Antenna Guru

RF is not 'black magic' – It's Synthesis, Optimization, Analysis and Realization.

Monthly Archives: February 2013


Engineer’s Week, that is.

Look with me at ‘our’ celebratory poster for a moment… The e– earth’s blossoming western hemisphere beneath some random stars shuffled together with rising monarch-ish butterflies and framed by tropical flora… shadowy stylized translucent distant skyscrapers hovering beyond the blue horizon like an outsider’s fanciful view of a distant city…

(Would your manager have approved that drawing for release, I wonder?)

Uh, like… awesome, dude…


The Future…

…less traveled…

“The future” … an indefinite, murky idea. It is by turns immediate, temporary, indeterminate,  … possibly eternal. It seems to have a somewhat symmetrical relationship to the past, divided by the dynamic boundary of now.

We may extrapolate out a short way to a reckoned point, but only if we disregard the inevitability of surprise.

Sometimes in the dead of winter it seems spring will never come, but of course it will; it always does. When it comes, it comes as a mixture of expected and amazing, of dirty snow and shimmering sunshine, of muddy roads and glorious flowers.

Whatever future be, it will be the season to come. Why not extrapolate to an amazing, shimmering, glorious future?

Seasons’ Greetings!


Picture0006It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.

–Sun Tzu

How does one know, exactly? There is knowledge that __, e.g. 1+1=2. There is knowledge of __, e.g. “I know I left my glasses somewhere.” Knowing that and knowing of are somewhat easily written out and studied.

Then there is knowledge how __. General Sun was referring to the peril of not knowing the how of his enemies/himself. He referred to what know-how is not in attempting to describe what it is.

Know-how can be difficult to pin down. It is implied or inferred in the result of doing.

Perhaps the best way to judge another’s know-how is to ask the question, “Can you show me?”

“Showing how” is “doing now.”


The past is constantly in transition.

The past is the foundation of  the present and bridge to the future.

The past is in transition — the past is transition.

So long as we live, it will continue to grow.

Then’ is foundational to ‘now.’ 

It forms the superstructure as we pass now to the future.

At critical junctions in life or a project it may be profitable to examine the past before moving on.

Some say, “You cannot change the past,” but we believe you can — by putting your best ‘nows’  into it!

You probably don’t have skin cancer

The other day Debi noticed that one of the funny looking wart-like things on my back seemed to be bleeding a bit. I figured I probably didn’t have skin cancer, but that I should get checked out. (I spent many a shirtless summer in hay fields in upstate New York as a youth; something we now know is not a good idea.) The epidemiologist — dressed like a tweedy archaeologist — took a quick look at the object and pronounced it, “seborrheic keratosis.” For prudence’s sake (and Debi’s!) he carved it out of my back and sent it off to the lab.

So on the one hand, I wasted half a morning on something that turned out not to matter. But on the other hand, I bought a kind of insurance policy that I wouldn’t waste years of my future with something that turned out to be melanoma.

If you have a funny mole you probably don’t have skin cancer either. Waste a little of your time, not a lot — get checked.

A Yen for Yin and Yang

C++This has been an interesting week and it’s only Tuesday…

Yesterday I found myself involved in computer code of all things. I was actually able to dig out some C++ code I wrote for a *.dll way back in the year of ’99. My direct involvement in computer programming was short-lived — there were other people who were pretty good at it already and the integrated development environment simply wasn’t ‘real’ enough for me. Still, and all, it was neat to find (and find useful) an archived project from days gone by.

After that walk down memory lane I worked on the finishing touches of an algorithm that uses Inverse Fast Fourier Transform analysis to automatically tune split ring resonator filters as they are being manufactured.IFFT

But then I had to put that project on hold because the fellow who is commissioning the tuning algorithm wanted new (22 GHz) test fixtures built to test the prototypes he has built so far.

But the test fixture project required me to grind some special holding fixtures so that I could machine the teensy weensy test fixtures in the first place. I don’t have a precision grinder, so I used my mill.


I wouldn’t want to do this all the time, but this was for a prototype and it worked out. So now, I’m back to getting those fixtures done, so we can validate the algorithm.

I like going from math books to machine shop and back. It’s interesting and fun to keep up that balance. It’s invigorating, it’s yin and yang.

I wonder how that C++ code is going to turn out?


Crying in the Wilderness

So they said to him, “Who are you? We need an answer! What do you have to say for yourself?”

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