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KHON KAEN UNIVERSITY

DEPARTMENT OF ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING


CM - 03: Frequency Modulation and Demodulation

Frequency modulation
Preliminary discussion
A disadvantage of the AM, DSBSC and other form of
amplitude-modulation communication systems is that they are
susceptible to picking up electrical noise in the transmission
medium (the channel). This is because noise changes the
amplitude of the transmitted signal and the demodulators of
these systems are affected by amplitude variations.
As its name implies, frequency modulation (FM) uses a
messages amplitude to vary the frequency of a carrier
instead

of

its

amplitude.

This

means

that

the

FM

demodulator is designed to look for changes in frequency


instead. As such, it is less affected by amplitude variations
and so FM is less susceptible to noise. This makes FM a
better communications system in this regard.
There are several methods of generating FM signals
but they all basically involve an oscillator with an electrically
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adjustable frequency. The oscillator uses an input voltage to


affect the frequency of its output. Typically, when the input

is 0V, the oscillator outputs a signal at its rest frequency


(also commonly called the free-running or centre frequency).
If the applied voltage varies above or below 0V, the

oscillators output frequency deviates above and below the


rest frequency. The amount of deviation is affected by the
amplitude of the input voltage. That is, the bigger the input
voltage, the greater the deviation.Figure 1 below shows a
simple message signal (a bipolar squarewave) and an
unmodulated carrier. It also shows the result of frequency
modulating the carrier with the message
There are a few things to notice about the FM signal.
First, its envelopes are flat recall that FM doesnt vary the
carriers

amplitude.

Second,

its

period

(and

hence

its

frequency) changes when the amplitude of the message


changes. Third, as the message alternates above and below
0V, the signals frequency goes above and below the
carriers frequency. (Note: Its equally possible to design an
FM modulator to cause the frequency to change in the
opposite direction to the change in the messages polarity.)

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Figure 1
Before discussing FM any further, an important point
must be made here. A squarewave message has been used
in this discussion to help you visualize how an FM carrier
responds to its message. In so doing, Figure 1 suggests
that the resulting FM signal consist of only two sine waves
(one at a frequency above the carrier and one below).
However, this isnt the case. For reasons best left to your
instructor to explain, the spectral composition of the FM
signal in Figure 1 is much more complex than implied.
This highlights one of the important differences between
FM and the modulation schemes discussed earlier. The
mathematical model of an FM signal predicts that even for

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a simple sinusoidal message, the result is a signal that


potentially contains many sinewaves, a DSBSC signal would
consist of two and an SSBSC signal would consist of only
one. This doesnt automatically mean that the bandwidth of
FM signals is wider than AM, DSBSC and SSBSC signals
(for the same message signal). However, in the practical
implementation of FM communications, it usually is.
Finally, when reading about the operation of an FM
modulator you may have recognised that there is a module
on the Emona Telecoms-Trainer 101 that operates in the
same way the VCO module. In fact a voltage- controlled
oscillator is sometimes used for FM modulation (though
there are other methods with advantages over the VCO).
The experiment
In this experiment youll generate a real FM signal using
the VCO module on the Emona Telecoms-Trainer 101. First
youll set up the VCO module to output an unmodulated
carrier at a known frequency. Then youll observe the effect
of frequency modulating its output with a squarewave then
speech. Youll also use the speech signal to demonstrate
the effect that a messages amplitude has on an FM

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modulator. Finally, youll use a sinewave to observe the


spectral composition of an FM signal (in the time domain).
Equipment
Emona Telecoms-Trainer 101 (plus power-pack)
Dual channel 20MHz oscilloscope
two Emona Telecoms-Trainer 101 oscilloscope leads
assorted Emona Telecoms-Trainer 101 patch leads
Procedure
Part A Frequency modulating a squarewave
1.

Gather a set of the equipment listed on the previous


page.

2.

Set up the scope to ensure that:

the Trigger Source control is set to the CH1 (or

INT) position.

3.

the Mode control is set to the CH1 position.

Locate the VCO module and turn its Gain control to


about two thirds of its travel (about the position of
the number 2 on a clock face).

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4.

Set the VCO modules Frequency Adjust control to


about the middle of its travel.

5.

Set the VCO modules Range control to the LO


position.

6.

Connect the set-up shown in Figure 2 below.

Note: Insert the oscilloscope leads black plug into a ground


(GND) socket.

Figure 2
7.

Set the scopes Timebase control to the 20


position.

CM -3 FM Mod and Demod

s/div

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8.

Adjust the VCO modules Frequency Adjust control


so that one cycle of its output is exactly 5 divisions.

Note: This sets the VCO modules rest frequency to 10kHz


(proof: 1/5x20 = 10,000)
9.

Set the scopes Timebase control to the 0.1ms/div


position.

Note: This will show about ten cycles of the VCO modules

SINE output.

10. Modify the set-up as shown in Figure 3 below.

Note: Notice that the scopes connection to the VCO


modules output has changed.

Figure 3
The set-up in Figure 3 can be represented by the block
diagram in Figure 4 below. The Master Signals module is

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used to provide a 2kHz squarewave message signal and


the VCO module is the FM modulator with 10kHz carrier.

