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Why do fundamental circuit laws break down at high frequency AC?

Actually, it is all about the waves. Even when dealing with DC, it is all managed by the electrical and magnetic fields and waves. The "fundamental laws" aren't breaking down. The rules you have ...
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Am I insane to question that only with a closed path can electrons move?

You are completely right. The "closed loop" rule comes from a simplification that we often use in circuit analysis called the "lumped component model". This model provides a good approximation to ...
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45 votes
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Is this true: "At over 700 Hz, current simply flows over your body"?

Skin Depth The human body does have a "skin effect" but it's not as thin as you might think. Electric currents are confined to the outside of a conducting body, but humans are not very conductive, so ...
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35 votes
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Why do microwave ovens use magnetrons?

Magnetrons are cheap, reliable, pretty efficient (65% or so- and they tolerate high temperatures so heat sinking is easy) and made with mature technology. They are also reasonably tolerant of VSWR ...
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27 votes

Why do fundamental circuit laws break down at high frequency AC?

The fundamental laws of EM are Maxwell's Equations: $$\nabla \cdot \mathbf{E} = 4\pi\rho$$ $$\nabla \cdot \mathbf{B} = 0$$ $$\nabla \times \mathbf{E} = -\frac{1}{c} \frac{\partial \mathbf{B}} {\...
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27 votes

Why do fundamental circuit laws break down at high frequency AC?

Because the assumptions required by the lumped element model are violated. The lumped element model is what allows you to analyze devices like resistors connected by nodes, without considering the ...
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26 votes
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Why solder mask are not applied to RF PCBs

There are several reasons. 1) Soldermask is lossy, and different types of mask are differently lossy. So having no soldermask where the RF fields are gives the best transmission, and if your board is ...
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26 votes
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Why is 50 Ω often chosen as the input impedance of antennas, whereas the free space impedance is 377 Ω?

The input impedance of certain devices/circuits (transformers) does not neccessarily need to match their output impedance. Consider a 50Ω (or whatever impedance) antenna as transformer that ...
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24 votes

Why do fundamental circuit laws break down at high frequency AC?

There is lot of complicated (and right) answers here. I will add one simple analogy - think of shooting gun: at 10 cm distance, the time of bullet travel is just distance/velocity and hitpoint is on ...
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Why does the cable resistance jump from a low value to high value at a particular frequency?

Your tooling seems to be the cause there, not the cable. From https://www.keysight.com/main/editorial.jspx?cc=US&lc=eng&ckey=1428419&nid=-32775.536879654&id=1428419 The 4294A ...
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23 votes

Am I insane to question that only with a closed path can electrons move?

Responding to your title: Am I insane to question that only with a closed path can electrons move? Currents usually* travel in loops. However, the loops need not be entirely made of conductors (ie,...
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22 votes

Trace Length Tolerance Calculation - High Speed PCB Design

Length matching is about timing so if you want to know how tightly you have to length match you have to understand the timing budget for your interface. Signals will leave your source, and arrive at ...
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20 votes

Why is 50 Ω often chosen as the input impedance of antennas, whereas the free space impedance is 377 Ω?

All the answers name some valid points, but they fail to really answer the question which I want to repeat for clarity: ...
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Why does the cable resistance jump from a low value to high value at a particular frequency?

Something as simple as a cable does not have discontinuities like that. There may be a clue in the fact the problem occurs at a nice round number, 5MHz. Is this a place where your test set changes ...
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19 votes

Why solder mask are not applied to RF PCBs

In addition to the reasons given by Niel_UK, there is the matter of predictability and modeling. Soldermask is applied as a liquid. As such, its thickness may not be as well controlled and ...
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16 votes

Am I insane to question that only with a closed path can electrons move?

Rule #1. There is no such thing as an open circuit except under DC steady state conditions. Between every wire, every part and even every atom, there is capacitance, resistance and inductance to some ...
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15 votes
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If a high frequency signal is passing through a capacitor, does it matter if the capacitor is charged?

The expression "capacitance changes depending on DC bias" is a bit misleading. It actually comes from the fact it is tested with a DC bias and a tiny AC voltage added to it to measure the ...
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14 votes
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Is there a small (6-pin) DIP I can use to generate multi-MHz squarewave clocks with an external crystal?

The LTC1799 can be programmed by a resistor and a link to produce a vast array of frequencies. Is there a small (6-pin) DIP I can use to generate multi-MHz squarewave clocks with an external ...
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13 votes
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what is the name of this yellow tape around high frequency transformer?

It's an insulating, flame retardent polyester tape normally used within the layers of transformers to enhance the breakdown voltage capability between primary and secondary. 3M describe it as: - ...
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12 votes

At what frequencies does PCB design get tricky?

Trace length versus frequency - for sending data or carrier waves between one IC and another, the guidelines are fairly tolerant I'd say. The maximum frequency that could be generated in significant ...
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12 votes
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What components or circuitry exist that can provide extremely high speed, accurate clocks?

I've been curious for awhile now ... and was wondering if there exists components that provide clocks much faster than a typical CPU can, such as up to 10 GHz or higher. Opto-electronic Oscillators (...
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12 votes

Why solder mask are not applied to RF PCBs

Aside from the lossy nature, solder mask has a high dielectric constant relative to air and poorly controlled thickness, so the characteristic impedance will be harder to control with solder mask ...
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12 votes

Is there a small (6-pin) DIP I can use to generate multi-MHz squarewave clocks with an external crystal?

Yes, you can make a Pierce oscillator with one chip and a resistor and the two load capacitors, plus maybe a series resistor if the drive power is too great for your particular crystal. The inverter ...
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12 votes

Skin Effect of resistors

Skin effect is well-documented and that good documentation, I believe, tells you exactly what you need to know; As a conductor's DC resistance increases, then skin effects are less noticeable. Extract ...
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12 votes

Why do microwave ovens use magnetrons?

The domestic microwave oven needs high power to cook the meal and high frequency to excite the water molecules. What is not needed is high stability because the water energy absorption spectrum is ...
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12 votes

How to calculate values for decoupling capacitors

Basically you want something close enough to the pin that at the edge rates in play the bounce is not too bad, and then something further away with (possibly) enough ESR to damp everything to keep the ...
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12 votes

Find out value of pF capacitors

We regularly measure C(V) curves of some components such as transistors for validation purposes, where the target resolution is 0.1 pF or better. simulate this circuit – Schematic created using ...
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11 votes

What's difference among impedance analyzer, spectrum analyzer and vector network analyzer?

An impedance analyzer is for measuring impedances, which you could call AC resistance as inductors and capacitors act like resistors with phase shifts at AC. They can be handy for testing filters and ...
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11 votes

How to design a cheap sine-wave generator up to 200 MHz?

Your second idea of using switched low pass filters to pass the fundamental of a square wave is the way it is done in many commercial RF signal generators. It does depend how clean you want your ...
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