Microwave Journal

Please Come to Boston

May 26, 2009

“Please Come to Boston in the Springtime. I’m stayin’ here with some friends and they’ve got lots of room.” Anyone remember that 1974 song, which made Dave Loggins a one-hit wonder? Can’t say that I was a big fan, but the lyrics seem eerily appropriate for this year’s IMS. The show is just a few weeks away and one can’t help wondering if the economy will be the elephant in the room. Will it weigh heavily on everyone’s minds or will Boston magic once again inspire us all and result in a rewarding show?


Microwave conferences in this city have a history of surpassing attendance and revenue records. Hopefully, that will be the case this year in spite of industry-wide budget cutting. Now is the time to apply the “power of positive thinking” and come to Boston ready to make a big splash with new products to exhibit and compelling technologies to present at the workshops and sessions. Think opportunity! In return, we need Microwave Week to give the industry a boost. The kind we would expect from a show in this location. History would seem to be on our side.

To understand the draw of a Boston-based IMS, this month’s lead story comes by way of the four, former planning committee Chairmen. Our guest authors—Ted Saad, Harlan Howe, Jr., Peter Staecker and Glenn Thoren—re-visit their experiences organizing the Boston conferences in 1967, 1983, 1991 and 2000, respectively. Our article concludes with a look toward this year’s show from current General Chair, Fred Schindler. This is a great read for those who were present at the time and fondly remember those past events and are curious about 2009. Each contribution provides a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to organize Microwave Week and the special bond that is passed from conference to conference even when separated by a decade or so.

What makes Boston so special? As they say in real estate—location, location, location. New England is home to many microwave folks and the companies for which they work. The long history of microwaves in Boston goes back all the way to Marconi’s wireless transatlantic transmissions from Cape Cod in 1903. The work carried out at the MIT Radiation Lab during World War II and the invaluable contributions of local powerhouse companies such as Raytheon, Microwave Associates and others have all contributed to the region’s microwave legacy. No doubt the abundance of local engineering talent has been a leading factor in high attendance numbers in the past and this year’s conference organizers are actively pursuing local engineers and their companies to encourage their participation in 2009.

A number of Boston-area microwave companies can also point to their 50+ year history of military/aerospace activity. Defense-related work may have been out of vogue at the 1991 or 2000 conferences when the commercial markets were riding high; however, that won’t be the case this year as many exhibitors look to offset declines in financially turbulent commercial markets in favor of any well-funded military and government opportunities. I have heard from multiple exhibitors planning to target mil/aero applications at this show. We may witness a fair amount of marketing in that direction in 2009. We may also see a few vendors (especially within the semiconductor sector) leveraging recent advances in device efficiency to address the “green” economy, as is the case with two webinars (sponsored by TriQuint and Tektronix) being hosted by the Journal this month.

Other notable items in this month’s show issue include messages from the 2009 RFIC Symposium General Chair, Tina Quach; the Chair of the 73rd ARFTG Microwave Measurement Conference, Charles Wilker, and MicroApps organizer Barry Alcorn of Agilent Technologies. Our International Editor, Richard Mumford, conducts our online Executive Interview with this year’s IMS Plenary Speaker, Petteri Alinikula, Laboratory Director Nokia Reserch Center Helsinki. Richard also pens a profile on the Research Center itself. Closer to Boston, our Norwood staff has taken advantage of its home-court status to compile a true insider’s guide to the city and its surroundings.

Our online Expert Advice this month comes from Gayle Collins, a power amplifier (PA) designer from Freescale Semiconductor writing about what to look for in the PA papers being presented at IMS and their potential impact on the field. I first met Gayle at IMS 2007 in Hawaii, where she had just presented a paper and her enthusiasm was infectious. In Atlanta last year, Gayle and I bumped into each other between technical sessions; once again she impressed me with her analysis and rating of the many sessions she had attended. This year I invited her to write about the upcoming conference for our readers.

Our exhibition coverage for this show issue includes our “New Waves” MTT-S Product Showcase as well as a new exhibitor profile section. We believe both the product showcase and exhibitor profiles will provide the extra information attendees need to help decide who to fit into their schedules while at the show. This guide will also be part of our Online Show Daily, along with special editorial, conference and daily news updates from the show. This is the time of year when companies let loose with a flood of product releases and news items, so check in often for the latest information.

MTT-S IMS is an important networking event. Attendees get the chance to tap into what is going on in the industry, display their products, meet customers face-to-face and check out the competition. The entire Microwave Journal staff is excited to have the industry back in the ‘hood. We take great pride in this city by the sea with its rich colonial history, home to many of the world’s leading colleges and universities, outstanding sports teams, restaurants, neighborhoods, clubs, bars and more. So, please come to Boston in the springtime. The Red Sox and Yankees will be in town. We hope you are too.