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Blogs

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Pat Hindle, MWJ Editor

How particle accelerator maths helped me fix my Wi-Fi

Electromagnetic radiation – it might sound like something that you’d be better off avoiding, but electromagnetic waves of various kinds underpin our senses and how we interact with the world – from the light emissions through which your eyes perceive these words, to the microwaves that carry the Wi-Fi signal to your laptop or phone on which you’re reading it.


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Meeting Chiphead

DesignCon 2016 Summary

It was fun meeting Chiphead for the first time at DesignCon 2016. The event covers areas such as PCB design tools, power and signal integrity, jitter and crosstalk, high-speed serial design, test and measurement tools, parallel and memory interface design, ICs, semiconductor components and more. The test/measurement, software and connector companies dominate the exhibition. As the speed of digital electronics has increased, the techniques and methods for digital and RF/microwave design have converged so it was interesting to see the similarities between the two worlds.


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RichardMumford

Richard Mumford, MWJ International Editor

Gary-blog

Gary Lerude, MWJ Technical Editor

Weekly Report

For the week ending January 15
A summary of company, product, market and technology news for busy people.
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Career Conversations

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

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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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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Leger

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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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

Those Holes Are Part of the Circuit

For many circuit designers, plated through holes (PTHs) form pathways, from one circuit plane to another. The key to making PTHs work for the benefit of a circuit design is to understand their effects on electrical performance, especially at higher frequencies. They should be considered as circuit elements, and they can have a great deal to do with a number of analog circuit transmission-line performance parameters, including insertion loss and return loss, and they can also affect high-speed digital circuit performance by degrading signal integrity (SI) and bit-error-rate (BER) performance.


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Shrink Circuits Using Slow-Wave Structures

Microwave circuit dimensions are related to their wavelengths/frequencies and to the dielectric constant (Dk) of their substrates. Quite simply, higher-frequency signals have smaller wavelengths and their electromagnetic (EM) energy of those smaller wavelengths will propagate through circuits with smaller dimensions. Phase velocity is related to wavelength, with slower EM waves having shorter wavelengths which propagate through circuit structures with smaller dimensions than faster waves with their longer wavelengths. 


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Surfing Millimeter Waves with SIW Technology

Millimeter-wave circuits were once considered exotic and only used for specialized applications, typically in the military space. For one thing, frequencies with such small wavelengths, from about 30 to 300 GHz, required special components and circuits scaled to those diminutive wavelengths. But lower-frequency bands are being consumed by a growing number of wireless applications, and millimeter-wave frequency bands are looking more and more attractive for communications systems of the future. Achieving millimeter-wave circuit designs on reliable printed-circuit-board (PCB) materials in a practical manner will be the challenge in making these higher frequencies affordable. Substrate-integrated-waveguide (SIW) circuit technology may just be the solution.


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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

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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