The first EDICON, covering RF, Signal/power integrity, and EMI, was a bit flat. But then, it was the first in the U.S.
When I look at the big signal, the first ever EDICON show in the U.S. (Boston, Sept. 20-22 2016) was flat. I kept looking for engineers from the major system primes—companies like BAE Systems and Raytheon— but they didn't show up in big numbers. But, when I consider all those short interactions with people and products—think of them as spikes of value seen only with the resolution bandwidth on a spectrum analyzer set to a narrow value and with the display showing three days of spikes. That's when the big signal starts to look like a porcupine. The parts add up.
I'm a sales rep for six RF/Microwave companies and a rigid-flex printed-wiring-board company, so I'll tell you about the show from the RF perspective. There were about 150 companies exhibiting their RF/Microwave products. Here's a sample.
I learned about companies I had never heard of before, including those in my New England/New York territory and it was great discovering them. I enjoyed meeting with existing customers and other sales reps, though it wasn't quite the rep rally that occurs at the IMS/MTT-S Microwave Symposium.
Sure, I received requests for quotes and for product information, but I wish there were more. Perhaps my expectations were higher than they should have been for a first-year trade show. When I think about all those business opportunities, I realized that attending a show or conference opens many more opportunities than staying in my office or driving around visiting customers. I spent most of my time at the Microtech booth because it was the only company I represent that exhibited at EDICON. I felt an obligation to stay there because I pushed for them to exhibit at the show in the first place.
Dr. Eli Brookner
One of my favorite talks was with Eli Brookner
, the famous (now retired) Raytheon radar engineer. We discussed his short course, Basics, Advances, & Breakthroughs in Phased-Arrays, Radar, and MIMO
. He included quantum radar in his presentation, but noted that the claimed 10x improvement in false alarms derived from only a small 0.5 dB improvement in a spec that I think he said was receiver sensitivity, and therefore wasn't such a big deal as the Chinese were making it to be. But, the best part of Eli's course was his hand-drawn diagrams.
I got a sense that MACOM’s newest corporate leadership is back to the technical and business savviness that made them great originally and that had disappeared when the bean counters had taken over years ago.
I liked Mercury Systems’ Open RF/Microwave platform that has common mounting, bias and control interfaces for different payloads.
The newest Piconics conical inductor with a wide band of performance was impressive because it's so small.
Pionics' conical inductors are about the size of the head of a pin. The conical shape give them bandwidths from 10 MHz to 40 GHz.
The Microcertec ceramic 3D-circuit carriers had rather complex circuits traveling up, down and around the tiny ceramic blocks that fascinated me.
A 3D interconnect from Microcertec lets you mount and connect several components on a cube, saving PCB space.
The Microtech 110 GHz flexible waveguide attracted lots of attention from the millimeter wavelength crowd.
Waveguides from Microtech deliver microwave signals to their destinations.
The Gowanda Components Group showed an extensive range of RF magnetics and filter capabilities for the medical industry.
Gowanda Components Group manufactures inductors and EMI filters.
Lake Shore Cryotronics displayed a cryogenic station that can make contact measurements on-wafer at 75 GHz and up.
You might think that the Keysight Technologies party at Fenway Park that had the three World Series trophies outside on a table high above home plate would get my vote for highlight of the show.
Boston Red Sox World Series trophies from 2004, 2007, and 2013. Another is on the way this year.
Instead, my vote goes to Tektronix for its RSA5000 Series spectrum analyzer
that rapidly performed measurements. Even with a narrow resolution bandwidth it just plowed through measurements almost immediately.
A Tektronix RSA5000 series real-time spectrum analyzer.
On the second evening of the show I went to Geek-a-Palooza that took place at the convention center. I made connections with two Printed Wiring Board design companies (Freedom CAD Services and San Diego PCB). But, the comedian proved that engineers are a tough crowd. Jokes that he's surely used on other audiences just don't work with engineers.
As Ferris Bueller said, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and go to these trade shows once in a while, you could miss it." That also applies to trade shows. If you miss them, you miss opportunities to connect with colleagues, customers, and suppliers.