Delay Lines Week Meet the Team: Bob Comstock, General Manager

by Jaymie Murray 10. March 2015 13:57

In his role as the General Manager of API's Auburn, NY facility, Bob Comstock works with several delay line topologies, including BAW, Dispersive Steel, Coaxial, and Lumped Constant (LC). In this Q & A, he discusses some of our delay lines, their applications, and what sets us apart from our competitors.   

Q: How long have you been here at API?

A: I’ve done a few long stints off and on over the past 30 years, so I would say that I’ve worked here for about 21 years total. During that time I’ve worked extensively with several of our delay lines topologies. In the early 80s, it was Dispersive Steel delay lines that were used to enhance radar signals for smaller targets. In the 90s, I worked with long dispersive delay lines that were also used in radars. From about 2002 until now I’ve been heavily involved with BAW (Bulk Acoustic Wave) delay lines in the 10 MHz – 120 MHz range with varying delays. These are primarily used for target generation, radar calibration, EW (Electronic Warfare), and digital memory delay. The BAW delay lines that calibrate radar and display systems are made out of quartz or glass that can be unheated or heated for increased stability.

Q: What other Delay Line products are made in the Auburn facility?

A: We also manufacture Lumped Constant (LC) delay lines that are used for video delay. They have short timers with delays of only a few nanoseconds to microseconds and feature discrete capacitors with digital inputs. 

Then there are our Coaxial delay lines which are made out of coaxial cables with a high frequency range and short delays of 250 nanoseconds down to 1 nanosecond, which is 70% the speed of light. These cables range from ¼ in long to 225 ft. long. With Coaxial delay lines the longer the cable, the longer the delay. 

Q: How do we add value for our customers?

A: We customize our delay line products about 99% of the time, so our customers almost always get a solution that is tailor-made for their specifications and needs. Our customers can also rest assured that these products are made to be highly reliable. Our Dispersive Steel delay lines are known to be used for 20 years without any issues, and they frequently do not need to be retuned until they have been in use for 30 years.  Our BAW delay lines provide a passive, stable delay source which can serve as reference for radar systems for many years, which is extremely important for radar calibration. 

We also offer a lower frequency Coaxial delay line box with switches that allow for trimming up to 10 radar channels. The customer can then control the trimming based on the delay that is needed. This is primarily used for multiple channels that need to be arranged in time, with each step having a 1.4 nanosecond change.  

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Meet the Team | RF/Microwave & Microelectronics

Delay Lines Week Meet the Team: Mike Schweyer, SAW Product Line Manager

by Jaymie Murray 10. March 2015 09:01

As the SAW (Surface Acoustic Wave) Product Line Manager at API's Marlborough, MA facility, Mike Schweyer works directly with customers to find the best SAW Delay Line solution to fit their needs. API offers a variety of SAW Delay Line bandwidths, frequencies, packaging, and substrates, which ensures that customers get a solution that meets their exact requirements.

Q: What is your title here at API and what is your background?

A: I’m the Product Line Manager for SAW products at API’s Marlborough, MA facility. I got my degree in electrical engineering from the University of Maine and I’ve been in this field for 15 years. During my career, I’ve worked mostly with different types of SAW (Surface Acoustic Wave) products, including SAW delay lines.

Q: How are delays created in the SAW delay lines?

A: We use three different substrates that have different wave velocities which produce different delays. We choose the substrate based on the end use. We also use aluminum transducers that convert an acoustic wave to a fixed velocity, and then we can adjust the delay based on how far apart we place the transducers. The further apart the transducers, the longer the delay. 

Q: Where can API’s delay lines be found and why are delay lines needed?

A: For example, the military uses our SAW delay lines for radar calibration and jamming. The delay lines allow the radar system to effectively process and synchronize signals that are traveling at the speed of light. Without the delays, the radar wouldn’t be able to interpret all of the signals it is receiving.  

Q: What makes our SAW delay lines unique to our customers?

