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As is always the case, we've been busy adding plenty of new stuff to Microwaves101. We ain't been slack, Cap'n Walker!



New for May 2022: Ten million years ago a star exploded... traveling at 186,282 miles per second (299,792,458 meters per second), the "news" was picked up by the Mount Palomar Observatory in May 1972.  Using comparisons of star photos in near real time, Palomar captured a record 13 such events that year. Supernovae are rarely visible to the naked eye, no one alive today has ever seen one without a telescope. Although they missed the exciting flash-bang beginning of SN1972E (supernova, 1972, fifth event...), observatories around the world learned a lot as it as it slowly faded out over over next 700 days. SN1972E was discussed at length in a September 30, 1972 New York Times article. Hold that thought...

Meanwhile, what's new at Microwaves101? 

  • We are sad to report the untimely passing of Doug Teeter and his wife Terri Stull, who were involved in a fifty-car pileup in a snowstorm in March. Doug earned his PhD at University of Michigan, and made decades of contributions to the microwave industry in device modeling and power amplifier design. All who knew Doug make the same observation: he was a really nice person. Terri was also an engineer and a role model for younger women in engineering. Life is short, so enjoy every sandwich.

  • Be sure to visit the Microwaves101 booth #6016 at the International Microwave Symposium in June 2022.  Here's a handy map  of the exhibition hall - if you visit Qorvo you will be maybe 50 feet away from the EverythingRF/Microwaves101  booth. Pro tip: if you are searching the map for Microwaves101, you need to enter Microwaves 101 with a space to find it.  On Wednesday 22 June at 3PM we will tap a keg of locally-brewed India Pale Ale so mark your calendar.  From what we have heard, a full keg of beer will only last about two hours, but fear not, you can keep soaking up the suds at 5PM when the industry-hosted reception begins.

  • Let's look at some pulsed RF waveforms on a signal analyzer, then try to make a spreadsheet that predicts the spectrum... there's got to be an easier way to do this, but what could be more fun?

  • We added "splatter" and "chirp" to our microwave slang dictionary, as they are part of the discussion on pulsed RF waveforms.

  • Lena "Wilsey" Franck's song about Sputnik I, "The Cosmic Dance" was previously mentioned on our Songs about SatCom page.  Now the first known recording of it is on YouTube... at least the piano part. We await the choral arrangement with bated breath!  Check it out and don't you dare dislike it...

  • At NIT Trichy, Dr. Raghavan's students have created a waveguide visualizer you can download. It was published in MTT's Microwave Magazine, well after we had a link to it. Check it out!

  • Last month's video highlight was a teardown video of a Starlink Dishy. Have you ever wondered how SatCom phased array could be offered for $500? Part of the answer, for now, is that it is priced below cost and the real money will be made up in subscriptions.  

  • After a long time off, the Unknown Editor is back, musing about a janky old British car.  When was the last time you bought 20W-50 oil?

  • On our discussion board, we've always got some questions that need YOUR answers. Steve the All-Knowing One, (perhaps the Annoying One is more accurate) asks a question about peak power handling in an LNA. Nicholas is looking for 3D inductor and capacitor models compatible with HFSS. Pop on over to the discussion board to register and sign in, then chime in on existing threads, or start your own topics. Our user approval process is quick and anonymous, blocks most bots, and eliminates spam by more than 99%. At least that's what the sales rep told us...

  • We're always fixing typos and making corrections of one kind or another. This month, Tim let us know that the link to the MTT webinars has changed. And we are all grateful that Richard noticed the "hairy ball theorem" link on our antenna design page was broken (it's fixed now!). Notice something not-quite-right? Let us know!

Back to the subject of supernovae. From June through October 1972, struggling songwriter Bruce Springsteen was recording his "Greetings form Asbury Park NJ" album, to be released in early 1973. The song "Saint in the City" contains these lyrics:

I had skin like leather and the diamond-hard look of a cobra
I was born blue and weathered but I burst just like a supernova
I could walk like Brando right into the sun
Then dance just like a Casanova

Was the Boss an amateur astronomer? Not that we have heard, but maybe he was paying attention to current events.  Art often imitates interstellar life, but not in the case of the Milky Way candy bar. If you want to enjoy Saint in the City, here is a live version and here is the studio version with lyrics.

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