A City of (Brotherly) Love for EMCIEEE EMC Society Philadelphia Chapter Meeting
IEEE EMC Society
[Note: Mike’s journals of his trips through Asia and South America are, no doubt, familiar to our readers. This time he tackles the less exotic but hospitable territory of suburban Philadelphia.]It really was a dark and stormy night when we gathered at the LCR Electronics facility on June 10th in Norristown, PA, which, according to the town website is both the “Heart of Montgomery County” and the “Seat of Montgomery County”—but no matter, The Event of the Evening was the reconstituted and revived Philadelphia Chapter of the EMC Society. Mr. Nissan Isakov provided the generous hosting and huge subs and tasty salads that drew about 30 local EMC folks to the LCR facility. As the guests made the pre-meeting tour of the manufacturing facility, the temperature bumped up against 100 degrees. It wasn’t to last: a strong front rocked and raked the place with thunder and rain during the presentations. By the meeting’s conclusion around 9 p.m., it had settled into a typical mid-summer East Coast muggy evening—splendid, if you’re amphibian. It was a pleasure to see none other than Len Levin, Sales Emeritus and Robb Allison, Sales Pro Tempore representing the R&B, ITEM and the Interference Technology DNA that is EMC-Philadelphia. (Graham Kilshaw, who fostered and facilitated the gathering was tending sniffles and juggling fatherly duties of his young brood. See you next time, Graham.)The evening started out with a welcome greeting from Nissan. LCR manufactures filters, circuit boards, custom chassis and supports the Mil-Aerospace industry with wirewrap (yes, wirewrap—still good after all these years) repair and upgrades for mil-qualified system. He’s also got some good stuff going on in China and is a seasoned Chinese food epicure, but more on that at another time.There were speeches and a couple of giveaways: some cool construction toys, perfect for the gathering of the gadget crowd, but I get ahead of myself. After nosh, Nissan opened the meeting and called the faithful to attention and welcomed Mr. Henry Silcock of Mikros Systems Corporation. Henry’s presentation was on the workings of their AIRchitect service and simulation program that Mikros has developed for the US Navy. The AIRchitect system is based around the Radar Wireless Spectral Efficiency (RWSE) initiative, and aimed at minimizing interference to and from radar systems as WLANs (COTS and other) get deployed in the tight confines of Navy Ships. I imagine that the something similar would be useful as things get more confined and confusing in the wireless/radar space. Space planners in urban areas might find that these tools would cut down the guess-work when doing layouts of all manner of WiFi services. Here’s a quick overview of how it works (with pardons for the author’s misuse or mangling). The Mikros solution is based on RF propagation modeling of the interior between-decks of Navy ships. The idea is to predict coverage areas and maximize zones of service. Simply put: I have a wireless laptop and it’s gotta work. The User-Designated areas of coverage/service or Requirement Points (RPs) are defined by the space planner. The simulation allows the designer to decide the best location for an Access Point to service one or multiple RPs. For example, the following shows the RF “heat map” with the RF emanating from the AP the colors of the model indicating network coverage. The tool allows the designer to optimize the AP location by simulation without needing an RF survey or other time consuming physical testing (or guessing). Here, an additional RP is defined. The AP is moved to cover all three of the RPs designated by the user.A coincident use of this tool is to use it to predict the potential for interference to said RPs from above-decks radars and other noisome sources of RF. In this case, the tool simulates the RF coverage (really, the “leakage”) of a C-Band radar to the between-decks. The tool allows for some prediction and minimization of radar interference to WiFi operation. Ultimately, ship designers can determine ahead-of-time potential Receive Interference Zones (RIZ) and Transmit Interference Zones (TIZ). After a short break, Mr. Rafik Stepanian then provided the group with an overview of best practices for EMC design. Rafik focused on the pragmatic details, the nuts and bolts, ferrites and capacitors of the EMC design process. Plus some very cool pictures of the inside of filters. Every time I’ve had one apart it was filled with black goo, so peering inside examples of equipment filters and mongo facility filters was interesting. You can take the boy out of engineering, but you can’t take the engineering out of the boy (…regrets for the gender-specific references). There were representative of EMC interests from all over the Keystone State and beyond. Here, Mike Oliver of MAJR products, hailing from Pittsburgh mugs with David Freeman of LCR and yours truly (I needed to have evidence to justify my expense report—see, Joann: I did attend).Doing the welcoming and bidding good night was Ron Minicucci from LCR. He is joined here by Tom Malek as the evening wore down and folks parted into the soft summer evening.