Signal Jamming is the New Black: How LDMOS Technology Blocks Prisoners from Using Cell Phones

by Jaymie Murray 7. October 2015 09:25

Prisons and other correctional facilities are facing an increasingly daunting technological challenge. Contraband cell phones smuggled in by prisoners pose a tremendous security threat to the safety of both staff and inmates alike. While security screenings are designed to identify and dispose of such contraband before it enters a secure facility, at times these phones can slip through the cracks and end up in a cell along with an inmate. Correctional facilities are in need of a solution that prevents contraband cell phones from being used from within the prison walls. The Communications Band Signal Jamming Power Amplifier from API Technologies is that solution. The amplifier operates on the standard communication band frequencies, jamming cell phone signals and rendering the phones inoperable.

Cell phone smuggling has become an increasingly unmanageable problem for prisons and other correctional facilities. These phones pose a significant security threat and can be used to endanger the welfare of correctional workers as well as other inmates, or to coordinate escape attempts. While the first line of defense against this threat is to prevent the phones from entering correctional facilities in the first place, many often slip past security screenings and wind up in the hands of inmates. It has become increasingly apparent security screenings aren't sufficiently mitigating this threat, and there is a significant need for technology that prevents prisoners from making cell phone calls. There is a solution available to rectify this significant problem. API Technologies' signal jamming power amplifiers utilizing LDMOS technology are designed to operate in a band of 1930 to 1990 MHz to jam typical communication band frequencies. These power amps can offer a minimum output power of 100 watts with a gain of 50dB, with multiple carrier inputs. Typical current draw from a nominal +28 VDC supply at rated output power is 8 A. API's designs offer an isolator-protected output to guard against transistor failure due to infinite VSWR mismatch. This jamming renders cell phones inoperable and prevents calls or texts from being sent, rendering the phones essentially useless and mitigating any potential security threats posed by them. Other Applications for Signal Jamming Prisons aren't the only place where cell phone signal jamming is necessary. There are many instances where having access to a cell phone signal could pose a security risk, such as in government buildings, or violate policies, such as in a test taking facility.   Airport Immigration Casinos Examination Rooms Government Buildings

Learn more about the Signal Jamming Power Amplifier or request a quote

An alternate version of this post originally appeared on Wireless Design & Development

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Infographics | RF/Microwave & Microelectronics

VIDEO: API Technologies' Power Amplifiers Product Line

by Allison Goss 5. October 2015 10:23

API Technologies’ wide bandwidth and high efficiency Power Amplifiers operate up to 26 GHz, with output levels from 500mW to 1Kw. Using innovative semiconductor technologies and the latest manufacturing techniques, our full line of high performance power amplifier modules, drivers and subsystems are designed to user specifications and ideal for applications such as military communications, radar, commercial aerospace and broadband jamming.

Learn more at or request a quote.

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RF/Microwave & Microelectronics

VIDEO: API Technologies' Mixers Product Line

by Allison Goss 28. September 2015 14:42

API Technologies’ mixer product line covers frequency ranges from 0.5 MHz to 26.5 GHz and is available in both double or triple balanced configurations. Available in many industry-standard surface mount, drop-in and connectorized housings, our mixers use high-performance monolithic diodes for superior isolation and low loss as well as rugged duroid construction for proven performance against thermal dynamics and shock.  Competitive lead times, consistent delivery, and alternate models to other major mixer suppliers are available off-the-shelf.  

Learn more at or request a quote.

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RF/Microwave & Microelectronics

Making the Switch from Printed Circuit Boards to Multi-Chip Modules for Deep Well Drilling: Frequently Asked Questions

by Jaymie Murray 2. September 2015 09:50

Traditionally the Oil & Gas industry used Printed Circuit Board (PCB) technology for down well, high-temperature electronics. As demands for higher reliability, longer life and durability in high temperatures in deep well drilling increases, it has been proven that conventional PCBs are no longer a viable solution.  Consequently, the industry is now embracing bare die in multi-chip module solutions (MCMs) in order to fully satisfy these requirements. However, some customers are weary of making the switch to a hybrid solution after relying on PCBs for so long and they often have concerns regarding costs, flexibility, and customisation. Here are a few questions customers frequently ask while contemplating transitioning to a hybrid solution.

Q: How do you justify the cost of switching to hybrids?

