INTERMEDIATE FREQUENCY: Definition: In communications and electronic engineering, an intermediate frequency (IF) is a frequency to which a carrier frequency is shifted as an intermediate

step in transmission or reception. The intermediate frequency is created by mixing the carrier signal with a local oscillator signal in a process called heterodyning, resulting in a signal at the difference or beat frequency. Intermediate frequencies are used in superheterodyne radio receivers, in which an incoming signal is shifted to an IF for amplification before final detection is done. There may be several such stages of intermediate frequency in a superheterodyne, which is called double (or triple) conversion. Uses and Functions: Intermediate frequencies are used for three general reasons. At very high ( gigahertz) frequencies, signal processing circuitry performs poorly. Active devices such as transistors cannot deliver much amplification (gain) without becoming unstable. Ordinary circuits using capacitors and inductors must be replaced with cumbersome high frequency techniques such as striplines and waveguides. So a high frequency signal is converted to a lower IF for processing. A second reason to use an IF, in receivers that can be tuned to different stations, is to convert the various different frequencies of the stations to a common frequency for processing. It is difficult to build amplifiers, filters, and detectors that can be tuned to different frequencies, but easy to build tunable oscillators. Superheterodyne receivers tune in different stations simply by adjusting the frequency of the local oscillator on the input stage, and all processing after that is done at the same frequency, the IF. Without using an IF, all the complicated filters and detectors in a radio or television would have to be tuned in unison each time the station was changed, as was necessary in the early tuned radio frequency receivers. But the main reason for using an intermediate frequency is to improve frequency selectivity. In communications circuits a very common task is to separate signals or components of a signal that are close together in frequency. This is called filtering. Some examples are, picking up a radio station among several that are close in frequency, or extracting the chrominance subcarrier from a TV signal. With all known filtering techniques the filter's bandwidth increases proportionately with the frequency. So a narrower bandwidth and more selectivity can be achieved by converting the signal to a lower IF and performing the filtering at that frequency.

The most commonly used intermediate frequencies are 10–70 MHz in the satellite and radar world. However, the intermediate frequency can range from 10–100 MHz. Intermediate frequency (IF) are generated by mixing the RF and LO frequency

together to create a lower frequency called IF. Most of the ADC/DAC operates in low sampling rates, so input RF must be mixed down to IF to be processed. Intermediate frequency tends to be lower frequency range compared to the transmitted RF frequency. However, the choices for the IF are most depending on the available components such as mixer, filters, amplifiers and others that can operate at lower frequency. There are other factors involved in deciding the IF frequency, because lower IF is susceptible to noise and higher IF can cause clock jitters. Commonly used intermediate frequencies Television receivers: 30 MHz to 900 MHz Analogue television receivers using system M: 41.25 MHz (audio) and 45.75 MHz (video). Note, the channel is flipped over in the conversion process in an intercarrier system, so the audio IF frequency is lower than the video IF frequency. Also, there is no audio local oscillator, the injected video carrier serves that purpose. FM radio receivers: 5.5 MHz, 10.7 MHz, 98 MHz. In double-conversion superheterodyne receivers, often a first intermediate frequency of 1.6 MHz is used, followed by a second intermediate frequency of 470 kHz. AM radio receivers: 450 kHz, 455 kHz, 460 kHz, 465 kHz, 470 kHz, 475 kHz, 480 kHz Satellite uplink-downlink equipment: 70 MHz, 950-1450 Downlink first IF Terrestrial microwave equipment: 250 MHz, 70 MHz Radar: 30 MHz RF Test Equipment: 310.7 MHz, 160 MHz, 21.4 MHz

RADIO FREQUENCY Definition: Radio frequency (RF) is a frequency, or rate of oscillation, of electromagnetic radiation within the range of about 3 Hz to 300 GHz. This range corresponds to the frequency of alternating current electrical signals used to produce and detect radio waves. Since most of this range is beyond the vibration rate that most mechanical systems can respond to, RF usually refers to oscillations in electrical circuits. Special properties of RF electrical signals Electrical currents that oscillate at RF have special properties not shared by direct current signals. One such property is the ease with which they can ionize air to create a conductive path through air. This property is exploited by 'high frequency'

units used in electric arc welding, although strictly speaking these machines do not typically employ frequencies within the HF band. Another special property is an electromagnetic force that drives the RF current to the surface of conductors, known as the skin effect. Another property is the ability to appear to flow through paths that contain insulating material, like the dielectric insulator of a capacitor. The degree of effect of these properties depends on the frequency of the signals.

