigned to him. They include titles such as "Pseudo-doppler receiving architecture
for OAM and MIMO transmissions, "Phase-noise cancellation apparatus and method",
and "Adjustable stacked phase-mode feed for 2D steering of antenna arrays." The
illustrations alone are very impressive.
Thomas Edison, with 1,093
patents assigned, is not immediately threatened in number at this point, but Dr.
Marek probably isn't finished inventing yet ;-) Please let me know if you
would like to add your patents to the
RF Cafe Website Visitors'
Patents list. You probably won't get any richer by doing so, but it is another
great venue where birds of a feather can flock together.
The National Company of Cambridge, Massachusetts,
was one of the first large distributors of electronics components and appliances.
Believe it or not, National began life as the National Toy Company. Thanks to the
efforts of Mr. James Millen, W1HRX, in designing and marketing high quality radio
products, the company evolved into a favorite source by both amateur radio operators
and casual listeners of shortwave radios. The NC80X covered the commercial broadcast
band and a couple shortwave bands, whereas the NC81X covered only multiple shortwave
bands for amateur radio use. This full-page advertisement appeared in a 1937 issue
of QST magazine...
ConductRF FPA Cable Assemblies use a unique,
Low Loss, high performance
Semi-"FlexiForm" Cable that is formable, but flexible, providing system designers
with a versatile solution for High Frequency applications. The product also allows
for very tight phase matching to ±0.2º. Available in 3 common cable diameters, with
the benefits of higher operating frequencies, shielding effectiveness and stability
performance over traditional standard Hand Formable cables, these solutions enhance
any application requiring higher performance. FPA Cable Assemblies are manufactured
using the latest induction soldering...
NextPCB is one of the most experienced PCB
manufacturers in China, has specialized in the PCB and assembly industry for over
15 years. NextPCB provides the most innovative printed circuit boards and assembly
technologies in the highest quality standards, turnaround time as fast as 24 hours,
the lowest manufacturer direct prices, and the most dedicated customer service in
the industry. Turnkey service without a broker including components sourcing, PCB
prototyping, manufacturing, assembly, quality testing, and final shipment. Certified
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Wednesday the 2nd
Just as in the United States - and most other
countries for that matter -
Citizens Band radio in Canada has undergone a lot of chances since its inception
in the 1960s. This 1962 article in Electronics World magazine reported on the beginnings
of Canadian system, known as General Radio Service (GRS). It initially used the
same 23 channels (frequencies) as the U.S., although channels 1, 2, and 3 were reserved
for Amateur operators and channel 23 was reserved for paging services, leaving only
19 channels for the equivalent of Citizens Band (CB). Both the U.S. and Canada initially
charged a nominal fee for an operator license, but neither requires a license today.
At the time, some American-made CB radios could not be used in Canada without guaranteeing
that the transmit power would not exceed 3 watts (there was no official limit in
the U.S., strangely enough)...
Axiom Test Equipment, an electronic test
equipment rental and sales company, has published a new blog post entitled "Create
Complex Signals for Next-Generation Testing" that informs people on how to select
the best signal source for a job. A suitable test signal source should provide signals
with accurate, repeatable characteristics that can properly exercise the equipment
under test (EUT), such as an amplifier, antenna, or filter. Depending upon what
is being tested, the requirements for the test signals will differ, such as frequency
and power levels. Signals are generated in different forms, including continuous
wave (CW), pulsed, and differential pairs that form phase-modulated signals...
This is pretty cool. If I owned a good receiver
(which I don't), I would definitely give it a try. In 1970 when this Popular
Electronics article was written, a lot of Hams were still using tube receivers
so the recommendation to let the equipment warm up for several hours prior to making
the fine frequency adjustments was good advice. Nowadays the warm-up time and stability
of receivers should permit 30 minutes or so to suffice (even ovenized frequency
references need time to stabilize when first powered up). Unless I missed it, the
author does not explicitly state that the
frequency change measured over time is due to gravity acting on the mass of
the crystal reference, but I suspect that is his intention since part of the experiment
involves disconnecting the antenna and shielding the receiver from outside interferers.
Over a lunar month period (29.5 days) we experience a leap tide and a neap tide...
Artech House has released a new book by well-known
author David L. Adamy entitled "EW
105 - Space Electronic Warfare." There is increasing interest in Electronic
Warfare in Space because of the strategic advantages that satellites offer. Because
of their elevated positions, they can see a great distance, and they can remain
operational for extended periods. Although satellites can be attacked kinetically,
it is a great deal of trouble to do so – they are small and far away. This makes
them valuable as electronic warfare platforms. A disadvantage of satellites is that
they are in general unmanned. This means that communication with a satellite requires
an electro-magnetic link which is vulnerable to enemy countermeasures. Another disadvantage
of a satellite is that it cannot be easily steered to an optimum location...