A: There are a few reasons. First, we manufacture our SAW delay lines in a MIL-PRF-38534 Class H and Class K facility in Marlborough, MA. While this is a requirement to do business with military customers, we use the same equipment and design philosophies when we are working with our commercial customers, resulting in the same high quality, high reliability products.

We pride ourselves on being able to successfully deliver on even the most difficult technical specs. As an example, while the typical SAW delay line is around 13.3 mm x 6.5 mm, we created packages that are as small as 3 mm x 3 mm for customers that needed an extremely small footprint. 

API doesn’t just deal in extremely large volumes like a lot of our competitors do. None of our SAW delay lines come off the shelf, they are all either semi-standard or custom. Over the years, we have created over 3000 different designs, so we have the heritage and experience customers need. 

API also offers an integration team dedicated to creating a complete solution for customers. We can craft an entire sub-system using the other products in our RF & Microwave line. If a signal needs to travel a particularly long distance, we can add one of our amplifiers to the sub-system. That amplified signal can then be delayed based on customer requirements.

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Meet the Team | RF/Microwave & Microelectronics

Introducing Delay Lines Week

by Jaymie Murray 9. March 2015 09:36

API’s extensive catalogue of delay lines offer a range of semi-standard and customizable topologies that feature wide bandwidths and low insertion loss. Our BAW (Bulk Acoustic Wave), SAW (Surface Acoustic Wave), Lumped Constant, Steel Dispersive, and Coaxial - High Frequency delay lines are available in a variety of package sizes and interface options, ensuring that our customers will get the best solution for their individual needs. All this week, we will be exploring the many features and applications of our delay lines and what they can offer to customers that require both high performance as well as high reliability. 

Delay Lines API TECHNOLOGIES BAW Topologies SAW Low frequency Bulk Acoustic Wave (BAW) Delay Lines offer a wide range of semi-standard or custom delay solutions designed to meet unique specifications. Many interface options are offered including SMA (Female and Male), N-Type (Female), TNC (Female), Leaded and SMD. Packaging options include low cost, plastic encapsulated or hermetically welded. BAW delay lines are available in both connectorized or pin and surface mount. Frequency Range: 20MHz - 2000MHz Delay: 0.1µsec – 10µsec InsertionLoss: Starts at 3dB, increase withdelay and bandwidth Frequency Range: 10MHz - 120MHz Delay: 0.15µsec – 3,000µsec InsertionLoss: 6dB – 65dBSteel Dispersive Lumped Constant Coaxial Non-dispersive and dispersive SAW Delay Lines offer semi-standard or custom designs with various delay and bandwidth options. SAW Delay Lines are available in several packaging options such as ceramic leadless chip carriers, which provide small size and weight, and platform packages, which are suited for harsh applications. API Technologies has experience with delay lines on various substrates including quartz, lithium tantalate and lithium niobate. All SAW Delay Lines are hermetically sealed to ensure robust performance. Lumped Constant Delay Lines offer excellent frequency stability in semi-standard or custom designs to meet unique specifications. Active buffered, passive fixed and variable designs are available. Many interface options are offered including DIP, SIP Leaded and SMD. Packaging options include low cost, plastic encapsulated or hermetically welded. Pulse compression Dispersive Steel Delay Lines are offered in semi-standard or custom designs and available in many interface options including SMA (Female and Male), N-Type (Female), TNC (Female), Leaded and SMD. Our dispersive Steel delay lines can be ovenized for high stability center frequencies. Non- or hermetically welded packaging options are available. Frequency Range: DC- 6GHz Delay:1nsec -250nsec InsertionLoss:0.2dB-50dB Frequency Range: 5MHz - 65MHz Delay: 10µsec - 350µsec InsertionLoss: 20-45dB Frequency Range: DC - 150MHz Delay: 10nsec – 5000nsec InsertionLoss: 5% bandwidthHigh frequency Coaxial Delay Lines utilize semi-rigid cable, from small diameters, such as .041” up to diameters of .250”. API’s coaxial delay lines can be easily adjusted by changing the length of the cable and can be heated to improve temperature stability. Many interface options are offered including SMA (Female and Male), N-Type (Female), TNC (Female), Leaded and SMD. API offers a wide range of semi-standard and custom coaxial delay solutions designed to meet customer specifications for a wide range of applications. InsertionLoss:0.2dB-50dB Applications Signal Processing Circuits Radar Systems Electronic Warfare Clock Synchronization micro.apitech.com/delay_lines

