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RF Shorts - June 22, 2012

Cool Old Microwave Test Equipment

Check out Janine Love's posting Cool old microwave test equipment in her EE Times Blog. One instrument pictured is an HP Model 2020 antenna analyzer. There’s also a picture of an HP (UK) signal generator spanning 2,800 to 7,600 MHz for testing Canada's satellite earth station. My favorite HP microwave test gear is the HP540 transfer oscillator for measuring frequencies up to 12,400 MHz. I used one of these at my first TV station job to do the required microwave frequency measurements. That was a long time ago and I think it was a rental instrument. While living in Florida, I saw one at a hamfest and picked it up for my own use. Unfortunately, it didn’t follow me on my last move. I found I could use the device’s scope to measure video peak deviation, which was pretty nifty at the time at 7 GHz. 

New Site Master Analyzer from Anritsu

Moving from old test equipment to new, Anritsu has announced a new Site Master Antenna Analyzer, the Model S331L. While it won’t make it to 12.400 MHz, it does work up to 4 GHz, providing all the usual measurement capabilities: return loss, VSWR, cable loss, distance-to-fault return loss, distance-to-fault VSWR and RF power and is dust and splash resistant for field use, and has a battery life of up to eight hours. 

Build Your Own Skinny TV Antenna 

Elsewhere in this week's RF Report I described a survey revealing increased interest in off-air TV. That's reflected in the growing number of Websites with do-it-yourself TV antennas. Since thin, flat, flexible antennas are the latest trend, it isn't surprising someone came up with a home-built knock-off that looks a lot like the Walltenna. See DIY Flexible Fractal Window HDTV Antenna on the HTPC DIY Website. It looks as if it should be easy to construct. I wonder if anyone has come up with an easy-to-build indoor version of the Gray-Hoverman antenna using similar construction techniques. While I don't think the Gray-Hoverman would perform well without the reflector elements, it might be interesting to test. 

‘James Bond’ Umbrella Includes Cell Solar Power Supply and Antenna 

If you want to see something truly innovative and also unusual, visit the Website and read Vodafone unveils festival Booster Brolly – Charges up the handset and boosts the signal. The umbrella features solar panels to charge the cell phone and a system to boost signal strength using a high-gain antenna and a low-power signal repeater, according to the article. Creator of the Booster Brolly, Dr. Kenneth Tong, comments, “We’ve put in all of this technology, but [the umbrella isn't] heavy, it’s not big--and it looks good. In fact, it’s a bit of a James Bond umbrella--you can’t tell what it does from the outside.” Dr. Tong is a lecturer in antennas and microwave technology at University College, Cambridge. The Techwatch article did not say when it would be available. Another article on said it would be tried out at the Isle of Wright festival by Vodafone VIP members. 

History's Greatest Inventions/Inventors Re-Examined

Derek Thompson, writing on, says Forget Edison: This is How History's Greatest Inventions Really Happened. Thompson bases his article Mark A. Lemley's paper “The Myth of the Sole Inventor.” Here is what Lemley has to say about Philo T. Farnsworth: “It may be accurate to describe Farnsworth as an inventor of the television, but surely not as the inventor." On the telephone, Lemley writes: “Bell's iconic status owes as much to his victories in court and in the marketplace as at the lab bench."