We come to the final chapter in this history of Microwave Journal’s first 50 years, a story told through five decades of articles by the industry’s business and technology leaders. This story began with entrepreneurs William Bazzy and Ted Saad founding the magazine and serving as the first publisher and technical editor, respectively, in the summer of 1958. We end this journey in the present decade, the first of a new millennium. As we entered the 21st century, technical and non-technical people alike were concerned that shortsighted computer programming would cause worldwide havoc as clocks turned over from 1999 to 2000, an unprecedented election would have the country waiting weeks before a winner was decided and the world would forever change on September 11th, 2001.
Led by what would become known as the dot-com bubble, technology ruled the start of the decade—at least in the stock market until the crash wiped out $5 trillion in technology companies’ market value between March 2000 and October 2002 (see Figure 1). This enormous loss of faith in technology companies had its impact on the high-flying telecom sector as several communication companies, including NorthPoint Communications, Global Crossing, JDS Uniphase, XO Communications and Covad Communications, burdened with unredeemable debts from their expansion projects, sold their assets for cash or filed for bankruptcy. Demand for the new high-speed infrastructure did not materialize and many fiber networks went dark. The impact would cross over to the commercial microwave industry just as the wireless revolution was gearing up for the next generation of mobile communication.
Figure 1 Nasdaq stock index shows the bursting dot-com bubble that kicked off the new decade.
The technical specifications for building wireless network components was defined in the original version of the standard IEEE 802.11 released in 1997 and modified to the 802.11b in September 1999. Special reports in the January issue reviewed the 1999 wireless workshop and previewed the upcoming Wireless/Portable by Design Exhibition and Conference, which included talks by various companies on the use of design software, advances in packaging, advance modulation techniques (spread spectrum, CDMA, frequency hopping, etc.) and RF fundamentals (by Besser Associates). Frank Bashore’s “A Review of the 1999 Wireless Workshop” took a look at this workshop held in Gold Canyon, AZ, co-sponsored by Merix Corp., Motorola and Rogers Corp. The technical program was kicked off by Robert Keenan of VerticalNet’s Wireless DesignOnline and Bob Sankman of Intel; both discussed various aspects of RF packaging and interconnect challenges for future high speed communication systems. Technical features in this issue focused on various high performance microwave components, such as a fractal antenna, high stability phase-locked source for QAM radio, WLAN directional panel antenna and an ultra-linear, wideband feed-forward amplifier design at 460 MHz using EDA tools.
Communications is the theme for the month with articles on Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM), regrowth of data spectral sidelobes and lossy linearizers for reducing nonlinear distortion. September 11th has already happened, yet the October issue was well into production and there is no mention of the event. News from Washington instead mentions the Bush administration’s focus on the presidential Trade Promotion Authority and contracts won by Rockwell, DynCorp and Raytheon.
One report in the Commercial Market by Cahners In-Stat, “Mobile Commerce: A Work in Progress,” mentioned the less than stellar economic performance for the wireless industry, looking closely at the issues and possible solutions to the problem. The report blamed the slow uptake on the premature launch of m-commerce services as carrier networks were inadequate to handle the e-commerce experience that had been promised to customers. The report felt packet-switched services such as GPRS held great promise to improve service to the level expected. Another report considered that the growth in the number of remote workers and telecommuters would be responsible for driving up demand for broadband services.
Microwave business was also summarized in a special report by Stuart Litt of OEM Capitol, “Midsummer Thoughts on Microwave and RF Market Opportunities.” In the report, the author discussed the fallout from the telecom bust with terms such as “severe business downturn” and the end of the “telecom operators’ capital spending binge.” The author saw a big challenge ahead for an industry that had grown large by way of lucrative government contracts and stayed fat with excessive investment in capitol equipment by overly eager telecoms building for capacity that did not exist. Thinking ahead about the next phase in the industry’s evolution, the author felt the telecom revival would be a long time in coming but that companies could survive the drought if they were willing to trim down, follow the production efficiencies adopted by the computer industry and focus on costs.
