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IMS2015 – Pre-Show: The Preparation

It sure doesn’t seem like it has already been a year since IMS2014! Well, technically, it hasn’t been since IMS2014 was in June last year. Once again this year IMS (International Microwave Symposium) is in a state known for its sunshine albeit this time sans the humidity. This year the show visits sunny Phoenix, Arizona. I am quite pleased that the show this year has been moved up to the month of May. Having lived in the Phoenix area (Scottsdale) for a few years while working at On Semiconductor I can attest to the seemingly brutal summer heat. It is pretty dry in Phoenix but to this electrical engineer heat is heat and pretty much anything over 100 degrees is too hot, humidity or not. Perhaps I could be a bit biased towards the happy medium of weather in North Carolina which doesn’t seem to get too hot or humid in the summer and doesn’t typically get in large amounts of snow in the winter nor get very cold.

Let’s not be too negative though as, from my experiences, I know that Phoenix has lots to offer and should make a great host city for IMS2015. Upon arrival in Phoenix all one has to do is look around to see the beautiful mountains that surround the city as well as dot the landscape within the city. From the McDowell Mountains off to the northeast to South Mountain within the city limits over to Camelback Mountain and out to the unique Four Peaks mountain east of Phoenix there is much viewing pleasure to enjoy. For those who may have a bit more time to stay in Phoenix there are many wonderful places to visit within a short drive of Phoenix as well. There is Prescott which is less than an hour away, Sedona which is less than two hours away, and then Flagstaff which is just over two hours away.

If you venture as far north as Flagstaff I highly recommend taking the time to take in one of the United States most interesting and breath taking places, the Grand Canyon. I visited the Grand Canyon three times in my short time in Arizona and plan to go back there again myself after the show. This time however I plan to do a scenic ride through Sedona up to the Grand Canyon on a rented motorcycle and take in some ‘wind therapy’ which will be a great way to end what is usually a very enjoyable but quite busy week.

I hope I have you excited for the IMS show and what Phoenix has to offer. It is not just about the sites and the things to do in Phoenix, although these sites and scenes are some nice bonuses. The main focus of the week is the IMS show itself. As an applications engineer in the high speed converter group at Analog Devices (ADI) I have been working the ADI booth now for the last four years so this year marks my fifth return to IMS. I am writing this year’s blog on my preparation prior to the show rather than retrospective as I did last year (the plane ride from Charlotte to Phoenix gives just a bit more time to write than the short hop from Charlotte to Tampa). With a show like this one much needs to be done for the preparation to make sure that things will go successfully.

Once again ADI is demonstrating cutting edge technology at the IMS show. I will be demonstrating the latest that ADI has to offer in its high speed ADC and high speed clocking portfolio and, of course, many other products illustrating the latest technology from ADI will also be on display so make sure to come by one of the two ADI booths this year and check out our many great demonstrations. I’d also encourage you to drop by and say hello as I would love to meet you.

This year I began preparing for the show much earlier, not only because it was a month earlier than last year but also because I wanted to have a bit more time and less rush than I did prior to the IMS show last year in Tampa. As is usually the case the demonstration ideas that were discussed evolved over the months leading up to the show and of course other customer demands and product releases take priority and sometimes the best laid plans require a few modifications. I’ll bet that none of you out there reading this have ever had a schedule slip on a project before (sarcasm font required here)! Of course, many of us as engineers fall victim to this from time to time despite the best planning. However, we do what engineers do we and we make the best of the situation and engineer a modified solution.

Thanks to my good friends at Wenzel Associates and TTE filters I had the 1.0 GHz oscillator and filter needed for the analog input signal for the ADC from their clutch efforts before the show last year. In addition, Rohde & Schwarz has been kind enough to loan an SMA100 for the show that I can use to clock the ADC. I also had a 122.88 MHz Wenzel oscillator for the reference clock of the high speed clock. The folks over at Keysight Technologies were also willing to assist this year and they sent over a N9030A PXA signal analyzer for my high speed clock demo. It is always great to receive support from such great vendors.

It really makes for a nice demo to have high performance equipment available at the show. It also makes the other guys back in my lab very happy that I am not taking equipment out of the lab for several weeks. While I am away the other guys can use that time on the equipment to complete some of their tasks faster and more efficiently. As many of you probably have experienced, good equipment doesn’t sit idle for very long in the lab. My main worry during this time is that the equipment I normally use doesn’t spontaneously grow legs and migrate over to someone else’s bench (surely no one out there has ever had that happen to them!).

I worked diligently this year to get the demonstrations running and, sure enough, by two weeks prior to the show I had everything verified. What a joy it is to have things ready to go two weeks in advance to the show! I was able to do a final test this past Monday and have everything packed up and shipped to my hotel by Thursday. As I type this my demonstration equipment is sitting in the package waiting area at my hotel in Phoenix. From past experiences I learned to pack extra equipment just in case. I did the same this year and packed additional boards and equipment to help ensure things go smoothly on the exhibit floor this week at the show. The next step is to set up everything prior to the show in the booth and do a run through to make sure everything is up and running so that, come Tuesday morning, the day starts off well with a running demonstration.

I am looking forward to another great IMS show this year in Phoenix and I hope you are as well if you are attending. If you are planning to be at the show please drop by the ADI booth and see what great technology we are demonstrating. You can even take a moment to chat if you like. I’d love to hear about your experiences and what challenges you face bringing products to market. I’d also like to see what products ADI has to offer that will help you bring your new products to market. If you are not able to attend then no worries, I hope to provide you a good insight into the show from an applications engineer’s perspective. Maybe you will decide to attend the next one if you like what you read in my blogs this week well enough. I’ll be blogging about each day of the show to give perspective on what typically goes on during the exhibits as well as the evening events. It is usually a great week and offers time to be an engineer by looking at products and discussing applications and in addition there is time to unwind in the evenings and come out of our introverted shells and have a great time. I hope to see you at the show!

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