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Commercial Wireless Solutions Week: Why is PIM Important?

by Molly Weis 20. February 2015 14:08

In the development of today’s communications networking applications, low passive intermodulation (PIM) ratings are increasingly recognized as one of the most critical requirements for optimum system performance in a wireless network infrastructure. API's range of filters all feature low PIM ratings with designs achieving PIM as low as -160dBc. 

Passive Intermodulation (PIM) in Wireless Network Infrastructures  In the development of today’s communications networking applications, low passive intermodulation (PIM) ratings are increasingly recognized as one of the most critical requirements for optimum system performance in a wireless network infrastructure. With the complexity of today’s mobile networks ever improving, designers of wireless telecom systems must find a way to tackle these increasingly stringent PIM requirements, as even the smallest levels of PIM distortion can significantly impact the network performance of our customers.In crowded environments, such as multi-tenant high-rise office buildings, large-scale public venues and other densely populated venues, where concentrated smart phone or device usage contributing to PIM generation is at a maximum, the tight requirements to combat PIM interference continue to grow. Intermodulation can occur whenever more than one signal is present in an RF system; when intermodulation occurs, a loss in data and the diminishment of cell phone network coverage occurs.API Technologies’ wireless communication filter solutions have been designed to meet the most stringent PIM requirements needed in today's wireless systems, with designs achieving PIM ratings as low as -160dBc, allowing for maximum reliability in wireless network connectivity.Passive Intermodulation and Wireless Data TransmissionWireless base stations use tightly grouped channels and complex modulation schemes to enable the transmission of vast amounts of data to and between their users. The modulating of RF signals is commonplace for the transmission of information across a network; unwanted PIM occurs as a byproduct whenever more than one signal (such as a Tx or Rx signal) is channeled through a single RF path. Since Rx signals are typically low power by nature, interference with regular voice and data traffic is likely to occur, especially in areas highly saturated by mobile phone or device usage. Unwanted PIM interference in a wireless network’s transmission channels results in loss of cellular reception and slow, ineffective data transfer.Protecting Your Network from PIM Disruptions The best way to reduce PIM interference in a network and preserve optimum network quality is to prevent the introduction of PIM sensitive devices in the first place. Wireless base stations should be equipped with only high quality, low PIM filters and components to provide the fastest and most reliable transmission of data possible.

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RF/Microwave & Microelectronics

Commercial Wireless Solutions Week Case Study: Solving Wireless Co-Location & Brute Force Overload Issues for Major Telecom Company

by Jaymie Murray 20. February 2015 10:00

In a rapidly changing wireless landscape with ever growing system demands, telecom companies need to constantly increase their cell site footprint. In this case study, we explore how one telecom company faced major co-location and brute force overload (BFO) issues when they expanded LTE coverage near a military training base. Faced with the possibility of removing the cell site and thereby impacting their customers, the company turned to API Technologies filters to solve their issues and help them continue to provide excellent service.

Challenge A major telecommunications company that provides wireless, internet, and digital television services has been rapidly expanding LTE (high speed wireless data) coverage to meet consumer demand. One of their cell towers operating in the AWS-band at 2100 MHz was placed at a busy airport to meet the needs of travelers and staff.  While service was enhanced for consumers at the airport, this created an interference problem for the military training base located nearby. The base’s three satellite receivers were located within 50 feet of the cell tower, creating brute force overload (BFO) and co-location issues that posed significant problems. Solution After repeatedly trying and failing to find a vendor that had the capabilities to rectify the situation, the telecom company contacted API Technologies. API’s engineers quickly determined the source of the issue and suggested a solution that would quickly and efficiently mitigate the problem. By installing a receive filter with a very low insertion loss in the military base’s system, everything on the AWS frequency was filtered out. Result The filter restored functionality to the base’s satellites and allowed the telecom company to keep their cell tower located at the airport.

