rfrobenius's blog

Website Updates Coming

We're going to be making some minor changes to the site soon. Look for a new streamlined menu along with better descriptions of our most popular calculators and other resources. We'll also be increasing our emphasis on providing information about training opportunities and making access to online training as convenient as possible. Our RF Mentor Academy site allows you to use your existing login to purchase online training and start right away - look for updates to that site as well. The academy site is also home to our new subscription training program.

A New Monument to Silicon Valley's Birthplace

A new office building/shopping complex is nearing completion at the site of the original Shockley Laboratories location on San Antonio Road in Mountain View, CA. As part of the development, a new monument as been incorporated into the building and sidewalk, featuring giant transistors and diodes. Originally the site had been occupied by an international grocery market and the only commemoration of the significance of the spot was a small plaque on the sidewalk.

RF Mentor Academy

RF Mentor Academy is available as a source of online training on RF and Wireless topics for users of RF Mentor. You can now access a continuously updated selection of courses and premium tutorials with a one-year paid subscription. Access the latest content from instructors as well as premium short tutorials. Supplement the subscription courses with additional materials available for purchase individually, as well as some free courses and study guides.

Calculators Maintenance Update

I've done some updates to a couple of calculators on the site. The Animated Reflectometer HTML5 version had a bug where the animation would be drawn with the wrong sign for values entered into the load impedance (ZL) field. The displayed numerical results were correct, but the animation would demonstrate an open circuit condition if you entered zero impedance for the load, instead of displaying a shorted condition. This has been fixed now.

Here Come the Calculators!

I've been experimenting with JavaScript a bit lately and came up with a bit of code to make creating calculators for RF Mentor users quite a bit easier. Based on the fact that most of the online calculators share some common functionality as far as the website is concerned, I've created some base "formula" and "variable" objects to handle the creation of the input form and display tasks. As a result, creating a new calculator is a much simpler matter of defining the variables and writing a function for the calculation of the output value.

Greetings from the International Microwave Symposium Hawaii

Greetings from the 2017 International Microwave Symposium in Honolulu, Hawaii! This show is a great opportunity to re-connect with fellow RF and wireless professionals, learn about the latest design techniques, and see the newest products being offered at the exhibition. Besser Associates is here at booth #942. The show is always an opportunity to get new ideas and brainstorm for new courses and resources that we can offer on the RF Mentor site.

dBm to Milliwatts Conversion Tutorial with Python

I was recently updating one of the online workbooks for the RF Technology Certification program and decided to try and re-write one of the calculators using Python. The topic is teaching how to convert from dBm values to milliwatts without using a calculator, so the calculator does not just calculate the conversion, rather it tries to demonstrate the process of approximation in your head. In the end, I decided to keep the original Javascript calculator with some updates rather than replacing it with the Python version.

Transmission Line Elements on Smith Chart Web App

I've successfully added transmission line elements to the Smith Chart matching web app here on RFMentor.com. These include series, shorted shunt section, and open shunt section. There's a trick you can use to have these transmission line elements use an arbitrary characteristic impedance. The elements adopt the same characteristic impedance as the chart normalization impedance (default is 50 Ohms).

Analytical Impedance Match with Python

I created a quick Python function to calculate the component values for an impedance match between two real (resistive) terminations using the technique taught in the Introduction to Impedance Matching course. Here is what the code ends up looking like, and it shows how useful Python can be for working as a "quick programmable calculator." In the old days, I might have been tempted to program my old HP48 calculator to crank out the same values. It only took a few minutes to put the code together, which is the beauty of working with Python.


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