MILCOM 2009 took place in Boston, MA, October 19-21, at the Seaport Hotel/World Trade Center. The international conference on military, government and homeland security communications gathered experts from around the world to the theme of the “Challenge of Convergence.”

MILCOM 2009 has become the premier military and government communications conference attracting more than 5,000 participants from the military, government, academia and industry, including representatives from more than 30 countries. The first day was a little slow as people arrived, but it picked up significantly the next day.

The Keynote Speakers were:

• Admiral Thad W. Allen, Commandant of the United States Coast Guard
• Lt. Gen. Ted F. Bowlds, Commander, Electronic Systems Center, Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts
• Honorable Michael Chertoff, Former United States Secretary of Homeland Security
• David Gergen, Editor-at-large, US News & World Report
• Tony Montemarano, Component Acquisition Executive, Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA)
• Lt. Gen. Dennis Via, Director for Command, Control, Communications and Computer (C4) Systems, J-6, Joint Staff

MILCOM kicked off Monday morning with Plenary speaker David Gergen, who discussed his views on how various presidents related to the military. He stated how past presidents from JFK to Bush Sr. all had military experience so they were familiar with the military where as more recent presidents since Bush Sr. did not have such experience so there was a learning curve as they got to know each other.

He said that Obama is off to a good start with his strategic appointments from the military and Michelle Obama's support for military families. He stated that Gates is a decisive person and has the freedom and trust of the president. The Pentagon has had to make tough budget decisions and that will continue for a while as we have the lowest revenue and the highest deficit ever. He said he thinks Iraq was handled well toward the end and sees hope that the same will hold true for Afghanistan.

Exhibit highlights:

More than 200 exhibits will be co-located inside and outside of the World Trade Center exhibit hall featuring next-generation products, technologies and resources including:
• On-board technology in military vehicles
• Wearable computers
• Demonstration of the US Army’s Warfighter Information Network – Tactical (WIN-T) communications network

General Dynamics C4 Systems and MITRE Corp were the hosts of MILCOM 2009. There were a number of microwave component and subsystem manufacturers exhibiting and here is a summary of some of the companies we visited with at the show.

Agilent was showing off its GENSYS integrated design automation (EDA) environment for RF/microwave circuit board and subsystem designers. It provides an optimal balance of design capabilities and ease-of-use so designers can quickly become skilled at using it in a short amount of time.

AR was displaying its broad line of amplifiers, including models for 30 to 512 MHz for 20, 50 and 75 W that are SINCGARS, HAVEQUICK and ECCM compatible with low harmonic distortion.

Cobham has a large booth with many component, sub-system and system offerings. They had their portable SATCOM antenna receiving, various integrated microwave assemblies and antennas. They were also showing off their Wireless Network After Next (WNaN) radio, which is a very low cost, broadband, self configuring radio that is being developed for wide deployment in the future. In addition, they are involved in developing RPG defeat systems using their 24 GHz short range sensors originally developed for automotive applications.

FEI was displaying a GPS disciplined rubidium standard that maintains the timing while a GPS signal is jammed with a 24 hour hold over and it is vibration in-sensitive.

Instruments for Industry was showing off its solid-state EW/ECM jamming amplifiers such as its 100 to 500 MHz, 100 to 2000 W series and its 500 to 1000 MHz, 100 to 2000 W series.

Ophir RF displayed its broadband power amplifiers for applications ranging from radar jamming to line-of-sight and satellite communications. The company has models up to 6 GHz with power levels as high as 1000 W.

Pole Zero CCS was showing its capabilities to provide comprehensive evaluation of a platform's communication performance level, enabling peak operation even in the most dense electromagnetic environments.

Remcom announced a new version of Wireless InSite, enhanced to further improve customer productivity and efficiency with faster run times and the ability to handle more intricate wireless EM propagation problems.

Tyco Electronics was showing its full line on connectors including Open VPX plus compact RF connectors to go with it.

Skyworks was displaying its high power diodes and dielectric resonators from Trans-Tech. The company's broad line of diodes and other discrete devices are available for high performance, high reliability applications including MIL-STD screening.

Thales was displaying its SATCOM TWTs, including a new 500 W Ka-band unit and a mini Ka-band TWT with up to 175 W peak and 120 W CW.

Times was showing off its armored coaxial cables, which are made to withstand rugged conditions such as abrasion, crushing forces and bending while still maintaining their high performance characteristics.

T Tech was running a demo of its quick circuit prototyping system, which has 3 axis motion for drilling, milling, cutting, etc., for complete PC board or enclosure production or repair.

The US Army CERDEC and their partners Hypres and L-3 have demonstrated direct radio frequency digitization in the X-band frequency range using the Hypres M132 processing chip cooled to 4 deg K (hyper cooled niobium) that could be revolutionary in the future. It would eliminate IF converters and other analog components reducing the costs significantly.

Xicom recently announced new lightweight, high power, antenna-mount TWTs that expand the capabilities of broadcast and teleport operators with a 500 W model operating in Ka-band uplink frequencies.

We quickly dropped in with several of the other exhibitors showing off their standard products, including ACC, RFHIC, Locus, Miteq, Empower and others. It was a very successful show and we plan to be a media sponsor next year also.

The complete list of exhibitors can be found here.