Name Extremely low frequency Super low frequency Ultra low frequency Symbol Frequency Wavelength Applications


a 3–30 Hz

Directly audible when converted to k 100–10 Mm sound (above ~20 Hz), communication with submarines Directly audible when converted to sound, AC power grids (50–60 Hz) Directly audible when converted to sound, communication within mines Directly audible when converted to sound (below ~20 kHz; or ultrasound otherwise) AM broadcasting, navigational beacons, lowFER, amateur radio


b 30–300 Hz j 10–1 Mm


c 300– 3000 Hz

i 1000–100 km

Very low frequency


d 3–30 kHz

h 100–10 km

Low frequency


e 30–300 kHz g 10–1 km

Medium frequency


f 300– 3000 kHz

Navigational beacons, AM f 1000–100 m broadcasting, amateur radio, maritime and aviation communication Shortwave, amateur radio, citizens' band radio, skywave propagation FM broadcasting, amateur radio, broadcast television, aviation, GPR,

High frequency Very high frequency


g 3–30 MHz

e 100–10 m


h 30– 300 MHz

d 10–1 m

MRI Broadcast television, amateur radio, mobile telephones, cordless telephones, wireless networking, remote keyless entry for automobiles, microwave ovens, GPR Wireless networking, satellite links, amateur radio, microwave links, satellite television, door openers Microwave data links, radio astronomy, amateur radio, remote sensing, advanced weapons systems, advanced security scanning

Ultra high frequency


i 300– 3000 MHz

c 100–10 cm

Super high SHF frequency

j 3–30 GHz

b 10–1 cm

Extremely high frequency


k 30–300 GHz a 10–1 mm

FILTER: Definition: In signal processing, a filter is a device or process that removes from a signal some unwanted component or feature. Filtering is a class of signal processing, the defining feature of filters being the complete or partial suppression of some aspect of the signal. Most often, this means removing some frequencies and not others in order to suppress interfering signals and reduce background noise. However, filters do not exclusively act in the frequency domain; especially in the field of image processing many other targets for filtering exist.

Classification of filters: There are many different bases of classifying filters and these overlap in many different ways, there is no simple heirarchical classification. Filters may be; analog or digital discrete-time (sampled) or continuous-time linear or non-linear passive or active type of continuous-time filter

infinite impulse response (IIR) or finite impulse response (FIR) type of discrete-time or digital filter The frequency response can be classified into a number of different bandforms describing which frequencies the filter passes (the passband) and which it rejects (the stopband); Low-pass filter – low frequencies are passed, high frequencies are attenuated. High-pass filter – high frequencies are passed, Low frequencies are attenuated. Band-pass filter – only frequencies in a frequency band are passed. Band-stop filter or band-reject filter – only frequencies in a frequency band are attenuated. Notch filter – rejects just one specific frequency - an extreme band-stop filter. Comb filter – has multiple regularly spaced narrow passbands giving the bandform the appearance of a comb. All-pass filter – all frequencies are passed, but the phase of the output is modified.

NOTCH FILTER: Definition: A Notch filter is a filter that passes all frequencies except those in a stop band centered on a center frequency. A closely related Knowledgebase item discusses the concept of the Q of a filter. This Knowledgebase item focuses on high Q notch filters - the type that eliminate a single frequency or narrow band of frequencies. A closely related type of filter - a band reject filter, is discussed in a separate knowledgebase item. The amplitude response of a notch filter is flat at all frequencies except for the stop band on either side of the the center frequency. The standard reference points for the roll-offs on each side of the stop band are the points where the amplitude has decreased by 3 dB, to 70.7% of its original amplitude.

In signal processing, a band-stop filter or band-rejection filter is a filter that passes most frequencies unaltered, but attenuates those in a specific range to very low levels. It is the opposite of a band-pass filter. A notch filter is a band-stop filter with a narrow stopband (high Q factor). Notch filters are used in live sound reproduction

(Public Address systems, also known as PA systems) and in instrument amplifier (especially amplifiers or preamplifiers for acoustic instruments such as acoustic guitar, mandolin, bass instrument amplifier, etc.) to reduce or prevent feedback, while having little noticeable effect on the rest of the frequency spectrum. Other names include 'band limit filter', 'T-notch filter', 'band-elimination filter', and 'band-reject filter'. Typically, the width of the stopband is less than 1 to 2 decades (that is, the highest frequency attenuated is less than 10 to 100 times the lowest frequency attenuated). In the audio band, a notch filter uses high and low frequencies that may be only semitones apart. DETECTOR: Definition: -electronic equipment that detects the presence of radio signals or radioactivity A detector is a device that recovers information of interest contained in a modulated wave. The term dates from the early days of radio when all transmissions were in Morse code, and it was only necessary to detect the presence (or absence) of a radio wave using a device such as a coherer without necessarily making it audible.

