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The iNARTE Informer – February 2013

Before we get too far into the New Year of 2013, here is a final wave from Santa standing in the RABQSA Australian office. Being on the other side of the world, everyone is upside down of course. Santa is the one in red with the hat, Peter Holtmann, the President and CEO, is the one in red without a hat.

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A Dash of Maxwell’s: A Maxwell’s Equations Primer – Part One

Solving Maxwell’s Equations for real-life situations, like predicting the RF emissions from a cell tower, requires more mathematical horsepower than any individual mind can muster. These equations don’t give the scientist or engineer just insight, they are literally the answer to everything RF.

This office picture was taken during a visit by our iNARTE and RABQSA BoD member, Mike Violette. It looks like a good time was had by all as we see Peter on the right with Mike and his wife Liv, then Lisa Cox, Peter’s executive assistant, Teresa Tidball, Director of Finance and Adam Maxwell, Director of Operations, all about to indulge in a little Christmas spirit.

Back in the USA, Mike will be joining the rest of the newly appointed iNARTE Advisory Committee, iNAC, for their inaugural meeting in mid January.

The iNAC is chaired by Elya Joffe and will routinely meet four times each year, both virtually and in person. The purpose of the iNAC is to provide strategic direction, advice and support to the RABQSA Board and management. Most members of iNAC were long standing members of the iNARTE Board prior to the merger with RABQSA, and between them have a comprehensive technical and operational knowledge covering all iNARTE certification disciplines. The continuing work and support provided by iNAC will ensure the growth of the iNARTE certification brand within the RABQSA operation.

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Last November, as we prepared to attend the IEEE PSES symposium in Portland, we reported that a revamping of the Product Safety Engineering Certification program would seem to be necessary in order for it to have a wider appeal and represent greater value to the community. To set the stage for this effort, we have been conducting both an on line and hard copy job analysis survey of Product Safety practitioners. The survey has been focused in the two main regions from where we see most PS certification activity, the USA and Japan. Our thanks to all who took time to respond to our survey request.

A preliminary analysis showed the following:

  • Two thirds of all the responses were received from Japan.
  • Almost 90% were from Engineers.
  • About 80% were involved with some other aspect of product compliance.
  • However, about two thirds were involved in duties other than Product Safety.
  • About half spend more than 50% of their time on Product Safety issues.
  • Almost two thirds were from organizations having more than 500 employees.
  • About 80% had more than 10 years experience in Product Safety.
  • And, almost 80% hold degrees and advanced degrees.
  • 95% were iNARTE PS certificate holders, (thanks for your support).

We would have wished for a much larger representation from the USA, but hopefully a more detailed analysis of the responses will help us add an improved universal appeal to this credential for the future.


Maintaining the standard of examination question pools and maintaining currency and credibility of questions is critically important to maintaining certification value. All iNARTE certification applicants are asked to write new questions as part of the credentialing process. We ask that these questions be in the candidate’s own words, that they are original questions, and if possible the questions should reflect real life problems and experiences. We also expect that candidates will write questions that are appropriately challenging for future applicants at the writer’s certification level. In other words, we do not expect Engineers to send us too many questions copied straight from regulatory standards, which would normally be a Technician’s field of expertise.

Our most popular certifications have traditionally required candidates to send us ten (10) new questions. However, a detailed analysis of these past questions reveals much duplication, many too simplistic to be useful, many copied straight from popular text books and standards, and many that do not have a sufficient range of answer choices. From the first day of February, we will be limiting the number of candidate questions from new applicants to no more than three (3). However, the three questions will be carefully scrutinized by our committee of technical experts and psychometricians. The smaller number of questions will allow this review to be conducted promptly. Any question that fails to meet appropriate technical standards or suitable formats with all information clearly presented will be returned for replacement.

All new certification applicants, all iNARTE support committee members, certification review committees, and anyone interested in the science of good question writing must watch the two part presentations that RABQSA has now uploaded to YouTube:

Part 1 (required for all question writers)

Part 2 (optional but helpful for question writers)

Before visiting these URLs, it will be valuable to understand the following terminology being used, which is taken from ISO 17024:

  • Item: A “question” that appears in a test
  • Stem: The opening question or statement in an item
  • Option(s): The possible responses to the stem
  • Key: The correct response (option) to the stem
  • Distractors: The incorrect responses (options) to the stem

In future iNARTE will require all new items to have no less than four (4) options and no more than five (5) options. One option must be the key and the other options must be plausible but clearly incorrect distracters. No longer with we accept items with options such as simply, “Yes” or “No”, and, “True” or “False”. Nor will we accept options such as, “All of the above”, and, “None of the above”. Such options indicate a lack of imagination. We also encourage item writers to avoid the use of negative stems, such as, “Which is NOT the correct definition of the Human Body Model?” Almost all negative stems can be turned into positive stems with appropriate choice of options, and in so doing will avoid confusing the examinee with double negatives. 



Last month’s question is from the Product Safety pool:

Which of the following MIL-STD-882C defined severity groups is
correctly stated?

A) Catastrophic, Critical, Marginal, Impossible
B) Catastrophic, Safety-Critical, Marginal, Negotiable
C) Super-Catastrophic, Critical, Marginal, Remote
D) Critical, Negligible, Catastrophic, Marginal

The correct answer is D) Critical, Negligible, Catastrophic, Marginal

This month’s question is from our ESD pool:

The magnitude of a charge during triboelectric charging is dependent on the size, shape, composition and electrical properties of the two materials generating the charge, and which other of the following:

A) the weight of the two substances
B) any source of ultra violet rays in the vicinity.
C) the relative humidity
D) whether or not the person handling the materials has a good ESD ground


author_lawrence-brian Brian Lawrence
began his career in electromagnetics at Plessey Research Labs, designing ”Stealth” materials for the British armed services. In 1973 he moved to the USA and established a new manufacturing plant for Plessey to provide these materials to the US Navy. In 1980 he joined the Rayproof organization to develop an Anechoic Chamber product line. As a result of acquisitions Rayproof merged into Lindgren RF Enclosures and later into ETS-Lindgren. Following a career of more than 40 years in the EMC field, Brian retired as Managing Director of ETS-Lindgren UK in 2006. Later that year he assumed the position of Executive Director for the National Association of Radio and Telecommunications Engineers. NARTE. Now renamed iNARTE, the Association has expanded its operations and in 2012 merged with RABQSA International, a subsidiary of the American Society for Quality, ASQ. Brian remains associated with RABQSA through this merger process.

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