- 1. Audio Amplifiers
- 2. Amplifier Frequency Response
- 3. Radio-Frequency Amplifiers
1. Audio Amplifiers
An audio amplifier has been described as an amplifier with a frequency response from 15 Hz to 20 kHz. The frequency response of an amplifier can be shown graphically with a frequency response curve. Figure 1 is the ideal frequency response curve for an audio amplifier. This curve is practically "flat" from 15 Hz to 20 kHz. This means that the gain of the amplifier is equal between 15 Hz and 20 kHz. Above 20 kHz or below 15 Hz the gain decreases or "drops off" quite rapidly. The frequency response of an amplifier is determined by the components in the circuit.
The difference between an audio amplifier and other amplifiers is the frequency response of the amplifier. In the next chapter of this module you will be shown the techniques and components used to change and extend the frequency response of an amplifier.
The transistor itself will respond quite well to the audio frequency range. No special components are needed to extend or modify the frequency response.
You have already been shown the purpose of all the components in a transistor audio amplifier. In this portion of the chapter, schematic diagrams of several audio amplifiers will be shown and the functions of each of the components will be discussed.
1.1. Single-Stage Audio Amplifiers
The first single-stage audio amplifier is shown in Figure 2. This circuit is a class A, common-emitter, RC-coupled, transistor, audio amplifier. C1 is a coupling capacitor that couples the input signal to the base of Q1. R1 is used to develop the input signal and provide bias for the base of Q1. R2 is used to bias the emitter and provide temperature stability for Q1. C2 is used to provide decoupling (positive feedback) of the signal that would be developed by R2. R3 is the collector load for Q1 and develops the output signal. C3 is a coupling capacitor that couples the output signal to the next stage. VCC represents the collector-supply voltage. Since the transistor is a common-emitter configuration, it provides voltage amplification. The input and output signals are 180º out of phase. The input and output impedance are both medium.
There is nothing new presented in this circuit. You should understand all of the functions of the components in this circuit. If you do not, look back at the various sections presented earlier in this chapter.
The second single-stage audio amplifier is shown in Figure 3. This circuit is a class A, common-source, RC-coupled, FET, audio amplifier. C1 is a coupling capacitor which couples the input signal to the gate of Q1. R1 is used to develop the input signal for the gate of Q1. R2 is used to bias the source of Q1. C2 is used to decouple the signal developed by R2 (and keep it from affecting the source of Q1). R3 is the drain load for Q1 and develops the output signal. C3 couples the output signal to the next stage. VDD is the supply voltage for the drain of Q1. Since this is a common-source configuration, the input and output signals are 180º out of phase.
If you do not remember how a FET works, refer to NEETS Module 7 Introduction to Solid-State Devices and Power Supplies.
The third single-stage audio amplifier is shown in Figure 4. This is a class A, common-emitter, transformer-coupled, transistor, audio amplifier. The output device (speaker) is shown connected to the secondary winding of the transformer. C1 is a coupling capacitor which couples the input signal to the base of Q1. R1 develops the input signal. R2 is used to bias the emitter of Q1 and provides temperature stability. C2 is a decoupling capacitor for R2. R3 is used to bias the base of Q1. The primary of T1 is the collector load for Q1 and develops the output signal. T1 couples the output signal to the speaker and provides impedance matching between the output impedance of the transistor (medium) and the impedance of the speaker (low).
1.2. Phase Splitters
Sometimes it is necessary to provide two signals that are equal in amplitude but 180º out of phase with each other. (You will see one use of these two signals a little later in this chapter.) The two signals can be provided from a single input signal by the use of a PHASE SPLITTER. A phase splitter is a device that produces two signals that differ in phase from each other from a single input signal. Figure 5 is a block diagram of a phase splitter.
One way in which a phase splitter can be made is to use a center-tapped transformer. As you may remember from your study of transformers, when the transformer secondary winding is center-tapped, two equal amplitude signals are produced. These signals will be 180º out of phase with each other. So a transformer with a center-tapped secondary fulfills the definition of a phase splitter.
A transistor amplifier can be configured to act as a phase splitter. One method of doing this is shown in Figure 6.
