The microwaves industry is constantly changing, and so are the ways engineers stay on top of its newest developments. New media have taken many forms, and the industry (manufacturers, in particular) has done a good job evolving to help provide you with the critical information you need.
Recently, we reached out to our readers and asked you to vote for your favorite online tools and resources that make your job easier and help you succeed. We received a large volume of responses to our survey this spring, and after tallying the results, we proudly present the final list:
The Best Of Microwaves & RF 2013
During this year’s IMS show in Seattle, WA, Microwaves & RF presented the first annual Best Of Microwaves Industry Awards, honoring this year's deserving winners and audience favorites, and gave out its first annual Living Legend Award. Here is the entire list of winners:
Analog Devices (www.analog.com) – In support of its diverse product lines, Analog Devices has a strong website with great industry resources like technical papers and video, which users can search by technology or market. The site also offers great online tools like ADIsimADC, ADIsimDAC, and ADIsimPLL.
Tektronix (www.tek.com) – Tektronix offers a great deal of valuable, in-depth technical information on its website combined with ease of use, clearly defined categories and subcategories, and fast loading times. Site visitors can quickly find the information they are seeking.
Best Supplier Social Media
Agilent Technologies (www.agilent.com) – Agilent has both great scope of reach and frequent postings, leveraging multiple Twitter accounts, a Facebook account, YouTube page, Pinterest, Googleplus and, of course, an active LinkedIn presence. The firm consistently provides a good mix of company news and human-interest information.
National Instruments (www.ni.com) – National Instruments takes a multifaceted approach to social media with a Facebook page, company Twitter and LinkedIn efforts, and YouTube channel. Separate Twitter accounts are dedicated specifically to NIGlobal and LabView. The company also has a Flickr photo page and keeps its audience informed through RSS feeds, blogs, and a discussion board hosted on its website.
Best Supplier Industry Blog
Marki Microwave (www.markimicrowave.com) – Marki Microwave’s straightforward blog reaches industry professionals at a variety of levels and provides value to all of them. It covers a range of topics and regularly cycles through technical topics, serving as a reliable resource to the industry.
AWR Corp. (www.awrcorp.com) – Sherry Hess, AWR’s VP of Marketing, has raised her voice in the industry by sharing both personal insights and technical expertise. She has consistently shared her knowledge with this marketplace while keeping her blog upbeat and interesting. Over the years she has been blogging, she has maintained an informative voice and delivered consistent quality for those interested in AWR’s software products and in computer-aided-design software in general.
Best Online Educational Tools
Agilent Technologies (www.agilent.com) – Offering a veritable classroom in a computer, Agilent’s technical resources cover topics ranging from emerging communications standards to the latest in radar and more. These resources are created at a fast pace, making the sheer volume of their technical library immense. A discussion forum, webcasts, and other resources round out these tools.
National Instruments (www.ni.com) – From software tools to webcasts and videos, National Instruments’ dynamic team regularly creates and produces a variety of tools that help its customers leverage LabView and the company’s other measurement-based products. Their focus is on engaging users to learn more about their instruments, their software, and their company—and they do so in a variety of ways while sharing technical knowledge and providing education.
Best Customer/Technical Service
Maury Microwave (www.maurymw.com) – As a custom solutions provider, Maury Microwave works hand-in-hand with its customers to develop unique solutions. The firm maintains its customers’ needs as first priority and will blend its own offerings and various products from the industry to create an optimum solution. In doing so, it helps its customers get the most out of their test equipment.
Communications & Power Industries, Microwave Power Products (CPI, www.cpii.com) – Part of CPI’s mission statement is to be a good citizen in the world, and it continues that attitude with its customer service. The firm has an impressive team of representatives who are available all hours of the day. In addition, it is known for maintaining sometimes hard-to-find spare parts like klystrons. The firm can supply a current or out-of-production high-power device to a customer within 24 to 48 hrs.
Best Training and Education
AWR Corp. (www.awrcorp.com) – From in-person events to online webinars, videos, and white papers, AWR Corp. quickly helps educate its customers on any software enhancement. Many free software downloads are available for the firm’s products, allowing potential customers to get a feel for the software and its capabilities. With much effort dedicated to its university program, AWR also supports university learning, nurturing the next generation of engineers.
Richardson RFPD (www.richardsonrfpd.com) – Offering design-level and manufacturing expertise over a variety of areas, Richardson is a large distributor with impressive resources that works hand-in-hand with its customers to bring them a small-company, close-to-the-customer feel. In addition to its engineering team, the firm offers white papers, tutorials, videos and handy tools like calculators and converters. For those trying to learn more about a design, it’s possible to try out their design kits/evaluation boards, check out block diagrams, and more.
Best Technical/Application Videos
NXP Semiconductors (www.nxp.com) – Leveraging its YouTube channels, NXP regularly posts high-quality videos that educate viewers on emerging technology areas, new industry capabilities, and product introductions. Technical training also is provided, making this YouTube channel a great all-around resource for engineers.
Freescale Semiconductor (www.freescale.com) – Balancing the sharing of knowledge with education about Freescale and its capabilities, this company is heavily invested in communicating with its audience via video. Its high-quality media features in-person interviews, graphic-based presentations, and more to introduce new product capabilities, provide a behind-the-scenes view into company innovations, and offer insight into growing application areas like the connected car.
Best Custom Solutions
API Technologies, Inc. (www.apitech.com) – From components through systems, API Technologies has the expertise to engineer a variety of solutions—allowing them to efficiently design a selection of compact integrated microwave assemblies. In doing so, its team draws upon expertise ranging from DC through millimeter-wave frequencies. Among the unusual innovations of this technology-agnostic firm is a glass microwave integrated circuit (GMIC).
Microwave Engineering Corp. (www.microwaveeng.com) – With expertise in passive and active components from 100 MHz to 100 GHz, Microwave Engineering Corp. covers both coaxial and waveguide technologies. With this flexible approach, they leverage a customer-friendly approach to provide services ranging from R&D to manufacturing.
Blake Peterson (retired, Agilent Technologies) – In the field of spectrum analysis, Blake Peterson is a well-known educator, mentor, and technical writer. He is the author of renowned Application Note 150, “Spectrum Analysis Basics.” Shortly before his discharge from the US Navy in November 1956, Blake accepted a job offer from Hewlett-Packard Company (HP). He spent his first year in production, followed by a stint as a technical writer, where he authored the first-ever HP schematics using transistors in place of vacuum tubes. He soon realized that his specialty was technical support.
In 1964, Blake was instrumental in the release of the 8553A spectrum analyzer—the product that marked the beginning of modern spectrum analysis. When personal computers became available, Blake saw the opportunity for training and wrote over 50 animated programs. Still in use today, these programs illustrate the basics of spectrum analysis, network analysis, radar, and digital communications. For the first time, engineers could see a dynamic representation of rotating vectors and the resulting summation as a time-domain waveform—a task that had previously required a manual calculation with pencil and paper. Although Blake retired from Agilent in 2001, he continues to help train new employees on a voluntary basis and recently assisted in updating Application Note 150, Spectrum Analysis Basics. He also is the creator of “Blake Peterson University (BPU),” a required training series for all college hires at Agilent.