For the third time in the Journal’s 44-year history, the publisher’s mantle was passed on, this time to veteran National Sales Manager, Carl Sheffres. Harlan Howe wrote the following with regard to the transition: “I find it hard to believe that it has been 12 years since Howard Ellowitz wrote a similar message announcing his retirement and introducing me as the new Publisher/Editor of Microwave Journal. Now it is my turn to slow down a little and find some breathing room. With this issue, I am retiring as Publisher of Microwave Journal. Like Howard before me, I plan to continue to work part time for Horizon House. I will still be the Editor of Microwave Journal and I will continue to share in the management of the MTT-S Exhibition.”
The United States is one month away from the invasion of Iraq and the microwave industry so closely tied to the military seems to be mostly engaged in developing wireless technology. Once again, the Journal gives extensive coverage in January to the Wireless Systems Design Show. Also featured are technical articles on RF module design for a multi-mode handset (the transition from 2G to 3G systems is in full effect), a CMOS power amplifier for Bluetooth and WLAN applications, and a 2 x 16 antenna T/R switch matrix for 28 GHz wireless applications. Articles on simulation software from Ansoft and Eagleware reflect their enhanced capabilities and growing importance in reducing design cycles. Sonnet Software would grace the cover of the December issue and November would feature a special one-time supplement devoted to CAD and test and measurement. Despite the lack of technical articles with a focus on military applications, there is a clear uptick in advertisers targeting the military market and the monthly Defense News includes Raytheon’s successful underwater launch of a Tomahawk missile, a live-fire test of infrared countermeasures and a Northrop Grumman win for work on radar antenna. Dual-use components would appear to help certain manufacturers re-engage with the military market simply with a change in their marketing campaigns (i.e., warships, fighter jets and desert-camouflaged Humvees).
The Cold War is truly over as this issue of Microwave Journal offers a comprehensive overview of Russian fighter radars from the 1960s to the present in a Special Report called “Got You Covered” by Michal Fiszer and Jerzy Gruszczynski. The article tells of the Soviet planners’ decision to equip all MiG-25Ps with a completely new radar after Soviet pilot Viktor Belenko escaped with his MiG-25P to Japan in 1976. An article that told the history, politics and technical challenges behind the evolution of Russian airborne radar, spelled out in such great detail (http://www.mwjournal.com/Journal/article.asp?HH_ID=AR_1336) would have been unimaginable just 10 years earlier.
Figure 2 A magazine makeover and editorial change for 2005.
This would be the last issue of the Microwave Journal with the white border cover format that had been in place for a number of years. In January of 2005, publisher Carl Sheffres would announce several changes to the magazine, the first being a make-over for the magazine cover. As Carl wrote in his Note from the Publisher, “I’ll begin with the changes, since you’ve probably noticed the most obvious of them already. Yes, the cover has a new look and a new direction. The cover graphic will now reflect the editorial theme for the issue, as illustrated in this month’s “Radar/Antennas” focus. Less obvious, but no less significant, is the change to the cover story, which will now relate specifically to the featured editorial focus for each month, providing insight into the current state and future trends of that particular market or product segment, and written by an industry expert.” This bold step would move the magazine away from featuring a new product on the cover and toward addressing a specific aspect of the monthly theme and tapping industry leaders to share their expertise.
This month was a solid issue devoted to amplifiers and oscillators (still the theme for the April issue) with several industry experts and numerous technical articles and state-of-the-art product features. Power amplifier guru Steve Cripps was author of a Special Report called “RF Power 2005” (www.mwjournal.com/Journal/article.asp?HH_ID=AR_353). Cripps very clearly stated the challenges of designing amplifiers, “which can address all wireless systems’ need for power, efficiency and linearity.” The author worked these requirements back to the system demand for “an ever-increasing number of users, leading to the specifications on adjacent channel interference (which) keep getting more stringent, and more efficient modulation systems (which) keep demanding more dynamic range and higher instantaneous signal bandwidth.” Cripps then explored the various available technologies and amplifier topologies with regard to performance trade-offs and other considerations. George Vendelin with Jose Carlos Pedro and Pedro Miguel Cabral discussed some amplifier and solid state fundamentals in their article, “Amplifier and Transistor Gain Revisited” (www.mwjournal.com/Journal/article.asp?HH_ID=AR_354).
