Once upon a time, researchers discovered that radio waves could be used for more than just radios. As radar technology blossomed during World War II, an industry took root, growing steadily on a diet of largely military applications, such as electronic warfare (EW), signal intelligence (SIGINT), and electronic countermeasures (ECM). Some 50 years later, the industry finally found itself with real commercial business as wireless markets crystallized in the late 1980s.
That was then, and this is now. The cellular "sleigh ride" that the industry enjoyed for the past decade has braked to an abrupt halt for many, although military business again looks appealing. But aren't there more uses for RF technology than cellular communications and military systems?
In fact, RF/wireless technologies have been in use for many years in industrial and medical environments, and will play increasingly important roles in automotive engineering. In industrial applications, low-power, low-data-rate transmitters and receivers have supported sensors in process-control and inventory applications for decades. In medical environments, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be the most noteworthy RF application, but such uses as wireless hospitals, telemetry, and implantable monitors are quickly gaining ground.
In recognizing the long-term need for this industry to rely more on just commercial and military avenues, next year Microwaves & RF will expand its coverage into areas that may be nontraditional, but represent opportunities for RF/microwave technology (see Editorial Calendar).
|January||Test & Measurement|
|May||MTT-S Preview/Radar & Antennas|
|July||Amplifiers & Oscillators|
Certainly, if you are working in some of these growing application areas, such as automotive (telematics), industrial, or medical designs, we'd like to hear how we could help you with your design problems. In more ways than one, the more that RF propagates, the healthier this industry will become.