While there are numerous methods of achiev-ing a reduction in output, one of the simplestis a T-pad attenuator fo rmed from three resis-t o r s.The purpose of the attenuator is to give af i xed attenuation while maintaining a 50-ohmmatch between the antenna and the tra n s m i t-t e r.Figure 1 shows a T- PAD style attenu a t o r.I nthis configuration the 50-ohm source (tra n s-mitter) and load (antenna) impedances fo rmvoltage dividers to reduce the output powe rl eve l .The selection of resistors allows theinput and output of the attenuator to bematched to the source and load impedancesto prevent unwanted attenuation due to mis-m a t c h .The resistor values can easily be calculatedwhen the desired attenuation and input andoutput impedances are know n .The chart onthe fo l l owing page can be used in place ofthese calculations to determine the values ofR1 and R2.Table 1 is norm ali zed to 1-ohm input and out-
put impedance and assumes that the attenua-tion pad is matching a source and load imped-ance that are equal.To understand how to use Table 1, let’s use anexample:
A particular design requires the field strengthof the fundamental frequency to be no higherthan 250 µVolts/meter at 3 meters.The tran s-mitter generates a field strength of 11,500µvolts/meter at 3 meters.What values of R1and R2 will attenuate the output power toprovide a field strength of 250 µVo lts / me t e r ?
APPLICATION NOTE AN-00150
Use and Designof T-Attenuation Pads
In discrete RF design, the output power of at ransmitter is usually set specifically for thep ower output needed to meet operational andc e rtification requirements.H oweve r, todaym a ny engineers prefer to use predesigned RFm o d u l e s, such as those manu factured by Linx,in their designs.These RF modules provide a“ bl a ck box ”approach to RF design.An engi-neer simply places a module in circuit, pro-vides an antenna, powe r, and a serial datastream and instantly has a wireless data link.In order to provide the most useful design pos-s i bl e, manu facturers of RF modules will oftenbuild their transmitters with an output powe rl evel in excess of what is allowed by gove rn-ing agencies for the customer’s final product.This is to insure that engineers utilizing ineffi-cient (high loss) antenna types, such as al o o p - t ra ce, will still have an adequate level ofradiated power to achieve maximum ra n g e.I ncases where an engineer has chosen a part i c-u l a rly efficient antenna or where output powe rmust be reduced to meet specific exe m p t i o np r ov i s i o n s, an ex t e rnal method of powe rreduction is employe d .