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RF/Microwave & Microelectronics

Commercial Wireless Solutions Week: How API's Filters Work Microwave Magic for Telecom Titans

by Jaymie Murray 19. February 2015 10:20

Cell base station co-location interference issues pose a significant challenge for major telecom service providers. Several mobile carriers operating on different frequencies typically share a single base station, which can cause severe interference problems. API Technologies' filters rectify this problem by discerning and then discarding competitor frequencies, thereby eliminating interference issues. 

How API’s FiltersWork Microwave Magic for TelecomTitans A cell site is a cellular phone site where antennas and other communications devices are placed on an elevated structure. Typically, there are several receiving signals at the same cell site. With each carrier concurrently operating to use frequency discriminating devices to remove signals generated by their competitors. Without these devices, cell phones would pick up ALL of the frequencies in range, rendering them inoperable. competitors’signals and only transmit and receive their own signals. What is Cell Base Station Co-Location? Why is Co-Location a Problem? How do API’s Filters SolveThis Problem? Why Choose API’s Filters? API’s High-Q provide lowerloss and betterperformance perform better, they provide higher cell coverage Means fewer cell sitesare needed to retain highqualityservice even as users and datademands increase! The Q Factor Better Performance Higher Cell Coverage Visit micro.apitech.com/wireless Or call +1 (888) 553.7531 to learn more

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Infographics | RF/Microwave & Microelectronics

Commercial Wireless Solutions Week | Meet the Team: John Yania, Filters Product Line Manager

by Jaymie Murray 18. February 2015 14:00

In his role as Filters Product Line Manager, John Yania engages with customers to find the best filter solution to suit their project requirements. For customers in the telecom and wireless communications industry, John uses his extensive experience and product knowledge to create custom bandpass, bandreject, and duplexers / diplexers filters for broadband networks, communication uplink / downlink systems, spectrum clearing, as well as many other applications. 

Q: What is your role, how long have you worked at API, and what does your position entail?

A: I was one of the founders of FSY Microwave in 1983, which was then acquired by Spectrum Microwave in 2002, which became API a few years ago.  I have been in this field for over 30 years and with API since they expanded their RF & Microwave business.  

I’m the Filter Product Line Manager in API’s RF, Microwave & Microelectronics (RF2M) group.  In this role, I work directly with our customers to create fully customized filters that are optimized to fit their needs, whatever they may be.   

Q: What are some of the custom needs our customers have? 

A: None of our filters are standard, off-the-shelf products.  Every filter we make is created specifically for our customers to fulfill their needs.  Whenever I work with a customer, I try to engage with them early on in the process to get a better idea of their priorities so we can create the design based on those needs.  Sometimes cost is the most important factor, sometimes size, rejection, insertion loss, or another electrical parameter is paramount.  If the filter is going to be used for defense or space applications, a fighter plane or a satellite for example, reliability is obviously going to be the prime concern.  

For our commercial customers, I’ve found that they put a lot of emphasis on quick turnaround times.  If a company wants to be first to the market with a brand new idea, they need to get their products manufactured as soon as possible.   Commercial customers tend to want much more compressed development times and a significantly higher volume of filters compared to our defense customers, but API has the expertise and infrastructure in place to be able to fulfill these needs.

Q: What are the commercial applications for our filters? 

Our filters can be found in a wide range of commercial products, from medical testing instruments to GPS equipment.  In cable TV applications, our filters are used to ensure customers only receive their package’s channels.  For utility companies, API’s filters are used for remote meter reading.  These readings can be sent directly to the utility, or can be scanned by a van passing through the area.  Our Rancho Cordova, CA location mainly manufactures filters that are used in wireless and other demanding commercial applications.  We also provide filters used in location tracking for our commercial as well as defense customers.  

