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RF Shorts - August 13, 2009

A review of RF-related news briefs over the past week:

  • Many modern communications systems depend on accurate clocks and NIST is working on developing the next generation of atomic clocks. While the research is unlikely to lead to a product that will be cost competitive with GPS-locked frequency references or even rubidium standards in the short term, it's possible that improved clock technology could eventually find its way into communications systems. The latest candidate in NIST's next-generation clock project is an experimental clock based on ytterbium atoms. The clock is about four times more accurate than it was several years ago and now has precision comparable to the NIST-F1 cesium fountain clock, the nation's civilian time standard. Accuracy is about 1 second in about 100 million years. That's equivalent to just over 3 parts in 10 raised to the 15th power!
  • Some people apparently believe all TV broadcasting ended June 12: New York Times: Empire State Signals. For others, they know there are broadcasts out there, they just can't see them: Digital conversion hasn't been successful
  • Add-on receivers for the iPhone and other wireless devices have been seen as a way to quickly enable mobile DTV on cell phones and smart phones. The Web site looks at the Japanese Seg Clip for the iPhone but doesn't seem impressed: TV receiver device Seg Clip for iPhone sold in Japan.

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.