IMS Redux… A Technical, Cultural and Personal Smorgasbord

A couple of weeks ago, two former colleagues and dear friends, who I had not seen in several years, blew through San Diego for a short conference visit: Dr. Kenji Itoh, formerly of Mitsubishi and now of Kanazawa Institute of Technology, and Dr. Larry Larson, formerly of IBM and now inaugural Dean of the new School of Engineering at my alma mater, Brown University. They were both so busy, I managed to only have a quick bite with them separately and on the fly. We three pledged to get together again at IMS in Phoenix where we would finally have a chance to catch up over the course of the conference. I have not been to IMS for a couple of years. Time, money, circumstance… life has a way of intervening in the best laid plans of mice and men. But the occasion of seeing my two dear colleagues again resurrected all the reasons I need to get myself together to attend the conference once again. There are soooo many good reasons to do this and so few reasons not to, that even the irony of Jimmy Fallon’s Pros and Cons cannot dissuade me from doing so this year.

The conference name and make up has evolved over the years from MTT to IMS. I’ve attended many in years past including in Phoenix many years back. Fortunately, the IMS conference leaders had the forethought to move the conference up in the calendar this year to avoid the heat that Phoenix can bring when summer is full blown. It can be quite toasty, not to mention the sand storms that blow in that we’ve all seen in the national news. Phoenix offers many cultural delights, the Frank Lloyd Wright architecture around town including Graady Gammage and the fabulous Taliesin West alone are worth the trip to Phoenix, if not the world renowned Arcosanti from architect and “urban laboratory” visionary, Paulo Soleri… does this ring a bell (wink, wink)? Or perhaps spring baseball with the Diamond backs or with some luck, some late season play with the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. A round of golf, anyone? But if you want a real experience of a lifetime, drive out to the Grand Canyon and watch the sunrise. Words or pictures will never be adequate to capture the experience.

IMS is an annual event of great proportions, technical sessions and papers, panel discussions, student projects. One year I attended a workshop in the early days of LTCC development. Little did I know that years later I’d be working with colleagues in Japan, Kyocera, Murata, TDK…on this very technology. My gosh I even met Dr. Murata, the son of the founder along this journey. In years past, longer than I care to remember, I presented a paper on GaAs ICs, back in the day when highly integrated circuits where still and emerging pipe dream. The conference will take you to places unknown and unexpected. Take it in…let it wash over you in the hopes that that wave of innovation will sweep you in a direction that will be challenging and rewarding in ways you never imagined.

As I said, my initial thoughts here were triggered by a recent visit of my two colleagues. There are countless others, from Europe, Japan, the States that I only get to see at the conference. Joba-san of Mitsubishi with whom I worked on WCDMA, Jack Kennedy, formerly of IBM, gifted IC designer and RF synthesizer guru, Peter Bacon, also with IC design background and now a major player at Peregrine/Murata. Ironically, someone who lives here in SD with me, Dr. Paul Chominski, an unsung RF genius of the planet who bounces signals off the moon to his brother in Poland in his spare time. Now there’s a wireless phone for you! There are colleagues I don’t know as well, like Randy Rhea who still lectures at these events, who founded Eagleware and whose brilliant filter and PLL synthesis algorithms are now part of my RF tool of choice, Genesys. And there are those who I am yet to meet and hope to see at the conference…people like Lance Lascari, a.k.a. “The RF Dude”, a kindred spirit in the RF consulting world who I’ve only had the pleasure of corresponding with by email to date. There’s the Italian entrepreneur, Roberto Aiello, a founder at Staccato and former Imagineer at Disney, and last, not least, my new BFF, Judy Warner, the one woman Buzz Bomb of the PCB world. A melting pot of technical genius and significant players in the industry whose technical expertise and acumen are nothing short of inspirational.

As for the Smorgasbord, you cannot count out meals with colleagues at these events. While attending the conference in Anaheim, we had a crew of about twenty that I organized, who headed out to Ceritos for some of the best Indian food to be had anywhere. And in Boston, my best friend Paul Eyerman joined me running around the North End sampling pizza, cannolis, cappuccino, and fig bars in the richly rewarding cuisine of the Italian North End. In Phoenix, you can’t overlook the Mexican food, heavily influenced by Sonoran cooking, perfectly complimented by a fine Herradura Anejo or a cold Cerveza. There are places like Aunt Chilada’s that will delight you with their food and their homey atmosphere. I’ve even found one of the best Vietnamese Pho restaurants I’ve ever eaten at, Cyclo, tucked away in one of the little strip malls in Chandler, not to mention a little Italian bistro I went into late one night only to close the place down sitting at the bar with owner drinking a vintage bottle of Barolo from his private stash. Molto Gusto!! Well, my friends, what can I say? A smorgasbord of people, experiences, and technology. In the words of Auntie Mame, “Life's a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!” See you in Phoenix!!! Ideas, food and culture await you!