C1 is the input signal coupling capacitor and couples the input signal to the base of Q1. R1 develops the input signal. R2 and R3 develop the output signals. R2 and R3 are equal resistances to provide equal amplitude output signals. C2 and C3 couple the output signals to the next stage. R4 is used to provide proper bias for the base of Q1.
This phase splitter is actually a single transistor combining the qualities of the common-emitter and common-collector configurations. The output signals are equal in amplitude of the input signal, but are 180º out of phase from each other.
If the output signals must be larger in amplitude than the input signal, a circuit such as that shown in Figure 7 will be used.
Figure 7 shows a two-stage phase splitter. C1 couples the input signal to the base of Q1. R1 develops the input signal and provides bias for the base of Q1. R2 provides bias and temperature stability for Q1. C2 decouples signals from the emitter of Q1. R3 develops the output signal of Q1. Since Q1 is configured as a common-emitter amplifier, the output signal of Q1 is 180º out of phase with the input signal and larger in amplitude. C3 couples this output signal to the next stage through R4. R4 allows only a small portion of this output signal to be applied to the base of Q2. R5 develops the input signal and provides bias for the base of Q2. R6 is used for bias and temperature stability for Q2. C4 decouples signals from the emitter of Q2. R7 develops the output signal from Q2. Q2 is configured as a common-emitter amplifier, so the output signal is 180º out of phase with the input signal to Q2 (output signal from Q1). The input signal to Q2 is 180º out of phase with the original input signal, so the output from Q2 is in phase with the original input signal. C5 couples this output signal to the next stage. So the circuitry shown provides two output signals that are 180º out of phase with each other. The output signals are equal in amplitude with each other but larger than the input signal.
Q-29. What is a phase splitter?
1.3. Push-Pull Amplifiers
One use of phase splitters is to provide input signals to a single-stage amplifier that uses two transistors. These transistors are configured in such a way that the two outputs, 180º out of phase with each other, combine. This allows more gain than one transistor could supply by itself. This "push-pull" amplifier is used where high power output and good fidelity are needed: receiver output stages, public address amplifiers, and AM modulators, for example.
The circuit shown in Figure 8 is a class A transistor push-pull amplifier, but class AB or class B operations can be used. Class operations were discussed in an earlier topic. The phase splitter for this amplifier is the transformer T1, although one of the phase splitters shown earlier in this topic could be used. R1 provides the proper bias for Q1 and Q2. The tapped secondary of T1 develops the two input signals for the bases of Q1 and Q2. Half of the original input signal will be amplified by Q-1, the other half by Q-2. T2 combines (couples) the amplified output signal to the speaker and provides impedance matching.
Q-30. What is one use for a splitter? Q-31. What is a common use for a push-pull amplifier? Q-32. What is the advantage of a push-pull amplifier? Q-33. What class of operation can be used with a push-pull amplifier to provide good fidelity output signals?
2. Amplifier Frequency Response
In chapter 1 of this module you were shown the frequency-response curve of an audio amplifier. Every amplifier has a frequency-response curve associated with it. Technicians use frequency-response curves because they provide a "picture" of the performance of an amplifier at various frequencies. You will probably never have to draw a frequency-response curve, but, in order to use one, you should know how a frequency-response curve is created. The amplifier for which the frequency-response curve is created is tested at various frequencies. At each frequency, the input signal is set to some predetermined level of voltage (or current). This same voltage (or current) level for all of the input signals is used to provide a standard input and to allow evaluation of the output of the circuit at each of the frequencies tested. For each of these frequencies, the output is measured and marked on a graph. The graph is marked "frequency" along the horizontal axis and "voltage" or "current" along the vertical axis. When points have been plotted for all of the frequencies tested, the points are connected to form the frequency-response curve. The shape of the curve represents the frequency response of the amplifier.
Some amplifiers should be "flat" across a band of frequencies. In other words, for every frequency within the band, the amplifier should have equal gain (equal response). For frequencies outside the band, the amplifier gain will be much lower.
For other amplifiers, the desired frequency response is different. For example, perhaps the amplifier should have high gain at two frequencies and low gain for all other frequencies. The frequency-response curve for this type of amplifier would show two "peaks." In other amplifiers the frequency-response curve will have one peak indicating high gain at one frequency and lower gain at all others.
