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Remembering Shows Of The Past

THIS BEING OUR ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL MICROWAVE SYMPOSIUM (IMS) preview, we thought it fitting to look back at the show coverage in past issues. In 1967, more troops were being sent into Vietnam. Peace protests grew in response. It was the Summer of Loveand the August issue of MicroWaves rode that trend with a fanciful bubble-letter cover promoting its Wescon show coverage (Fig. 1).

Our special show section, dubbed "The Microwave Show Within A Show at Wescon," offered an exhibit-floor plan, exhibitor listing, and product locator. It also delved into some technology trends and hot new products. Even then, a trend toward system-design approaches was taking root. An article titled, "Solid-state phased arraysIs a whole new era ahead?" explored how component advances could reshape the microwave market. The article states, "The milestone character of 1966 is exemplified by the outcome of the DOD's closing MERA project, aimed at coming up with an airborne V-band terrain-avoidance radar system. Result of MERA was a giant stride in solid-state microwave component developmentbut no operating radar."

The article noted that in-house development progress at firms like RCA and Texas Instruments paralleled the MERA (Molecular Electronics for Radar Applications) effort. According to the article, "They produced whole new areas in componentry, but little systems hardware to date. Now, Pentagon research trends and super-reliability' procurements will push these components out of the laboratory and into operating systems." For an example, it points to the Defense Department's "impending call" for an all-solid-state battlefield surveillance system. Interestingly, a lot of funding is still going to battlefield surveillancealthough today, such systems are part of an overall communications network for warfighters.

Going back to an earlier issue that year, our May 1967 edition offered a product section for that year's Microwave Exposition, which many consider to be the forerunner of today's International Microwave Symposium. Prominent in this coverage was a series of beam-lead microwave Schottky barrier diodes from Sylvania Electric Products (Fig. 2). These diodes, which were a tenth of the size of that time's typical diodes, were mass produced in single or matched pairs.

Nearly 1000 diodes, including individual connecting leads, were produced simultaneously on a wafer about the size of a US quarter with the thickness of a human hair. While one group of devices operated in the 10-to-150 MHz (Mc) range, another group covered 1 to 10 GHz (Gc). In preliminary tests, a 7-dB noise figure was obtained at X-band. In addition to being a time of social change, the '60s clearly saw a breadth of microwave-oriented shows and corresponding product innovations. Looking back makes us nostalgic for a time when all of this industry's networking was done in person.

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