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Electronic Video Recording | Color TV

Electronic Video Recording | Color TV, February 1969 Radio-Electronics - RF CafeIn the pre-VHS era, companies were vying to create and set standards for the home-based video recording and playback industry. The same sort of scenario played out over color television standards a decade earlier, and over B&W television a couple decades before that. Such battles for dominance in emerging technologies were not new, and continue into the current time. Various schemes for Electronic Video Recording systems were being used by commercial media, but creating devices affordable to Harry and Harriet Homeowner was a challenge. Betamax, produced by Sony, hit the store shelves in 1975, then VHS a year later. A sort of 8-track vs. compact cassette battle ensued, but VHS clearly emerged as the winner - followed by DVD and Blu-ray. Also reported was the world's most expensive - and feature-filled - color TV, built by Philips, that was "more computer than television," being able to operate on eleven different modulation standards...

Carbon Nanotube Wiring on Plastic Films

Carbon Nanotube Wiring on Plastic Films - RF Cafe"Researchers at Tokyo University of Science have proposed a novel method to fabricate multi-walled carbon nanotube (MWNT) wiring on a plastic film under ambient conditions using a low-cost laser. The properties of Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) include high strength, low weight, and excellent thermal and electrical conductivities. This makes them suitable materials for applications including reinforcement materials, energy storage and conversion devices, and electronics. Despite their potential, it has proven challenging to incorporate them onto plastic substrates for fabricating flexible CNT-based devices. The breakthrough from Japan involves coating a polypropylene (PP) film with an MWNT film about 10μm thick and then exposing it to a mW UV laser. The result is a conductive wiring made of a combination of MWNT and PP. The research is detailed in Scientific Reports. This process enables the easy 'drawing' of wiring and flexible devices for wearable sensors without the need for complex processes..."

Belmont Model 5D128 Tabletop Radio

Belmont Model 5D128 Tabletop Radio, November 1946 Radio News - RF CafeThe Belmont model 5D128 was a compact, inexpensive tabletop AM radio set. A schematic and parts list for is appeared in the November 1946 issue of Radio News magazine. There are still many people who restore and service these vintage radios, and often it can be difficult or impossible to find schematics and/or tuning information, so I keep scan and post them whenever they appear in magazines which I own. While researching the Belmont 5D128 tabletop radio, I ran across an excellent video created by Mr. Paul Carson, as part of his Mr. Carlson's Lab series (note how the setting looks like he's in the ISS). Here is a great video of Mr. Carlson troubleshooting an intermittent noise problem in a receiver. That "Carlson RF SuperProbe" he is using looks like a must-have piece of test equipment The Belmont 5D128 was rebranded by other companies such as Airline, Coronado, Lafayette...

IPP-5014, 30-1000 MHz Transformer

Innovative Power Products IPP-5014, 30-1000 MHz Transformer - RF CafeInnovative Power Products (IPP), with more than 30 years of experience designing & manufacturing RF & microwave passive components, Innovative Power Products introduces our model IPP-5014, a 100 watt surface mount single-ended transformer that operates from 30 to 1000 MHz. The IPP-5014 is a single-ended impedance transformer that operates from 30 to 1000 MHz with a 4:1 transformation ratio and 100 watt average power rating. The IPP-5014 transforms impedance from 50 ohms at J1 to 12.5 ohms at J2. The insertion loss is less than 0.75 dB from 30-50 MHz and less than 0.60 dB from 50-1000 MHz. The VSWR is less than 1.43:1. Single-Ended Transformers are used to match devices of differing impedances. Innovative Power Products can also customize our single-ended transformers to fit your project...

National Company: TMS Condensers

National Company Ad: TMS Condensers, March 1939 QST - RF CafeNational Company, an early manufacturer of electronics components for radio products, ran a series of unique advertisements in the ARRL's QST magazine. Rather than using precious cash for directly promoting specific products or product lines, company president John Millen occupied full pages with text explaining why it makes the things it does and how they can be used to solve problems or enhance performance. This article/ad on TMS condensers (aka variable capacitors) was number 61 in the series, which means if they printed one every preceding month, the first would have appeared in the March 1934 issue of QST...

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 (ASC) for Continuing 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.

