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Articles by Microwave Journal

Selecting Substrates For Printed-Circuit Antennas

October 13, 2010
Printed-circuit antennas must provide big performance in small packages, especially for modern fixed and mobile wireless devices. In some cases, they must provide high gain, or light weight, or handle high power levels. The choice of circuit-board laminate material plays a key role in the size and performance of a printed-circuit antenna, such as achieving maximum gain at RF and microwave frequencies. When selecting a circuit-board laminate for a printed-circuit antenna, it helps to understand how laminate material parameters relate to antenna performance.
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Let's do lunch

September 24, 2010
Let’s do lunch! (Aka grab a coffee, have a chat, ah heck, let’s just meet face to face!) Now that I have your attention…. Yeah. Let’s do lunch. I was just reading my “Working Mothers” magazine the other day - their ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ issue –and came across a factoid that said taking a lunch break is a great way to reenergize yourself. Step out of the office, stretch your body and mind, and recharge your spirit.
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Picking PCB Materials for Power Amplifiers

September 24, 2010
Designing a high frequency power amplifier takes more than just finding the right power transistor. It involves the design of input and output impedance-matching circuits for maximum power transfer and well regulated power-supply circuits. It also requires choosing a printed-circuit-board (PCB) material that will deliver the right combination of performance and reliability for the cost. The right choice of PCB material for an amplifier design can improve gain, gain flatness, gain stability, and output power.
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Who’s better: Tom Brady or Steve Jobs?

September 16, 2010
During the World Cup, I wrote a blog entry about technology in football (i.e. soccer). Owing to the popularity of that light-hearted techno-babble and the excitement surrounding the start of the NFL regular season, I have decided to write another (silly) article about another (fruitless) pastime of mine: fantasy football. I have done a lot of thinking about fantasy football (for those of you unfamiliar, fantasy football is detailed here), and my conclusion is that it is a superior waste of time.
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Understanding the true meaning of dielectric constant

August 30, 2010
Dielectric constant (Dk or relative permittivity) is a parameter that design engineers use constantly, often without fully understanding it. Every material has a dielectric constant, even air (slightly more than unity). And the parameter is commonly used by circuit designers to compare different printed-circuit-board (PCB) materials, typically by referring to a fixed value for a given frequency, found on a product data sheet. However, the number can vary for most PCB materials, regardless of material quality. Variations in the Dk value actually have less to do with quality and more to do with how the material is used and tested.
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A Case Against Patents

August 25, 2010
People often ask me how many patents Marki Microwave owns. The answer: zero. “What? But you’re a technology company, how can this be? Aren’t you worried that someone is going to steal your idea?” Well, not really, and I will try to explain the logic behind this position. Some will read this and disagree, I have no doubt. I actually think patents do have important benefits given the right set of circumstances, but I think for small tech companies like Marki Microwave, patents do not provide as many benefits as is often assumed. I believe it is false to assume that a good idea should always be patented, here’s why…
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FR-4 Versus High Frequency Laminates

August 3, 2010
Epoxy-based FR-4 circuit-board materials are popular for a wide range of electronics applications, and for good reason. These glass-reinforced substrates are reliable, low in cost, with well understood mechanical and electrical characteristics. They are used in everything from audio circuits through microwave designs. But they are not the answer for every circuit, especially for a wide range of high frequency designs, and for several reasons.
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Breaking My Own Rules With Shameless Plugs

July 26, 2010
When people ask my advice about pursuing a career in Engineering, I tell them the following: If you can go 30 days of the month without good news or good results, only to find on the 31st day that your project works perfectly, and this good news puts you in such a euphoric mood that you can forget about all the previous frustrations, then you are going to be a great engineer. If that sense of personal accomplishment isn’t good enough to make you happy, then you should consider doing something else.
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“Datasheet” is a bad word

July 15, 2010
After the long and sometimes strenuous journey one takes in the product development cycle, the inevitable final stage can be the most challenging: the making of the datasheet. As an engineer, I dislike making datasheets. I loathe the idea that I am required to summarize the macroscopic workings of my “babies” (i.e. new products) with bold, unforgiving numbers that can never fully represent the “inner beauty” of the product. For me, the datasheet is a wholly inadequate creature that almost always fails to capture the many nuances of the product.
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A Technologists Guide to the World Cup

July 1, 2010
I love soccer (i.e. football for my international readers). I grew up playing the sport and consider it one the most character-defining experiences of my life. For me, the World Cup is the greatest sporting competition around. Now that I am in the technology area, I am dumbfounded at FIFA’s insistence on ignoring modern technology to improve the officiating. Just like the rest of the world population, I find FIFA’s stoicism ridiculous and alarming when the fate of entire nations (and millions of dollars) rests in the hands of one or two terrible refereeing mistakes (hello England vs. Germany, U.S. vs. Slovenia, Mexico vs. Argentina, etc).
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