1Cyclo (si-klo) n. A 3-wheeled hooded passenger vehicle that is pedaled. Also see n. pedicab.

Norm Swanberg- Dome Resonators

Norm has been involved in various aspects of RF, Microwave and Millimeter wave technology for over thirty years. Early experience included a wide spectrum of microwave and MM wave applications including the development of X-band and Ku-band microstrip balanced mixers, a millimeter wave quasi-optical mixer at 200 GHz, X and Ku-band Gunn Oscillators, varactor tuned microwave GaAs VCOs, GaAs dual gate mixers, broadband switch/limiter covering more than 5 octaves, and Military Telemetry transmitters Since 1997, he has been actively involved in wireless communications development. At IBM, he was the systems lead for the development effort of a complete SiGe integrated chipset for WCDMA handset applications for the emerging Japanese cell phone market. He was selected as one of IBMs design innovators and represented the Wireless Design organization at a national IBM conference. Subsequent to that effort, he was involved in developing novel Transmitter system for CDMA using advanced digital techniques to directly generate RF and carrier modulation with very high PAE and minimum BOM. At Staccato. he was involved with UWB (Ultra Wide Band) design and development, including Ceramic (LTCC) design and RF FR4 packaging and interconnect solutions which integrated embedded matching and filters. In this role he worked extensively with ceramic vendors in Japan.

He was recently named a Keysight EDA expert (one of 13 in the US) for Genesys RF hardware and system modelling. He has extensive EM simulation experience with HFSS, Agilent Momentum, and Sonnet EM Platforms.

As an independent consultant he has done a variety of military and commercial design work including:

  • Consumer electronics development work with Google
  • L and S Band military telemetry receiver
  • 60 GHz test fixture for Taconic RF board material characterization
  • E-Band last mile transceiver solutions
  • Multiplexer filter design for DOCSIS applications (High BW data transfer for CATV)
  • GPS antenna design for military applications
  • Matching and stability design for power transistor reliability testing up to mm wave frequencies (GaAs, GaN, InN)
  • Commercial modem design

HE is as comfortable in the lab tuning circuits and working with test equipment as behind thecomputer generating simulations and analysis. He has worked with an extensive network of vendors and manufacturers for PCB design, fabrication, testing, and design verification.

Extensive program and functional management roles are among the many hats he has worn along the way.

In his free time, he is a DJ on an award winning Jazz radio station in San Diego. KSDS was named the #1 large market Jazz station in the country in 2011 and again in 2014.


"LTCC Packaging for Wireless UWB Applications"   EE Times Dec. 2004

“A Direct-Conversion W-CDMA Front-end SiGe Receiver Chip,” D.Y. Lie, Jack Kennedy, Norm Swanberg, et. al.- to be presented IMS2002 June 2002

“WCDMA Cross Modulation Effects  and Implications for Receiver Linearity Requirements” Submitted to RAWCON Conference, Boston, Mass. August 2002

"GaAs Monolithic Voltage Controlled Oscillator," Eighth Biennial Cornell University E.E.     Conference, 1981

“217 GHz Quasi-optical Mixer,"  Microwave System News, May 1979

"HP-25 Simplifies Microstrip Calculations" Microwave System News, June 1978

"Gating Techniques for Imaging Digicon Tubes" Proceedings, SPIE International Symposium & and Optoelectronic Applied Science and Engineering, July 1990

"And You Thought Only Eggheads Used Computers!"  Tile and Decorative Surfaces, September 1990

"Short Wavelength Imaging Laser Radar Using a Digicon Detector,” Optical Engineering, Nov. 1992

Brown University SC. B. Physics 1971
Providence, R.I.
Rutgers University Full time graduate student 1971-1972
New Brunswick, N.J. Dept. of Physics
Northeastern University M.S.E.E. 1977
Boston, Mass.
Supplemental Education:
UCLA Microwave Circuit Design I 1979
UCLA Microwave Circuit Design II (Non-linear Circuits) 1985
TRW in house management training program 1984
U.C.S.D Microcomputer Operating Systems 1988
U.C.S.D Database Management Systems 1993
MAXIM bipolar MMIC, Triquint GaAs MMIC , Labview training 1996

1000 Character Summary

I have been involved in various aspects of system and hardware development for Microwave and Millimeter wave technology for over thirty years.

Extensive simulation experience with Genesys and ADS including linear and non-linear analysis, Spectrasys for system level, cascaded Behavioral Modeling, filter synthesis. EM analysis experience with HFSS, Agilent Momentum, and Sonnet platforms. Also have used SystemVue software enabling RF behavioral modeling with baseband modulation and demodulation.

I am as comfortable with test equipment in the lab tuning circuits as I am behind running simulations and have developed an efficient balance of the two. I have an extensive network of vendors and manufacturers for PCB design, fabrication, testing, and design verification.

I am also a DJ on an award winning radios station here in San Diego. KSDS was named the #1 large market Jazz station in the country in 2011 and again in 2014.

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