Electronics News Briefs

News Briefs, April 1960 Radio-Electronics - RF CafeLots of interesting topics were reported in News Briefs from the April 1960 issue of Radio-Electronics magazine. One that is relevant even today is the assigning of new numeric prefixes tera for a trillion; giga for a billion; nano for a billionth, and pica for a trillionth. If you have read vintage science and engineering publications, you know that, for instance, what is now called pica (a la pF, 10-12) used to be written as micromicro (a la μμF, 10-6x10-6 = 10-12). Here is an example of μμF being used. Less commonly seen was something like millimicroamperes, which is 10-3x10-6 = 10-9, now known as a nanoamperes, nA. A new television picture tube which used a solid state electron emitter in place of a heated cathode was announced for portable TVs, potentially doubling battery life. Did you know that in 1960, the South African government felt that TV would be detrimental to children and "the less developed races," thereby justifying its anti-TV policies? Following on the results of the International Geophysical Year (IGY) discoveries, atmospheric ducts for radio signal transmission propagation were being found worldwide...

Accurate Multi-Channel Radar Signal Generation

Phase and Timing-Accurate Multi-Channel Radar Signal Generation - RF CafeEngineers at Berkeley Nucleonics Corporation (BNC) and AnaPico teamed up to write a paper entitled "Phase and Timing-Accurate Multi-Channel Radar Signal Generation." It begins: "Engineers testing radar require the ability to generate multi-pulse streams with each pulse supporting dozens of parameters such as frequency, amplitude, phase, pulse width, time position and intrapulse modulation or chirping. Table 1 summarizes the typical parameter set describing a single radar pulse, known as a pulse descriptor word (PDW). A list of PDWs will fully describe a radar pulse stream. Multi-patch radar antenna arrays require additional parameters for full characterization. For these arrays, inter-channel phase coherence, which addresses relative phase stability becomes important. Phase-coherent switching, where the relative phase between channels is stored in memory and inter-channel timing accuracy are also critical parameters..." A version of this article also appears on the MWJ website.

General Electric Germanium Transistors

General Electric Germanium Transistor Advertisement, November 1953 QST - RF Cafe"If you're not using transistors already, chances are you'll consider them for amplifiers and oscillators in future circuits." So says the line in an advertisement for General Electric vacuum-sealed transistors in a 1953 edition of QST magazine. To say the claim was prescient is an understatement. A lot of people resisted the switch to transistors for many years - especially hobbyists who had grown accustomed to working with vacuum tubes. Maybe GE figured pitching the newfangled devices as being "vacuum-sealed" would help the hardliners soften their opposition to them. Not mentioned in the ad is that these three transistors - the 2N43, 2N44, and 2N45 - are all germanium-based. It wasn't until May of 1954 that Texas Instruments (TI) announced the commercial availability of grown-junction silicon transistors...

When Your Phone Is Spying on You

When Your Phone Is Spying on You - RF Cafe"Smartphone spyware apps that allow people to spy on each other are not only hard to notice and detect, they also will easily leak the sensitive personal information they collect, says a team of computer scientists from New York and San Diego. While publicly marketed as tools to monitor underage children and employees using their employer's equipment, spyware apps are also frequently used by abusers to covertly spy on a spouse or a partner. These apps require little to no technical expertise from the abusers; offer detailed installation instructions; and only need temporary access to a victim's device. After installation, they covertly record the victim's device activities - including any text messages, emails, photos, or voice calls - and allow abusers to remotely review..."

Galvin Motorola Model 61 Automotive Receiver

Galvin Motorola Model 61 Automotive Receiver, October 1932 Radio-Craft - RF CafeWhat the heck is an Elkonode? That was my response to its mention in this Radio Service Data Sheet for the Galvin Motorola Model 61 Automotive Receiver. The Mallory-Elkon Elkonode was an electromechanical vibrator device for DC-DC conversion. An oscillating circuit opened and closed a set of contacts being fed with the automobile's DC supply, thereby creating a chopped waveform which was applied to a step-up transformer, then rectified and filtered to provide the high plate voltage for the radio's vacuum tubes. A Google search turned up a datasheet on the Mallory Elkonode. Per the info, "The series 60, 70, and 80 Mallory Elkonodes are described as single-reed, full-wave inverters, with self-contained synchronous rectifiers. These units within themselves supply direct current, high voltage for radio receiver plate supply. No tube rectifiers are required with these types." This 1932 Radio−Craft magazine article recommends against attempting self-repair of Elkonodes (aka interrupters), so restoration buffs will appreciate the instructions offered in the datasheet...

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!

Thanks to PCB Directory for Continued Support!

PCB  Directory - RF CafeThe leading website for the PCB industry. PCB Directory is the largest directory of Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Manufacturers, Assembly houses, and Design Services on the Internet. We have listed the leading printed circuit board manufacturers around the world and made them searchable by their capabilities - Number of laminates used, Board thicknesses supported, Number of layers supported, Types of substrates (FR-4, Rogers, flexible, rigid), Geographical location (U.S., China), kinds of services (manufacturing, fabrication, assembly, prototype), and more. Fast turn-around on quotations for PCB fabrication and assembly.

