Today in Science History -
Electronica 2018 is just a month away, it being
held in Munich, Germany, on November 13th through 16th. It is held every two years at
the Messe München trade-fair center. You would be forgiven for believing that because
the show has always been based in Germany that it was a German nation brainchild. However,
based on the article in a 1964 issue of Electronics magazine - the first year
of Electronica - its progenitor was the American trade group International Electronics
Association (IEA - no longer in operation). Its founders wanted to usurp France's Salle
de Composants as Europe's largest components trade show. And now you know... the rest
of the story, as Paul Harvey would end his broadcast. Strong opposition was provided
by Germany's Central Association of the Electro-Technical Industry (ZVEI - still in operation today).
In the pre-Internet world, getting the word out - especially in other countries - about
a company's new product offerings
"Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence.
Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will
not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of
educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'Press
On' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race. " -
30th president of the United States of America. Thanks to Ted Beck for sending it to me.
This headline about an
artificial moon immediately smelled like fake news to me - which
means a typical science-challenged reporter would buy it without question hook, line,
and sinker. It doesn't occur to the writer that in order for the scheme to work, the
satellite would need to be in geostationary orbit, 33,200 miles above the Earth.
That's a long way with a lot of light level attenuation before even entering the
densest part of the atmosphere near the surface. Scattering and dispersion would make
focusing a light beam on a particular area with enough intensity to be useful would
be impossible - especially in China's smog-filled cities. I've got a call in to the
reporter with an offer to sell him / her the Brooklyn Bridge at a good price ...
Triad RF Systems has shipped their latest
L-Band DUAL Bi-Directional Amplifier (BDA), the TTRM1081D. This unit is compatible
with all military and commercial radios and provides over 25 W of RF power across
1.3 to 1.4 GHz. Made specifically for MIMO radios, providing 2 radio and 2 antenna
ports, each providing 5 W of 64 QAM power or 20 W of BPSK power. The BDA
operates off a single +28 V supply and provides 25 dB of TX gain and 11 dB
of RX gain in both channels. It is available with automatic or manual switching, depending
on the radio system ...
In 1970, engineers at the Hamilton Watch Company
introduced the world's first solid state electronic digital watch called the
Pulsar Time Computer. It went on sale commercially two years later, just a few months
after this article appeared in the December 1971 issue of Popular Electronics
magazine. Motorola created this "$25,000 Sundial," which represents the research and
development cost of the LED clock display that the company predicted would one day lead
to an inexpensive wristwatch. Maybe they hadn't seen the The Tonight Show show
where it made its debut in 1970. The Pulsar Big Time watch retailed for $295 in 1972,
which in 2018 is the equivalent of $1,777 (per the BLS Inflation Calculator). That's
about three times the cost of the top end Series 4 Apple Watch today, and all the Pulsar
watch could do was tell time ...
Mountain Technologies develops innovative and robust RF test and measurement solutions
for engineers all over the world. Copper Mountain's extensive line of unique form factor
Vector Network Analyzers
include an RF measurement module and a software application which runs on any Windows
PC, laptop or tablet, connecting to the measurement hardware via USB interface. The result
is a lower cost, faster, more effective test process that fits into the modern workspace
in lab, production, field and secure testing environments ...
"Researchers at the Ångström Laboratory, are working
on a way towards enhancing RF amplifiers to make them more affordable, efficient and
accessible for medical applications like cancer diagnosis. With the upgraded technology,
the cost of maintenance and operation of these amplifiers can be reduced significantly.
This research is being carried out under the EU project
ENEFRF. Dragos Dancila at the Division of Solid State Electronics
and FREIA is heading the Eurostars project ENEFRF. The plan is to develop radio-frequency
amplifiers for new cyclotrons in collaboration with GE Healthcare ..."
Mr. Glen Robb, owner of
Antenna Test Lab, has an article in the October 2018 issue of
Microwaves & RF magazine titled, "Assemble
Antennas with 3D Printing. Says Rob, "Three-dimensional printers working with plastic
materials can create the foundations that are then spray-painted with metallic coatings
to form high-frequency RF / microwave antennas. Antennas are RF / microwave components
that lend themselves to 3D printing, especially with the large volumes, miniaturization,
and repeatability required for antennas in many mobile applications. Certainly, design
engineers have considered the possibility of printing different types of miniature RF/microwave
antennas. However, they may have wondered about how the performance of these printed
antennas might compare to traditionally manufactured ..."
