Here in the Northeast, we are seeing all the signs of an early spring. Outside temperatures are creeping up, the snow has melted away and the ground is starting to thaw. Another early rite of spring this year is our annual IEEE MTT-S IMS show issue, published this month to accommodate the conference in Anaheim, CA, May 23-28. Considering the earlier-than-usual arrival of spring, the conference and this month’s special preview, I’ll venture out on a limb and suggest that these are positive omens for the industry’s fortunes in the second half of the year.

In last year’s IMS show issue, I referred to the precarious economy as the “elephant in the room” and wondered how it would impact the event. Predictably, the mood was subdued, fitting for the rainy weather that shrouded Boston the entire week and continued through the early summer. And yet the event was by all measures a success, albeit a somewhat somber (and wet) one. This year, look for another strong showing, this time with more optimism about the future and plenty of sunshine.

Heading into Anaheim, there are encouraging tales of an industry ready to rebound with the economy. Companies are once again making multi-year forecasts and ordering inventory accordingly. In turn, production is ramping up and more money is being channeled into R&D. The activity at recent industry related shows including Mobile World Congress, Satellite 2010 and CTIA Wireless, indicates that communication networks and their supporting infrastructure will continue to demand more capacity and bandwidth.

What do we anticipate from the world’s largest conference and exhibition for the microwave industry? Certainly a flood of new products as engineering teams race to have hardware and software available for that week. Marketing departments are undoubtedly busy preparing press releases, hoping to create the ultimate show buzz and praying that engineering delivers on time. This is the news you will be reading about on our web site and in our show newsletters leading up to, during and after the symposium. While Microwave Week provides a focal point for many companies to announce their new products, only a portion of individuals from the industry are able to attend. Don’t worry, we have it covered.

With one month left until the event, our editorial goals relating to pre-show coverage are two-fold. We want to give our readers a glimpse of what to expect from the microwave component eco-system for IMS 2010 and we strive to put this information in the context of larger trends occurring in technology. Hopefully, this will help attendees decide where they should focus their attention while at the show and serve as a head’s up for people monitoring news items from their home or office.

To achieve these goals, we have a number of special reports that I hope our readers will enjoy and find useful. This year, we introduce Radar Rik, Peak-to-Average-Power Pat and Dual-band Dave. Each has compiled a list of items they intend to investigate while at the exhibition. Representing the radar, infrastructure and mobile device markets, Rik, Pat and Dave have been tasked by their colleagues to get the latest information on test equipment, software, components and sub-assemblies for their respective engineering needs. This feature presents an overview of these needs and a look at their shopping lists.

For the second year, we present “Exhibitor Profiles”. This summary of who is showing what, by participating exhibitors, is your one-stop guide to the products that will be featured at the show. If you need help scheduling your time at IMS, the exhibitor profile section will help you prioritize who to visit. For those deciding which workshops and sessions to attend, we are also pleased to feature special messages from the chairs of the IMS, RFIC and ARFTG conferences as well as a note from the organizer of this year’s MicroApps.

Lastly, this month’s cover story features a history of the microwave industry in Northern and Southern California by Chuck Swift and Les Besser. These two well-known veterans of the west coast microwave scene have written the story of the individuals, companies, institutions and events that shaped our industry in the Golden State. With the IMS and microwave week as a backdrop, this historical perspective is a fitting cover story for our show issue. All together, our special features this month look at where we have come from, where we are today, and where we are headed. Venimus, vidimus, vicimus*, baby.

* we came, we saw, we conquered