Consumer-based businesses rely on this time of year, from the end of November to the end of the year, for increased sales. Various holidays help encourage consumer spending and sometimes strengthen the bottom line for a manufacturer reliant on consumer spending. For the majority of RF and microwave companies, consumer spending only indirectly affects sales for companies such as RF Micro Devices and Skyworks Solutions, involved in supplying high-volume semiconductor products for consumer goods. For the most part, this time of year is critical only to the high-frequency firms with calendar-based fiscal years, when sales numbers for the year hit their final mark on December 31.

For those devoted to technology, however, this time of year offers some outstanding opportunities to learn what one's peers are doing. The venerable International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM), for example, is scheduled for the Hilton San Francisco in Union Square in "The City" (San Francisco, CA) from December 6-8, 2010. Although it covers all types of electron devices, from memory to power transistors and vacuum devices, it often features first looks at technologies that will have great impact in the years to come (see the November issue of Microwaves & RF for a preview). And for those fortunate enough to be in Japan during that time (December 7-10, 2010), the Asia-Pacific Microwave Conference has established itself as one of the premiere technical events for this industry, highlighting design, fabrication, and test methods at microwave frequencies. Visit the web sites of these and the other events listed below for more information.