Monthly Archives: April 2012

EMC Essentials seminar May 15-16 (Gaithersburg, MD)

Teaching the EMC Essentials seminar in Colorado.

Attention East Coast EEs: I’d like to announce our next EMC Essentials course will be held in Gaithersburg, MD, this coming May 15-16th.

These courses provide participants with the tools for recognizing EMC issues with any proposed high-speed design. What makes our seminars special is that the teaching is at a very practical level with just enough theory for understanding. Several demos of the basic principles will be included. In addition, participants will learn several unique and low-cost ways to test and troubleshoot prototypes well before product qualification testing. By understanding the basic EMC design principles and performing early testing, designers will have a much higher probability of compliance at the prototype stage.

More details here…

Enhanced RF Explorer spectrum analyzer coming

I recently wrote a short review article on the $129 RF Explorer spectrum analyzer for Test & Measurement World. While this is an amazing accomplishment for the price, there’s a better design coming shortly. The new model, the WSUB3G, will tune from 15 MHz through 2.7 GHz and is expected to sell for $269. The style is identical to the current WSUB1G model as shown below.

Here is the original RF Explorer, model WSUB1G, measuring the harmonics from a demo crystal oscillator board. I'm using a Beehive Electronics h-field probe directly connected to the input port of the analyzer.

Several improvements have been made to the new analyzer. Besides the expanded frequency range, the front end is now protected up to +30 dBm (was +5 dBm). Several other enhancements have been made to the user interface as well as several additional features to make the instrument easier to use and more versatile.

*Preliminary specification*

– Frequency band: 15 – 2700 MHz
– Frequency span: 112 KHz – 100 MHz
– Amplitude resolution: 0.5dBm
– Dynamic range: -110dBm to -10dBm
– Absolute Max input power: +30dBm
– Average noise level (typical): -105dBm
– Frequency stability and accuracy (typical): +-10ppm
– Amplitude stability and accuracy (typical): +-3dBm
– Frequency resolution: 1Khz
– Resolution bandwidth (RBW): automatic 2.6Khz to 600Khz

More information on the analyzer may be obtained from their web site at

Now blogging for Test & Measurement World!

I’d like to share some exciting news. I’ve been invited to do an EMC blog for Test & Measurement World. I’m hoping this will elicit some discussion in all aspects of EMC, including test, design, standards development and especially, “war stories” we’ve all experienced. I’m hoping this will be a platform for discussion within our special community. My goal is to publish something of interest weekly, so you may want to bookmark the link.

Here’s the link…

Article on Harmonic Comb Generators

I recently published a tutorial article on Harmonic Comb Generators in RF Technology International Magazine, April 2012 issue. You can download the whole issue here or wait a few days, and I’ll post a link (in the comments) to the article itself.

iPhone and iPad Engineering Apps

Earlier this year, I upgraded my Palm Treo 700 (believe it or not!) with a new Apple iPhone 4s. I later purchased the iPad (version 3) in March. Needless to say, I’ve been having a ton of fun with these new gadgets and spending a bit of money on apps, of course!
Recently, I’ve been trying to identify iPhone and iPad engineering apps. Here are a few I found and use:
iCircuit – a schematic capture and modeling app.
LineCalc – calculator for coax cable
Electronic TB (Electronic Toolbox Pro) – includes a multitude of handy electronics design aids – one of my favorites.
uWave Calc (from Agilent Technologies) – a few handy microwave-related calculators.
PCBCalc – a microstrip and stripline calculator from Agilent Technologies.
E Formulas – includes several common electronics calculators.
jEMLab – EM boundary conditions, polarization, incident plane waves and spherical charges calculator.
Circuit Lab – a schematic capture and analysis app.
dB Calc – calculate or convert various quantities in dB.
EE Toolkit– another well-done electronics component and circuits reference app.Digi-Key – has their on-line catalog available.
Buyers’ Guide – ITEM EMC Buyers’ Guide includes a host of EMC-related companies and services.
Directives – is a listing of all the EU directives with links to the actual directive text.

There are also a number of good conversion and calculator apps. I use Convert mainly, as well as Calculator Pro.

For those dealing with environmental shake tests, there’s Vibration. Although I don’t recommend it, you can bolt down your iPhone or iPad to the shake table and record the vibration profile of a product. It uses the built-in accelerometer.

iSeismometer is similar, but simulates a three axis (3 pen) seismometer. Pretty cool!

There are some so-called EMF detectors, but I don’t know how accurate they might be: EMF Detector and Tesla Bot are two of them.

If you’re into audio analysis for home theater or wishing to analyze room acoustics, I recommend Audio Tools – pricy in-app purchases, but a rather complete acoustics analysis system.

I’m sure there’s a lot more useful engineering apps out there. So, what good apps have you found?