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Pat Hindle, MWJ Editor

Commercial AESA Core Chips Hit the Market

Highly integrated core chips are now being designed for broader use as AESA radar systems proliferate and commercial radar, satellite and communication systems look to utilize this technology. One big potential for AESAs is 5G cellular systems that are projected to utilize this architecture to steer individual beams of RF energy more efficiently and reduce interference. Peregrine and Anokiwave are now offering core chip designs. 

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RF Power Shakeout

 ABI Research just released numbers for the RF power market from 2014 showing that RF Power Semiconductors for Wireless Infrastructure “blew off the charts in 2014”. China and the Asia-Pacific region in general continued to be the main drivers for the RF Power Semiconductor devices that were sold into the mobile wireless infrastructure segment. 

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Innovating the IIoT - NIWeek2015

 NIWeek2015 was another exciting event with some of the best keynote talks you will hear anywhere. I was able to live broadcast some video snippets from the keynotes using the app Periscope (see my Twitter feed for links to them - @pathindle). Some of the biggest hits were the Berlin heart, autonomous sod excavator and augment reality, real-time instrumented bicycle.  

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Richard Mumford, MWJ International Editor

Gary Lerude

Gary Lerude, MWJ Technical Editor

Weekly Report

For the week ending September 18
A summary of company, product, market and technology news for busy people
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Career Conversations


Joe Mazzochette - EasternOptX

Propagation Pathways

 This is a blog about how to reproduce the propagation path of radars, radios, avionics, and altimeters. What we do at Eastern OptX—through technology and magic—is to reproduce the true path between the transmitted signal and the received signal. We replicate the path of the signal by providing “space” in between the transmitter and receiver. We generate that space.

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Ken Conklin

Ken Conklin

Hall of Famers

Humankind, which includes me, has a primal fascination with those who have achieved excellence, fame or notoriety in their field.

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David Vye, ANSYS

Supporting IET 5G Radio Tech Con

 ANSYS was recently the proud sponsor of the IET 5G Radio Technology Conference which took place in London, March 17th. This event brought together industry and academia R&D leaders to debate the future of 5G. Fifth generation (5G) mobile network concepts are in the exploratory stage with commercialization expected to start ramping up by the early 2020s. 

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SI and PI make impact at IEEE EMC

 Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) is a field that studies the unintentional generation, propagation and reception of electromagnetic energy with reference to the unwanted effects (Electromagnetic interference, or EMI). Since this interference can fall within microwave frequencies it is not uncommon for engineers to have to address this issue when designing a complex, signal rich systems, from cell phone to automobile. The goal of EMC is the correct operation, in the same electromagnetic environment, between components (ICs) and electronic equipment that may radiate and create interference effects. 

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Mark Andrews, AMC Solutions LLC

The Road to Rome

 International marketing for RF and microwave takes more than tact, cultural sensitivity and linguistic aptitude. It also takes a back-up plan. If you think that’s not the case, consider air travel in the US last week. We saw how a perfectly ordinary day can go crazy when one determined guy inside the FAA’s Chicago Center cancelled travel plans for millions. Travel normalcy is making a comeback, but the incident demonstrates why ‘business-as-usual’ isn’t always usual these days. 

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Is Your MarCom Plan Ready for EuMW?

Before you finish packing for an end of summer getaway, take 10 minutes to review your fall marketing plan especially if you’re headed to EuMW. Ten minutes now can save thousands in rush charges and missed opportunity costs.

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Jaime Leger

Two Decades at IMS and counting…

 When I first attended IMS in 1995 in Orlando, my wife was pregnant with our first child and complained about the heat all week.  I was 29 years old and slaved at a small ad firm with a couple of microwave accounts, but thought I was so cool with my permanent “car phone” after ditching my pager, and was one of the first AE’s to have their own web site, having spent nights learning HTML from Laura Lemay’s book, “Teach yourself Web Publishing in a Week”. 

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IMS 2014: Building Relationships

IMS 2014 hits Tampa Bay on June 1-6, 2014, and I bet you will be there. One of the largest industry events, the show is a must visit. This year it will be my 23rd IMS – wow! If you’d ask: what has changed over the last 20 years? I believe the show today is more personal. With social media becoming commonplace in our industry, we’re more connected and we can build stronger relationships without borders.

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The Wonders of Waveguide

Why Use a Waveguide Variable Attenuator?

Waveguide-based high-frequency systems often require some control of amplitude or signal level. Waveguide attenuators can deliver that means of control, with fixed attenuators providing a single value attenuation setting and variable attenuators providing a range of attenuation control across a desired frequency range.

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Find a Coax Fit for Waveguide

 Waveguide can provide outstanding electrical performance in terms of low insertion loss and low VSWR at microwave and millimeter-wave frequencies, but it may often be necessary to transition between waveguide and coaxial components. Doing so requires the right Waveguide-to-coaxial adapter and knowledge of how to integrate it into a design without introducing un-wanted chaos. The right adapter can provide convenience as well as performance. 

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ROG Blog

Finish Makes a Difference In Broadband PCB Loss

 The choice of plated finish can make a real difference in a PCB’s conductive loss, especially for broadband, high-frequency circuits. To better understand the loss performance of different plated finishes, various transmission lines were fabricated on different circuit laminates and different plated finishes applied.  

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Silence Filter Harmonics with Composite Circuit Materials

 Microstrip edge-coupled bandpass filters (BPFs) can help clean the spectrum around a desired center frequency. Fabricated on printed-circuit-board (PCB) materials, these compact filters can be integrated with other circuit functions to provide dependable filtering of communications bands and high-frequency signals for a wide range of applications. 

