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.


MMD March 2014
New Military Microwave Digest


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

December 2013

By Greg Peloquin, President
Richardson RFPD, Inc.


Q: Is there a particular emerging application or technology that intrigues you?

A: GaN technology continues to intrigue us. Our suppliers include the leaders in GaN technology and product development, and we expect 2014 to be an important year for GaN. As its costs are coming down, GaN is gaining strength across more applications—from high power pulsed applications to energy-efficient CATV amplifiers.

We also expect to see significant growth in the optoelectronics market in 2014 and beyond. And, of course, small cell is still a rapidly expanding market. We are engaged globally with key suppliers in the development and roll-out of small cells—both to offload overwhelmed networks and to fill indoor/outdoor coverage gaps.

Q: Are you experiencing any effects of the reduction in defense spending or are you anticipating any impact on your business?

A: The military market is a large portion of our business. We have not seen notable reductions to that in terms of backlog and new program designs. And some programs have extended life—things that were slated to go away, haven’t. And in some cases, where funding for new programs has slowed, the solution has been to just upgrade equipment, so that’s still a positive for us. We’re also seeing defense-related customers expanding their offerings and design efforts, particularly with regard to wireless communications, which are gaining market share and are much more focused than three or four years ago. So overall, we have not experienced a downturn in business.

We have seen some slowdown with rollout, specifically in being able to qualify equipment. Our customers building products for the DOD have been affected to some degree, particularly the ones using those engineering groups, so we’ve been stepping-up our support there. 

Q: Deployment of small cells and distributed antenna systems is increasing rapidly as wireless carriers attempt to provide “broadband wireless data everywhere.” If your company is involved in any portion of the “HetNet” market, please tell us how you feel this market will develop.

A: We have been participating in the small cell market with products from power amplifiers to LNAs and transceivers, and we do see small cell continuing to grow at a rapid pace. But where that growth will be is somewhat undefined. There is a perception that enterprise Wi-Fi will gain more share than femto cells, but we think femto demand will also grow at a very healthy rate. So we’re looking at femto cells, and then the Wi-Fi capability that helps roll it out. In fact, we are already seeing small cells being released to market that offer simultaneous 3G and LTE coverage, as well as a push—partly driven by China—for combined small cell/WiFi access points in a single unit.

Q: China has long been considered the greatest potential global market for many companies in the RF and microwave industry. Do you feel this is still true? Are there other emerging markets that you believe will be lucrative in the next few years?

A: India and Central Europe offer large opportunities, but from a component supplier point of view, there seems to be little question that China has become the manufacturing world’s powerhouse. We expect much of our demand to come from China, and we continue to invest heavily there. The 4G rollout, along with the power management subsidized rollout in China offers huge potential at the end-user level. So China continues to be very strong for us and our suppliers.

As a global, niche distributor, we work with every area of the world. So the end-user scenario in China and India and Central Europe also offers tremendous opportunities for our customers in Europe and America.

Q: What do you believe will be the greatest challenge for the RF and microwave industry?

A: RF design talent continues to be in high demand, so from an HR point of view, that continues to be a challenge in this industry. We continue to work with universities around the world in a number of ways, offering seminars and job opportunities, pre- and post-graduation. We also have a strong internal program to continue growing our global team of RF field sales representatives.

Also, the Internet of Things equation is an interesting one for RF and microwave suppliers. On the one hand, there is obviously huge opportunity. But on the other, keeping up with the development of technologies to support it is a considerable challenge. The high data-throughput demanded for end products, with very high linearity parts—it will be a challenge for technology to keep up with consumers. And, of course, there is the bandwidth that will be required to support the network of connected things. The recommendations that are coming out focus on investments in fiber infrastructure, which benefits our industry. But there’s also the question of additional wireless spectrum and those associated costs, as well as a need for a unifying standard. In any case, it seems clear that the demands for ever-higher device linearity and efficiency will continue.


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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...

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