In a way, I have always considered September to be the unofficial start of the year. It has to do with the return of school, entering a new grade level, having new teachers, harder courses and of course the changing season. In our New England office, September means cooler nights, leaves turning color and preparation for European Microwave Week. January 1st is just some dark day in the dead of winter, what is so new about that? So as you all return from summer breaks, rested and ready to ramp up, let me stoke your excitement about microwave marketing and editorial opportunities for the new (unofficial) year.

October – Government and Military Electronics

We love the editorial themes of each and every issue. After all, we have been fine tuning them for years. But some months offer us a unique opportunity to go beyond microwave engineering in order to examine our technology's place in the world around us. Such is the case with our Government and Military Electronics issue in October. In 2009, we looked at government spending and the portion of that year's stimulus package that would impact our industry - namely the rural broadband initiative. Last year we looked at defense budgets and changing procurement habits in light of pending austerity programs. Sound familiar? This year, we are going to take a look at technology and applications that are specifically targeting security and intelligence. Now here is the fun part - our special cover story, authored jointly by the editors of this magazine, will look at certain products that available today and worthy of deployment with any special agent from the NSA, MI5 or other intelligence gathering organization. Internally, we have been referring to October as our James Bond issue and I think you will enjoy it.

With shifting global security requirements, counter-insurgency operations and tactics are in a state of flux. The same can be said for the tools that support troop protection and intelligence gathering. Next generation UAVs, IED counter-measures, ad-hoc internet band communication systems are all opportunities for system and component enhancement. Like many of you, I am bullish on the need for continued development of such devices and pleased that we are able to report on some of the evolving products making their way out into the field.

November – Control Components

In November we focus on the RF/microwave component technology found in today's communication and defense systems. In a radio front-end, this means the filters, switches and mixers. In this issue, we examine a number of new, underlying technologies that show promise at improving component performance in terms of insertion loss, selectivity, speed, weight, size, cost, etc. Companies developing such components and the system integrators that our developing communication front-ends will definitely want to keep their eye out for this cover story.

November Supplement – Mobile Communications

The mobile communications eco-system is huge and as market growth in smartphones, tablet devices, M2M communications and emerging markets over the past few years has demonstrated, this is an area of great revenue potential for companies making RFIC front-ends, filters, antennas, connectors, infrastructure hardware and test equipment. Like our August Military Microwave issue, this is an opportunity for component manufacturers to communicate directly with the portion of our audience that is more focused on system integration, in this case commercial communication systems such as LTE and LTE-Advanced.

This supplement features contributed content from the leaders in RFIC development and test equipment, those folks that are at the forefront of new communication standards, product development and product verification. Bonus distribution at mega-trade shows for Mobile Communications such as Mobile World Congress and CTIA, ensure that the right eyeballs will be taking a look at this very special supplement.

December – ISM Applications

Disregarding my earlier thoughts concerning where to mark the beginning of the year, we say good bye to 2011 in December with our annual look at microwave technology applied to the diverse markets represented by industrial, scientific and medical applications. In this issue, we welcome back author Dr. Simon Cotton from Queens University of Belfast. Dr. Cotton wrote our well-received cover story for the August 2010 supplement on ad-hoc communication networks for covert operations. In this issue, Cotton discusses how the availability of body-to-body networks could bring great social benefits, including significant healthcare improvements through the use of body worn sensors for the widespread, routine monitoring and treatment of illness away from medical centers. This could greatly reduce the current strain on health budgets and help make the government’s vision of healthcare at home for the elderly a reality. Cotton will discuss how engineers from Queen's renowned Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT), are working on a new project based on the rapidly developing science of body centric communications. His team is investigating how small sensors carried by members of the public, in items such as next generation smartphones, could communicate with each other to create potentially vast body-to-body networks (BBN). The new sensors would interact to transmit data, providing 'anytime, anywhere' mobile network connectivity.

At year's end, December is a great month to look at emerging markets and the technology required to serve them. Last year's look at green microwave energy and the smart grid by Analog Devices was a great editorial finish to 2010. We anticipate equally strong editorial on "wireless humans" from Dr. Cotton. Interested in these emerging ISM markets as well? We hope to see you take part in our December issue.