Manufacturing is moving from these shores, as price pressures force businesses to seek low-cost production in other parts of the world. While this is not news to most folks, a recent query about the possibility of RF design skills following the path of manufacturing evoked an image of a future United States with no manufacturing capabilities and no design talent. Many prognosticators envision a future United States with no products, only service.

RF design engineers are a unique bunch, whether they view themselves as such. For most high- frequency companies, what sets them apart from their competitors is not their manufacturing capabilities (which can now be readily outsourced), but their design capabilities.

For the companies with RF design talent, today's message is to hold onto those engineers. If anything, support them, let them mentor younger engineers, encourage their creativity with support in the form of test equipment, computer simulators, and other tools of the trade. This industry's RF design talent is one of those competitive edges that sets this country apart. When it becomes outsourced, we become second-rate.

By Jack Browne, MWRF Technical Director