Figure 4
11. Set the scopes Mode control to the DUAL position.

12. If necessary, tweak the VCO modules Gain control


until you obtain an output form the VCO thats
similar

to

the

FM

signal

in

Figure

(in

the

preliminary discussion).

13. Use the scopes Channel 1 Vertical Position control


to overlay the message with the FM signal and
compare them.
Question 1
Why does the frequency of the carrier change?

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Part B Generating an FM signal using speech


So far, this experiment has generated an FM signal using a
squarewave for the message. However, the message in
commercial communications systems is much more likely to
speech and music. The next part of the experiment lets you
see what an FM signal look like when modulated by
speech.
14. Disconnect the plugs to the Master Signals modules

2kHz DIGITAL output.

15. Connect them to the Speech modules output as


shown in Figure 5 below.
Remember: Dotted lines show leads already in place.

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Figure 5
16. Set the scopes Trigger Source control to the CH2
position.

17. Talk, sing or hum while watching the scopes display.


18. Set the scopes Timebase control to about the 20

s/div position.

19. Quietly hum into the Speech modules microphone


while watching the scopes display.
20. Slowly make your hum louder and louder without
changing its pitch.
Question 2

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What is the relationship between the FM signals frequency


deviation (that is, the VCO modules output) and the
amplitude of the message?

Question 3
What is the relationship between the FM signals frequency
deviation and the frequency of the message? Tip: This
relationship may not be observable with the present set-up.

Part C Considering the spectral composition of FM signals


Regardless of the type of message signal used the spectral
composition of FM signals is rich in sinwaves. The next part
of this experiment demonstrates this.

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21. Set the scopes Mode control to the CH2 position so


that youre only looking at the FM signal.

22. Disconnect the VCO modules input from the Speech


modules output.
23. Modify the set-up as shown in Figure 6 below.

Figure 6

You should now see a display that looks similar to Figure 7


below.

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Figure 7
24. If you dont have a display similar to Figure 7,

slowly turn the VCO modules Gain control anticlockwise until you do.

When viewed this way you can clearly see the highest
frequency sinewave that the FM modulator is outputting, the
lowest frequency sinewave and many of the sinewaves in
between.
25. Connect the VCO modules input to the Master

Signals modules 2kHz DIGITAL output instead of the

2kHzSINE output.

26. Note the spectral composition of the FM signal.


27. Connect the VCO modules input to the Speech
modules

output

instead

of

modules 2kHz DIGITAL output.


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the

Master

Signals

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28. Note the spectral composition of the FM signal.


Notice that the spectral composition of the FM signal is
complex regardless of the messages waveshape.

******************************************
FM demodulation
Preliminary discussion
There are as many methods of demodulating an FM signal
as there are of generation one. Examples include: the slope

detector, the Foster-Seely discriminator, the ratio detector,


the

phase-locked

loop

(PLL),

the

quadrature

FM

demodulator and the zero-crossing detector. Its possible to

implement several of these methods using the Emona


Telecoms-Trainer
principles

of

FM

101

but,

for

an

demodulation,

introduction

only

the

to

the

zero-crossing

detector is used in this experiment.


The zero-crossing detector
The zero-crossing detector is a simple yet effective means
of recovering the message from FM signals. Its block
diagram is shown in Figure 8 below.

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Figure 8
The received FM signal is first passed through a
comparator

to

heavily,

effectively

converting

it

to

squarewave. This allows the signal to be used as a trigger


signal for the zero-crossing detector circuit (ZCD).
The ZCD generates a pulse with a fixed duration every
time the squared-up FM signal crosses zero volts (either on
the positive or the negative transition but not both). Given
the squared-up FM signal is continuously crossing zero, the
ZCD effectively converts the squarewave to a rectangular
wave with a fixed mark time.

When the FM signals frequency changes (in response

to the message), so does the rectangular waves frequency.


Importantly though, as the rectangular waves mark is fixed,
changing its frequency is achieved by changing the duration
of the space and hence the signals mark/space ratio (or
duty cycle). This is shown in Figure 9 on the next page
using

an

FM

CM -3 FM Mod and Demod

signal

that

only

switches

between

two

Page 15/39

frequencies

(because

it

has

been

generated

by

squarewave for the message).


Recall from the theory of complex waveforms, pulse
trains are actually made up of sinewaves and, in the case
of Figure 9 above, a DC voltage. The size of the DC
voltage is affected by the pulse trains duty cycle. The
greater its duty cycle, the greater the DC voltage.

Figure 9
That being the case, when the FM signal in Figure 9 above
switches between the two frequencies, the DC voltage that
makes up the rectangular wave out of the ZCD changes
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between two values. In other words, the DC component of


the rectangular wave is a copy of the squarewave that
produced the FM signal in the first place. Recovering this
copy is a relatively simple matter of picking out the
changing DC voltage using a low-pass filter.
Importantly, this demodulation technique works equally well
when the message is a sinewave or speech.
The experiment
In this experiment youll use the Emona Telecoms-Trainer
101 to generate an FM signal using a VCO. Then youll
set-up a zero-crossing detector and verify its operation for
variations in the messages amplitude.