Note the frequency-response curve shown in Figure 9. This is the frequency-response curve for an audio amplifier as described in chapter 1. It is "flat" from 15 hertz (15 Hz) to 20 kilohertz (20 kHz).
Notice in the figure that the lower frequency limit is labeled f1 and the upper frequency limit is labeled f2. Note also the portion inside the frequency-response curve marked "BANDWIDTH." You may be wondering just what a "bandwidth" is.
2.1. Bandwidth of an Amplifier
The bandwidth represents the amount or "width" of frequencies, or the "band of frequencies," that the amplifier is MOST effective in amplifying. However, the bandwidth is NOT the same as the band of frequencies that is amplified. The bandwidth (BW) of an amplifier is the difference between the frequency limits of the amplifier. For example, the band of frequencies for an amplifier may be from 10 kilohertz (10 kHz) to 30 kilohertz (30 kHz). In this case, the bandwidth would be 20 kilohertz (20 kHz). As another example, if an amplifier is designed to amplify frequencies between 15 hertz (15 Hz) and 20 kilohertz (20 kHz), the bandwidth will be equal to 20 kilohertz minus 15 hertz or 19,985 hertz (19,985 Hz). This is shown in Figure 9.
You should notice on the figure that the frequency-response curve shows output voltage (or current) against frequency. The lower and upper frequency limits (f1 and f2) are also known as HALF-POWER POINTS. The half-power points are the points at which the output voltage (or current) is 70.7 percent of the maximum output voltage (or current). Any frequency that produces less than 70.7 percent of the maximum output voltage (or current) is outside the bandwidth and, in most cases, is not considered a useable output of the amplifier.
The reason these points are called "half-power points" is that the true output power will be half (50 percent) of the maximum true output power when the output voltage (or current) is 70.7 percent of the maximum output voltage (or current), as shown below. (All calculations are rounded off to two decimal places.)
As you learned in NEETS, Module 2, in an a.c. circuit true power is calculated using the resistance (R) of the circuit, NOT the impedance (Z). If the circuit produces a maximum output voltage of 10 volts across a 50-ohm load, then:
When the output voltage drops to 70.7 percent of the maximum voltage of 10 volts, then:
As you can see, the true power is 50 percent (half) of the maximum true power when the output voltage is 70.7 percent of the maximum output voltage. If, instead, you are using the output current of the above circuit, the maximum current is
The calculations are:
At 70.7 percent of the output current (.14 A):
On Figure 9, the two points marked f1 and f2 will enable you to determine the frequency-response limits of the amplifier. In this case, the limits are 15 hertz (15 Hz) and 20 kilohertz (20 kHz). You should now see how a frequency-response curve can enable you to determine the frequency limits and the bandwidth of an amplifier.
2.2. Reading Amplifier Frequency-Response Curves
Figure 10, Figure 11, Figure 12, and Figure 13 show the frequency-response curves for four different amplifiers. Figure 10 is the same frequency-response curve as shown in Figure 9. Figure 11 is the frequency-response curve of an amplifier that would also be classified as an audio amplifier, even though the curve is not "flat" from 15 hertz to 20 kilohertz and does not drop off sharply at the frequency limits. From the curve, you can see that the lower frequency limit of this amplifier (f1) is 100 hertz. The upper frequency limit (f2) is 10 kilohertz. Therefore, the bandwidth of this amplifier must be 10 kilohertz minus 100 hertz or 9900 hertz. Most amplifiers will have a frequency-response curve shaped like view (B) if nothing is done to modify the frequency-response characteristics of the circuit. (The factors that affect frequency response and the methods to modify the frequency response of an amplifier are covered a little later in this chapter.)
Now look at Figure 12. This frequency-response curve is for an rf amplifier. The frequency limits of this amplifier are 100 kilohertz (f1) and 1 megahertz (f2); therefore, the bandwidth of this amplifier is 900 kilohertz.
Figure 13 shows another audio amplifier. This time the frequency limits are 30 hertz (f1) and 200 hertz (f2). The bandwidth of this amplifier is only 170 hertz. The important thing to notice in Figure 13 is that the frequency scale is different from those used in other views. Any frequency scale can be used for a frequency-response curve. The scale used would be determined by what frequencies are most useful in presenting the frequency-response curve for a particular amplifier.
