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Electronic Design UPDATE: June 1, 2005


Electronic Design UPDATE e-Newsletter Electronic Design Magazine PlanetEE ==> June 1, 2005


*************************ADVERTISEMENT************************** NEW Low Cost USB DAQ from NI Starting at $145 Acquire and log data in minutes with new USB DAQ devices from National Instruments. With ready-to-run data logging software and driver software for LabVIEW included, taking measurements is simple. The hardware has all the functionality you need to acquire and generate analog signals, read and write digital signals, and perform timing operations, all starting at $145. Click below to find detailed specifications on these products: **************************************************************** Today's Table Of Contents: 1. Editor's View *Getting Reacquainted With Radio 2. Focus On DSP *Floating-Point DSP Chips Target Precision Audio Applications 3. News From The Editors *Compensation Portal Analyzes Your Salary *One LED Backlights Color And Monochrome LCDs *Wireless USB Spec Goes Public 4. Magazine Highlights: May 26, 2005 *Cover Story: Engineering Feature -- Distributors Evolve Beyond The "Component Store" Tag *Technology Report -- DAC Unleashes A Torrent Of Tools And Methodologies *Leapfrog: First Look -- Chip Gets To The Heart Of Ultrasound Designs *Leapfrog: First Look -- Scalable Processors Add Fuel To Network Data Rates *Design View/Design Solution -- Robustly Recover Data Across Multiple Data-Comm Standards Electronic Design UPDATE edited by Lisa Maliniak, eMedia Editor **************************************************************** A Closer Look At Video Signals Nowadays there are numerous standards for the digital video signals widely used in such products as game players and cell phones. Tough design questions arise, however, because those digital signals must be dealt with in an analog domain. Get the answers in a new eBook, "Analog/Mixed-Signal Components For 21st Century Video," by Analog/Power Editor Don Tuite. **************************************************************** ********************** 1. Editor's View -- Exclusive to Electronic Design UPDATE ********************** Getting Reacquainted With Radio By Louis E. Frenzel (W5LEF), Communications/Networking Editor You would probably guess that an editor like me who covers wireless and all manner of communications subjects would be a ham. I have, in fact, been involved in amateur radio for most of my natural life. My first ticket was a novice license (WN5TOM) when I was 13 years old. Since then, I have been on and off the air numerous times. Recently, after a major absence, I decided to reacquaint myself with this interesting hobby. Luckily my Extra Class license was still good, so I could jump right in if only I had some equipment. My editorial colleague David Maliniak (AD2A), also a ham, tried to talk me into one of those popular Elecraft transceiver kits. I wasn't ready for that, but I did go the kit route and bought an inexpensive receiver and transmitter from kit-maker Ramsey Electronics. The receiver is a direct-conversion type for 30 m (10.108 MHz), a band I had never worked before. The transmitter put out about 1 W, but I bought the accessory push-pull amplifier that boosted that power to about 20 W. Using these kits and a simple half-wave dipole, I was back. It has taken me a while to get my CW speed up to where it should be. I have listened a great deal, and that helps. But what really helps is to make some contacts and have real conversation. Overall, this initial experience was fun -- building the kits and making some new contacts. But while this simple equipment works well, I wanted more. So my next step was to take the full plunge with a high-ticket transceiver. I didn't particularly want a kit. Earlier in my career I worked at Heath Company for eight years and built enough Heathkits to last me a lifetime. I wonder sometimes if I got brain damage from breathing too much rosin smoke from all the soldering. Probably not. Anyway, after looking at what was available and my budget, I selected a Yaesu FT-897D all-band transceiver. It's a tiny thing that covers all the high-frequency ham bands from 80 to 10 m and puts out 100 W on CW and SSB. It also includes a section that provides coverage of the 2-m and 70-cm ham bands. What a deal! This transceiver is a great unit, but I must say that it has been challenging to learn its operation. In the Heathkit days, each transceiver had a full complement of front-panel dials, switches, and readouts. It was easy to figure out what to do. The modern transceiver is fully controlled by an embedded processor that lets you do almost anything, including changing the LCD backlight color. But changing modes, bands, and doing other things that I used to do with a dial or switch requires that you know the special code and punch it in with tiny buttons. What a pain! Anyway, I am learning. My next hurdle was the antenna. I had forgotten what a key requirement this is and what a total nuisance it is to build one and put it up. I finally bought a commercial G5RV antenna, which is a unique wire antenna that uses open-wire transmission line. It manages to be resonant on most of the regular ham bands because of their harmonic relationship to one another (3.5, 7, 14, 21, and 28 MHz). I mounted it low in my trees so I wouldn't disturb the neighbors and get