What Happened at Oslo? Color TV

What Happened at Oslo?, January 1967 Radio-Electronics - RF CafeIt is kind of hard to believe that even by 1966, when the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) met in Oslo, Norway, that the world had not yet agreed in a common transmission standard for color television. In January of 1967, Radio−Electronics magazine editor Thomas Hasket interviewed two major players in the industry, George Brown of Radio Corporation of America (RCA), and Frederick M. Remley, Jr. of Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), regarding the stalemate that was unarguably hampering the ramping up of color television set production. Consumers were pining for them, but companies hesitated to invest engineering and manufacturing resources when they couldn't be sure it would not be thwarted by a change in the modulation scheme. A battle was being waged between the U.S. NTSC standard and the European PAL system (and SÉCAM to a lesser sense). Both had strengths and weaknesses, but history has shown, NTSC ultimately won. Possibly due to the impasse, color TV sales in America did not surpass B&W sales until the early 1970s...

Anatech Electronics March 2023 Newsletter

Anatech Electronics March 2023 Newsletter - RF CafeSam Benzacar of Anatech Electronics, an RF and microwave filter company, has published his March 2023 newsletter that features his short op−ed entitled "Healthcare Industry IoT Security Under Threat," which discusses some of the issues compromising not just healthcare privacy, but the whole Internet of Things (IoT) effort. The fact is your healthcare records have been anything but secure and private for a long time. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), which is responsible for the glass or Plexiglas barriers with the small transaction opening installed at the reception desks at doctor and dentist offices, was supposed to make people feel that their medical history was being protected against prying eyes, physically and digitally. That has been as effective as requiring everyone to wear a cloth facemask to protect them against a virus. My guess is that nearly every form of personal information is available on the black market from databases breached by not just outside black-hat operators, but by government and private corporate employees seeking financial payouts. Information fences are fairly easily contacted if you seek such information. Consider how prolifically your e-mail and other non-medical information is made available to concerns with enough money to buy it...

Electronics Themed Comics

Electronics Themed Comics, March 1948 Radio-Craft - RF CafeHere are a four more technology-related comics from magazines of the days of yore, this time from a 1948 edition of Radio-Craft magazine. Readers would submit ideas for funnies and then artist Frank Beaven would draw the comics. The page 37 comic is an example. Evidently E.R. Donohue, of Walla Walla, Washington, had issues with his phonograph featuring a record changer mechanism. My interest in rockets makes me really appreciate the page 82 comic with the missile's flight being affected by the musical "interference." In the early days of remote control, audio tones modulated onto a carrier commanded tuning-fork-like (tuned) "reeds," which acted as channel filters for separating and directing signals, in the airborne receiver section to control surface actuators (see video). It is rare to find a comic in a technical or hobby magazine these days. I don't know why that is...

Making Money in Radio - Still Possible?

Making Money in Radio (Bob Davis) - RF CafeMike Simpson homebrew replacement electrolytic capacitor - RF CafeLong-time RF Cafe contributor Bob Davis sent me a link to this very interesting and entertaining story of one man's journey (Mr. Mike Simpson) in his effort to determine whether "Making Money in Radio" is still as guaranteed as the vintage electronics magazine advertisements enthusiastically asserted. To find out, he, researched and purchased a couple vacuum tube radios, then restored them to fine quality, and then put them up for sale on eBay. In some cases minor component replacement or repair was required. Calculations were then made of an estimated effective hourly wage for the effort. The result may (or may not) surprise you. As you will see on his "Analog Dial" website, Mike has collected and restored many old radios, both production models, kits from the era, and homebrew radios. BTW, notice in the photos that he's a model rocketeer as well. A bit of good humor is mixed in with the stories and descriptions. Enjoy!

Battery Types and Their Characteristics

Battery Types and Their Characteristics, April 1973 Popular Electronics - RF CafeAccording to Samuel Milbourne's "Battery Types and Their Characteristics" article in Popular Electronics magazine, in 1973 there were about 400 different battery types to choose from when deciding what to buy for your automobile, electronic device, uninterruptible power supply, flashlight, etc. I don't know what the number of types is today, but it must be in the thousands. Nominal voltage, case size and shape, energy capacity (amp-hour rating), current delivery capacity ("C" rating), environmental accommodation, connection type (contact, solder, screw-on, or push-on terminals), chemistry, number of recharge cycles (for secondary batteries), and a host of other choices are available nowadays. Every time I need to order a new Li-Po battery pack for a model airplane or helicopter, I spend quite a bit of time searching through mAh versus weight and physical size specifications to identify the best - and most affordable - option. There will never be a one-size-fits-all battery. If you are interested in vintage batteries...

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...