2.3. Factors Affecting Frequency Response of an Amplifier
In chapter 1 of this module, the fact was mentioned that an audio amplifier is limited in its frequency response. Now you will see why this is true.
You should recall that the frequency response of an a.c. circuit is limited by the reactive elements (capacitance and inductance) in the circuit. As you know, this is caused by the fact that the capacitive and inductive reactances vary with the frequency. In other words, the value of the reactance is determined, in part, by frequency. Remember the formulas:
If you ignore the amplifying device (transistor, electron tube, etc.), and if the amplifier circuit is made up of resistors only, there should be no limits to the frequency response. In other words, a totally resistive circuit would have no frequency limits. However, there is no such thing as a totally resistive circuit because circuit components almost always have some reactance. In addition to the reactance of other components in the circuit, most amplifiers use RC coupling. This means that a capacitor is used to couple the signal in to and out of the circuit. There is also a certain amount of capacitance and inductance in the wiring of the circuit. The end result is that all circuits are reactive. To illustrate this point, Figure 16 and Figure 17 show amplifier circuits with the capacitance and inductance of the wiring represented as "phantom" capacitors and inductors. The reactances of the capacitors (XC) and the inductors (XL) are shown as "phantom" variable resistors. Figure 16 shows the circuit with a low-frequency input signal, and Figure 17 shows the circuit with a high-frequency input signal.
The actual circuit components are: C1, C2, C3, R1, R2, R3, and Q1. C1 is used to couple the input signal. R1 develops the input signal. R2, the emitter resistor, is used for proper biasing and temperature stability. C2 is a decoupling capacitor for R2. R3 develops the output signal. C3 couples the output signal to the next stage. Q1 is the amplifying device.
The phantom circuit elements representing the capacitance and inductance of the wiring are: L1, L2, C4, and C5. L1 represents the inductance of the input wiring. L2 represents the inductance of the output wiring. C4 represents the capacitance of the input wiring. C5 represents the capacitance of the output wiring.
In Figure 16 the circuit is shown with a low-frequency input signal. Since the formulas for capacitive reactance and inductive reactance are:
You should remember that if frequency is low, capacitive reactance will be high and inductive reactance will be low. This is shown by the position of the variable resistors that represent the reactances. Notice that XL1 and XL2 are low; therefore, they do not "drop" very much of the input and output signals. XC4 and XC5 are high; these reactances tend to "block" the input and output signals and keep them from going to the power supplies (VBB and VCC). Notice that the output signal is larger in amplitude than the input signal.
Now look at Figure 17. The input signal is a high-frequency signal. Now XC is low and XL is high. XL1 and XL2 now drop part of the input and output signals. At the same time XC4 and XC5 tend to "short" or "pass" the input and output signals to signal ground. The net effect is that both the input and output signals are reduced. Notice that the output signal is smaller in amplitude than the input signal.
Now you can see how the capacitance and inductance of the wiring affect an amplifier, causing the output of an amplifier to be less for high-frequency signals than for low-frequency signals.
In addition to the other circuit components, an amplifying device (transistor or electronic tube), itself, reacts differently to high frequencies than it does to low frequencies. In earlier NEETS modules you were told that transistors and electronic tubes have interelectrode capacitance. Figure 18 shows a portion of the interelectrode capacitance of a transistor and the way in which this affects high- and low-frequency signals.
In view (A) a transistor is shown with phantom capacitors connected to represent the interelectrode capacitance. CEB represents the emitter-to-base capacitance. CBC represents the base-to-collector capacitance.
