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Pat Hindle, MWJ Editor

Bandwidth to the Max - NIWeek 2016

NIWeek 2016 lived up to its usual high level of impactful new products and demos. The keynotes are always Apple-like with dramatic product introductions and interesting applications that have been enabled by their modular hardware and software. Of course, Dr. T kicked off the first keynote and discussed the first 40 years of NI as they celebrated their birthday this year. He discussed the evolution of modular instrumentation and NI’s vision of virtual instrumentation as today’s test and measurement equipment has become software driven. The processing power of the FPGA, driven by Moore’s Law, has increased tremendously over the years and the PXI platform has provided an open, modular platform. This has all been amplified by the NI user community and partners to grow the applications and uses of the NI platform worldwide.

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Compatibility in the Capital - IEEE EMC 2016

EMC 2016 featured Dr. Robert Scully, NASA Johnson Space Lab, kicking off the plenary session with his light hearted talk, “EMC in 2016 and Beyond: What Is It and Why Do We Care?”. As the IEEE EMC is an international organization, they periodically hold EMC outside of the US so traveled to Ottawa, Canada this year. 

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An Industry Shift – Commercial AESAs

Active Electronically Steered Array (AESA) technology has been used in military systems, mostly radars, for many years. AESA systems have traditionally been too expensive for most commercial applications, but new phased array technologies are quickly enabling low cost commercial applications such as vehicle sensors, satellite communications and 5G cellular systems. These systems use beamforming techniques to more precisely deliver RF energy in concentrated beams giving more bits per Hz in the targeted area while reducing interference.

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Richard Mumford, MWJ International Editor

Gary Lerude

Gary Lerude, MWJ Technical Editor

Weekly Report

For the week ending August 19, 2016
A summary of company, product, market and technology news for busy people.
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Janine Sullivan Love

Janine Sullivan Love, Events Director and Contributing Editor

Profiles in Innovation: Tom Sikina, Raytheon Co.

Innovation is a major focal point at EDI CON USA 2016, which will bring together industry leaders to discuss creative ways to address today’s engineering challenges in RF, microwave, and high-speed digital design. Tom Sikina, principal engineering fellow at Raytheon Co. will be giving the plenary keynote this year, “Innovation in Phased Arrays; Past, Present, and Future” on Tuesday, September 20th. In advance of Tom’s talk, I thought it might be interesting to get to know him better, so I asked him to help kick off our Profiles in Innovation series.

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EDI CON 2016 Opportunities Abound

This year marks the first that we are running two EDI CON conferences: EDI CON China on April 19-21 in Beijing and the new EDI CON USA on September 20-22 in Boston, MA. Both conferences include an exhibition, keynotes, technical conference sessions, workshops, networking, and training opportunities.

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Brent Dietz

Brent's Musings

The Unique Language of Earnings

Have you listened to any of this quarter's earnings calls? If not, you're missing entertainment and a glimpse at the future of RF. Not to worry, though. Brent Dietz has been listening for you.

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Your IoT, or Mine?

When it comes to the Internet of Things (IoT), Brent Dietz has found there's only one thing we all agree on: we don’t agree on what it is. Brent offers his ideas about what the IoT is and what it isn't.

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Career Conversations

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, NI/AWR

RF/microwave design software update for IMS2016

Performance of high-frequency electronics is continually advancing to meet increasing global demands for information. And while the cell phone has been around for over 40 years and the smart phone for over a decade, wireless communication systems are still evolving to address new applications and to handle more data throughput in the age of big data. Emerging technologies for future communication networks are hot topics among the talks and special sessions being discussed at this year’s International Microwave Symposium in San Francisco.

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Jaime Leger

Make The New Year One To Remember

It is that time of year, at the start of a new year, to take stock of our time: our past, present, and future. Without becoming too philosophical, the break that many individuals and their companies take during the year-end holidays and into the New Year gives most people pause to think about their lives, whether they are goal-oriented or simply trying to figure out where they are in life and in their professions.

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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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ROG Blog

Filtering Through Material Choices

High-frequency filters are increasingly essential components within wireless products, especially as those wireless products continue to compete for limited frequency spectrum. Various types of RF/microwave filters help wireless radio transmitters and receivers operate with their proper signals while shielding them interference caused by out-of-band signals. For the best results, filter designers should start with a printed-circuit-board (PCB) material having optimum characteristics for RF/microwave filters. The choice of circuit material can not only impact a filter’s performance, but even the size of a printed circuit filter.

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What Happens When Circuit Material Heats Up?

Heat can be damaging. Printed circuit board (PCB) materials are formulated to withstand a certain amount of heat, but when the temperatures rise beyond certain limits, circuit performance can suffer, especially at higher frequencies. Heat-tolerant PCB materials and carefully considered circuit designs can tolerate a certain amount of heat, if a circuit designer is aware of the various parameters that best describe a circuit material’s behavior when temperatures rise. 

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Differences Between Thermoplastic And Thermoset Materials

Two types of composite materials—thermoplastic and thermoset materials—are commonly used for the dielectric layers in PCBs or as adhesives in manufacturing circuit laminates and they each have their own traits and characteristics. But how do they differ? What are the strengths and weaknesses of each type of material and why choose one over the other for an application?

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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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