the local covenant police from the homeowners association on my case. It works okay, but I needed a tuner to operate on the 30-m band. I got the automatic antenna tuner accessory from Yaesu. It's an L-matching network with capacitors and inductors switched in and out automatically with relays to adjust for lowest SWR on the band of operation. Not bad, and definitely worth the price. So, I'm having fun getting back to radio. Reflecting on ham radio, I have to wonder why some of the newer wireless technologies have not been adopted within the hobby. There are so many better ways to communicate today, and these technologies are incorporated into our cell phones, wireless local-area networks, and other products. For example, it seems as though some form of spread spectrum (SS) would be a super technology for ham radio. With spectrum space so limited, SS would multiply the number of users in a given band. But the FCC rules and regulations prevent that. That is why ham radio is stuck in the olden days of wireless. It's not that regulations can't be changed, but it isn't that easy. The FCC does permit special modes like packet radio using a very narrowband scheme called PSK31. And it does permit hams to use TV. An even more challenging pursuit is communications through one of the available ham satellites. So there is enough there to keep the interest of technically minded individuals. But it is fun to contemplate what else might be possible. With the cell phone, CB radio, and the family radio service (FRS) providing numerous cheap and easy ways to communicate, it's a wonder we have any hams left. But if you have ever experienced making a contact with a person on the other side of the world using a piece of equipment you built, you will understand the eureka thrill of it all. Lou Frenzel can be reached at mailto:[email protected] To comment on this Editor's View, go to Reader Comments at the foot of the Web page: Electronic Design UPDATE ==> **************************************************************** *************************ADVERTISEMENT************************** Keithley's Library of Tutorial On-line Seminars Keithley's Making Measurements with Confidence CD, which is available free of charge, is a collection of on-line seminars on measurement methods. This CD offers practical and helpful techniques for obtaining the most accurate and precise measurements possible. For additional information on Keithley and their products go to or call 1-800-935-5595. To get your copy of the CD go to **************************************************************** ********************** 2. Focus On DSP ********************** ***Floating-Point DSP Chips Target Precision Audio Applications A trio of floating-point DSP chips that can deliver up to 130 MFLOPS/dollar has been optimized to handle audio applications such as musical instruments, digital radio systems, and video conferencing. Developed by Texas Instruments, the processors are based on the company's enhanced 67X+ very-long-instruction-word core, which performs 32-bit single-precision, dual-precision, and mixed-precision operations. The enhanced core packs twice the number of registers as previous 67X family members and includes enhanced floating-point instructions that help boost program code efficiency by 10% and performance by 20%. Able to run at up to 300 MHz, the core is surrounded by a 32-kbyte instruction cache and up to 256 kbytes of SRAM. An enhanced DMA engine supports 1D, 2D, and 3D transfers as well as random offset multitap off-chip accesses to handle sound enhancements such as echo and reverb. The TMS320C6722, 6726, and 6727 differ in the amount of on-chip RAM, maximum clock speed, and on-chip resources. Prices for the chips range from $9.95 to $19.95 in lots of 10,000 units, with samples available this month. The DSP chips are supported by the precision audio development kit, which is offered through development partner Lyrtech for $1995, and the Code Composer Studio development tool suite. Texas Instruments ==> Lyrtech ==> *************************** 3. News -- From The Editors *************************** ***Compensation Portal Analyzes Your Salary The IEEE-USA has launched a compensation portal for employers of technical professionals and for IEEE members. The IEEE-USA Salary Service gives employers online tools for accurately benchmarking technical professionals' compensation. It combines the power of relational databases and sophisticated regression modeling with salary survey data from nearly 15,000 U.S. IEEE members. The Salary Service is available in a standard package for $399 and in a premium package for $499. For more information and a demonstration of the IEEE-USA Salary Service, visit There's also a member version that is free to any U.S. IEEE member who completes the salary survey. This service enables individuals to benchmark their own compensation using a salary calculator powered by a regression model from the survey data. Members can record how their salaries track their career progress, how they measure up to their peers, and what effect possible job or career moves can have on their compensation. IEEE-USA Salary Service ==> ***One LED Backlights Color And Monochrome LCDs The new custom backlights from Global Lighting Technologies use only one white LED to backlight a variety of color and monochrome LCD modules. They can be custom designed in sizes from 0.25-in. diagonal to 