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Inside Frequency Control

Rob Rutkowski

Recent Posts

Warning! EFC Over-Specification May Be Costing You (Do this instead!)

Posted by Rob Rutkowski on Oct 2, 2019 11:14:09 AM

What if I told you that specifying more Electronic Frequency Control (EFC) than you need could actually be hurting you pocketbook? Well, it very well may be! Paying attention to whether your supplier is using AT cut vs SC cut crystals will help you save money in the long run with OCXOs.

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Topics: crystal oscillators, Clocks & Crystals, RF Technology

What The Heck is an OCXO Oscillator? (Facts & Functionality)

Posted by Rob Rutkowski on Aug 20, 2019 8:20:00 AM

Ahh the mysterious OCXO. What the heck is an OCXO anyway? What's it good for? When should you use one in your electronic system design? These questions and more will all be answered in this post.

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Topics: crystal oscillators, Clocks & Crystals

6 Innovative Markets Where Precise Timing & Sync Will Be Crucial

Posted by Rob Rutkowski on Aug 6, 2019 8:20:00 AM

Precise timing across a variety of networks and industries is becoming a necessity. Both operationally and legally.  It's actually pretty amazing to see the evolution of timing & frequency control throughout different industries. There's been significant timing innovations over the past 5-10 years alone.

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Topics: Clocks & Crystals, RF Technology

The Ultimate Guide to Atomic Clocks in Space

Posted by Rob Rutkowski on Jul 9, 2019 11:20:13 AM

Do you know all about Atomic Clocks in space and how they work? If not, it's about TIME you do. (Haha. Ha. Ha...)

Timing is everything when it comes to GPS satellites and other space applications. Even just a one microsecond error in timing can lead to an error of 300 meters on the ground. Atomic clocks can maintain very precise timing, making them a great timing solution for GPS and other LEO satellites.

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Topics: Clocks & Crystals, RF Technology, Space & Satellites

5 Best Waveform Signal Generators in 2019

Posted by Rob Rutkowski on Jun 12, 2019 9:46:23 AM

I have a feeling you're in need of some new test equipment... a new signal generator to be exact. If so, you've come to the right place. Maybe your current signal generator is outdated. Or maybe you're looking for your first one (in which case we'd be honored). 

No matter the reason, we wanted to share with you the best selection of waveform signal generators on the market today to help you make the best purchase based on your needs.

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Topics: General Topics, Engineering Equiptment

What's The Differences Between the 5 GNSS Constellations?

Posted by Rob Rutkowski on Jun 5, 2019 9:38:49 AM

Before we dive into the differences between the 5 GNSS constellations... It's important that we're all on the same page with the difference between GNSS and GPS.

Many people get GNSS and GPS technology confused. A good way to think about the Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) is as the backbone (or underlying technology) behind GPS. The Global Positioning System (GPS) GPS is a GNSS constellation, but GNSS is not always GPS. GPS one of the 5 GNSS constellations used around the world.

The 5 GNSS constellations include GPS (US), QZSS (Japan), BEIDOU (China), GALILEO (EU), and GLONASS (Russia). We'll cover each of these constellations in depth in this post.

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Topics: Space & Satellites, GPS & GNSS

The Secret to Maintaining Low Phase Noise in Crystal Oscillator Circuits

Posted by Rob Rutkowski on May 22, 2019 9:06:00 AM

Quartz crystal oscillators are the high and mighty option for low phase noise and added frequency stability in circuit design. Yes, simple oscillators like those made with resistor-capacitor (RC) or inductor-capacitor (IC) resonators are fine for some circuits. But if you're dealing with higher performance applications in aerospace, military, and space industries... you're going to want a higher performance crystal oscillator that can maintain low phase noise & strong stability. Otherwise, you'll risk deviating from the very specific (and many times critical) center frequency selected for your design.

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Topics: crystal oscillators, RF Technology, Integrated RF

How to use Electronic Frequency Control to Enhance Crystal Oscillator Design

Posted by Rob Rutkowski on May 14, 2019 8:45:00 AM

Want to know what's better than a crystal oscillator? A crystal oscillator combined with Electronic Frequency Control (EFC). Of course, it really comes down to your specific application and what requirements you're looking for to determine if EFC would be a good addition to your crystal oscillator circuit design, and if so, which method is best for you.

There are 4 options to choose from when selecting an Electronic Frequency Control method for your crystal oscillator. These 4 options are

  1. Pulse Width Modulation & Low Pass Filter
  2. Reference RF Signal & Phase Locked Loop (PLL)
  3. Voltage Divide
  4. Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC)

In this post, let's take a closer look at each option and compare the pros and cons between them.

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Topics: crystal oscillators, RF Technology

The Ultimate Guide to SAW Filters

Posted by Rob Rutkowski on Apr 30, 2019 9:30:00 AM

Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) filters offer a reduced size, weight, & cost compared to other filter technologies. However, there are many tradeoffs that need to be considered when selecting a SAW filter for your system design.

What are SAW filters? What are some common SAW filter applications? How are SAW filters used for mobile communications? We'll answer these questions and more in this post.

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Topics: RF Technology

What are GPS Disciplined Oscillators (GPSDO)?

Posted by Rob Rutkowski on Mar 19, 2019 9:26:00 AM

GPS Disciplined Oscillators (GPSDO) are one of today's most trusted and accurate sources of timing.  These powerful devices (sometimes called GPS clocks) consist of a high-quality stable oscillator and a GPS receiver. The GPSDO works by disciplining (or steering) the oscillator output to a GPS device or GNSS satellite signal via a tracking loop.

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Topics: crystal oscillators, RF Technology, GPS & GNSS, Integrated RF, Defense & PNT