The Printed Circuit Designer's Guide to...™
Fundamentals of RF/Microwave PCBs

by: John Bushie and Anaya Vardya, American Standard Circuits

Today’s designers are challenged more than ever with the task of finding the optimal balance between cost and performance when designing radio frequency/microwave PCBs.

Written by John Bushie, director of technology at American Standard Circuits, and Anaya Vardya, president and CEO, this micro eBook provides information needed to understand the unique challenges of RF PCBs. The authors answer two main questions: what is the correct material to use for a particular project, and what can be done at the design stage to make a product more manufacturable?

Readers, especially RF PCB designers, will gain a better understanding of issues related to the design and manufacture of RF/microwave devices from a PCB fabricator perspective.



ISBN#: 978-0-9998648-0-7

John Bushie
John has over 20 years of experience in the PCB industry supplying and supporting the manufacture of PCBs as well as high-frequency RF/microwave circuit board laminates. He has provided product and design support to PCB and system designers throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. His extensive background in problem solving and process engineering has allowed him to support many customers through detailed and focused application engineering. It is this close relationship with customers that drives his passion for new product design and design for manufacturability.


Anaya Vardya

Anaya has over 33 years of experience in electronics manufacturing, including in the United States, Canada, and the Far East. He also has over a decade of executive management experience in public companies manufacturing PWBs. One of Anaya's peers, Brad Hammack of Dell EMC, described him as "…one of the most driven engineering managers I have ever worked with. He has a keen eye for details and also sees the big picture." He has an extensive understanding of virtually every aspect of PCB manufacturing operations, such as supply chain management and quality control. Anaya not only serves as ASC's CEO, but also as an expert ready to assist you with any questions you may have.

Founded in 1988, American Standard Circuits is a leading U.S. manufacturer of advanced circuit board solutions. As a total solutions provider for the worldwide PCB industry, we are capable of delivering advanced technology to virtually every industry sector in quantities ranging from quick prototypes to large volume production.

Our ongoing commitment to leading-edge, high-level interconnect technology, cost-effective manufacturing, and unparalleled customer service has put us at the forefront of advanced technology circuit board fabrication. We manufacture quality rigid, metal-backed, RF/microwave, flex and rigid-flex printed circuit boards on numerous substrates for a variety of applications, including: military/aerospace, industrial, commercial, medical, telecommunications, consumer electronics, RF/microwave, transportation, and advanced technology.

We are honored to have been recently presented with the 2017 Brilliance in Business Award for Outstanding Design and Innovation by the City of West Chicago. This award recognizes exemplary and innovative business practices.

Our goal is to provide our customers with the best technology, service, and quality of any independent printed circuit board fabricator in the world. We believe that we are our customers’ own personal PCB experts. It is our role to look after all their PCB needs to ensure they are getting the best products on the market today. Our experts are your experts and they are ready to help. Access them here: experts.asc-i.com. Find more information about ASC at: asc-i.com.

This book has been technically reviewed by the following experts in the PCB industry.

Happy Holden
Consulting Technical Editor, I-Connect007

Chapter Summaries

  • Chapter 1

    Chapter 1: Material Selection


    Chapter 1 addresses two key parameters and other best practices to consider when selecting materials for specific applications.
  • Chapter 2

    Chapter 2: Copper Surface Roughness


    Chapter 2 discusses various types of copper foil, and the effects of copper and/or oxide treatments on RF performance and other factors.
  • Chapter 3

    Chapter 3: RF PCB Layer Stackup


    Chapter 3 explores multilayer stackups for RF PCBs, pure versus hybrid builds, and stripline and microstrip structures.
  • Chapter 4

    Chapter 4: Via Structures


    Chapter 4 focuses on types of vias, microvias, and via fills, and the advantages and disadvantages of each type.
  • Chapter 5

    Chapter 5: Impact of Copper Thickness Based on Structures of the PCB


    Chapter 5 investigates two PCB plating methods, surface-to-hole plating ratio, the impact of sequential laminations and via fill, and via wrap plating.
  • Chapter 6

    Chapter 6: Edge Plating


    Chapter 6 highlights numerous design rules for plated edges and tabs.
  • Chapter 7

    Chapter 7: Cavity Constructions


    Chapter 7 details cavities, prepreg materials, and critical design considerations
  • Chapter 8

    Chapter 8: Thermal Management


    Chapter 8 explains the role of thermal management in RF/microwave devices and two ways to achieve it.

Print-on-demand paperbacks are available for this title. Click below to order from our distributor.

What Our Readers Are Saying



If you are interested in understanding RF printed circuit board fabrication, then this book by American Standard Circuits is a must read. In my 39 years in this business, this is the first and only book published that addresses the critical aspects of this manufacturing technology. It is easy to read and packed with great information.

-Mike Carano, VP of technology and business development at RBP Chemical Technology
Full Review
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Book Recommendation -- By Mike Carano, VP of technology and business development at RBP Chemical Technology

Manufacturing high-end, high-reliability printed circuit boards is a difficult task in general. Then, add in high-frequency circuitry, and the task becomes even more daunting.

However, John Bushie, director of technology at American Standard Circuits, and Anaya Vardya, president and CEO of ASC, have published the definitive guide to navigating the unique challenges one faces when fabricating RF printed circuit boards.

The authors go to great lengths to ensure that designers (who desire specific electrical properties) and end-users (who desire overall product performance) understand the importance of design for manufacturing and design for reliability.

The authors delve further into this complex technology to provide a material selection guide with the critical properties (i.e., loss tangent and dielectric constant), and how these properties interact to affect signal integrity and impedance. This fact is lost on many fabricators, which explains why only a few companies are able to successfully compete in this technology space.

Taking the subject matter deeper, the authors provide insight to copper foil topography and process treatments, such as oxide and oxide alternatives. They further discuss concepts such as “skin effect,” concerns over power loss, and most importantly, what one can do about it!

Finally, John and Anaya address some other unique concerns in the fabrication of RF circuit board devices, which includes the use of heat sinks for thermal management. This is no simple task. For example, working with aluminum introduces issues related to wet processing that are not encountered with copper.

If you are interested in understanding RF printed circuit board fabrication, then this book by American Standard Circuits is a must read. In my 39 years in this business, this is the first and only book published that addresses the critical aspects of this manufacturing technology. It is easy to read and packed with great information.

Happy Holden Happy Holden is the retired director of electronics and innovations for GENTEX Corporation. Formerly, he was the chief technical officer for the world’s largest PCB fabricator—Hon Hai Precision Industries (Foxconn). Prior to Foxconn, Holden was the senior PCB technologist for Mentor Graphics and advanced technology manager at Nan Ya/Westwood Associates and Merix. He previously worked at Hewlett-Packard for over 28 years as director of PCB R&D and manufacturing engineering manager. He has been involved in advanced PCB technologies for over 47 years.