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"I wonder sometimes if manufacturers of foolproof items keep a fool or two on their payroll to test things." - Alan Coren

Today in Science History

Growth in Rad-Hard and Small Sat Space Electronics Market

Growth in Rad-Hard and Small Sat Space Electronics Market - RF Cafe"Demand for radiation-hardened electronics for space applications continues to grow, with opportunities in traditional rad-hard spacecraft, as well as for radiation-tolerant small satellites, industry experts say. Electronic component suppliers for space applications find themselves serving two distinctly different market segments today, say company officials this week at the IEEE Nuclear and Space Radiation Effects Conference in New Orleans. The first rad-hard market segment is the traditional QML-V, in which ..."

MIA: The Other Half of the Antenna and Cable Loss Equation

The Other Half of the Antenna and Cable Loss Equation, Kirt's Cogitation #288 - RF CafeFor some inexplicable reason, it seems that most of the articles I read dealing with antenna and feedline efficiencies do not address the receive side of the equation. Yes, transmit power is expensive and there is a legitimate reason to reduce losses when converting power amplifier output to in-the-air power, especially for DX operations. However, it doesn't do much good to launch the full permissible 1,500 watts PEP and make a contact on the other side of the world if your system cannot receive a reply because of the excessive line loss and/or mismatch loss between your antenna and your receiver. Antennas and feedlines are reciprocal elements so if ...

Meshing with Bluetooth

Meshing with Bluetooth - RF Cafe"The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has released a standard for Bluetooth mesh networking. The mesh capability is based on Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) and utilizes the PHY and link layer for Bluetooth 4.x. So supporting it on existing hardware will typically be a matter of providing a suitable protocol stack and application support. For example, Silicon Labs' Bluetooth mesh stack builds on the existing Bluetooth link layer ..."

Engineering Career and Job Hunting Advice for July 2017

Engineering Career and Job Hunting Advice for July 2017 - RF CafeNo list of engineering job hunting and career issues is complete without an article on LinkedIn, so the obligatory bit of advice from one source is included. There is also a collection of recommendations gathered from the standard 'experts' (at least in their opinions) in the art of professional career enhancement counselors. I have to admit to being glad of now residing outside the realm of job hunting and its requisite machinations. After being self-employed for over a decade, it is hard to imagine needing to craft a resume and cover letter, or go on another interview. But, for those who do, happy hunting! ...

Phosphorous Tipped as 2D 5nm Transistor Material

Phosphorous Tipped as 2D 5nm Transistor Material - RF Cafe"Researchers from nanoelectronics research institute IMEC (Leuven, Belgium) have shown how to optimize field effect transistors based on 2D materials high performance logic beyond the 10nm node. The researchers worked with scientists from KU Leuven in Belgium and the University of Pisa in Italy and also presented guidelines on how to select 2D materials in a paper in Nature Scientific Reports. The benefit of 2D materials, such as graphene, is that they physically constrain electrons in the plane of the material while creating enhanced mobility in that plane ..."

Semiconductor Content of Systems to Hit Record High

Semiconductor Content of Systems to Hit Record High - RF Cafe"The semiconductor content of electronics systems is forecast to be 28.1% in 2017 breaking the previous record of 25.9% set in 2010, according to IC Insights. This is because while electronic system market growth will be just 2% to take the market to $1.49T the global semiconductor market is expected to surge by 15% in 2017 to $419.1B. IC Insights forecasts that the total semiconductor market will exceed $500B in 2021. The growth in global unit shipments of cellphones (0%), automobiles (2%), and PCs (-2%) forecast to be weak in 2017 ..."

Poll: How Much Vacation Do You Get Each Year?

Poll: How Much Vacation Do You Get Each Year? - RF CafePlease take a few moments and vote in this new poll. Thanks for your participation. - Kirt B.

