From The Editor | December 6, 2023

2023's Best: Military Intelligence, The Wow! Signal, SDRs, And Jamming

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By John Oncea, Editor


It’s that time again. Let’s take a look at the most-read articles that appeared on RF Globalnet this year. It’s got intrigue, suspense, and surprises. Oh, and mmWaves, drones, jamming, and so much more.

I was doing some research for this article and – lo and behold – stumbled across Cosmopolitan’s article on the best pop moments of 2023. Ummm, things on that list include nepo babies, the big red boots, Selena’s blanket, Brynn Whitfield’s stuck heels, and more.

So, I get that I’m “an old” but this list could have been written in an alien language and I wouldn’t understand it any less. But what I do understand – at least more than Miss USA wearing a 30-pound moon costume – is what the most-read articles on our site were this past year.

Using good old-fashioned Google Analytics I took a quarter-by-quarter which articles resonated with you the most. So, sit back and enjoy this trip down memory lane – a trip that, I assure you, doesn’t include any talk of Prince Harry’s todger.*

* Yes, I had to Google that term, and it certainly surprised me to find out it was British slang for a specific part of the male anatomy.

The Edge, Semiconductors, And Seeing Double

The most-read story of the first quarter was this one on three developing military intelligence technologies to be aware of. In it, we looked at two new technologies – edge compute & networking and digital intelligence – as well as a new spin on legacy technology, next-generation troposcatter.

A look at why the U.S. is pressuring Japan and the Netherlands to cut China out of the semiconductor loop was the quarter’s second most-read article. Sitting at number three was this roundup that included stories on an EW warfare device that was causing concern among Ukrainian forces, the shortest electron pulses ever, and more.

Rounding out the top five was a look at the intertwining of digital twins and RF and an application note from our friends at Rohde & Schwarz explaining how the angle-of-arrival (AoA) capabilities of EW receivers can be tested with commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) RF test equipment.

A Lot Of War-Related Stuff

It shouldn’t come as any surprise that most of what we wrote about the technologies being used in the War in Ukraine garnered a lot of eyes, including this article about what we’ve learned about the use of Software Defined Radio (SDR). In this, the most popular article of the second quarter, we examined how radios are influencing the progression of the war starting with Russia’s ability to ground unmanned aerial systems by jamming and spoofing signals required for the SDRs in these tools.

This action rendered the Ukrainians incapable of delivering surveillance and intelligence from the air and, concurrently, the Russians attempted to jam air defense radars, nullifying command, and control efforts.

Lessons like these have validated the U.S. Army’s pursuit of secure communications capabilities with Major General Jeth B. Rey, director of the Network Cross-Functional Team within Army Futures Command saying, “What we are seeing in Ukraine reinforces the need for secure communications and greater mobility and survivability,” Rey said. “There is also great innovation occurring with our soldiers who are supporting operations in Europe.”

Coming in at number two was a look at the possibility that X-ray glasses were becoming a reality. Well, not really, but we do have the next best thing: augmented reality with non-line-of-site perception.

According to, well, me, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (go, Engineers!) combined augmented reality and non-line-of-site perception to create a little something they’re calling X-AR. This new technology has many applications in retail, warehousing, manufacturing, smart homes, and more and can help users find missing items and guide them toward these items for retrieval.

“X-AR uses wireless signals and computer vision to enable users to perceive things that are invisible to the human eye (i.e., to deliver non-line-of-sight perception),” noted MIT. “It combines new antenna designs, wireless signal processing algorithms, and AI-based fusion of different sensors.”

A look at the history and modern-day use of submarine cables (did you know they were first used during the Civil War?) came in at number three, followed by a look at why you need to know what private 5G networks are. Our friends at A.H. Systems came in at number five by explaining how to best use antenna factors.

I May Have Peaked In Q3

One of my favorite articles to research and write was the most read in the third quarter, the story behind the Wow! Signal. We traveled back to the Big Ear on August 15, 1977, and received a startling radio signal: 6EQUJ5.

What was thought to be a seemingly random sequence of numbers and letters was, in reality, a powerful radio signal from deep space whose origin remains unknown to this day. The best-known theory: It came from an intelligent extraterrestrial source.

The second spot belonged to this look at whether it’s too late for mmWave to save 5G. The short answer is it’s complicated, but we did learn that the Six Million Dollar Man would cost roughly &28 billion in today’s dollars!

The War in Ukraine served as the inspiration for stories three and four, a look at the role of drones in current and future warfare and a report that Ukraine allegedly used low-tech drones to blow up the Kursk Airfield.

Last but certainly not least was an Exodus Advanced Communications white paper focusing on RF/Microwave high-power amplifiers and how they react to the common problem of Voltage Standing Wave Ratio.

Something Old, Something New

The first and second most-read articles of the fourth quarter were both military-related. At number one was another Ukraine War-inspired article, this one looking at what is being learned about electronic warfare (EW) in general and specifically about jamming.

EW is a broad field that encompasses various techniques and technologies used to manipulate or exploit the electromagnetic (EMS) spectrum for military purposes. Electronic jamming is a form of EW that uses radio signals to interfere with an enemy’s radar and is intended to degrade the ability of radars or radios to perform their tasks, or even prevent them from doing so altogether.

Jamming isn’t a recent discovery as we point out in our number two most-read article, The Dieppe Raid And What It Taught Us About Jamming. This article is another favorite of man and, inspired by the podcast Everything Everywhere Daily, tells the story of the disastrous amphibious raid at Dieppe on the northeastern coast of Normandy in August 1942 and what it taught Allied not to do on D-Day. Lessons learned from the failed raid are still shaping military decisions today.

Number three was a medium dive into what the real age of the universe is with the answer being somewhere between 13.8 billion and 30 billion years old. The correct answer comes down to which group of experts you find most convincing.

Rounding out the top five most-read articles of the fourth quarter was a look at 11 things you might not know about EM simulation software (you won’t believe number nine!) and a guest column contributed by  Brendon McHugh and Abdullah Mughees. The guest column discusses how SDRs are used for controlling unmanned ariel vehicles (UAVs) and, while I don’t want to ruin the ending, summarizes all of the risks, challenges, and mitigation of UAVs in adversary territory. It also might hold the record for footnotes with a grand total of 18 of them!

It’s The Little Things

While I enjoyed writing all of these stories I, like any good parent, had favorites. In addition to the stories about the Wow! Signal and the Dieppe Raid, I liked learning and writing about Frankenstein, Prometheus, and what they have to do with 5G, 6G, and the IoT; the race to build Project OrionNobel Prize winners and Halloween; and the role oscillators played in music history.

I hope you enjoyed reading all of what I wrote as much as I enjoyed writing it. And please don’t hesitate to send me an email ( or connect with me on LinkedIn if you have something you’d like me to write about.

Thanks for a great year and here’s to an even better 2024!