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60 The PCB Design Magazine • December 2016 Do you ever watch old military TV shows or movies, specifically those featuring naval vessels such as battleships, destroyers, or submarines? Well, I do, and I'm betting that I'm not alone. In a lot of these old shows, the captain of the ship refers to the radioman as "Sparks." This tasty little sobriquet dates back to the early days of radio when radiomen were traditionally nick- named "Sparky" or "Sparks" due to their early use of spark-gap transmitters. In those old TV shows and movies, the radioman, Sparks, was the go-to guy to get the job done. It probably wouldn't occur to some younger people that there used to be a time where we couldn't just pick up our cell phone and call someone halfway around the world. But in those days, it took the powerful resources of a ship or submarine to power those early radios, and the guy with the know-how to make it all work was good-ol' Sparks. In today's world of PCB design, we are also dealing with radio, specifically radio frequen- cies that we classify as RF design. And just as with the early days of radio where Sparks the radio specialist was in demand to get the job done, we now need RF specialists to help us get the job done. The specialists in demand today are circuit board designers like you who work- ing together with electrical engineers to create the intricate designs required for RF circuits. by Tim Haag INTERCEPT TECHNOLOGY "Sparks" to the Rescue in RF Design TIM'S TAKEAWAYS

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