Q: What differentiates our products from what our competitors offer?

A: Over the years, we’ve created over 10,000 different models for our customers.  It’s highly unusual for us to sell the same exact part to two different customers.  I think that is what really sets us apart from our competitors.  We partner with our customers to create a filter that fits their exact specifications, rather than taking an existing product and then adapting it.  We don’t subscribe to the “one size fits all” philosophy that some of our competitors have, and that really does add value to our proposition.  

We also offer our customers the option of having their filters produced at our low cost manufacturing facility in Mexico.  By utilizing our production team in Mexico, our customers can cut costs without sacrificing quality.  The filters produced there are exactly the same as the ones produced in the US, but we are able to pass the labor savings on to our customers.  

Learn more about API's commercial wireless solutions, contact us for more information, or request a quote

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Meet the Team | RF/Microwave & Microelectronics

Commercial Wireless Solutions Week: API Technologies’ RF, Microwave Solutions for Commercial Wireless Applications

by Molly Weis 17. February 2015 13:48

API Technologies provides a wide range of RF and microwave solutions for commercial wireless applications. With a variety of customizable topologies and models available, API has filter designs that can fulfill the requirements of a host of commercial wireless projects, including satellite communications, GPS, remote meter reading, and more.

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RF/Microwave & Microelectronics

Commercial Wireless Solutions Week Case Study: API's Filter Mitigates BAS Interference for Major Telecom Company

by Jaymie Murray 16. February 2015 15:27

Over the years, API Technologies has built a solid reputation among wireless service providers by solving even the most challenging interference issues. API's range of filter designs for the telecom industry offer a host of customizable topologies and models that can be modified and adapted to meet the specific needs of the customer. One such customer, a major telecom company, struggled with significant and persistent issues concerning Broadcast Auxiliary Service (BAS) interference in Electronic News Gathering (ENG) trucks. After several other companies tried and failed to rectify the situation, the telecom company engaged API Technologies. The result? Find out in this case study:

Case Study: API Technologies’ Filter Mitigates BAS Interference for Major Telecom Company Challenge A major telecommunications company that provides wireless, internet, and digital television services was experiencing a persistent and complex issue with television Broadcast Auxiliary Service (BAS) interference. One particular major network affiliate in a large metropolitan area was having severe problems with their Electronic News Gathering (ENG) trucks. The frequencies used by these trucks to transmit news video back to the station were experiencing severe interference problems. The interference was so severe that the company had to contact several filter manufacturers to attempt to mitigate the situation, to no avail. However, when they contacted API Technologies, a company that had previously successfully solved a similar problem by using an Advanced Wireless System (AWS) and Broadcast Auxiliary Service (BAS) interference mitigation filter (CMN719 2.1 GHz Band Reject Filter), API was confident that they could solve this issue. Solution After only three months of design iterations and lab calculations, API’s first filter prototypes were sent out for field testing. While a significant improvement was seen, it was not quite enough to allow the BAS receivers to function properly. The prototype filters were then sent back to API, minor re-tuning adjustments were made, and the units were shipped back to the customer, all within the span of one week. The interference problem was identified as Out Of Band Emissions (OOBE) and was remedied with API’s customized CMN719 2.1 GHz Band Reject Filter. Result Within a month the telecom company had sent out a directive to all of their regional offices which described this problem, API’s filter solution, and the requirement to install the filters at all cellular sites that may be impacting the BAS receive frequencies. Within only eight months, affiliates in nine different regions ordered over a thousand filters to finally solve their BAS interference issues.After solving this major issue for this customer, it brought to light an interesting possibility: if this telecom provider was experiencing this problem, there is a good chance that television networks and their affiliates around the country are being affected by OOBE without even realizing it or knowing that it can be easily rectified using API’s CMN719 2.1 GHz Band Reject Filter. API's CMN719 2.1 GHz Band Reject Filter API’s reputation for designing and delivering some of today’s most challenging bandreject filters is the reason why engineers trust us with their designs. Choosing from a wide assortment of topologies, including lumped element, cavity, ceramic, waveguide and suspended substrate, our engineers match the optimum topology to your requirements. The customizable CMN719 2.1 GHz Band Reject Filter features 2030 to 2109.5 MHz passband, 1.60 dB max insertion loss, 16 dB min return loss, and 60 dB min    2110.6 – 2121.5 MHz rejection. To learn more about this model and API's other filters for wireless communications, visit micro.apitech.com/wireless

