Microwave Legends 2010

Aug. 19, 2010
From one of the first microwave companies to a modern Marco Polo, these hall of fame entrants had the vision to push both business and technology into the future.

To those outside this industry, microwave engineers and dealmakers probably seem to be involved in some kind of dark art. They use terms and acronyms not widely understood. In addition, they not only understand electronic systems that few can comprehend, but can also imagine ways to improve them. It is this vision that marks all of the hall of famers inducted into the "Microwave Legends" over the last four years. It also is a characteristic of the newest inductees for 2010, as they allwhether through product innovations, business savvy, or a combination of bothhave made an indelible impact on the microwave industry.

MICROWAVE ASSOCIATESWith radar among the wartime technologies that became critical in World War II, a number of engineering firms emerged to serve the new microwave market based on developing radar and other microwave-based systems. One that continues to drive the industry is Microwave Associates, which is now known as M/A-COM Technology Solutions. This firm was founded in 1950 by four ex-Sylvania engineersVessarios Chigas, Richard Walker, Hugh Wainright, and Louis Robertswith $10,000 in capital. The company introduced a variety of products ranging from magnetrons and microwave components in the 1950s to products targeting the communications and broadcast industries in the 1960s. In fact, it doubled the size of its communications market by introducing new, solid-state, high-performance FM microwave communications equipment for television, telephone, and data transmission. In 1970, the firm replaced vacuum tubes with semiconductors in microwave applications. In the mid-70s, Microwave Associates engineers developed the first high-power PIN diodes.

FERENC MARKIUpon graduating from UC Berkeley in 1971, Marki joined the Watkins-Johnson Co. and began designing the first commercially available triple-balanced microwave mixers to 12 GHz (the M12 mixer). While at WJ, Marki introduced many classic mixer designs and package styles including the M13 pin package-style mixer and the carrier-type ("flatpack") mixer line (e.g., the M15 mixer) covering 2.5 to 18.5 GHz. Marki later went to work for Avantek and Western Microwave from 1981 to 1991, where he expanded his mixer offering to include numerous double and triple-balanced designs to 26 GHz. In 1991, he founded Marki Microwave, Inc. with his wife, Christine. Lacking support from military customers during the formative years of the company, Marki began to develop mixer technology for commercial microwave applications by continually expanding the high-frequency and wide-bandwidth capability of his mixer lines. In 2003, he introduced the first surface-mount mixer package for suspended substrate mixers to 30 GHz. The next year, Marki introduced the highinput- intercept, "two-tone terminator" (T3) mixer line, which offers unparalleled linearity and bandwidth performance.

SIEGFRIED KNORRTogether with Dr. Betty Chang, Siegfried Knorr founded Colby Instruments, Inc. He is remembered as being one of the most knowledgeable engineers on using the time domain for RF/microwave testing. Among his most notable innovations were programmable microwave and RF delay lines and modules with outstanding accuracy and repeatability. In 1988, Colby Instruments introduced the precision programmable delay line instruments and phase shifters with resolution to 0.25 ps. The wideband, passive PDL series delay lines, which cover DC to 18 GHz, are free from all noise sources including phase noise and jitter. Using a patented electro-mechanical trombone-line structure, the PDL offers variable, programmable, and repeatable delays with high resolution. Knorr held many patents. He also was a former professor in the Henry Samueli School of Electrical Engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Throughout his career, he sponsored students from Germany for specialized studies and laboratory experience in high-frequency electronics.

MEPPALLI SHANDASKnown by many as the "father of the microwave power module (MPM)," Shandas has spent more than 35 years designing microwave hardware for electronic-warfare (EW), radar, and communication systems. Shandas was one of the leading contributors to the Tri-Service MPM Program managed by the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in the early 1990s, where the MPM was invented. He continued to champion MPM technology and introduced new products throughout his career with Varian (now CPI). After joining dB Control in 1999 (now part of the Electronic Technologies Group of HEICO Corp.), Shandas was integral to the development of an entire line of MPMs. He is currently dB Control's Vice President of Technology and Business Development. Shandas' contributions have resulted in many innovative, yet practical designs for reliable hardware that can achieve high microwave power over a wide frequency spectrum.

HARRY RUTSTEINWhen it came to making a deal, few in this industry could rival Harry Rutstein. An eternal optimist, Rutstein always had his eyes open for opportunities. He started and sold numerous businesses over his lifetime. In the microwave industry, Rutstein is best known for founding Seattlebased Dorado International Corp. in 1979 for the purpose of selling millimeter-wave products made in China to the Western world. In the 1990s, Rutstein began importing ferrite isolators and circulators from Russia. Rutstein also was passionate about the life of 13th century explorer Marco Polo. He became the first known person to have retraced Marco Polo's footsteps. Rutstein was co-author and photographer for the book, In the Footsteps of Marco Polo: A Twentieth Century Odyssey and later wrote The Marco Polo Odyssey. Rutstein also served as Founder and Executive Director of the Marco Polo Foundation, Inc.

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About the Author

Nancy Friedrich | Editor-in-Chief

Nancy Friedrich began her career in technical publishing in 1998. After a stint with sister publication Electronic Design as Chief Copy Editor, Nancy worked as Managing Editor of Embedded Systems Development. She then became a Technology Editor at Wireless Systems Design, an offshoot of Microwaves & RF. Nancy has called the microwave space “home” since 2005.

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