My first issue of ITEM (Interference Technology Engineers Master) is from 1977. Was this the first issue of ITEM? No, it was not. However, it was my first issue. Why? I got my start in EMC in 1976 while working for the US Navy and was too late to get the 1976 issue. I graduated from college in 1975 and moved from Code 2330 (Nuclear Controls Engineering Division) at Mare Island Naval Shipyard (MINSY) to Code 310 (TEMPEST Engineering) at NAVELEX VJO (Naval Electronics Systems Engineering Center, Vallejo), a tenant activity at MINSY in June 1976. I’ve been involved in EMC and related areas ever since.
The 1977 issue of ITEM provides a great window into the world of EMC “back in the day.”
Have you ever wondered where the FCC Rules dealing with unintentional radiators came from? Starting on page 163 of the 1977 issue there is a multi-page article about Docket 20870. This docket was the NPRM (Notice of Proposed Rulemaking) that started it all. The NPRM provides the justification for the proposal. This NPRM ultimately resulted in Part 15, Subpart J of the FCC Rules. Subpart J? Back then every time the FCC identified a new way to use RF energy without requiring a station or user license they created a new subpart to Part 15 to deal with that. Ultimately this was republished as 3 subparts. Subpart A dealt with general rules, subpart B dealt with unintentional radiators (devices which generate RF energy, but do not need to radiate it in order to function and part C dealt with intentional radiators (devices which generate RF energy and must radiate it in order to function). All was well. For a while. How many subparts are there to Part 15 today? Take a look.
There are articles dealing with CISPR (as it existed back then),MIL-STD 461, and the VDE (Verband Deutcher Electrotekniker).
Many of the areas covered by ITEM back in 1977 are still valid today. However, many of the companies that advertised are gone, or have been acquired by others. Remember Singer (EMC test equipment, not sewing machines)? They had a 6 page ad in the 1977 issue. They had, at some time prior, bought the Stoddard line of test equipment. I remember using the Stoddard 533 line of receivers while employed by the Navy. Other than the 533X-11 variable repetition rate impulse generator, they were not listed in this advertisement. AEL had a 1 page ad for their LFR-100A receiver which they claimed was the only full approved TEMPEST test receiver. Long gone today. Remember the Watkins-Johnson 8940B? They also had a 1 page ad for their automated receiver. There is also a one page ad for Ailtech receivers and other test equipment. Rohde & Schwarz even appears in this issue.
A one page ad for the 1977 IEEE International Symposium on EMC gave the dates, location (Seattle) and chair (Len Carlson, remember him? His wife and he were among the guests at our daughter’s wedding in 2003, time flies!). Yeah, I’m old too.
This article could be a lot longer, but there are other issues of ITEM that need to be discussed.
Back in 1977, ITEM was published annually by R&B Enterprises. Robert Goldblum was the publisher and editor. 17 individuals were listed as Contributing Editors. R&B Enterprises had, as a division, Scientific Employment Services, that many practitioners of the EMC specialty used to learn of job opportunities.
The next issue of ITEM that we’ll look at is 1987. 10 years later. I had changed employers twice (left the US Navy in October 1979, went to work for Martin Marietta Denver Aerospace for 4 years and then moved back to California to go to work for Tandem Computers (a commercial company). ITEM had changed hands a bit, it was now published by ROBAR Industries, INC., a division of R&B Enterprises.
The IEEE International Symposium on EMC was held in Atlanta, Georgia. Hugh Denny was the committee chair.
A number of receiver manufacturers were similar to those in 1977, but some had changes. Watkins-Johnson was still there, but was advertising their WJ-8999 portable EMC/TEMPEST receiver. A picture in an advertisement by Eaton looks like they had taken over the Singer line of test equipment at some time during the preceding 10 years. Electro-Metrics showed their automated test receiver system and in a separate advertisement they talked about their nontunable test receiver. Hewlett Packard (yes, that was the outfit that originally sold their EMC receivers) had a 2 page advertisement showing their receiver solution. AEL had a 1 page advertisement talking about their TEMPEST receiver. And Dynamic Sciences, Inc had a 1 page advertisement for their DSI 9000 TEMPEST receiver.
