Evaluating Our Industry’s Health Requires a Broad Perspective
By John Farley, Director of Marketing, Pasternack Enterprises

As most RF and microwave companies are privately held and industry analysts rarely track sales of microwave components other than semiconductors and interconnects, determining the health of an industry as diverse as ours is extremely difficult.


Uncertain Times for DefenseIn Defense of DARPA; Lamenting Bell Labs
By Barry Manz

A federal agency like DARPA is a sitting duck for politicians and assorted other critics. It has come up with some truly bizarre programs over years that ultimately either delivered no tangible results, were canceled before they could cause any damage, or attempted to answer questions that nobody was asking or needed answers to. Read More...


E-Band Active X5 Multiplier
Model SFA-743843516-12SF-N1 is an E-band X5 active multiplier with center frequency at 79 GHz with minimum +/-5 GHz operational bandwidth. It converts 14.8 to 16.8 GHz/+5 dBm input signal to deliver 74 to 84 GHz frequency band with more than +16 dBm power.
Sage Millimeter

Hand-Flex™ Coaxial Cable
Covering DC to 12.5 GHz, this 8” coaxial cable, 141-8SMNB+, has a bulkhead Female Type-N connector at one end and SMA-Male at the other. Features include low loss, excellent return loss, hand formable, and an 8mm bend radius for tight installations.

Phase Trimmer Series
This new phase trimmer series is designed for RF applications where phase match between two cables is needed for proper system performance. Phase trimmers, offered from DC to 50 GHz, will give an accurate phase adjustment over a specified frequency range.
RLC Electronics

Planar Monolithics Industries
Model PTRAN-100M18G-SFB-3UVPX-MAH is a transceiver covering the frequency range of 100 MHz to 18 GHz. The transceiver fits into a 3U Open VPX form factor utilizing the high speed VITA 67 RF connector.
Planar Monolithics Industries

SMT High-Power Attenuators
Now available with full design support capabilities are three new SMT high-power attenuators from Anaren. These 30 to 50W devices are high-performance, high-power chip attenuators covering DC to 3.0 GHz and feature high return loss and small footprints.
Richardson RFPD

See all products in this issue


Uncertain Times for Defense
By Barry Manz

Suffice it to say that the last 18 months have not been the best of times for the defense industry, as partisan politics played havoc with the industry's future funding. As this is written, less than two months remain to the presidential election and sequestration of funds to the tune of $1.2 trillion remains in limbo. Half of that amount is scheduled to be automatically hacked from the defense budget over a period of 10 years. These two events will together play a major role in determining the future of the defense industry not just in the next few years but for a decade or more.

Not surprisingly, prime contractors have been preparing for the worst, especially those responsible for programs that are low hanging fruit for the chopper. However, the good news is that Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) may have a better chance of surviving in this environment than more contentious programs whose viability is more easily questioned. Electronic warfare and radar in particular are generally recognized as essential for all services including the Army for the first time in many years.

Nevertheless, with Republicans and Democrats eyeing each other across the aisle with nary a moderate among them, virtually anything is possible regardless of who wins the election. On the face of it, the Republicans have staunchly defended defense spending and have effectively removed it from any potential cuts. But talk is cheap in electioneering and when it comes time to make decisions, even they may waver.

If President Obama is elected to a second term, prospects for the defense industry are a lot less certain, and defense cuts are certainly not “off the table” in the mindset of the Democratic Party. Obama has not thus far demonstrated any zeal for gutting the country's defenses and doing so would be both politically unsavory as companies throughout the country provide either hardware, software, or services to DoD -- and most polls indicate most people want a robust military.

In any event, the country’s massive debt and budget deficits will require politically unpopular decisions. Equally important is the fact that until there is some level of certainty among defense prime contractors about the future of defense, they are likely to delay any major decisions. That certainly does not bode well for the RF and microwave industry, which counts on a reasonable level of consistency to remain healthy. With any luck, after the dust settles somewhat in February 2012, there may be some level of relief.

Barry Manz is a contributing editor to Microwave Product Digesting can be reached at



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MMD March 2014
New Military Microwave Digest

The Design of Ultra Narrowband Amplifiers Using Small-Signal Varactor Upconverters
This paper presents a method of realizing tunable microwave amplifiers with ultra narrow bandwidths that can be less than 0.5% by the use of a varactor up-converter (UC).
Planar Monolithics

Directivity and VSWR Measurements
Return loss and VSWR measurements are complicated by the finite performance of the directional device used to measure the reflected power. The only accurate and convenient way to make return loss measurements is with a well matched high directivity directional coupler or bridge.
Marki Microwave

Switch Solutions for Systems with Low PIM Requirements
Dow-Key Microwave has invested in R&D for new RF switch products designed specifically to reduce intermodulation (IM) in coaxial switches.
Dow-Key Microwave

How to Specify RF and Microwave Filters
Covers cavity, ceramic, LC, crystal and helical filters.
Anatech Electronics

Mounting Considerations for Medium Power Surface-Mount RF Devices
Covers all factors that must be considered when mounting SMT devices.
TriQuint Semiconductor

Biasing MMIC Amplifiers
How to bias MMICs along with theory and techniques.

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