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Comparing PCBs for Microstrip and Grounded Coplanar Waveguide

Circuit designers must often select a circuit technology, such as microstrip or grounded coplanar waveguide (GCPW) circuitry, with a particular design and circuit material to achieve optimum performance. Circuit technologies, such as microstrip and GCPW, each have their strengths and weaknesses, and it may help to take a closer look at these two circuit technologies in particular to see how they stack up.

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Tek Talk

Ten Tips for Improving Off-air Spectrum Measurements

By Richard Duvall, Tektronix

 As the spectrum becomes more and more crowded, detecting sources of interference is tougher than ever and only becoming more challenging. Therefore it’s critical that spectrum managers are well-equipped to perform accurate spectrum measurements and quickly chase down interference signals. Here are 10 tips that will help anyone working in the spectrum management field improve off-air spectrum test and measurement. 

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Practical test needs trump instrument silos

Justin PanzerWireless communications industry veteran Justin Panzer brings his insights to this edition of the Tek Talk blog. He has more than 19 years of industry experience, including 10 years in test and measurement working on everything from commercial handset testing to mil/gov RF. He is currently business development director for the Sources & Analyzers Product Line at Tektronix. He holds a Bachelor of Science from Drexel University and an MBA from Auburn University.

Ubiquity of wireless communications is adding an RF component to electronics designs that haven’t historically been wireless enabled. More complex chip, board and embedded systems designs that incorporate communications technologies into everything from PCs to automobiles are changing the impact of RF on the world's R&D engineers. Designers today need the tools to get the most out of unfamiliar technologies.

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The Diagnostic Powers of Test

HendrenBrian Hendren, Senior RF and Microwave Applications Engineer, Tektronix Component Solutions takes over the Tek Talk blog and discusses prototyping for success:

In this day and age manufacturers are trying to drive costs out of every aspect of the production flow, and RF and microwave is no exception.  That means that every process step gets closely scrutinized. Specifically,“test” is one of the operations constantly under evaluation to understand the bare minimum needed to verify performance.  That approach is understandable because test is likely one of the most time consuming steps in the production flow, particularly when you include system set up time.  

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Judy Warner

Judy Warner

Countdown to IMS 2015

If you are a delegate or workshop attendee, IMS 2015 is just 4 short days away! For exhibitors, like us at Zentech Manufacturing, we have 6 days until the doors open to the exhibit hall. Either way, don't blink, because we are just days away from the world’s largest international gathering of RF and Microwave professionals in the world!
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“Making the Impossible Possible” at IMS2015

 For the better part of the last year, I have been watching, with great interest, a company and PCB technology that may be a real game-changer. In fact, I became such an enthusiastic fan of eSurface that they invited me to join their advisory board last summer. eSurface Technologieshas developed a chemistry that enables PCB manufacturers to deposit metal directly to an unclad substrate, as opposed to subtractive print and etch processing.  

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Fully. Integrated. Supply Chain. Solutions.

 Since I am a writer, as well as an electronics professional, I have the quirky habit of really thinking about words. Which is why I started thinking about the commonly (if not overused) term Supply Chain Management recently. Having pushed off from the dock of my former narrow focus on Printed Circuit Board (PCB) fabrication--particularly those of the RF and Microwave variety--I now find myself in the deeper and more complex waters of Contract Manufacturing. 

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Sherry Hess

AWR Expert Blog

Microwave & RF Engineers…Communication is Key!

I recently agreed to co-chair the IEEE MTT-S Women in Engineering (WIE) / Women in Microwaves (WIM) organization. I have long been an advocate for advancing the cause of women in the world of RF and microwave engineering, actually back to my college days at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) when I was one of only eight women in my EE graduating class of 110. Things have not improved much since then with women representing only 10 percent of the engineers in the U.S. today. Asia and Europe fair far better with approximately 40 percent and 20 percent respectively.

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Keysight blog

Keysight: expert to expert

Extending the Life of Test Systems that Support Long-term Programs

Jim Curran, Keysight Technologies, Inc. (formerly Agilent Technologies electronic measurement business)

At the beginning of every new product program, tremendous amounts of time, attention and money go into defining and integrating the required test system. The system is used to test the new products, ensuring that they function at the required levels and remain highly productive. The system is also expected to last for the life of the program.

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Reducing the Test Time Required to Calibrate a Multi-channel Antenna

By Dave Brannon and Alex Dickson, Keysight Technologies, Inc. (formerly Agilent Technologies electronic measurement business)

 For active antenna arrays, a significant amount of production test time is spent on calibration.  Large arrays can consist of hundreds or thousands of elements and it is necessary to characterize the phase and gain alignment between these elements to ensure precise beam-forming.  In addition, the test time to align these elements can increase dramatically as the number of elements increases.  Hence, the ability to accelerate test by using multiple coherent measurement channels is a significant benefit. 

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RF & Microwave Switches: Selecting the right switch technology for your application

QuekTheng Theng Quek is a business development manager in Keysight Technologies’ (formerly Agilent Technologies) Component Test Division. She joined Agilent as a product marketing engineer in 2006. Prior to that, she was an R&D engineer for Motorola where she gained experience in two-way-radio design. Theng-Theng holds a degree in B.Eng (Hons) from Multimedia University of Malaysia, majoring in Microwave and Communication.

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