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Blogs

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Pat Hindle, MWJ Editor

All about Function Generators

 Function generators are one of the stalwarts of electronics testing equipment. In fact, function generators are used throughout the life cycle of an electronic component – in its development, testing, and repair. Typically, a modern digital function generatorcreates electrical waveforms either in a continuous loop or a single-shot, across a variety of frequencies. It is these frequencies by which manufacturers differentiate the value of the function generator. Nowadays, the available variety of function generators online is very extensive, and usually categorized by frequency, which can range from the lower limit of 0 Hz to the top limit of 20 or even 50 MHz and beyond depending upon the make and model.


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Triple Dose of 5G

 5G has been one of the hottest topics over the last 12 months and was seen in many booths at Mobile World Congress this year. There were live demos in the booths of Keysight, NI, R&S, Anritsu, Cobham/Aeroflex, China Mobile, Ericsson, Nokia, Huawei and others at the event. While this is a hot topic for the test/measurement companies who have to lead the industry development cycle, the semiconductor companies are only just warming up to the topic as they want to see the standards worked out before investing too much in R&D. 


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RF/microwave Industry Consolidation Update

 We extensively covered the RF/microwave industry consolidation in 2014 and many wondered if it would continue into 2015.  Well, the answer is a big “yes” as in just over a month into the year we have seen the acquisition of Mesuro by Focus Microwaves, Miteq by L-3 Narda, TE Connectivity’s Enterprise, Telecom and Wireless businesses by CommScope and Exelis (previously ITT) by Harris. 


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RichardMumford

Richard Mumford, MWJ International Editor

Gary Lerude

Gary Lerude, MWJ Technical Editor

Mazzochette

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

Vye_avatar

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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MAndrews

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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Jamie Leger

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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MDL

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

ROG Blog

Packing Power Into Microwave PCBs

 Power amplifier design at RF/microwave frequencies can be aided by a wise choice of active devices, such as discrete transistors or monolithic microwave integrated circuits (MMICs). But don’t overlook the importance of the printed-circuit-board (PCB) material when planning for a solid-state power amplifier (PA) circuit. The circuit material can help or hurt a PA design, and knowing what is important in a PCB material intended for a PA is the first step in selecting a circuit material that enhances the PA’s performance. 


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Silence Phase Noise With The Right Materials

 Phase noise has long been a key parameter in high-frequency components, such as oscillators and frequency synthesizers, and high-frequency systems, such as radar and communications receivers. The choice of PCB material can contribute a great deal to the ultimate single-sideband (SSB) phase-noise performance possible from a circuit design. Understanding the key PCB material parameters that relate to phase noise can help when specifying a circuit laminate for the “quietest” phase noise possible for a given frequency. 


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Composing Capacitors and Inductors on PCB Materials

 Circuit design engineers have long relied upon the basic physics of printed-circuit boards (PCBs) and how capacitors and inductors can be formed from simple patterns and structures on a PCB. A number of PCB material traits, in particular the consistency of the dielectric constant, can go a long way towards achieving consistent and reliable PCB capacitors and inductors especially at RF and microwave frequencies. 


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Tek

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

“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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RF/Microwave design….and All That Jazz

Hands down, the number one reason I have enjoyed working in and around the RF industry for the past several years has been the intelligent, interesting and colorful people I have come to know. Strangely enough, many of those relationships began on Linked In. Last fall, I connected with an RF/MW designer via Linked In that appeared to share some common area of interests. 


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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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Khan Academy- I’m a fan

A few months ago, I heard a news program on NPR about the Khan Academyand how it was started accidentally by Mr. Khan to help his niece with her math homework. Since he lived far away from her, he captured his helpful hints via YouTube and shared via the Internet. One thing led to another and now Khan has found himself the creator of something big.


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Keysight blog

Keysight: expert to expert

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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Adapting for Success with Firm-Fixed-Price Contracts

DuaneWith over 25 years of new product introduction, manufacturing and support experience, Duane Lowenstein, Business Development Manager, Americas
Agilent Technologies, has assisted many Fortune 500 companies in improving their business results by assisting in the implementation of leading-edge operations theory and processes improvements using Agilent’s hardware, software and solutions. 

Currently Duane is engaging with customers to deliver Manufacturing Process Consulting (MPC), Test Process Consulting (TPA), Instrument Migration Planning Services (IMPS), Cost of Test solutions (COT) and, Test simulation and Diagnostic Software (FD). His experience has spanned many industries including computer, wireless, automotive, aerospace and defense, as well as commercial electronics. His focus on measurable results has led customers to dramatic reductions in the cost of test, test time, reduction in work- in-progress and increasing yields while growing the Agilent presence in the account.


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