A: The transition to hybrid technology is often not driven by cost consideration. There are many reasons for adoption of hybrids:

  • Improved reliability
  • Improved performance – electrical and thermal
  • Significant size reduction
  • Ability to withstand harsh environments, including mechanical shock and vibration, temperature extremes and rapid temperature transitions
  • Improved electrical screening
  • Extended in-service life reduces total life cost

Q: What are the typical lead-times?

A:  There is normally a 20 week design cycle followed by 6 weeks for manufacture.

Q: Can MCM’s be reworked?

A: Rework processes are certified, qualified, and embrace a wide range of capabilities, including:

  • De-lid of module with subsequent hermetic re-lid after repair, and with usual fine and gross leak testing to verify the integrity of the seal
  • Semiconductor die removal and replacement
  • Passive component (resistors, capacitors and inductors) removal and replacement
  • Wire bond replacement
  • Thick film track repair with wire bonds or adhesives
  • Module can be re-sealed and re-tested

Q: How do you hybridise an existing PCB for high temperature operation?

A: There are several steps involved with customising an existing PCB in order to make it suitable for extremely high temperatures:

  • Supply the current BOM & Schematic: API will check bare die availability by taking the list of active components and checking with the OEM manufacturers if the part is available in bare die form required for C&W. API will provide feedback alternatives where necessary and work with you to fill any gaps in the circuit.
  • Define your environmental specification:  These specifications can include storage / operating temperature, shock & vibration requirements. API will check qualification data and confirm we have the required proven packaging techniques for your application, giving you confidence in the robustness of our packaging solution.
  • Define the space envelope: API will then perform an analysis based on your circuit to ensure we can physically fit the electronics in the space provided.
  • Define the package and I/O requirements: How will we mount the electronics in your tool? API designs custom mechanical package concepts that can remove the need for carrier PCBs not suitable for high temperatures.  I/O density is challenging in high temperature applications as often it can only be realised on the smaller of two sides of the package wall. API will review your I/O requirements and limitations and confirm if achievable. 
  • Convert the passives: Solderable termination / low temperature surface mount parts will need changing for high temperature and adhesive attach suitable for incorporation in a hybrid. API can print high temperature thick film resistors and recommend manufacturers with proven reliability.
  • Define your qualification plan: With no industry standards in place, how do you know what is best? API has an independent UKAS test house with experience in high temperature qualification plans, and we are able to review your environmental specifications and assist in defining a qualification plan.

Learn more about API’s high temperature hybrids and electronics at Offshore Europe 2015 at Stand 5B60 or visit to request a quote or contact us.

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RF/Microwave & Microelectronics | Trade Shows

API Technologies at Offshore Europe 2015: Show Preview

by Jaymie Murray 1. September 2015 08:56

API Technologies will be exhibiting at this year’s SPE Offshore Europe, held in Aberdeen, UK 8-11 September. Here's a preview of API's high temperature products and solutions for oil and gas applicatons on display at stand 5B60. 

•Suitable for continuous operation at Ultra High Temperature (225°C) and under severe mechanical shock and vibration •Designed for maximum reliability in the harshest environments •Hermetically-sealed•Multi layered designs using thick film conductors, dielectrics, resistors with cover glaze are oven fired in the range 500°C - 950°C •Considerable size reduction and high density circuit packaging compared to printed circuit boards (PCBs) •Advanced attach methods for large footprint ceramic capacitors reduce soldering within the package and provide temperature rating up to 300°C•UKAS accredited test facility has invested in high temperature ovens and devised qualification procedures for internal qualification of materials and processes •Tests cover a range of materials, component types and attach methods with adhesives, solders and welds •Proven CQC processes include shock, vibration and long-term storage •Complete hybrid shock and vibration testing at elevated temperatures

Learn more about API's high temperature electronics by visiting Stand 5B60 at Offshore Europe 2015, request a quote, or contact us.

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RF/Microwave & Microelectronics | Trade Shows

API Technologies at Offshore Europe 2015: API's Multi-Chip Module Solutions

by Jaymie Murray 31. August 2015 16:09

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RF/Microwave & Microelectronics | Trade Shows

API Technologies at Offshore Europe 2015: High Temperature Team

by Jaymie Murray 31. August 2015 14:20

API Technologies has a dedicated high temperature team of engineers and scientists with extensive experience and expertise in CAD layout design, analogue, digital and RF electronics, circuit partitioning and multi-chip module packaging.

Learn more about API's high temperature electronics by visiting Stand 5B60 at Offshore Europe 2015, request a quote, or contact us.