November Wireless Supplement 2006
Our second annual Wireless Technologies Supplement (2006), which will be relabeled WiMAX and Emerging Technologies in 2007 and WiMAX, LTE and Emerging Wireless in 2008, reflects the shifting standards that are gearing up to leapfrog 3G systems. (Next year we will hedge our bets with our Next Generation Wireless System supplement.) The first year’s supplement featured a Special Report from Harlan Howe and Richard Mumford called “Wireless Technologies: Viewpoints from Two Markets and Two Continents” (www.mwjournal.com/journal/article.asp?HH_ID=AR_564). This article was based on interviews with executives from a number of players in the wireless arena, including Jerry Neal of RFMD, Charles McCauley of Renaissance Electronics, Bill Flerchinger of Agilent Wireless Division, Adrian Nemcek of Motorola Networks Business, Jean-Luc Etienne of Chelton Telecom and Wolfgang Bosch of Filtronics. How did the respondents view the evolving requirements of the communications sector in 2006? According to Charles McCauley of Renaissance, “We have seen everything from making products that can be used simultaneously for CDMA, TDMA and MSM, to products which are capable of handling the 800, 900, 1800 and 1900 MHz spectrums. The telecommunications market is trying to find new ways to save both space and money, while being able to use every available technology and every kilohertz of bandwidth at their disposal. The bandwidth driver for 3G, 4G, data and video will be the most prevalent of demands.” By the second edition, the focus is squarely on WiMAX, HSPU and WiMedia UWB with contributions from Analog Devices, Agilent Technologies and Rohde & Schwarz.
Figure 3 The May 2007 IMS MTT-S show issue.
Did you ever think you would live long enough to see Hawaii on the cover of an issue of Microwave Journal? Since the first time when the MTT-S decided to host the national symposium in a visitor-friendly location—choosing the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego, CA for the 1960 gathering—the Journal has dedicated the May cover and its reporting to the IMS. Our art department did its best to portray Honolulu as a serious venue for the world’s leading conference on microwave technology, but a tropical island is a tropical island and this month’s cover is among our most serene ever.
This was our first issue dedicated solely to microwave applications that extend beyond communication and the military applications. Since the earliest days of the Journal, scientists and engineers have been exploring and writing about how to use microwaves to address medical problems, automotive safety, location technology (GPS and RFID) and machine to machine communications. In 2007, our Industrial, Scientific and Medical Applications issue was launched. The issue will finish each year with reporting on the emerging technologies which may (at the time) reflect relatively small markets yet represents some of the most innovative uses of radio and microwaves coming from academia and commercial R&D labs. Alan Jenkins of Tyco Electronics M/A-COM gets the ball rolling with an article on the development and deployment of millimeter-wave-based technology for remote-sensing applications in vehicles.
So here we are, 50 years later. A robust industry and trade journal connected at the hip, walking in locked step. Our industry is a tight community with many personal connections. We have seen many changes to our business and the world around us. We have weathered numerous macro-economic changes that a less resilient and inventive community would not have survived. The staff at the Journal is truly grateful to our contributors who share their stories with our readers at large, to our readers for their loyalty and to our advertisers for their financial support. We also appreciate that while it is one of our readers primary jobs to work diligently to reduce the size of their products’ footprint, we at the Journal have an opposite goal. We strive—with the help of our many contributors and readers—to expand the size of our footprint, spreading news of our industry’s successes and helping that industry see over the horizon. Just as we set out to do 50 years ago when two entrepreneurs named Bazzy and Saad started a small trade publication called Microwave Journal.