For simplicity, in views (B) and (C) the capacitive reactance of these capacitors is shown by variable resistors R1 (for CEB) and R2 (for CBC). View (B) shows the reactance as high when there is a low-frequency input signal. In this case there is very little effect from the reactance on the transistor. The transistor amplifies the input signal as shown in view (B). However, when a high-frequency input signal is applied to the transistor, as in view (C), things are somewhat different. Now the capacitive reactance is low (as shown by the settings of the variable resistors). In this case, as the base of the transistor attempts to go positive during the first half of the input signal, a great deal of this positive signal is felt on the emitter (through R1). If both the base and the emitter go positive at the same time, there is no change in emitter-base bias and the conduction of the transistor will not change. Of course, a small amount of change does occur in the emitter-base bias, but not as much as when the capacitive reactance is higher (at low frequencies). As an output signal is developed in the collector circuit, part of this signal is fed back to the base through R2. Since the signal on the collector is 180 degrees out of phase with the base signal, this tends to drive the base negative. The effect of this is to further reduce the emitter-base bias and the conduction of the transistor.During the second half of the input signal, the same effect occurs although the polarity is reversed. The net effect is a reduction in the gain of the transistor as indicated by the small output signal. This decrease in the amplifier output at higher frequencies is caused by the interelectrode capacitance. (There are certain special cases in which the feedback signal caused by the interelectrode capacitance is in phase with the base signal. However, in most cases, the feedback caused by interelectrode capacitance is degenerative and is 180 degrees out of phase with the base signal as explained above.)
Q-4. What are the factors that limit the frequency response of a transistor amplifier? Q-5. What type of feedback is usually caused by interelectrode capacitance? Q-6. What happens to capacitive reactance as frequency increases? Q-7. What happens to inductive reactance as frequency increases?
3. Radio-Frequency Amplifiers
Now that you have seen the way in which a broadband, or video, amplifier can be constructed, you may be wondering about radio-frequency (rf) amplifiers. Do they use the same techniques? Are they just another type of broadband amplifier?
The answer to both questions is "no." Radio-frequency amplifiers use different techniques than video amplifiers and are very different from them.
Before you study the specific techniques used in rf amplifiers, you should review some information on the relationship between the input and output impedance of an amplifier and the gain of the amplifier stage.
3.1. Amplifier Input/Output Impedance and Gain
You should remember that the gain of a stage is calculated by using the input and output signals. The formula used to calculate the gain of a stage is:
Voltage gain is calculated using input and output voltage; current gain uses input and output current; and power gain uses input and output power. For the purposes of our discussion, we will only be concerned with voltage gain.
Figure 19 shows a simple amplifier circuit with the input- and output-signal-developing impedances represented by variable resistors. In this circuit, C1 and C2 are the input and output coupling capacitors. R1 represents the impedance of the input circuit. R2 represents the input-signal-developing impedance, and R3 represents the output impedance.
R1 and R2 form a voltage-divider network for the input signal. When R2 is increased in value, the input signal to the transistor (Q1) increases. This causes a larger output signal, and the gain of the stage increases.
Now look at the output resistor, R3. As R3 is increased in value, the output signal increases. This also increases the gain of the stage.
As you can see, increasing the input-signal-developing impedance, the output impedance, or both will increase the gain of the stage. Of course there are limits to this process. The transistor must not be overdriven with too high an input signal or distortion will result.
With this principle in mind, if you could design a circuit that had maximum impedance at a specific frequency (or band of frequencies), that circuit could be used in an rf amplifier. This FREQUENCY- DETERMINING NETWORK could be used as the input-signal-developing impedance, the output impedance, or both. The rf amplifier circuit would then be as shown in Figure 20.
In this "semi-block" diagram, C1 and C2 are the input and output coupling capacitors. R1 represents the impedance of the input circuit. The blocks marked FDN represent the frequency-determining networks. They are used as input-signal-developing and output impedances for Q1.
3.2. Frequency-Determining Network for an RF Amplifier
What kind of circuit would act as a frequency-determining network? In general, a frequency- determining network is a circuit that provides the desired response at a particular frequency. This response could be maximum impedance or minimum impedance; it all depends on how the frequency- determining network is used. You will see more about frequency-determining networks in NEETS, Module 9—Introduction to Wave-Generation and Shaping Circuits. As you have seen, the frequency- determining network needed for an rf amplifier should have maximum impedance at the desired frequency.
Before you are shown the actual components that make up the frequency-determining network for an rf amplifier, look at Figure 21, which is a simple parallel circuit. The resistors in this circuit are variable and are connected together (ganged) in such a way that as the resistance of R1 increases, the resistance of R2 decreases, and vice versa.
If each resistor has a range from 0 to 200 ohms, the following relationship will exist between the individual resistances and the resistance of the network (RT). (All values are in ohms, RT rounded off to two decimal places. These are selected values; there are an infinite number of possible combinations.)