4.7-in. diagonal, all using a single white LED. The company's patented MicroLens pixel-based light extraction technology provides especially efficient utilization of white LEDs. MicroLens helps create fully integrated backlighting modules with high brightness (typically 2400 cd/square meter at 20 mA for a 1.5-in. diagonal), crisper color, a slim profile (down to 0.60 mm), good uniformity (approximately 80% to 85% on average), and lower power consumption (typically 20 mA at 3.5 V). Pricing ranges from $1.20 each for 1.5-in. diagonal backlights used in color cell-phone displays to $1.75 each for backlights used in monochrome digital thermostat displays. Global Lighting Technologies Inc ==> ***Wireless USB Spec Goes Public The Wireless USB Promoter Group has completed and made public the Wireless USB specification, which will now transition to the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) for certification and compliance testing. The Promoter Group -- which consists of Agere Systems, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Microsoft, NEC, Philips Semiconductors, and Samsung -- defined the specification with the support of more than 100 contributor members. Wireless USB delivers speeds equivalent to wired high-speed USB, with a bandwidth of 480 Mbits/s at 3 m and 110 Mbits/s at 10 m. It's compatible with PC, CE, and mobile applications while providing backward compatibility to the existing USB infrastructure. The first Wireless USB products are expected to be available at the end of 2005. Download the specification and the adopter agreement at USB Implementers Forum Inc. ==> *************************ADVERTISEMENT************************** Cars can never be too safe or too efficient. Your ambition is to deliver automotive systems to continuously drive advancements in safety, comfort, efficiency and affordability. As the second largest supplier of automotive electronics worldwide, we help you succeed. See how our Smart Chip solutions can make your next design even more innovative. **************************************************************** ********************** 4. Magazine Highlights ********************** In case you missed them, here are some of the high points of our most recent issue. May 26, 2005: * Cover Story: Engineering Feature -- Distributors Evolve Beyond The "Component Store" Tag The days of just "order and ship" are long gone. Distributors' value-added services make them a trusted partner in the design process. * Technology Report -- DAC Unleashes A Torrent Of Tools And Methodologies System-level design tools, verification, and power analysis lead the pack at the 42nd Design Automation Conference. * Leapfrog: First Look -- Chip Gets To The Heart Of Ultrasound Designs With this CW Doppler IC, designers can be rid of analog delay lines and crosspoint switches in devices that locate arterial blockages. * Leapfrog: First Look -- Scalable Processors Add Fuel To Network Data Rates Able to handle packets and threads, two network processor families scale to meet network needs. * Design View/Design Solution -- Robustly Recover Data Across Multiple Data-Comm Standards. For the complete Table of Contents, go to Electronic Design ==> ******************************************************************** Free Showcast: Design Automation Conference Friday, June 10 at 2 pm ET It's a highly coveted honor to be on the "What to See at DAC" list compiled for each year's Design Automation Conference by Gartner Dataquest's Gary Smith. Those EDA tool vendors who make the cut have been singled out by the EDA industry's leading analyst as having one of 2005's hottest EDA tools or technologies. The "What to See at DAC" list will make its debut in Electronic Design's DAC Showcast when Smith, along with Electronic Design Automation Editor David Maliniak, will offer a preview of the best of this year's DAC. Take a virtual tour of the show floor and get an advance glimpse of EDA's premier technology showcase. Register today at: ******************************************************************** BE SURE TO VISIT Electronic Design's Web site, where the power of Electronic Design is a mouse click away! Read our Web exclusives, enjoy our Quick Poll, discover Featured Vendors, access our archives, share viewpoints in our forums, explore our e-newsletters, and more. ***** Embedded in Electronic Design (EiED) Online is your source for technical insight and hands-on reviews. Read William Wong's latest EiED Online column, "A Butterfly Or USB Arm: You Choose." ***** TAKE A POLL! What do you think is the best memory technology for portable devices? -- Miniature hard drives -- Embedded flash memory -- Removable flash memory -- We need new and improved memory technology for portables Vote at Electronic Design ==> **************************************************************** SUBSCRIBE ONLINE TO ELECTRONIC DESIGN If you're reading this e-newsletter, then you are either a current Electronic Design subscriber, or should be (145,000 of your peers are). To apply for or renew a subscription to Electronic Design absolutely FREE and without paperwork or hassle, click on the link below. ****************************************************************




Editorial: Mark David, Editor-in-Chief mailto:[email protected] Advertising/Sponsorship Opportunities: Bill Baumann, Publisher: mailto:[email protected]

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