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Comment My perspective (Score 1) 106

....as a vacuum tube (mostly TWT) engineer since 1968:

I don't remember when they started working on cold cathode tubes, must be about the time they started working on fusion reactors. Both are now going to be ready in "another five years". Meanwhile, satellites in orbit run their tubes for 30,000 hours, limited by the amount of barium and unobtanium that boils out of their cathodes at 1000C. Or, the power supply shits the bed.

Nobody uses little tubes any more, except rock star guitar players (and wannabees) with strong roadies, and audio aficionados with golden ears, deep pockets, and low cranial capacity. A series of articles in Electronic Design magazine some years ago pointed out that the "tube sound" is mostly the loose impedance coupling and high frequency smothering of output transformers, not the tubes themselves.

Just about everybody uses an S band microwave power oscillator tube in their kitchen. They can be replaced with Gallium Nitride transistors, and I'm sure rich hipsters will buy them, but physics and economics is still backing the maggie.

And if you still want 10 KW of average power and 100 KW or a megawatt peak in a device a couple people can lift, a tube is hard to beat.

Comment Re:Vacuum tubes handle EMP's better (Score 1) 106

No, that's not the reason.

'Government' is decades behind because it takes that long to make sure something does what you need it to do, and train people to run it and fix it. Then if you find something better, the clock starts again. Unfortunately, you will have to take money from the operations budget on your old stuff to buy the new stuff, and therefore you won't be able to do anything in the meantime. Plus, you need to get the money from Congress, which has a 2 year cycle of having to funnel money into particular districts to get re-elected. And the promotion cycle of O6 officers (Colonel, navy Captain) and they don't want to rock the boat inbetween promotions.

So, nothing gets upgraded.

Pound for pound, the amoeba is the most vicious animal on earth.