I should not have been surprised to hear the first holiday songs of the season on the radio this weekend, but it is still hard to believe that we are already approaching the end of the year. And what a year it has been. From the cognitive radar cover feature last January to the body-to-body wireless networks cover feature in December, 2011 has been a stellar year for editorial content, new product announcements, expert forums and webinars. Our goal for the New Year will be to keep up the momentum and continue providing our audience with the latest information on microwave technology and business. Here is what to expect as we ring out the old and ring in the new...

December – ISM Applications

In this issue, we welcome back author Dr. Simon Cotton from Queens University of Belfast discusses how the availability of body-to-body networks could bring great social benefits, including significant healthcare improvements through the use of body worn sensors for the widespread, routine monitoring and treatment of illness away from medical centers. This could greatly reduce the current strain on health budgets and help make the government’s vision of healthcare at home for the elderly a reality.

Cotton will discuss how engineers from Queen’s renowned Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT), are working on a new project based on the rapidly developing science of body centric communications. His team is investigating how small sensors carried by members of the public, in items such as next generation smartphones, could communicate with each other to create potentially vast body-to-body networks (BBN). The new sensors would interact to transmit data, providing ‘anytime, anywhere’ mobile network connectivity.

Other editorial includes David Hall from National Instruments on 802.11AC ( a very hot topic), an excellent article from Chin Leong Lim of Avago Technology on wideband voltage variable attenuator with fewer components and a look at the new CST Microwave Studio Suite 2012 from CST (our MVP for December).

January – Radar and Antennas

To kick-off the New Year, we have solicited an article from authors Dunn and Raffaelli of Mercury Computer/LNX on trends in Radar/Digital RF Memory. According to the authors – “advances in Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) and Digital Signal Processors (DSPs) is allowing more processing to be performed in the digital domain including the interference cancellation, channelization, filtering and pulse compression. Smaller, more advanced digital receivers are putting an increasing focus on two critical microwave functions: coherency and the mitigation of high power interferers. The integration of all of these functions into a modular subsystem built of small digital receivers will put some pressure on the microwave industry to develop a new mixed-signal systems architecture, suitable for manned and unmanned platforms. This article introduces the reader to some of the key challenges in RF mechanics, backplane technology, coherency as well as advances in A/D and D/A converters, digital processors, and RF circuitry.” Other items of note in January include pulse power measurements for Radar applications from Wireless Telecom and Muro, a look at high power GaN switch technology from RFMD and more.

February – High Frequency Boards, Components and Systems

This month’s focus is on microwave and high speed circuit design that occurs at the printed circuit board level, including advanced packaging. Every year, technologies that support miniaturization and highly dense board circuitry are common themes for articles in this issue. This year, we have recruited Professor Tentzeris of Georgia Tech to talk about the latest advances in materials specifically targeting high frequency applications. We complement this article with a look at choosing the proper stack-up in a multi-layer PCB in order to reduce noise by CST. For companies engaged in RF PCB design, system or subsystem modules, hybrids or the surface-mount components that get used in them, this is an excellent issue to be associated with.