Back in 2016, we wrote one of our most popular posts covering 12 popular Software Defined Radios or SDRs. While the previous post still holds some extremely valuable information, a lot has changed in 2 years... especially the technology related to SDRs. So we thought it was time for an update.
Go into any electronics lab and you will undoubtably see a benchtop multimeter. The humble bench-top multi-meter is a staple of any lane and is one of the most fundamental and highly used pieces of test equipment for electronic design.**Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links at no additional cost to you.
So much of what defines our modern lives is made possible through radio wave technology, which has changed the world in ways the first researchers could never have anticipated. But where did anyone get the idea that radio waves existed in the first place, and that they could be harnessed for wireless communication? It’s a fascinating story that continues to unfold to this day. Let’s go back to the beginning to understand how this technology has evolved.
The international space station (ISS) is traveling in orbit around our earth at about 217 Miles (350 km) above earth’s surface. That’s equal to about 1,148,294 feet (yes, over 1 MILLION feet) or 350,000 meters above you. Those are some crazy heights! The ISS and other satellite communication devices must be able to cover a ton of earth’s surface from there, right?
Maybe. Maybe not. Let’s explore...
Radar technology has become extremely important in today's world.
They help guide the freighters which ship the electronics, clothing, and countless other products we use every day to our shores.
They help meteorologists detect advanced weather patterns to produce the weather forecasts we see every morning on the news.
Further, radar is used for:
- Air traffic control and navigation
- Military applications
- Astronomical and meteorological study
- Law enforcement purposes. (You can thank the radars in police radar guns for that speeding ticket you may have gotten.)
- Continually growing amounts of uses
Does your application require a super stable frequency source? How about the ability of the frequency source to be fine-tuned? Sounds like a Voltage Controlled Crystal Oscillators (VCXO) may be a great choice for your specific needs! By using a crystal oscillator as the basis of the circuit in a VCXO, high levels of frequency stability and low levels of phase noise can be maintained while still being able to control the frequency over a small range.
When High Stability is a Must
These are exciting times to be working in any field of engineering, but especially in the radio frequency industry. The modern economy simply cannot function without RF technology, and as we transition into a world of ever-faster mobile service, civilian and military space-based systems and the Internet of Things, we’ll increasingly be relying on microwave, low-frequency engineering.
RF engineering is a massive and growing industry. Over the last quarter-century, it has gone from simple commercial radio, TV and military communication/detection systems to being an indispensable field of technology that is required for the global economy to function. Wi-Fi, satellite communications, 4G networks and more are all made possible by RF technology, and with exciting developments like 5G and “Space 2.0” just around the corner, the demand for skilled RF engineers is only going to increase. So, if you’re an aspiring engineer who wants to get in on the action, where do you start?
RF engineering is an indispensable part of human space activity. In both the commercial and government spheres, radio frequency signals serve as the backbone of all communication systems between spacecraft, satellites and their control centers on Earth, as well as critical satellite navigation and telecommunications infrastructure used on the surface.