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RF/Microwave & Microelectronics | Trade Shows

API Technologies at Offshore Europe 2015: High Temperature Products

by Jaymie Murray 31. August 2015 11:59

API Technologies' high-reliability ceramic multi-chip modules are capable of operating at temperatures up to 225°C, making them perfectly suited for the harsh conditions of the Energy and Oil & Gas industries.

Learn more about API's high temperature electronics by visiting Stand 5B60 at Offshore Europe 2015, request a quote, or contact us.

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RF/Microwave & Microelectronics | Trade Shows

API Technologies at Offshore Europe 2015: Oil & Gas Heritage

by Jaymie Murray 31. August 2015 09:05

API Technologies will be exhibiting at Offshore Europe 2015, the UK's largest E&P event, 8-11 September in Aberdeen, UK. All this week, the blog will be exploring the scope of API's oil and gas experience and capabilities, and the high-reliability products and solutions we offer for high temperature applications. Learn more about API's high temperature electronics by visiting Stand 5B60 at Offshore Europe 2015, request a quote, or contact us.

API Technologies has over 70 years experience supplying microelectronics to the aerospace and defence industry, with established processes and capabilities for dealing with harsh environments including high temperature.

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RF/Microwave & Microelectronics | Trade Shows

Federal Civilian Agencies’ Next Security Vulnerability

by Tara Condon 24. August 2015 09:19

By Tara Condon & Henry Gold

Recent data breaches at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Office of Personnel Management re-focused the technology community on security challenges facing U.S. government and federal civilian agencies. Many of these groups provide critical services that impact the everyday lives of Americans, including the Social Security Administration, Food Safety and Inspection Service, and the U.S. Postal Service. As such, a security incident’s impact would be pervasive.

One of the reasons why the security landscape is cumbersome to manage is the increasing number of network-connected devices. Today’s peripherals are now smart devices. All of these access points offer new avenues to access sensitive information. Specifically, printers and copiers offer a new point of vulnerability.

Security Risks of MFDs: 

Standalone printers and, later, combination printer/copiers, were largely output devices. A command was entered; the function was executed. The main security risk - leaving sensitive items on the printer tray – was mitigated by physical security. Many users were issued individual printers that were kept in locked offices. 

Document scanning changed the game. Multi-Function Devices (MFDs) were born.  What was once a peripheral was now an intelligent system with document memory and consistent access to the network. Also, with this additional functionality came a (justifiably) higher price tag. This meant that printer / copier / scanners became shared resources, typically kept in public areas, where personnel and visitors have unfettered access. 

Enabling PIV Card Authentication:

In recognition of the vulnerability of these access points, government regulations now require PIV card authentication (sometimes referred to as CAC – Common Access Card – access) on all network connected devices. Today, federal civilian agencies are struggling with how to meet this requirement. 

A number of major printer manufacturers now offer built-in PIV authentication on new devices. There is also a printer agnostic solution offered by API Technologies, called the Netgard®, that may be used on both new and existing MFDs and printers, including wide format printers.

Photo of Netgard® MFD courtesy of API Technologies


Regardless of which solution you choose for PIV authentication, here are two key features you should be aware of that enable you to comply with government security best practices:

  • Scan to Home: What this means is that the person doing the scanning may only place the document in a designated folder on the network. The person may then retrieve that document from the designated network location and use it for his/her intended purpose.  This feature ensures no confidential or sensitive materials can be sent in an uncontrolled fashion – for example: sending a scanned document to a personal email address via the printer.

  • Secure Print Release: MFDs are often stationed in easily accessible parts of the office. This means that sensitive printed material may sit out in the open for some time before an employee has the opportunity to retrieve it. When the Secure Print Release feature is enabled, the employee would walk to the printer and scan her PIV card. Then documents would be printed (“released”) when she is standing there to retrieve them. This security measure also has the added benefit of saving paper and toner, which saves operating cost. 

Protecting the information assets of federal civilian agencies is of vital importance. Securing access to network entry points is key to thwarting security threats. When reviewing their security best practices, federal civilian agencies are encouraged to remember that peripherals – such as MFDs – present vulnerability. PIV and/or CAC card enablement is necessary to secure these network entry points. The good news is that there are a number of government compliant, commercially available solutions to meet the need. 


About the Authors:

Tara Flynn Condon (@api_taracondon) is a published writer and Vice President of API Technologies Corp.

Henry Gold is a security expert and frequent panelist on security-related issues. He is General Manager of SSIA North America for API Technologies Corp.

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