IN MY OPINION

Interconnect Advances Fuel Technology Growth
By Orwill Hawkins, Vice President of Marketing, LadyBug Technologies

With increased frequencies, higher data rates, and lower noise levels, the microwave industry serves as a leader in technological capability. Demand for quality interconnects has increased right along with other higher-performance areas in the industry.
Read More...

FROM WHERE WE SIT

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...


CURRENT ISSUE PRODUCTS


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.
Mini-Circuits

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


FROM WHERE WE SIT
   
Obama to Government: It’s Time to Share
By Barry Manz

The President decreed in a memorandum on June 14 that more spectrum must be “found” to satisfy wireless carriers’ need for more bandwidth. As most every slice of spectrum of practical use to the wireless industry is currently allocated to a specific service, this means something will have to give.

That something will be the federal government, as it “owns” more spectrum than everyone else. The allocations of DoD in particular make up the greatest share of what the government owns, even though it uses only about 10% of them. As spectrum has become the world’s most precious commodity, and as DoD has historically clung to its allocations like a drowning man to a lifejacket, this task is likely to be Herculean at best. This will be further complicated by the fact the FCC will have to work together with the Department of Commerce to achieve the end result. The FCC has authority over commercial and all government entities except the federal government, which is the domain of the commerce department.

The message, as the memorandum repeatedly points out, is that the time for band sharing has come. Government agencies must either share their allocations with commercial services or lose them. No more playing the “national security” card for DoD, unless it can prove that moving whatever it’s doing at a specific band will have a major negative impact on its operations and the nation’s safety. DoD isn’t alone in its loathing for sharing electromagnetic resources: Wireless carriers fear that sharing spectrum with anyone, least of all the federal government, is likely to cause interference problems and is a lot more uncertain than gaining it exclusively through auctions. Nevertheless, sharing will soon become a fact that no one likes but everyone will have to live with. That is, unless the White House and the FCC can defy the laws of physics and truly “find” more spectrum.

This situation wouldn’t have risen to its current state if services that rely on the ether all appeared at once and were simultaneously allocated places to operate. Rather, when new services appeared, beginning with radiotelegraphy in the early 20th Century, they were plopped into the spectrum for which equipment could be made. As technology evolved and it was possible to communicate on higher and higher frequencies, a new service could be allocated spectrum best suited to its needs (assuming again that it was technically possible). The result is today’s spectrum map, which looks like a hard drive in need of defragmenting.

All frequencies have propagation characteristics that are well suited for some application or applications, but for wireless carriers the region between VHF and the low microwave frequencies is by far the “best”, falling off rapidly in usefulness beyond this point. Higher frequencies are technically viable but economically nightmarish, requiring huge numbers of small cells to cover a specific area.

Practically speaking, what this means is that any spectrum that can be wrested away from its current owners will be at those VHF-to-low microwave frequencies that carriers can use. The federal government owns quite a bit of it. If the challenges just mentioned were the only ones, then perhaps government/private industry band-sharing would be less onerous. However, sharing a band may mean that the current occupant will have to move at least some of its service elsewhere, at potentially massive cost, which “someone”, probably taxpayers, will wind up funding at least in part. The new band may also not be as suitable for that application as the previous one, so band-sharing combinations will have to be carefully sculpted. Multiply this by the number of band-sharing plans and other refarming efforts that the government will have to orchestrate to gain the 1 GHz it thinks is available, and the enormity of the tasks ahead become clear.

The good news for the RF and microwave industry is that in its entirely the plan will requires substantial amounts of new hardware, essentially creating a new market where there was none before. Who could argue with that?

Barry Manz is a contributing editor to Microwave Product Digesting can be reached at manzcom@gmail.com.






 

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MILITARY MICROWAVE DIGEST


MMD March 2014
New Military Microwave Digest
WHITE PAPERS

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.
Mini-Circuits


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