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Shady Cove to Sweden is 78 days

EM Design has surmounted some tall odds to create a ripple in the universeof very small waves.

The company (the EM is for electro-magnetic) focuses on applicationsof radar and microwave technology. It's a small company. The entire staffis Ray and Dola and Jim Thompson.

And it's off the beaten path, in a tidy building along Highway 62 inShady Cove.

The s started the company in the early 1970s in the San FranciscoBay area. They moved to Southern Oregon because this is where they wantto be.

We could be anywhere, Ray said. All of ourbusiness is outside the area anyway.

His customers aren't small. They include Alcoa, General Dynamics, GeneralElectric, McDonnell Douglas, Owens Corning Fiberglas, Sandia National Laboratoriesand Siemens Medical Systems.

EM Design's products are used in a variety of radar and microwave applications. does not fix microwave ovens, he hastily adds. He sent componentsto the superconducting supercollider before that Texas project was iced.The company's bread-and-butter product is part of an accelerator used incancer therapy machines.

And EM Design has one international customer, Saab Military Aircraftin Sweden.

The Shady Cove business designs and builds components used to generatehigh-power radar signals used to test the electronics systems in Saab jetaircraft.

The testing equipment is in a van bristling with radar guns. They blazeaway at a jet to determine if the gear in the jet, including a pilot, functionsor is properly shielded from radar.

says he hasn't had problems dealing with Sweden ­ Itdoesn't hurt that my name is , he adds. He has had chronicproblems getting clearance from the U.S. State Department to export to aforeign military department.

So his export plans are referred to the U.S. Air Force, National SecurityAgency, Office of European and NATO Affairs and others for review.

His latest design, for a radar generator similar to a satellite dish,took the State Department 78 days to clear. And the response said computersoftware programs must be excluded. His proposal didn't include any software.

This isn't new technology, he said. You can see thesame thing sitting outside the KOBI studio in Medford. But the State Departmentdoesn't know technology.

has a background in engineering, not statecraft. He has an engineeringdegree from the University of California at Berkeley. He went to work forHughes Aircraft, which sent him to Stanford for a master's in electricalengineering. He later obtained a master's degree in chemical engineeringfrom San Jose State.

doesn't figure Sweden is a threat to the U.S.

A geographically large nation with relatively few people, Sweden sitsin a tough neighborhood, near Germany and Russia. So its armed forces aredefensive. It's officially nonaligned, says, but it's been unofficiallyclose to NATO.

The contract adds up to just $60,390, he said. Ourgovernment probably spent $20,000 to review it.

He's applying to export another device to simplify the use of his earliermachinery and is hoping this $41,750 project can be expedited.

So wrote the director of the State Department office handlingthe licensing to find out if he can speed up the process and if 78 daysis an appropriate turnaround time for a project of this size. He also senta copy to Rep. Bob Smith.

That was in May. Another 78 days and more have passed and hasn'treceived a reply from the State Department or Smith's office.

I can understand how bureaucrats might not reply, he said.But I am really dismayed by Bob Smith's office. I'm completely depressed.

Even Sweden has a man assigned to help clear American exports to thatcountry.

contends the American government could do a lot more to assistAmerican businesses involved with exports.

We at EM Design aren't doing a great deal to address the Swedishbalance of payments, he said. These contracts add up to almostenough to offset two imported Saab 9000 sedans and a Volvo 850.