If - and that's a big "if" - you can find a hobby
shop today, it is still a great source of tools and materials for building electronics
projects. Just as the convenience, vast selection of products, and competitive prices
of the Internet has been killing all sorts of brick and mortar stores since the early
local hobby shops (LHS's) have all but disappeared from most towns. There are still
a handful of full-featured, well-stocked hobby shops to be found, but they are rare anymore.
A lot of the small hobby-type hand tools (X-acto knives and saws, Dremel tools &
bits) can be bought in home improvement stores, and the large craft stores often carry
balsa, aircraft plywood, poplar wood, small gauge brass and aluminum tubing and sheets,
plastic models and paint, and Estes rockets ...
Anatech Electronics offers the industry's largest
portfolio of high-performance standard and customized
RF and microwave filters and filter-related products for military, commercial, aerospace
and defense, and industrial applications up to 40 GHz. Anatech has introduced three
new filter designs: a surface-mount 45 MHz IF SAW filter with a 10 MHz bandwidth;
a surface-mount 2050 ceramic bandpass filter with a 900 MHz bandwidth; and a 2037.5 MHz
cavity bandpass filter with a 12 MHz bandwidth and SMA connectors. Custom RF filters
designs are used when a standard cannot be found, or the requirements are such that a
custom approach is necessary ...
Concentric Technology Solutions is your one stop
source for RF shield boxes,
RF enclosures, Bluetooth testers, WiMax testers, RFID testers and RF power amplifiers.
CTS can supply off-the-shelf or custom products for your testing needs requiring maximum
RF shielding in order to produce repeatable results in laboratory and production environments.
Manual and pneumatic operation is available. TEM cells, glove boxes, forensic enclosures,
and special purpose per your requirements.
"Harris Corporation and L3 Technologies have agreed
to merge in an all-stock deal of equals to create a global defense technology leader,
focused on developing differentiated and mission-critical solutions for customers around
the world. Under the terms of the merger agreement, which was unanimously approved by
the boards of directors of both companies, L3 shareholders will receive a fixed exchange
ratio of 1.30 shares of Harris common stock for each share of L3 common stock, consistent
with the 60-trading day average exchange ratio of the two companies. The combined company, L3 Harris Technologies, Inc., will be the 6th largest defense company
in the U.S. and a top 10 defense company globally, with approximately 48,000 employees ..."
Most people have heard of the incredibly accurate
Norden bombsight that was credited for revolutionizing accuracy of heavy bombers like
B-17s, B-25s, and B-29s. It was an electromechanical device that took bombardier inputs
of altitude, airspeed, heading, and wind speed and direction, then calculated the impact
point of the bomb. An accuracy of 75 feet was claimed under ideal conditions - provided
by a mechanical computing device. By 1956 when this article was published, the Norden
had been replaced by radar-integrated bombing systems. Additionally,
ground-based radar measurement systems were
Here is why government control over the U.S. taxpayer-funded
development of the Internet should not be ceded - it makes us vulnerable to the whims
of a few megalomaniac chieftains. "Don't expect Amazon to follow Google's lead when it
comes to working with the
U.S. Department of Defense. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos made a surprise
appearance at the Wired 25 conference in San Francisco on Monday. In light of Google's
decision last week to pull out of a bid for the DoD's JEDI cloud computing project, he
was asked about his philosophy in regard to big tech companies working with government.
'We are going to continue to support the DoD, and I think we should,' Bezos said ..."
5G Brings New RF Challenges for Handsets
Open your smartphone and count the antennas within.
They take on many form factors and are often multi-band, making it difficult for the
untrained eye to discern the implementation. It is a true wonder of antenna engineering.
Factor in that they have to work regardless of whether being held in a hand, pressed
between a shoulder and ear, or sitting in a pocket or handbag. Genius is at work there.