As you can see, this circuit has maximum resistance (RT) when the individual resistors are of equal value. If the variable resistors represented impedances and if components could be found that varied their impedance in the same way as the ganged resistors in Figure 21, you would have the frequency- determining network needed for an rf amplifier.
There are components that will vary their impedance (reactance) like the ganged resistors. As you know, the reactance of an inductor and a capacitor vary as frequency changes. As frequency increases, inductive reactance increases, and capacitive reactance decreases.
At some frequency, inductive and capacitive reactance will be equal. That frequency will depend upon the value of the inductor and capacitor. If the inductor and capacitor are connected as a parallel LC circuit, you will have the ideal frequency-determining network for an rf amplifier.
The parallel LC circuit used as a frequency-determining network is called a TUNED CIRCUIT. This circuit is "tuned" to give the proper response at the desired frequency by selecting the proper values of inductance and capacitance. A circuit using this principle is shown in Figure 22 which shows an rf amplifier with parallel LC circuits used as frequency-determining networks. This rf amplifier will only be effective in amplifying the frequency determined by the parallel LC circuits.
In many electronic devices, such as radio or television receivers or radar systems, a particular frequency must be selected from a band of frequencies. This could be done by using a separate rf amplifier for each frequency and then turning on the appropriate rf amplifier. It would be more efficient if a single rf amplifier could be "tuned" to the particular frequency as that frequency is needed. This is what happens when you select a channel on your television set or tune to a station on your radio. To accomplish this "tuning," you need only change the value of inductance or capacitance in the parallel LC circuits (tuned circuits).
In most cases, the capacitance is changed by the use of variable capacitors. The capacitors in the input and output portions of all the rf amplifier stages are ganged together in order that they can all be changed at one time with a single device, such as the tuning dial on a radio. (This technique will be shown on a schematic a little later in this chapter.)
Q-20. If the input-signal-developing impedance of an amplifier is increased, what is the effect on the gain? Q-21. If the output impedance of an amplifier circuit is decreased, what is the effect on the gain? Q-22. What is the purpose of a frequency-determining network in an rf amplifier? Q-23. Can a parallel LC circuit be used as the frequency-determining network for an rf amplifier? Q-24. How can the frequency be changed in the frequency-determining network?
3.3. RF Amplifier Coupling
Figure 22 and the other circuits you have been shown use capacitors to couple the signal in to and out of the circuit (C1 and C4 in Figure 22). As you remember from chapter 1, there are also other methods of coupling signals from one stage to another. Transformer coupling is the most common method used to couple rf amplifiers. Transformer coupling has many advantages over RC coupling for rf amplifiers; for example, transformer coupling uses fewer components than capacitive coupling. It can also provide a means of increasing the gain of the stage by using a step-up transformer for voltage gain. If a current gain is required, a step-down transformer can be used.
You should also remember that the primary and secondary windings of a transformer are inductors. With these factors in mind, an rf amplifier could be constructed like the one shown in Figure 23.
In this circuit, the secondary of T1 and capacitor C1 form a tuned circuit which is the input-signal- developing impedance. The primary of T2 and capacitor C2 are a tuned circuit which acts as the output impedance of Q1. (Both T1 and T2 must be rf transformers in order to operate at rf frequencies.)
The input signal applied to the primary of T1 could come from the previous stage or from some input device, such as a receiving antenna. In either case, the input device would have a capacitor connected across a coil to form a tuned circuit. In the same way, the secondary of T2 represents the output of this circuit. A capacitor connected across the secondary of T2 would form a parallel LC network. This network could act as the input-signal-developing impedance for the next stage, or the network could represent some type of output device, such as a transmitting antenna.
The tuned circuits formed by the transformer and capacitors may not have the bandwidth required for the amplifier. In other words, the bandwidth of the tuned circuit may be too "narrow" for the requirements of the amplifier. (For example, the rf amplifiers used in television receivers usually require a bandwidth of 6 MHz.)
One way of "broadening" the bandpass of a tuned circuit is to use a swamping resistor. This is similar to the use of the swamping resistor that was shown with the series peaking coil in a video amplifier. A swamping resistor connected in parallel with the tuned circuit will cause a much broader bandpass. (This technique and the theory behind it are discussed in more detail in NEETS, Module 9.)