Please Visit Empower RF's Website in Appreciation of Their Support

Empower RF Systems - RF CafeEmpower RF Systems is the technological leader in RF & microwave power amplifier solutions for EW, Radar, Satcom, Threat Simulation, Communications, and Product Testing. Our air and liquid cooled amplifiers incorporate the latest semiconductor and power combining technologies and with a patented architecture we build the most sophisticated and flexible COTS system amplifiers in the world. Solutions range from tens of watts to hundreds of kilowatts and includes basic PA modules to scalable rack systems.

Inventors of Radio - Thomas A. Edison

Inventors of Radio - Thomas A. Edison, April 1960 Radio-Electronics - RF CafeUpsetters of apple carts, rockers of boats, makers of waves, creators of stirs. All idiomatically describe actions of those who commit the transgression of challenging accepted norms. There is always someone claiming to have discovered the "truth" about one subject or another. In the world of technology, most often the object of contestation is which person was the "first" to have discovered, written, or performed something. Here in this 1960 issue of Radio−Electronics magazine, Mr. Leslie asserts that Thomas Alva Edison actually made the world's first radio broadcast, not Guglielmo Marconi. For some reason the image of Edison's "Means for Transmitting Signals Electrically" patent omitted the ships at sea overtop of the antenna structures, which seem to me to be critical in portraying the "wireless" nature of the invention. His creative "spark" was motivated by observation of a powerful spark and noting, "seemed so strong that it struck us forcibly there might be something more than induction." Edward H. Loftin claims the credit goes to Lt.-Commander Edward H. Loftin, U.S. Navy...

Odes on Technology

Poems Odes on Technology, Kirt's Cogitations #351 - RF CafeOpenAI (ChatGPT) founder Greg Brockman, recently produced a video introducing some of the improvements and new features of GPT−4 (current public version is GPT−3.5). One thing he did was ask the AI machine for a single sentence summary using only words beginning with the letter "g." GPT−3.5 failed miserably, but GPT−4 succeeded. It even did a sentence using only words beginning with the letter "q." He also had GPT−4 create a poem about the tax preparation capability of ChatGPT (itself an impressive act). A few of the vintage issues of Popular Electronics and the ARRL's monthly QST magazine contained electronics-related poems submitted by readers (see "Unpopular Radio," and "Pre-Radio," et al). Some are pretty clever. It takes some cogitation, skill, and creative ability to come up with a rhyming poem on a technical subject like amateur radio. Since I am in insufficient possession of the aforementioned qualities, I decided to task ChatGPT to create a few topical poems for me. Is this amazing, or what? Be sure to see "Ode on Rhode & Schwarz" and...

How to Avoid Workbench Hazards

How to Avoid Workbench Hazards, September 1973 Popular Electronics - RF CafeCommon sense never goes out of style, especially as it pertains to safety in the presence of electricity. Most people who have worked in the electrical / electronics realm for a while are aware that lethal electrocution can occur with currents as low as 100 mA when it passes through the heart. Lower values cause progressively less profound maladies, but in practice any level of current great enough to be felt is not a good thing. I have written before about having received a few pretty scary shocks when working on high voltage equipment and many lesser jolts throughout my 50± years of exposure. Other than observing my father's being leery of using of anything with an electric cord attached to it, my first formal instruction about electrical safety was in my vocational classes in high school. Instructor Russ Lorenzen taught us to keep one hand in our pockets when working on live circuits, which of course was only to be done under the rare circumstance when it is not possible to first turn power off. In practice that often meant when doing so would be more inconvenient than the calculated risk of electrocution. Seriously, though...

Visions of 1946

Visions of 1946, December 1936, Radio-Craft - RF CafeDecember is traditionally the issue for magazines to sum up accomplishments of the ending year and make predictions for the next year. Radio-Craft magazine was no exception, but in 1936 they went ten steps farther and prognosticated a decade into the future - all the way to 1946! It is actually a tongue-in-cheek reprint from Pathe News magazine. However, note the drawing of 'professor teaches 2 million pupils,' where he is instructing via television and the railroad company boss checking in on the conductors en route via wireless teleconferencing. It might have seemed like a pipe dream in 1936, but now it is commonplace. Not only do we now have live classroom broadcasts, but millions of YouTube videos of instruction for performing just about every task and teaching every subject imaginable...

Please see the RF Cafe Homepage Archives for previous items of interest...

Triad RF Systems Amplifiers - RF Cafe
Innovative Power Products Passive RF Products - RF Cafe
ConductRF Phased Matched RF Cables - RF Cafe
withwave microwave devices - RF Cafe

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About RF Cafe

Kirt Blattenberger - RF Cafe Webmaster

Copyright: 1996 - 2024


    Kirt Blattenberger,


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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