Amplitude modulation detectors

Envelope detector

One major technique is known as envelope detection. The simplest form of envelope detector is the diode detector that consists of a diode connected between the input and output of the circuit, with a resistor and capacitor in parallel from the output of the circuit to the ground. If the resistor and capacitor are correctly chosen, the output of this circuit will approximate a voltage-shifted version of the original signal. An early form of envelope detector was the cat's whisker, which was used in the crystal set radio receiver. •

Product detector

A product detector is a type of demodulator used for AM and SSB signals. Rather than converting the envelope of the signal into the decoded waveform like an envelope detector, the product detector takes the product of the modulated signal and a local oscillator, hence the name. This can be accomplished by heterodyning. The received signal is mixed, in some type of nonlinear device, with a signal from the local oscillator, to produce an intermediate frequency, referred to as the beat frequency, from which the modulating signal is detected and recovered.

Frequency and phase modulation detectors

AM detectors cannot demodulate FM and PM signals because both have a constant amplitude. However an AM radio may detect the sound of an FM broadcast by the phenomenon of slope detection which occurs when the radio is tuned slightly above or below the nominal broadcast frequency. Frequency variation on one sloping side of the radio tuning curve gives the amplified signal a corresponding local amplitude variation, to which the AM detector is sensitive. Slope detection gives inferior distortion and noise rejection compared to the following dedicated FM detectors that are normally used. •

Phase detector

A phase detector is a nonlinear device whose output represents the phase difference between the two oscillating input signals. It has two inputs and one output: a reference signal is applied to one input and the phase or frequency modulated signal is applied to the other. The output is a signal that is proportional to the phase difference between the two inputs. In phase demodulation the information is contained in the amount and rate of phase shift in the carrier wave. •

The Foster-Seeley discriminator

The Foster-Seeley discriminator is a widely used FM detector. The detector consists of a special center-tapped transformer feeding two diodes in a full wave DC rectifier circuit. When the input transformer is tuned to the signal frequency, the output of the discriminator is zero. When there is no deviation of the carrier, both halves of the center tapped transformer are balanced. As the FM signal swings in frequency above and below the carrier frequency, the balance between the two halves of the center-tapped secondary are destroyed and there is an output voltage proportional to the frequency deviation. •

Ratio detector

The ratio detector is a variant of the Foster-Seeley discriminator, but one diode conducts in an opposite direction. The output in this case is taken between the sum of the diode voltages and the center tap. The output across the diodes is connected to a large value capacitor, which eliminates AM noise in the ratio detector output. While distinct from the Foster-Seeley discriminator, the ratio detector will similarly not respond to AM signals, however the output is only 50% of the output of a discriminator for the same input signal. •

Quadrature detector

In quadrature detectors, the received FM signal is split into two signals. One of the two signals is then passed through a high-reactance capacitor, which shifts the phase of that signal by 90 degrees. This phase-shifted signal is then applied to an LC

circuit, which is resonant at the FM signal's unmodulated, "center," or "carrier" frequency. If the received FM signal's frequency equals the center frequency, then the two signals will have a 90-degree phase difference and they are said to be in "phase quadrature" — hence the name of this method. The two signals are then multiplied together in an analog or digital device, which serves as a phase detector; that is, a device whose output is proportional to the phase difference between two signals. In the case of an unmodulated FM signal, the phase detector's output is — after the output has been filtered; that is, averaged over time — constant; namely, zero. However, if the received FM signal has been modulated, then its frequency will vary from the center frequency. In this case, the resonant LC circuit will further shift the phase of the signal from the capacitor, so that the signal's total phase shift will be the sum of the 90 degrees that's imposed by the capacitor and the positive or negative phase change that's imposed by the LC circuit. Now the output from the phase detector will differ from zero, and in this way, one recovers the original signal that was used to modulate the FM carrier. This detection process can also be accomplished by combining, in an exclusive-OR (XOR) logic gate, the original FM signal and a square wave whose frequency equals the FM signal's center frequency. The XOR gate produces an output pulse whose duration equals the difference between the times at which the square wave and the received FM signal pass through zero volts. As the FM signal's frequency varies from its unmodulated center frequency (which is also the frequency of the square wave), the output pulses from the XOR gate become longer or shorter. (In essence, this quadrature detector converts an FM signal into a pulse-width modulated (PWM) signal.) When these pulses are filtered, the filter's output rises as the pulses grow longer and its output falls as the pulses grow shorter. In this way, one recovers the original signal that was used to modulate the FM carrier. •

Other FM detectors

Less common, specialized, or obsolescent types of detectors include


Travis[8] or double tuned circuit discriminator using two non-interacting tuned circuits above and below the nominal center frequency Weiss discriminator which uses a single LC tuned circuit or crystal Pulse count discriminator which converts the frequency to a train of constant amplitude pulses, producing a voltage directly proportional to the frequency.

Phase-locked loop detector
The phase-locked loop detector requires no frequency-selective LC network to accomplish demodulation. In this system, a voltage controlled oscillator (VCO) is phase locked by a feedback loop, which forces the VCO to follow the frequency variations of the incoming FM signal. The low-frequency error voltage that forces the VCO's

frequency to track the frequency of the modulated FM signal is the demodulated audio output.

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