Another technique used to broaden the bandpass involves the amount of coupling in the transformers. For transformers, the term "coupling" refers to the amount of energy transferred from the primary to the secondary of the transformer. This depends upon the number of flux lines from the primary that intersect, or cut, the secondary. When more flux lines cut the secondary, more energy is transferred.
Coupling is mainly a function of the space between the primary and secondary windings. A transformer can be loosely coupled (having little transfer of energy), optimumly coupled (just the right amount of energy transferred), or overcoupled (to the point that the flux lines of primary and secondary windings interfere with each other).
In Figure 24 the transformer is loosely coupled; the frequency response curve shows a narrow bandwidth. In Figure 25 the transformer has optimum coupling; the bandwidth is wider and the curve is relatively flat. In Figure 26 the transformer is overcoupled; the frequency response curve shows a broad bandpass, but the curve "dips" in the middle showing that these frequencies are not developed as well as others in the bandwidth.
Optimum coupling will usually provide the necessary bandpass for the frequency-determining network (and therefore the rf amplifier). For some uses, such as rf amplifiers in a television receiver, the bandpass available from optimum coupling is not wide enough. In these cases, a swamping resistor (as mentioned earlier) will be used with the optimum coupling to broaden the bandpass.
3.4. Compensation of RF Amplifiers
Now you have been shown the way in which an rf amplifier is configured to amplify a band of frequencies and the way in which an rf amplifier can be "tuned" for a particular band of frequencies. You have also seen some ways in which the bandpass of an rf amplifier can be adjusted. However, the frequencies at which rf amplifiers operate are so high that certain problems exist.
One of these problems is the losses that can occur in a transformer at these high frequencies. Another problem is with interelectrode capacitance in the transistor. The process of overcoming these problems is known as COMPENSATION.
3.4.1. Transformers in RF Amplifiers
As you recall from NEETS, Module 1, the losses in a transformer are classified as copper loss, eddy-current loss, and hysteresis loss. Copper loss is not affected by frequency, as it depends upon the resistance of the winding and the current through the winding. Similarly, eddy-current loss is mostly a function of induced voltage rather than the frequency of that voltage. Hysteresis loss, however, increases as frequency increases.
Hysteresis loss is caused by the realignment of the magnetic domains in the core of the transformer each time the polarity of the magnetic field changes. As the frequency of the a.c. increases, the number of shifts in the magnetic field also increases (two shifts for each cycle of a.c.); therefore, the "molecular friction" increases and the hysteresis loss is greater. This increase in hysteresis loss causes the efficiency of the transformer (and therefore the amplifier) to decrease. The energy that goes into hysteresis loss is taken away from energy that could go into the signal.
RF TRANSFORMERS, specially designed for use with rf, are used to correct the problem of excessive hysteresis loss in the transformer of an rf amplifier. The windings of rf transformers are wound onto a tube of nonmagnetic material and the core is either powdered iron or air. These types of cores also reduce eddy-current loss.
3.4.2. Neutralization of RF Amplifiers
The problem of interelectrode capacitance in the transistor of an rf amplifier is solved by NEUTRALIZATION. Neutralization is the process of counteracting or "neutralizing" the effects of interelectrode capacitance.
Figure 27 shows the effect of the base-to-collector interelectrode capacitance in an rf amplifier. The "phantom" capacitor (CBC) represents the interelectrode capacitance between the base and the collector of Q1. This is the interelectrode capacitance that has the most effect in an rf amplifier. As you can see, CBC causes a degenerative (negative) feedback which decreases the gain of the amplifier. (There are some special cases in which CBC can cause regenerative (positive) feedback. In this case, the technique described below will provide negative feedback which will accomplish the neutralization of the amplifier.)
As you may recall, unwanted degenerative feedback can be counteracted (neutralized) by using positive feedback. This is exactly what is done to neutralize an rf amplifier.
Positive feedback is accomplished by the use of a feedback capacitor. This capacitor must feed back a signal that is in phase with the signal on the base of Q1. One method of doing this is shown in Figure 28.
