Other versions of these systems were built using HP 9816 computers and HP Rocky Mountain Basic (called Basic version 2 and 3 at that time). We also got a system working that allowed probing beam lead diodes after they had been etched apart but while they were still held on a glass slide with wax. The ink used to mark the bad diodes must survive the de-waxing operation in order for someone to throw them away. This testing only made economic sense if there was a special requirement for a very tight specification. For production parts the test cost at this stage was higher then the cost to test later and throw away packaged parts.
At another company I had been proceeded by someone who was a good "C" programmer but did not know microwave engineering. He had built a system at considerable cost to test microwave detectors. It turns out that the VSWR (Voltage Standing Wave Ratio) of his test system was so high that the error caused by the detector interacting with his test system made the data almost worthless. This system caused a lot of problems and poisoned management on automated test systems. I took me a while before they would let me build more systems.
Rack and Stack Systems was started in 1993 as a consulting firm specializing in test automation. The programing languages supported were HP Rocky Mountain Basic for Workstations, HP IBasic for Windows, TansEra HT Basic and LabVIEW. Most of the jobs so far have been cases where the customer has the hardware and is doing some testing already either manually or by means of obsolete computers.
I purchased the developers version of LabVIEW from National Instruments and after going through the tutorial took their LabVIEW class. After about a year of writing drivers for a Wiltron scalar microwave network analyzer and communicating with the driver developers at NI, I became a Certified Instrument Driver Developer. I also joined the National Instruments Alliance Program.
In addition I have many years experience designing diode and transistor based microwave components. At first this was done using a slotted line and Smith Charts. Later we used the HP 8410A network analyzer system and software that I wrote using the new S-Parameters.
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