Website visitor Kurt S. let me know about
a PBS show entitled "The Great
Electric Airplane Race," which first aired on May 26th. It covers a wide range
of developments on electric aircraft - from early stages of development to models
in or near the commercial production stage. Ingenuity and commitment amongst participants
is amazing. The state of the art of electric motors and controllers has advanced
significantly in the last two decades to the point where is seems there is not room
for much more in that realm. Aircraft structures are necessarily incredibly lightweight
and strong. The Achilles Heel of the effort is battery weight, bulk, and safety.
Pointed out in the show is how a long distance airliner would require more than
100x the weight of jet fuel in equivalent batteries, and then they wouldn't fit.
We (they, actually) will eventually get there, but some radically new type of energy
storage will be needed.
Cafe's raison d'être is and always has been to provide useful, quality content for
engineers, technicians, engineering managers, students, and hobbyists. Part of that
mission is offering to post applicable job openings. HR department employees and/or managers of hiring
companies are welcome to submit opportunities for posting at no charge. 3rd party
recruiters and temp agencies are not included so as to assure a high quality of
listings. Please read through the easy procedure to benefit from RF Cafe's high
Copper Mountain Technologies develops innovative
and robust RF test and measurement solutions for engineers all over the world. Copper
Mountain's extensive line of unique form factor
Network Analyzers include an RF measurement module and a software application
which runs on any Windows PC, laptop or tablet, connecting to the measurement hardware
via USB interface. The result is a lower cost, faster, more effective test process
that fits into the modern workspace in lab, production, field and secure testing
Tuesday the 1st
Often when posting this kind of circuit design
and/or analysis article from a vintage electronics magazine like Radio-Craft
I point out that except for biasing voltage and resistor values, most can conceptually
be applied to solid state circuits by substituting semiconductor junction diodes
for tube diodes and field effect transistors for tube triodes, tetrodes, and pentodes.
In some cases solid state diodes can be directly substituted if the voltage, current,
and power handling is sufficient. Many examples of using diodes as voltage limiting
devices for the purpose of signal rectification, for leveling, and for protection
against an overvoltage condition. Signal detection is another common use for diodes,
but that is not covered here. As a visual aid, I created the graphic above to show
how you can replace the vacuum tube with a semiconductor diode...
Ingenuity helicopter safely landed after wobbling, suffering power spikes, and
enduring velocity fluctuations on its sixth flight at Mars, officials said Wednesday.
The helicopter took off May 22 on its sixth automated flight and completed the first
leg of a planned 705-foot excursion without a hitch. But Ingenuity started tilting
back and forth in an oscillating pattern, encountering roll and pitch excursions
of more than 20 degrees, registering large control inputs, and suffered spikes in
power consumption, according to Havard Grip, the helicopter's chief pilot at NASA's
Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. Ingenuity overcame the glitch, which engineers
With more than 1000
custom-built stencils, this has got to be the most comprehensive set of
Visio Stencils available for RF, analog, and digital system and schematic
drawings! Every object has been built to fit proportionally on the provided
A-, B- and C-size drawing page templates (or can use your own). Stencils are provided
for equipment racks and test equipment, system block diagrams, conceptual drawings,
and schematics. Unlike previous versions, these are NOT Stencils, but instead are
all contained on tabbed pages within a single Visio document. That puts everything
in front of you in its full glory. Just copy and paste what you need on your drawing.
The file format is XML so everything plays nicely with Visio 2013 and later...
Alaska and Hawaii were added to the Union
as the 49th and 50th states, respectively, in 1959. Prior to that time, both were
referred to as possessions or territories. This story from a 1957 edition of
Radio & Television News refers to Bell Telephone Systems and the U.S. Army
Signal Corps laying the first cable for opening commercial telephone service between
Port Angeles (near Seattle), Washington, and Ketchikan, Territory of Alaska. The
submarine cable carried 36 circuits, and took 2 years to install at a cost of
$20 million ($192 million in 2021 money). Work conditions for crews were nowhere
near as accommodating or protected against accidents as they are today. As with
so many things, our forebears sacrificed life and limb, literally, to bring us to
the comfortable existence we enjoy today...
Clive "Max" Maxfield has a really interesting
article on the Design News website entitled, "How
Are Resistor Values Like French Army Hot Air Balloons from the 1800s?" He tells
the story of how in 1877, a French military engineer named Charles Renard solved
the problem of the military needing to consolidate the numbers of rope sizes being
used for tethering reconnaissance balloons. The same principle was eventually applied
to standardizing resistor sizes for all the tolerance ranges (1%, 5%, 10%, etc.).
The standard resistor
value stuff has been on RF Cafe for years, but the rope saga is new information
Atenlab has been operating in Taiwan for
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Holistic, affordable Over-the-Air
(OTA) measurement systems perform comprehensive measurement and test in a controlled
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multiple systems - 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G - and major instrument brands. [M]ulti-probe OTA
measurement systems offer reduced time measurements over single-probe systems.