Mac's Service Shop: Shelf Life of Capacitors & Batteries

Mac's Service Shop: Shelf Life of Capacitors & Batteries, August 1972 Popular Electronics - RF CafeOne of the first things a knowledgeable restorer of vintage electronic gear does prior to plugging in a newly acquired piece of hardware is to replace all of the original paper capacitors. Those things notoriously lose the internally contained smoke that makes them work soon after power is applied. Episodes of conflagration often ensue. According to Mac McGregor, the typical shelf life of a paper capacitor (and some mica and ceramics back in the day) is about five years. In that time the insulation resistance can drop from 5000 MΩ to less than 2 MΩ. Ohm's Law quickly reveals that with used across ...

Tips for Increasing Yields When Wire Bonding Small MESA Chips

Tips for Increasing Yields When Wire Bonding Small MESA Chips - RF CafeMany moons ago (early-mid 1980s), I did quite a bit of microcircuit assembly and wire bonding in an engineering prototype lab at Westinghouse. It was a unique and valuable experience. When this app note notice showed up in a recent edition of NASA tech Briefs, I though it would be good to let you know about. "The common failure modes of wire bonds, for instance cratering / peeling, bond wire damage, trailing wire bond tails, poor adhesion, and missed bond pads, are exacerbated when wire bonding small MESA chips. There are many variables that need to be balanced to optimize a wire bond process, and limit the amount of time consuming and costly ...""

Saelig Intros PicoVNA 106 Low-Cost Vector Network Analyzer

Saelig Intros PicoVNA 106 Low-Cost Vector Network Analyzer - RF CafeSaelig Company has introduced the Pico Technology PicoVNA 106 Low-Cost Vector Network Analyzer - an economical USB-controlled, professional-grade 300 kHz to 6 GHz Vector Network Analyzer (VNA) with excellent performance, portability, and affordability. Despite its small size and low cost, its full-function, minimal-error, 'Quad RX' four-receiver architecture supports both 8- and 12-term calibration without the uncorrectable switching errors, delays, and unreliability of traditional three-receiver designs. The instrument supports convenient calibration methods such as 'enhanced isolation correction' ...

Where the Jobs Are: 2017

Where the Jobs Are: 2017 - RF Cafe"Hot fields in the U.S. include embedded engineering, control engineering, and robotics. The key word used in describing electrical engineering job trends this year is 'high,' according to Angela Keller, vice president of recruiting at the U.S. recruiting firm Randstad Engineering: 'High growth, high salaries, high demand, high competition among hiring companies.' That competition is benefiting EEs, giving them both a plethora of choices and better entry-level paychecks. By the end of last year, fresh electrical engineering graduates in the United States earned salaries that averaged U.S. $73,078—nearly $5,500 more than the prior year ..."

Anatech Electronics Newsletter for July 2017

Anatech Electronics Newsletter for July 2017 - RF CafeAnatech Electronics, a manufacturer of RF and microwave filters, has published its July newsletter. As always, it includes both company news and some tidbits about relevant industry happenings. In it, Sam Benzacar discusses, among other topics, an apparent demise (or near demise) of the Commercial-Off-the-Shelf (COTS) component usage philosophy that once was a keystone in the Department of Defense's cost containment strategy. A telling chart illustrates the progressive decrease in COTS parts begin designed into defense systems. My guess is the same type of trend occurred in the aeronautics and space industries ..

25 Highest Paid Executives in Cable, Telecom & Wireless

25 Highest Paid Executives in Cable, Telecom & Wireless - RF CafePoor 'ol Marcelo Claure is at the bottom of the heap with a mere $7.5M for 2016, while Tim Cook received $145M. Google's Sundar Pachai topped the list with a cool $200M - not being evil pays well. "It's that time of year again when we sift through an avalanche of regulatory filings to find the highest paid executives. This year, we present the highest paid execs across pay TV, telecom and wireless as a unified list, since many of the names are prominent figures in all three industries. These figures are from last year, but are the most recent available. Click through the above slideshow to see the 25 highest paid executives ..."

