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Snippets about our most recent accomplishments and developments.
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Robert E. Munson 1940-2015

August 31, 2015

This week Boulder lost one of its greatest and most accomplished citizens, Robert (Bob) E. Munson.  Many of our citizens in Boulder will always remember him for his infectious smile at the family vegetable stand and farmer’s market next to his beloved heirloom tomatoes, squash, pumpkins and sweet corn that he grew with tender loving care for years.  Restaurants touted his fresh produce on their menus and Community Food Share distributed his harvest to the less fortunate. His contributions to sustainable local farming in Boulder will remain a legend that will be recited for many years to come.

Bob’s greatest accomplishment in business and technology was his invention of microstrip (miniature) antennas that led to the foundation of Ball Brothers Research Corporation antenna group.  This was one of the greatest revolutions in the history of miniature electronics that led to billions of dollars of economic growth, hundreds of applications, and thousands of jobs across the nation.  The founders and many of the employees of FIRST RF Corporation were students of Bob, learning from him not only the design of antennas but the love for technology and the desire to reach for the best in our work.  For that we will always remain indebted to him and he will be etched in our memories.

Bob’s greatest accomplishment was his legacy of his family, wife Marcy, and sons Mike and Chris and their families.  We offer our deepest condolences to them.

We will always remember Bob and are grateful for knowing him and everything he did for all of us.

~ Employees and management of FIRST RF Corporation

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FIRST RF MIMO Antenna System Demonstrates Enhanced Data Rates during Air Force Flight Test

May 1, 2017

FIRST RF recently completed a successful multi-node airborne flight test demonstration with the Air Force as part of an SBIR Phase II program. The Low-Power-Cost-Weight, Rapidly-Installable, Medium-Range Interplane Communications Capability (LIMRICC) system provides operational capability to establish and maintain IP communication supporting VoIP, FMV, file transfer, and web services. With multiple ground and airborne nodes, the demonstration showcased the capabilities of a next-generation ground/airborne mesh network system. The FIRST RF approach leverages MIMO technology by swapping existing UHF antenna installations with a multi-band FRF-161-501 antenna to maintain existing line of sight (LOS) communications while adding this new capability without the need for additional costly installations. By utilizing multiple installation locations, FIRST RF was able to overcome installed pattern and multipath challenges on wide-body aircraft. Partnering these antennas with FIRST RF bi-directional amplifiers as well as MIMO radios resulted in successfully meeting the program demonstration objectives.

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FIRST RF Radar Phased Array Antenna in Successful Predator B Sense & Avoid System Flight Testing

March 10, 2015

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.’s (GA-ASI’s) successful flight testing of its Due Regard Radar (DRR) included a FIRST RF X-band Active Electronically Steered Array (AESA). The FRF-240 radar phased array antenna was used in the airborne Sense and Avoid (SAA) system testing aboard a Predator B test aircraft.  The GA-ASI DRR system demonstrations in December 2014 utilized a pair of FRF-240 arrays to provide accurate real-time tracking of multiple targets. Read more...

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FIRST RF New Product Release - Highighted in Microwave Journal

February 16, 2015

The FRF-229 multi-band panel antenna offers high performance for data links in L-, S-, C- and Ku-Bands, aligning with modern multiband radio terminals. The antenna apertures and RF amplification for all bands are contained within a single air-cooled housing that enables simple platform integration. This scalable antenna system can be configured as one to four distributed antennas working in concert to suit any installation. The L-, S-, C- and Ku-Band functions within the antenna are independent, allowing different simultaneous waveforms and data rates between the high and low frequencies. The conformal installation allows a wide field of view from a single antenna or 360° coverage with multiple antennas. Read more...