A large number of test equipment manufactures were represented in the 1987 issue. Many are still in business today. The same goes for companies selling shielded rooms, although a number of them have merged in the years since. LectroMagnetics, RayProof and Lindgren are all now under ETS-Lindgren in Texas. Speaking of ETS-Lindgren, then called EMCO, they advertise in this issue of ITEM, but only for test equipment.
Test houses were prominent in the 1987 issue of ITEM. Retlif had an advertisement saying “The first word in military testing … and the last.” BTW, do you remember where they got their name? Reverse the letters and see what it spells. Other test labs included DLS Electronic Systems (still in business today), Amador Corporation and CK Consultants, Inc. (also still in business). This is just a small sampling of the test houses advertising in the 1987 issue of ITEM.
There are also a large number of manufacturers listed who sell various pieces of test equipment and supplies. 3M shows their copper and aluminum tape, and supplies I cannot imagine an EMC lab functioning without today.
The next issue of ITEM that we’ll take a look at is 1995. The cover says “ITEM 1995 The International Journal of EMC” This is the 25th anniversary edition of ITEM, the first edition being published in 1971. I started a 20 year career at Intel Corporation in March of that year.
EMC and TEMPEST receivers in the 1995 issue changed a bit. Dynamic Sciences International, Inc now advertised two receivers, the DSI-200 system for EMC and the DSI-110 for TEMPEST. Electro-Metrics shows their latest receiver systems. Hewlett Packard showed their portable precompliance spectrum analyzer.
There are a number of manufacturers of parts for EMC control and test equipment. Fischer Custom Communications grew their presence in ITEM significantly between 1987 and 1995. A huge change in the commercial world occurred in Europe by their introduction of what I call the EMC Professionals Employment Act of 1992 (actually called the EMC Directive). In addition to mandating emissions testing they now mandated immunity testing. More tests equals more testing time and more testing equipment. Many people in this corner of the EMC world can thank the EU for their work. And, of course, ITEM grew again. Many more and larger advertisements for immunity test equipment and systems. EMCO (now ETS-Lindgren) starts off with an advertisement for their GTEM cell. FerriShield talks about their RFI suppressors. There is an article on IEC 801. Three parts of this standard existed at the time. IEC 801-2 dealt with ESD testing, IEC 801-4 covered EFT testing and IEC 801-5 covered surge testing. Not covered in the article because it was dealing with transient testing was IEC 801-3 which covered radiated immunity testing. Roger Southwick contributed an article on site attenuation testing.
Test equipment manufacturers advertising in the 1995 issue of ITEM included Solar Electronics Company (a long time presence in ITEM), IFI (Instruments for Industry), Schaffnet EMC, Inc., Chase, Amplifier Research, A.H. Systems, Electro-Metrics, and EMCO.
A wide variety of manufacturers of EMC suppression components were in this issue, as well.
The IEEE International Symposium on EMC was held again in Atlanta in 1995.
By this time the name of ITEM had changed. Published by ITEM Publications it was titled Interference Technology.
EMCO had changed their name. They were now (sometime in the last 10 years) ETS-Lindgren. Dynamic Sciences was now advertising a single solution for EMC and TEMPEST, the DSI600. Nothing from Hewlett Packard or their successors. Rohde & Schwarz had an advertisement for their EMI receivers. The number of companies advertising receivers continued to shrink. Test equipment suppliers were coalescing into the names we recognize today.
A significant change (or addition) to ITEM started in 2005. As a result of feedback received in 2004 at the IEEE International Symposium on EMC an on-line version of ITEM was created. And it wasn’t limited to a single issue, different areas were covered in separate publications. This approach has continued to this day. Go to www.interferencetechnology.com to see all the options. At the time it was written, the current version of ITEM available for download is the 2023 issue.