Peregrine Intros High-Power Receiver Protection RF Switch

Peregrine Semiconductor Introduces High-Power Receiver Protection RF Switch - RF CafePeregrine Semiconductor, founder of RF SOI (silicon on insulator) and pioneer of advanced RF solutions, introduces the UltraCMOS® PE42823, a high-power receiver protection RF switch. Ideal for wireless infrastructure applications, this reflective switch is optimized for emerging radio architectures such as massive multiple input, multiple output (MIMO). The PE42823 delivers excellent single-event peak power handling, low power consumption and high linearity. Offered in a compact form factor, this high-power switch features built-in ESD protection—a key benefit for systems that ...

Improving Plug-In Coils

Improving Plug-In Coils, February 1935 Short Wave Craft - RF CafeBefore plug-in crystals were widely available for band selection on radios, LC tank circuits did all the frequency discrimination heavy lifting. Accordingly, owners often had a selection of swappable inductors on-hand to enable listening to a variety of shortwave transmissions. During the time period of this article in a 1935 Short Wave Craft magazine, new 'all wave' radios were hitting the showroom floors that largely mitigated the need for swapping components for ...

Thanks to BBTLine for Continued Support!

BBTLine - BroadBand Transmission Line Products - RF CafeBBTLine offers a unique patented combiner / splitter design that allows for more compact devices while maintaining low insertion loss, excellent return loss and excellent amplitude/phase balance. These are not standard Wilkinson-style RF splitters. 2- and 4-way, broadband 0.5 - 6 GHz, low loss (0.7 dB @ 6 GHz), excellent amplitude / θ balance (±0.1 dB, ±1°), surface mount & connectorized. Please visit BBTLine today to see how they can help your project ...

New Technique for Manipulating Polarization of Terahertz Radiation

New Technique for Manipulating Polarization of Terahertz Radiation - RF Cafe"Researchers at Brown University have developed a new kind of polarizing beam splitter for terahertz radiation, which could prove useful in imaging and communications systems. The technique uses stacks of carefully spaced metal plates to make a polarizing beam splitter, a device that splits a beam of light by its differing polarization states, sending vertically polarized light in one direction and horizontally polarized light in another. Such a beam splitter could be useful in a wide variety of systems that make use of terahertz radiation, from imaging systems to future ..."

Tech Industry Headlines

Tech Industry Headlines - RF Cafe- Archive -

FCC Proposes $120 Million Fine for Spoofing

5G Won't Boost Cellular Until 2021

Fujitsu Achieves Record Output Density with W-Nand GaN PAs

How Did Radio Perform in Q2?

Qualcomm SVP: New Spectrum 'Crucial' to 5G Success

DARPA Calls for Post-Moore's Law Ideas

UK Government Announces £246M 'Faraday Challenge'

Google Maps Adds the International Space Station

China Unicom Could Look Very Different in Month or Two

Royal Mint to Welcome Amateur Radio

Royal Mint to Welcome Amateur Radio - RF Cafe"The Royal Mint Experience in Wales will host 'The Royal Mint Radio Experience,' July 30 until August 5 at the Royal Mint's new visitor center in Llantrisant, Wales. School children and members of the public have been invited to enjoy a fun, informal, and interactive Amateur Radio workshop. According to an announcement from the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB), visitors will get the chance to use the FUNcube-1 CubeSat, launched in 2013 and used by schools and educational groups around the world. 'We're delighted to be supporting this event which will give visitors to the Royal ..."

RF Cafe Engineering Crossword Puzzle w/Weekly Headlines for July 23

RF Cafe Engineering Crossword Puzzle w/Weekly Headlines July 23, 2017For the sake of avid cruciverbalists amongst us, each week I create a new crossword puzzle that has a theme related to engineering, mathematics, chemistry, physics, and other technical words. Clues in this puzzle with an asterisk (*) are pulled from this past week's (7/17 - 7/21) "Tech Industry Headlines" column on the RF Cafe homepage (see the Headline Archives page for help). Enjoy! ...

