The November meeting of the ARMMS RF & Microwave Society was attended by the highest number of delegates for an autumn conference since it’s founding over 30 years ago, while the range covered by the presentations spanned VHF crystals and amplifiers for air traffic control to 325 GHz waveguide fabrication techniques.

The bi-annual gathering of engineers, academics and business people met at Wyboston Lakes Conference Centre (near Cambridge, UK) and in addition to receiving 15 technical papers from a wide spectrum of RF and microwave topics, all enjoyed the evening’s society dinner. The well established table-top exhibition, which was overflowing and oversubscribed offered a place to discover the practical tools to compliment the subject matter of the conference. It also provided networking opportunities during coffee breaks and the lunch session.

Mark Ashcroft of Pico Technology did an excellent job of bringing together speakers from both industry and academia. The voting by the delegates for the Steve Evans-Pughe Memorial Prize for the best paper was so close that the top two papers could not be separated. So, both Tianhao He of Birmingham University and Peter Beeson of LA Techniques each received the £200 prize.

Tianhao’s paper, Sub-millimetre rectangular waveguides based on SU8 photoresist micromachining technology, introduced the audience to the ability to build sub-mm waveguide straight and bent sections through layered construction techniques, achieving 20 dB return loss at 300 GHz. In contrast, Peter Beeson’s paper: An investigation into the effects of sampling on the loop response and phase noise in phase locked loops compared continuous time and sample mode models of phase locked loop simulations and introduced a base band circuit to simplify measurements to support the simulations.

ADCs were a new topic to the conference and two papers from M/A Com covered GaN MMIC amplifier design at X and Ka bands. The high frequencies were visited again in young engineer Mohamed Maricar’s paper on planar Gunn diodes and Steve Nightingale of Cobham discussed the results of a RF cancellation approach to deal with interference between multiple communication systems on land vehicles.

The Society continued its support and encouragement of young engineers, (aged 28 and below); and two delegates, who’s papers were selected, were given free places at the conference and £100 towards their travel expenses. There was also saw a prize draw for a Lego Mindstorms kit sponsored by test equipment rental and RF support services provider, Interlligent UK.

The next ARMMS RF & Microwave Society meeting will be held on April 20-21, 2015 at the Oxford Belfry, UK.