You may know Harlan Howe from his twelve years as publisher and editor of Microwave Journal ®, or from his 34 years as a Microwave design engineer and engineering manager, or from his service as an IEEE fellow and past president of MTT-S.

Now, although semi-retired, Harlan is available to answer your questions about RF and Microwave engineering. If he doesn't have the answer, he will find an industry expert who does.

Click here to submit your question now.

FROM: Joe Zhou, COM DEV Ltd.

Is there any software for simulation/optimizition of ferrite circulators?


Dear Joe,

The cover story in the June 1996 issue of Microwave Journal describes "EDA Tools for Modeling Microwave Ferrite Devices" provided by Ansoft Corporation. For those who prefer print, the original article starts on page 82 or you can order a free reprint by providing your full mailing and contact information to There may be other competitive software available by now, however, this is one that I am aware of.

FROM: Taiwo Omolopo, Pillar Co.

Is it possible to build a system that can send wave (e.g. laser) that can be used to determine distance?


Dear Taiwo,

Yes it is. Most of the commercial surveying equipment on the market today uses laser ranging. There are a number of manufacturers to choose from, however, surveying is outside of our field so I can't make a specific recommendation.

FROM: Maurice Bertrand, Continental Electronics

Mr. Howe,

I am starting out in this field and am not quite sure where this field is going since the telecom crash. Jobs are scarce and unless you have 10 + years experience no one will hire you. I have gone back to school to get my masters with an emphasis on electromagnetism and am worried I may have made the wrong chose. What advice do you have for engineers like me?

Hopelessly inexperienced


Dear Maurice,

I know things are very tight just now. I graduated in 1957 just before one of a half dozen industry downcycles. The last downturn was in 1990 when the military market dried up. We bounced back with the telecom surge, which is now in trouble.

Good electromagnetic engineers are hard to find and frequently make more than their digital counterparts. My advice is to "hang in there". You may have to fill in with something else in the short term but in the long term, I think it's a good profession.

(Ed. note: for Maurice and others out there feeling hopeless, visit the brand new career center)

FROM: Muhammad Latif, SUPARCO

Dear sir,

I would like to know what BNC stands for.


Muhammad Latif


Dear Muhammad,

BNC is a type of coaxial connector. There are a number of definitions. The most common are: Bayonet Navy Connector or Bayonet N-type Compact.

FROM: Deane Parker, Delta-Pi Engineering Assoc.

Does MWJ plan to make CDs of back issues of MWJ like IEEE and the ARRL (QST)?

I have been a subscriber since VOL # 1, but couldn't carry the [issues] around.

Deane E. Parker


Dear Deane,

There are no plans to make a CD of all past issues. This is a very expensive project. IEEE and ARRL subsidized the cost as a service to their memberships. MWJ has to make a profit.

We are considering a limited CD of the past five years, which we have electronically, however no decision has been made at this time.

(Ed. note: All articles currently available online are also available on an individual basis by clicking the "Reprint Options" button in the article toolbar and selecting "Personal Desktop Reprint." There is a cost for this service. More digital formats are under consideration and would welcome your suggestions.)