July 2023

Last month we had the pleasure of attending the International Microwave Symposium in San Diego, California (along with nearly 10,000 of our microwave engineering friends and colleagues). For the first time at this conference, we helped out with the local arrangements committee, mostly by borrowing things for the historic exhibit and then returning then to their owners after the event. Much of our time was spent in the day-job booth, our own booth (of course!) and at several of the social events. Now that we're recovered from that hectic week, here are a few highlights:



Let's look at some unofficial but pretty accurate IMS 2023 attendance numbers:

  • Total registrations (Conference and Exhibition) ~9200
  • Technical registrations for IMS >2800
  • Technical registrations for RFIC >620 (including 350 Superpasses that get you into all events, that's almost 1000 total!)
  • Workshop registrations >1800.
  • 2023 IMS registrations were very close to 2015, 2018, & 2019 (pre-pandemic)
  • 2023 RFIC registration was second best in last 10 years
  • 2023 Workshop registrations were second best in last 10 years.

The message is, “IMS is back!”

The technical program included over 360 technical papers covering a wide range of topics. There were also workshops and hands-on activities, like the AI/ML boot camp where attendees learned the basics of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning specifically for microwave design. Or instructions for how to build a "Foxhole Radio" using a safety pin and a rusty razor blade, courtesy of Professor David Ricketts and his team over at INTERACTRF.ORG


There were plenty of special events for students and young professionals.  The Three-Minute Thesis is a competition where each presenter gets (you guessed it!) three minutes in which to describe their project. There were also several other technical competitions, offering awards for Best Paper, Student Design Competion,  Early Career Paper, and more. 

In our opinion, the best "Exhibit that that Unknown Editor Helped with" was obviously the Historic Exhibit. This offered several cabinets of historic hardware, some dating back 100 years or more. Big thanks go to Cubic,  and Qualcom, Samtec and our favorite ex-Hughes employee for providing hardware, and to Steve Stitzer for his years of dedication to curating this exhibit. 


One new thing this year - for those of you who (like us) spend way to much time Googling to find information on historic equipment, there was a board of QR codes pointing to URLs for more information about some of the companies and hardware that was on display. 

Another new thing this year was a visit from IEEE's MOVE disaster relief vehicle.  When a disaster hits, it often knocks out power and communications (two things that IEEE knows a lot about!) These vehicles bring services like cell-phone chargiing, wi-fi access, and lighting to the center of the disaster areas.  Very cool!



The exhibit hall, as always, had a ton of new things to see and learn about.  There were around 550 vendors, including yours truly, but we only managed to visit a small percentage of them. We had steady traffic to our own booth; thank you to everyone who stopped by! It's always a pleasure to meet fans, and we even like it when people go out of their way to tell us about things they DON'T like on the site.  This year, in honor of the San Diego sun and sand, we had Microwaves101-branded beach balls to give away (and, as always, our colorful pens and some graph paper notepads). We shared the booth with our good friends over at everythingRF.  Special thanks to Todd and Kathy, our male and female booth models!

Obviously, we weren't the only people offering fun swag - but that's a topic for another post!  For now, here are just a few of the highlights:

We were happy to see that Samtec is still providing us with tigers.  This year, they even made a donation to the World Wildlife Fund for everyone who registered their tiger.  Over on the Samtec site, you can see the map of where all the tigers ended up.  We were also very happy to finally get a Wolfspeed wolf - you can see him, the tigers, and more over on our Stuffies of IMS page


One of our favorite IMS events is the Women in Microwaves reception.  They always do a phenomenal job of getting everyone to interact with each other, and this year was no exception.  They had a sort of scavenger hunt game, and everyone who found all the items won a really nice bluetooth speaker. We'll definitely be attending that event again!

Looking ahead, the next IMS will be in Washington, DC in June 2024. Will we see you there? 


Check out the Unknown Editor's amazing archives when you are looking for a way to screw off for a couple of hours or more!

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