I remember during my reverse engineering days when there were maybe three antennas in
a handset. Take a look at the block diagram in this "5G Brings New RF Challenges for Handsets" MWJ article by
Ben Thomas of Qorvo and note the 8 antennas depicted. How many people can pull off such
a challenge? Beyond that there is RF signal switching and isolation, analog and digital
processing, filtering, AGC, ALC, and other tasks ...
Just to remind you that patent laws are continually
being monkeyed with by lawmakers and challenged in court by litigants, here is a news
item from a 1965 issue of Electronics magazine reporting on a Supreme Court
case brought by Hazeltine Research regarding their
patent application for a microwave switch. Evidently over time the Supreme Court
had been raising the bar on patent filings by requiring a higher degree of uniqueness
for new inventions. The 1952 U.S. Patent Act, enacted by the U.S. Congress, simplified
the terms of claims for new patents, thus making them easier to obtain, but according
to critics, making new patents less valuable in the process. Now (in 1965), the Supreme
court was moving itself back to ward the pre-1952 criteria. Judicial activism, anyone ...
ERZIA serves critical aerospace and defense missions
by designing and manufacturing RF, microwave, and mm-wave
amplifiers, integrated assemblies operating from low frequencies up to 100 GHz,
and by providing high reliable satellite communications. The company was founded in 2002
to become a worldwide reference of advanced engineering, performance, reliability and
ruggedness. Their catalogue of standard amplifier modules comprises more than 100 different
models, having also a high capacity of customization for amplifiers and integrated assemblies.
Some of products have space heritage and are used in aerospace, commercial, military
and scientific systems, having a wide range of final applications ...
"Telrad Networks has announced the release of
MU-MIMO technology after completing a successful trial. The new technology
is set to help operators increase capacity in a network by up to 70%, and thereby increasing
subscriber connectivity rates. The new feature was tested in the trial by long-term customer
Seaside Wireless Communications, a Canadian Wireless Internet Service Provider located
in Nova Scotia. The company in recent times has been able to double its spectral efficiency
during this trial, which meant they could add subscribers to their network within the
current spectrum they already utilize. The new feature falls into an overall strategy
by the company to increase capacity ..."
The lesson learnt (or learned) by Barney in this
Mac's Radio Service Shop saga is one that he has learned (or learnt) before, if you
are an regular reader of the feature. As always, the story is a combination docudrama
and tutorial concerned with troubleshooting, handing customers, giving air to some newfangled
device, or instruction on circuit theory. Proprietor Mac McGregor is usually the teacher
and Barney the pupil, but on rare occasions the roles are reversed. As you will see in
this episode, radio and television set designers ginned up all kinds of ways to accomplish
the same end objective - whether to avoid patent infringements or preferred exercising
of creativity - and the nuances between them could cause no end of frustration to even
highly trained and experienced troubleshooters ...
SAW and BAW devices have been around for many
decades. They have not always been inexpensive commodities during that time, however.
When I first entered the defense electronics realm as an engineer in the late 1980's,
a SAW filter in the 70 MHz band (common for IF's in the day) could easily cost $20
in volume quantities. They had high insertion losses and did not handle much power. Now,
of course, SAW's are dirt cheap and have much better performance. This article titled,
"SAW/BAW New Market Entrants Offer New Approaches," which appears in the October issue
of Microwave Journal, reports on some new techniques being utilized by vendors ...
PierCon Solutions, a solid, tenured, and proven
wireless consulting and engineering firm, is in need of an experienced
RF Engineer. Based
in Lincoln Park, NJ, PierCon is dedicated to providing world-class engineering and consulting
services to our customers. PierCon is a recognized leader in the wireless designs of
in-building coverage, Broadband, WiMAX/LTE, Microwave, Cellular, Public Safety, Interoperability,
PCS, iDEN (ESMR), In-Building First Responder and In-Building cellular and WiFi, and
interference mitigation. In this RF Engineer position you will routinely assists in zoning
and testimony preparation by creating maps, summary sheets and zoning exhibits using
information collected from the Client. Occasionally performs testing of new and existing
cell sites test equipment. Supports investigation ...