Software Reviews Needed
Your comments in the November 2009 editorial on free design software struck a resonant chord in my company, since we operate with limited resources and cannot afford to equip every engineer who would so chose it to have a seat on our full-function microwave simulator of choice. For that reason, we are often experimenting with freeware and other low-cost options, especially when evaluating part of a design (such as a bandpass filter following a transmit power amplifier in a transceiver). Companies such as Sonnet Software do a great service to the industry with their downloadable Sonnet Lite electromagnetic (EM) simulation software. Such "reduced-feature" versions of design software are nonetheless functional enough to perform a great deal of practical and useful design and analysis, especially for members of a design team that may not have full access to a full-fledged simulation suite of programs, such as Agilent's Advanced Design System (ADS) or Microwave Office from AWR.

I would be interested in seeing reviews of freeware and low-cost design programs from time to time in these pages, if you and your staff would be willing to invest the time to run the software and provide honest evaluations of their capabilities. Microwaves & RF at one time was well known for its software reviewsespecially from some of the smaller companies or from those firms willing to supply free or low-cost design tools. Are there any chances to see some reviews of free design software sometime in the coming year?

Olivia Dunham
Communications Manager Configuration Analysis Management Danbury, CT

Editor's note:
Yes, we have heard from quite a few readers on our need to cover more free or low-cost software in these pages, and you will see some reviews in 2010. A contributor recently pointed out the Quite Universal Circuit Simulator (QUCS), which is available for free download from the web site. This software, which is currently written for GNU/Linux operating systems and with a new version to be released for Win32 (NT/2000/XP) operating systems, is assembled by a group of dedicated engineers/contributors to provide a no-charge alternative to expensive software design tools. Time willing, a review will appear in the coming year of that and similar free software tools.