The Use of COTS Components in Space

The Use of COTS Components in Space - RF Cafe"The use of selected Electrical, Electronic, and Electromechanical (EEE) commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components in space applications is slowly expanding - too slowly - and not free of myths. It is imperative to be aware of the pitfalls posed by these myths to reach a decision whether to use COTS parts in a specific space mission. Myth 1: The main drive to use COTS in space is cost savings. The use of COTS in space is not a paved road to cost savings. In order not to misinterpret the term 'cost savings,' it should be emphasized that for an EEE component the following applies ..."

Electronics-Themed Comics, January 1969 Electronics World

Electronics-Themed Comics, January 1969 Electronics World - RF CafeI chuckled out loud when I saw this comic. Of course the situation would never really occur (then again, maybe it could...). The artist is G. Lyons, who does not appear to have made many other appearances in Electronics World magazine. He might have been a loyal reader who submitted it as a one-time stint at fame ...

Samsung Starts Production at World's Biggest Fab

Samsung Starts Production at World's Biggest Fab - RF Cafe"Samsung Electronics has announced that its wafer fab at Pyeongtaek, South Korea, has started shipping products and that it will focus on the production of 64-layer vertical NAND ICs. According to reports Samsung Electronics has earmarked 15.6T won ($13.5B) over the past two years and coming years to build out Pyeongtaek's line 1. The company has announced it now plans to spend another 14.4T won ($12.5B) to expand its semiconductor production capacity there with a Pyeongtaek line Samsung also plans to invest 6T won in its Hwaseong, South Korea, site ..."

RCA-Victor Model 15U, Radio-Phonograph Data Sheet

RCA-Victor Model 15U, Radio-Phonograph, April 1938 Radio-Craft - RF CafeThis Radio Service Data Sheet for the RCA-Victor Model 15U, which appeared in the April 1938 issue of Radio-Craft, is the first 3-page instance I remember seeing in all the vintage electronics magazines. The Model 15U is a fairly sophisticated outfit, but not that much more so than some other pieces. There is a nice example of the Model 15U on the RadioMuseum.org website (thumbnail at left). It appears to be fairly clean, but not yet fully restored. A lot of adjustments needed to be made during the alignment of both the radio (commercial broadcast and shortwave bands) and the turntable. The electronics repair ...

Triad RF Systems Intros TTRM1081 Bi-Directional SSPA

Triad RF Systems Intros TTRM1081 Bi-Directional SSPA - RF CafeTriad RF Systems announces the availability of their TTRM1081, an L-Band bi-directional SSPA suitable for high data-rate wireless links. Applications include UAVs and military mesh networks. Rx noise figure is approximately 1.3 dB and Tx/Rx switching speed is 1 μS. This class AB LDMOS module is designed for both military and commercial applications. It is capable of supporting any signal type and modulation format, including but not limited to 3-4G telecom, WLAN, OFDM, DVB, and CW/AM/FM. The latest device technologies and design methods are employed ...

Claude Shannon’s New York Years

Claude Shannon’s New York Years - RF Cafe"By day, Claude Shannon labored on top-secret war projects at Bell Labs. By night, he worked out the details of information theory. Looking back on the last months of 1940, Claude Shannon was quite open about his desire to avoid the World War II draft: 'Things were moving fast there, and I could smell the war coming along. And it seemed to me I would be safer working full-time for the war effort, safer against the draft, which I didn't exactly fancy. I was a frail man, as I am now.... I was trying to play the game, to the best of my ability. But not only that, I thought I'd probably contribute ..."

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RF Cafe began life in 1996 as "RF Tools" in an AOL screen name web space totaling 2 MB. Its primary purpose was to provide me with ready access to commonly needed formulas and reference material while performing my work as an RF system and circuit design engineer. The Internet was still largely an unknown entity at the time and not much was available in the form of WYSIWYG ...

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