• Predicting the Technological Future vs. Adapting to It

    Originally posted Jul 8, 2016   GPS and the skill, creativity and imagination of engineers   When it comes to predicting the future, I’m not sure if RF engineers are any better or worse than others&m...
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  • Insidious Measurement Errors

    Originally posted Jun 23, 2016   How to avoid fooling yourself   Some years ago I bought an old building lot for a house, and hired a surveyor because the original lot markers were all gone. It was a tough...
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  • RTSA: How “Real” is Real Enough?

    Originally posted May 18, 2016   Improving your chances of finding the signals you want   Real-time spectrum analyzers (RTSAs) are very useful tools when you’re working with time-varying or agile sig...
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  • Competition and the Semiconductor Triple-Play

    Originally posted Apr 18, 2016   Get all the signal analyzer performance you pay for   After perusing a pair of new application briefs, I was impressed by the improvements in signal analyzers driven by the...
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  • Signal Capture and Playback: A DVR for RF/Microwave Engineers

    Originally posted Mar 18, 2016   “OK, Jamie, let’s go to the high-speed”   There are times when understanding an event or phenomenon—or simply finding a problem—demands a view...
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  • Fans of a Touch Interface for Signal Analyzers, Please Extend Your Hands

    Originally posted Feb 19, 2016   Borrowing stuff from phones and tablets that we helped make possible   Gary Glitter asked it first, but people my age probably remember Joan Jett’s version: “Do...
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  • Vexing Connections

    Originally posted Feb 1, 2016   RF sins that may not be your fault   Many years ago, I knew an engineer who used to chuckle when he used the term “compromising emanations” to describe unintenti...
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  • All of our RF Sins Exposed

    Originally posted Jan 15, 2016   Trespassing is harder to miss in  a densely occupied country   The 802.11ah wireless standard mentioned in my last post is promising, but it highlights a challenge tha...
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  • Analyzer Upgrades: Going Back in Time and Changing Your Mind

    Originally posted Nov 13, 2015   A practical way to revisit decisions about bandwidth and frequency range No matter how carefully you consider your test equipment choices, your needs will sometimes evolve beyond...
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  • Using Windows for a Better View of RF/Microwave Signals

    Originally posted Nov 2, 2015   How to discard information and improve your measurements If your primary focus is RF/microwave analysis, you may not be familiar with “windows” or “window f...
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  • Measure this, not That: Signal Separation in Optical and Electrical Measurements

    Originally posted Oct 12, 2015   I wonder if these MIT researchers can quantify their directivity? I’m fascinated by correspondences between phenomena in RF engineering and other fields, and it isn’t...
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  • Efficient Averaging: All Samples are not Created Equal

    Originally posted Sept 25, 2015   Is noise driving me mad, or just driving my interest in statistics? I suspect that many of you, like me, have no special interest in statistics per se. However, we’ve also...
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  • “I Have Two of Those and They’re Both Broken”

    Originally posted Sept 10, 2015   K connectors, microwave measurements and careful plumbing Over the years, I’ve heard several engineers speculate on alternative lives as plumbers. It’s a career that...
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  • Calibration Data: How to Use What You Know

    Originally posted Aug 24, 2015   How well do you know what you know, and how well do you need to know it anyway? We choose, purchase and maintain test equipment because we want answers: how big, how pure, how fa...
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  • Time-Qualified Trigger: A Powerful Addition to the RF Toolbox

    Originally posted Jul 24, 2015   When you’re playing cat-and-mouse with tricky signals Hertz-minded RF engineers are becoming more and more comfortable with the time domain and, in particular, with simulta...
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  • Improving Measurement Accuracy with Information You Already Have

    Originally posted Jun 18, 2015   Apply information about the individual instruments on your bench I suppose design and measurement challenges can be a valuable contribution to job security. After all, if a cleve...
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  • Pulse Analysis: From Many, One*

    Originally posted Jun 4, 2015   Lots of measurements of a stochastic process may provide the deterministic number you seek For much of my measurement career, many measurement situations have been a search for Th...
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  • Faster-Sweeping Signal Analyzers: An Invisible Technology that Just Works

    Originally posted May 8, 2016   With a benefit or two that should not remain invisible Though we don’t always think of them in quite this way, signal measurements such as low-level spurious involve the col...
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  • A Signal Analyzer Connector Puzzler

    Originally posted Apr 7, 2015   Is something wrong with this picture? Many of the things that intrigue me do not have the same effect on an average person. However, you are also not an average person—or yo...
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  • Signal Generators and Confidence in the Very Small

    Originally posted Mar 10, 2015   Precisely small is more of a challenge than precisely big Recently, I’ve been looking at sensitivity measurements and getting acquainted with the difficulty of doing things...
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