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NAVAIR Announces Flight Test of FIRST RF's Prototype AESA for C-Band Radar

January 15, 2015

A prototype Active Electronically Steered Array (AESA) for C-band radar recently completed an initial flight test on a rotary wing aircraft.  This state of the art antenna was developed under NAVAIR sponsored Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programs focused on collision avoidance, and utilizes highly efficient Gallium Nitride (GaN) Radio Frequency (RF) amplification.  The array antenna was designed and fabricated by FIRST RF and then integrated with the customer digital receiver/exciter (DREX) for radar testing.  During this first data collection and preceding ground based testing, the complete radar system was characterized for range and angle performance using a variety of targets.  During the airborne testing, both ground and airborne targets were detected and tracked with measurements matching expected performance.  As this program moves beyond this proof of concept demonstration, additional flight data collections are planned as well as more in-depth testing in the FIRST RF anechoic chamber to define future refinements for the production design.  FIRST RF and our partners in this development are engaged with the Navy discussing transition plans for using this radar on unmanned aerial systems for situational awareness and advanced sensing missions.

NAVAIR Public Release SPR-2015-41
Distribution Statement A- Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited

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FIRST RF Profiled in SBIR Commercialization Success Story for the Navy

January 1, 2015

FIRST RF was recognized in the most recent edition of the Navy’s “Profiles in Success” highlighting recent flight testing and commercialization of multi-band and Ku-Band phased array systems for NAVAIR. Read more...

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Recent UAS Flight Testing - Miniature Wideband Data Link Antenna System FRF 179M

December 1, 2014

The FRF-179M is a state-of-the-art miniaturized ultra-wideband omni antenna tailored for small UAVs and other aircraft. This antenna uses FIRST RF's patent-pending high-gain omni techniques to provide up to +5dBic gain at Ku- Band.  The antenna provides continuous pattern coverage from 1.7 GHz to 18 GHz (including all CDL frequency bands). The antenna structure is specially designed to ensure virtually no roll ripple across the entire band while providing vertical polarization in the lower CDL bands and RHCP at Ku band.

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FRF-236 Shadow 200 Wingtip Antenna

October 16, 2014

Under Army CERDEC Phase II SBIR with PM-UAS support the Shadow CRP has been modernized to include additional Waveforms.  FIRST RF Corporation has qualified a Multi-band Wingtip Antenna which is integrated with Harris PRC-152A radios to provide the increased capability of the CRP on the RQ-7 Shadow UAV. This provides capability needed by Networking BDEs, USMC, and for operations within National Airspace. This capability is critical for Manned Un-Manned Teaming for improved situational awareness and Air Traffic Control. 

Key features:

  • Incorporates five important frequency bands for networking waveforms available on next generation software defined radios:
    • SINCGARS 30 – 88 MHz
    • Air and Marine 116 – 174 MHz
    • HAVEQUICK 225 – 400 MHz
    • Public Safety 450 – 512 MHz
  • All frequency bands are combined into one housing on each wing tip of the Shadow 200. 

 
Future development will transition to a winglet housing for aerodynamic benefits and provide a growth path for other waveforms such as SRW / WNW.

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Commercial Airborne 4x4 MIMO Radio/Antenna Testing

October 15, 2014

FIRST RF recently completed integration and testing of a 4x4 MIMO airborne radio and antenna system by integrating FRF-179 antennas onto a B-55 Baron Aircraft. The tests successfully demonstrated increased range and data throughput over single channel air to ground systems. The system is capable of air to ground data rates of up to 45MB/s and provides increased link availability by using MIMO processing from multiple antenna and receive and transmit channels to overcome fading, multi-path, interference, vehicle motion and blockage limitations of typical single channel radio systems. For more information, please contact David Massey at cdmassey@firstrf.com.

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FIRST RF Awarded 7 Phase II SBIR Contracts in 2014

October 1, 2014

FIRST RF Corporation announced today that it has been awarded seven new Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Phase II projects in 2014. This brings the Company’s total SBIR wins to ninety-two (92) Phase Is, fifty (50) Phase IIs, several Phase 2.5, and numerous Phase IIIs since 2003. The company has also been awarded three Rapid Innovation Fund (RIF) programs in the past several years. FIRST RF has a 100% commercialization index within the SBIR program representing its ability to successfully commercialize technologies. For more information, please contact David Massey at cdmassey@firstrf.com.