In Figure 28, a feedback capacitor (C4) has been added to neutralize the amplifier. This solves the problem of unwanted degenerative feedback. Except for capacitor C4, this circuit is identical to the circuit shown in Figure 27. (When CBC causes regenerative feedback, C4 will still neutralize the amplifier. This is true because C4 always provides a feedback signal which is 180 degrees out of phase with the feedback signal caused by CBC.)
Q-25. What is the most common form of coupling for an rf amplifier? Q-26. What are two advantages of this type of coupling? Q-27. If current gain is required from an rf amplifier, what type of component should be used as an output coupling element? Q-28. What problem is caused in an rf amplifier by a loosely coupled transformer? Q-29. How is this problem corrected? Q-30. What problem is caused by overcoupling in a transformer? Q-31. What method provides the widest bandpass? Q-32. What two methods are used to compensate for the problems that cause low gain in an rf amplifier? Q-33. What type of feedback is usually caused by the base-to-collector interelectrode capacitance? Q-34. How is this compensated for?
3.5. Typical RF Amplifier Circuits
As a technician, you will see many different rf amplifiers in many different pieces of equipment. The particular circuit configuration used for an rf amplifier will depend upon how that amplifier is used. In the final part of this chapter, you will be shown some typical rf amplifier circuits.
Figure 29 is the schematic diagram of a typical rf amplifier that is used in an AM radio receiver. In Figure 29, the input circuit is the antenna of the radio (L1-a coil) which forms part of an LC circuit which is tuned to the desired station by variable capacitor C1. L1 is wound on the same core as L2, which couples the input signal through C2 to the transistor (Q1). R1 is used to provide proper bias to Q1 from the base power supply (VBB). R2 provides proper bias to the emitter of Q1, and C3 is used to bypass R2. The primary of T1 and capacitor C4 form a parallel LC circuit which acts as the load for Q1. This LC circuit is tuned by C4, which is ganged to C1 allowing the antenna and the LC circuit to be tuned together. The primary of T1 is center-tapped to provide proper impedance matching with Q1.
You may notice that no neutralization is shown in this circuit. This circuit is designed for the AM broadcast band (535 kHz - 1605 kHz).
At these relatively low rf frequencies the degenerative feedback caused by base-to-collector interelectrode capacitance is minor and, therefore, the amplifier does not need neutralization.
Figure 30 is a typical rf amplifier used in a vhf television receiver. The input-signal-developing circuit for this amplifier is made up of L1, C1, and C2. The inductor tunes the input-signal-developing circuit for the proper TV channel. (L1 can be switched out of the circuit and another inductor switched in to the circuit by the channel selector.) R1 provides proper bias to Q1 from the base supply voltage (VBB). Q1 is the transistor. Notice that the case of Q1 (the dotted circle around the transistor symbol) is shown to be grounded. The case must be grounded because of the high frequencies (54 MHz - 217 MHz) used by the circuit. R2 provides proper bias from the emitter of Q1, and C3 is used to bypass R2. C5 and L2 are a parallel LC circuit which acts as the load for Q1. The LC circuit is tuned by L2 which is switched in to and out of the LC circuit by the channel selector. L3 and C6 are a parallel LC circuit which develops the signal for the next stage. The parallel LC circuit is tuned by L3 which is switched in to and out of the LC circuit by the channel selector along with L1 and L2. (L1, L2, and L3 are actually part of a bank of inductors. L1, L2, and L3 are in the circuit when the channel selector is on channel 2. For other channels, another group of three inductors would be used in the circuit.) R3 develops a signal which is fed through C4 to provide neutralization. This counteracts the effects of the interelectrode capacitance from the base to the collector of Q1. C7 is used to isolate the rf signal from the collector power supply (VCC).
The following questions refer to Figure 31.
Q-35. What components form the input-signal-developing impedance for the amplifier? Q-36. What is the purpose of R1? Q-37. What is the purpose of R2? Q-38. If C4 were removed from the circuit, what would happen to the output of the amplifier? Q-39. What components form the load for Q1? Q-40. How many tuned parallel LC circuits are shown in this schematic? Q-41. What do the dotted lines connecting C1, C2, C5, and C6 indicate? Q-42. What is the purpose of C3?