An early editorial column from Ted Saad, Microwave Journal’s first editor, originally published in September/ October of 1958.

One of the most important policies of "the microwave journal" is to strive for balance of content without diluting the quality of the magazine. In each issue an effort will be made to include a variety of articles rather than articles similar in type or content.

A quick study of the results of our first reader response confirms the original beliefs of the editorial board regarding the need for variety in the magazine. The greatest response indicated a desire for tutorial or survey type papers. In the field of specialization, most of the reader response indicated a desire for papers on antennas. Following these two major groupings, the reader response was greatest in the fields of Ferrites, Solid State (especially parametric amplifiers) and microwave tubes (especially travelling wave types). There were a number of requests for papers on Measurements, Systems, Components, and news items. A happy note was that many readers wanted issues similar to Vol. 1, No. 1.

In future issues there will be the usual engineering papers which will try to feature the three "D's" — designs, dimensions, and data. In addition, there will also be tutorial papers, survey papers, and summary papers.

The regular departments, including the biography, company profile, and business editorial, will also strive for balance between systems people and component people, between the East and the West, and between the large and the small.

In keeping with policy, the next issue will include the second part of Dr. Ginzton's article on "Microwaves," a guest editorial on antennas by Carl Sletten of AFCRC, a paper on masers by William From of Ewen Knight Corporation, and a paper on Ferrite Circulators by Dr. Peter Rizzi of Raytheon.

It may be well to stress here that the papers by From and Rizzi are excellent examples of the type of technical paper that we want to encourage for publication in our journal. They present to the engineer clear descriptions of the working of masers and ferrites, with a minimum of mathematics, and offer him facts and information that he can readily use. It is this type of paper that we expect to feature in each issue of "the microwave journal."

The biography will feature Royden Sanders, President of Sanders Associates, the company profile will describe Litton Industries, and the business editorial will be authored by Dave Ingalls, President of Airtron Inc., a division of Litton Industries.

Your continued response, of course, is essential in keeping us aware as to the needs of the industry. It is our intention to present a balanced program of information to the engineer and his associates. We will include articles with a business flavor as well as information about people and companies.

Ted Saad worked at RadLab from August 1942 to December 1945. His first assignment was under Norman Ramsey and later Ed Purcell, in Group 42 studying the low pressure, high power breakdown of waveguide components. From there he moved to Group 53 to work under Jerrold Zacharias devising microwave components that would withstand high altitudes. This project included creating the layout design for radio frequencies used in airborne search and bombing radar heads. Finally, he transferred to the beacon group, number 71, where, under Dr. Riekel, he helped develop X-band beacon waveguide components.

After RadLab he continued work as a radar engineer with the Submarine Signal Company. From there he and a few others, including Dr. Henry Riblet, formed a new company (Microwave Development Labs or MDL) specializing in microwave waveguide technology. Waveguide plumbing would represent a large segment of the microwave activity at this time. Later, he worked at Sylvania Electric Products alongside future Microwave Journal associate editors – Dr. Benjamin Lax and Marshall Pease. Eventually, he started a company of his own, called Sage Laboratories in 1955. In 1958, he joined William Bazzy to launch Microwave Journal, serving as the magazine’s first technical editor. He held positions as editor-in-chief, vice-president and consulting editor up to his retirement in the mid-1990s.

Saad was one of the organizers and first chairman of the Boston chapter of the PGMTT. He was also editor of the society’s The Transactions publication for two and a half years.

In Search of the Next Microwave Horizon

David Vye, Microwave Journal Editor

In 1958, a microwave engineer might earn $11,500 a year, might have one or two customers (the government or sub-contractor), might have worked in ferrites, solid-state, travelling wave tubes, or microwave plumping and, in July, might have been among the 12,000 subscribers to receive the first issue of a new trade magazine written specifically for them and their colleagues.

Sensing the need for a full-time periodical devoted exclusively to microwaves, several entrepreneurs began publishing Microwave Journal. This month, we celebrate that moment and the 50 years of industry achievement that have occurred since. Following tradition, we have asked two leading members of our community to share their insights about the history of microwaves. We also begin a six-part series on our reporting of the past five decades.

Perhaps it is unavoidable to celebrate a milestone such as turning 50 with a reflection on the past and a desire to forecast the future. Beyond nostalgia, the past helps us to recognize trends, providing some glimpse of what’s to come. From the start, the Journal was intended to provide such insight by tapping into the finest talent available and communicating their acquired knowledge. It is not surprising that the first editors looked to the industry’s short past to “see over the horizon,” an appropriate metaphor for an industry born from radar.

Early articles helped define our industry’s identity—the nature of its existence, the scope of its technology and applications, and the prospects for its growth. In 1958, contributors were opining without the benefit of hindsight. They did have a solid understanding of microwave theory and an entrepreneurial “can-do” spirit common to many high-tech start-ups. Their excitement fueled much of our industry’s early success. The knowledge and vision of guest authors such as Dana Atchley, president of Microwave Associates (Vol. 1, No. 1), would give readers a front row seat on important industry happenings.

So what did the early editors see for the microwave industry? Seymour Cohn very wisely commented that “technological growth is never steady, but comes as a random series of inventive explosions.” Of course, Cohn knew the dangers of making predictions. While asking “the inevitable question of what are the major advancements to come,” he remarked that no one could predict “the time or the exact nature of discoveries.” Yet from past trends, Cohn was confident that future inventions would be based on earlier ideas and technologies such as “ferrites, parametric amplifiers and solid-state theory hold great promise.”

Articles in this first issue acknowledged our reliance on military spending but tried (somewhat in vain) to envision commercial opportunities. Prevailing capabilities and needs clouded their predictions. Consider the following from this 1958 article with respect to new microwave applications: “On the horizon we see large-scale use of low-loss millimeter-wave transmission in circular waveguides that will carry thousands of messages simultaneously.” Change circular waveguide to fiber optics and thousands to millions and the prediction is right on the mark.

As engineers, we solve problems. During World War II, engineers and scientists would evolve microwave theory and techniques for radar. After the war, our industry would make constant improvements to the components in these systems. Many past articles reveal an ongoing battle between competing technologies: TWTs versus solid-state; MESFETs versus PHEMT and HBT; microwave radio links versus fiber optics; GaAs versus Silicon; and WiMAX versus LTE. While the market will ultimately decide the winner, the engineer prepares these competing technologies for battle and the Journal is there to report the score.

With regard to predicting the future, some things are inevitable. We will be asked to make components that are faster, smaller, weigh less, consume less power, cost less and do more. We will play a critical role in defense and communication systems. But just as it was challenging for the first editor’s to conceive of commercial opportunities that were on par with the military microwave spending at the time, it is hard for us to know what sizable opportunities lie in wait for us.

Our industry’s good health is due in part to our adept ability to apply microwaves in creative ways to address the needs of mankind. By recent research and development efforts the industry is poised to play a greater role in medical systems, automobile safety and traffic management.

In 1958, movie producer Frank Capra predicted global warming in a documentary called The Unchained Goddess. That year, a gallon of gas cost $0.24. Given the ongoing concern over global climate change and the soaring cost of gas, communication systems that reduce the need for travel and smart traffic that leads to less fuel-wasting congestion are two items “on the horizon.” Beyond that, we shall wait and see.