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RF/Microwave & Microelectronics

Introducing Commercial Wireless Solutions Week

by Molly Weis 13. February 2015 14:57

With mobile broadband capacity and coverage demands continually on the rise, due to the pervasive adoption of smartphones, tablets, and other technologies made possible by the wireless spectrum, more and more users are requiring 24/7 access to data when they want it and wherever they want it. Yet, as more people become equipped with wireless devices, congestion across available communications frequencies increases, while signal performance decreases. 

This creates an ongoing challenge for the billions of consumers, businesses, networks and broadcasters trying to communicate with each other at any given time, and provides an opportunity for designers and manufacturers of high performance RF, microwave and power distribution solutions for the commercial wireless and telecommunications industries, like API Technologies, to work our engineering magic to make clear, consistent connectivity a reality.

Through commitment to technical innovation and engineering, rapid development and prototyping, and multi-site manufacturing and vertical integration capabilities, our standard, configurable and custom-designed high-reliability solutions are designed to address the most complex RF interference mitigation challenges, enable commercial radar and SATCOM connectivity, and meet the needs of network coverage and capacity and remote power supply and monitoring demands.

Through our core expertise in high performance filter technologies and power management solutions, API has supplied tens of thousands of filters, wireless assemblies, and power supply sources worldwide into wireless networking infrastructures, base station OEMs, neutral host venues, satellite and broadcast systems, and beyond.

All this week, the API blog will be exploring these commercial wireless solutions capabilities, demonstrating how API's range of filters and solutions solve even the most challenging issues for our customers.  

API Technologies Commercial Wireless Solutions Co-Site Interference Mitigation Filters API Technologies has developed and produced high quality, High Q Filters and assisted major wireless carriers and installers with co-location solutions at BTS sites for over three decades. Using state-of-the art design software, precision CNC machining, and the highest quality materials available, our design team consistently achieves the highest performance features including low PIM (passive intermodulation), high isolation and low insertion loss. Wireless Filter Assemblies & Sub-Systems A leader in the design and development of customer-driven, custom filtering solutions, API Technologies produces a wide range of filter-based assemblies and sub-systems, such as distributed antenna systems, receiver multicouplers, and transmit combiners, in multiple platforms, integrating passive or active components including multiplexers, couplers, power dividers, delay lines, amplifiers and more. These high performance wireless assemblies are ideal for deployment into base stations, communication towers and other wireless cell-site applications. High Performance, Fully Customizable Multi-Channel Filters API Technologies specializes in high quality RF, microwave filters for commercial wireless applications where superior performance in the smallest footprint possible is required. Our extensive portfolio of filter products includes bandpass, bandreject, lowpass and highpass filter designs, operating in bands from 1 MHz to 50 GHz, encompassing a wide range of topologies including cavity, lumped, ceramic, coaxial, SAW and suspended stripline. AC, DC, and Electronic Switched Power Distribution Units API Technologies offers smart switched power distribution units (PDUs) in both AC and DC options which include our AC SMARTStart® and DC SMARTStart®. These PDUs are designed to remotely control power loads and monitor vital parameters such as line voltage, total load current and line frequency. Our electronic switched PDU timer box simultaneously charges dozens of devices by switching outlets in 15 and/or 30 minute intervals and is an ideal drop-in solution for OEM manufacturers of wireless base station or cell-site infrastructure. micro.apitech.com/wireless

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RF/Microwave & Microelectronics

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