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.  

Learn more about API's Delay Lines, request a quote, or contact us

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Meet the Team | RF/Microwave & Microelectronics

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