Equipment
Emona Telecoms-Trainer 101 (plus power-pack)
Dual channel 20MHz oscilloscope
two Emona Telecoms-Trainer 101 oscilloscope leads
assorted Emona Telecoms-Trainer 101 patch leads

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one set of headphones (stereo)


Procedure
Part A Setting up the FM modulator
To experiment with FM demodulation you need an FM
signal. The first part of the experiment gets you to set one
up. To make viewing the signals around the demodulator
possible, well start with a DC voltage for the message.
1.

Gather a set of the equipment listed above.

2.

Set up the scope as appropriate.

3.

Locate the VCO module and turn its Gain control


fully clockwise.

4.

Set the VCO modules Frequency Adjust control to


about the middle of its travel.

5.

Set the VCO modules Range control to the LO


position.

6.

Connect the set-up shown in Figure 310below.

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Figure 10

7.

Set the scopes Timebase control to view two or so

8.

Adjust the VCO modules SINE output to 10kHz.

cycles of the VCO modules SINE output.

Note: You do this by adjusting the signals period to 100s


(recall that P=1/f)
9.

Set the scopes Trigger Source control to the CH2


position.

10. Set the scopes Channel 1 and Channel 2 Input

Coupling controls to the DC position.

11. Set the scopes Mode control to the DUAL position.


12. Connect the set-up shown in Figure 11 below.

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Figure 11
This set-up can be represented by the block diagram in
Figure 12 on the next page. The Variable DCV module is
being used to provide a simple DC message and the VCO
module

implements

an

FM

modulator

with

carrier

frequency of 10kHz.
13. Vary the Variable DCV modules DC Voltage control
and check that the VCO modules output frequency
changes accordingly.

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Figure 12
For a variety of reasons, an important operating parameter

of an FM modulator is its sensitivity. This is how much the


FM modulators output frequency deviates from the carrier
(or rest) frequency for a given change in input voltage. It is
typically expressed in Hertz per volt (Hz/V).
For

the

FM

demodulator

that

youll

wire

in

this

experiment, the FM modulators output frequency must not


exceed about 15kHz. And, as the sinewave that youll use
for the message later in the experiment is 4Vp-p (or 2V
peak), this means that sensitivity must not be greater than
2.5kHz/volt.
The VCO modules sensitivity can be adjusted using its

GAIN control and the next part of the experiment gets you
to do so.

14. Set the Variable DCV modules output to +2V.

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15. Adjust the VCO modules GAIN control for a 15kHz


output.

Note: You do this by adjusting the signals period to 66s.


16. Set the Variable DCV modules output to -2V.
17. Measure the VCO modules new output frequency.
Note: If the VCO modules operation is linear, the new
output frequency should be about 5kHz.

Part B Setting up the zero-crossing detector


18. Return the scopes Trigger Source control to the

CH1 (or INT) position.

19. Locate the Twin Pulse Generator module and turn its

Width control fully anti-clockwise.

20. Set the Twin Pulse Generator modules Delay control


fully anti-clockwise.

21. Connect the set-up shown in Figure 613below.

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Note: Dont dismantle the existing set-up.

Figure 13
22. Set the scopes Timebase control to the 2
position.

s/div

23. Adjust the Twin Pulse Generator modules Width


control for an output pulse that is 12s long.

Note: Generally speaking, the longer the pulse the greater


its DC component and, in the case of the zero-crossing
detector, the greater the size of the recovered message.
However, the pulses cannot be too long otherwise the
circuits operation breaks down due to other performance

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parameters of the TPG module. In this case, 12s is a


compromise.
24. Return the scopes Timebase control to its previous
position.

Tip: If youre not sure, try 50 s/div.

25. Add the set-up shown in Figure 14 below to the FM


modulator.

Tip: Dotted lines show leads already in place.

Figure 14

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The additions to the set-up can be represented by the block


diagram in Figure 15.

Figure 15
The comparator on the Utilities module is used to clip the
FM signal, effectively turning it into a squarewave. The
positive edge-triggered Twin Pulse Generator module is used
to implement the zero-crossing detector. To complete the FM
demodulator, the Baseband LPF on the Channel Module is
used to pick-out the changing DC component of the Twin
Pulse Generator modules output.
The entire set-up can be represented by the block
diagram in Figure 16 below.

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Figure 16
26. Vary the variable DCV modules DC Voltage control
left and right.

Note: If the FM demodulator is working, the DC voltage out


of the Baseband LPF should vary as you do though it will
be a small voltage.
Tip: If this doesnt happen, check that the scopes Channel

2 Input Coupling control is set to the DC position before


you start checking your wiring.

Part C Investigating the operation of the zero-crossing


detector

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The next part of the experiment lets you verify the operation
of the zero-crossing detector.
27. Rearrange the scopes connections to the set-up as
shown in Figure 17.
The new scope connections can be shown using the block
diagram in Figure 18.

Figure 17

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Figure 18

Question 4
Why is the FM signal no-longer a sinewave? Tip: If youre
not sure, see the preliminary discussion.

28. Vary the Variable DCV modules DC Voltage control


left and right to model the FM signals continuously
changing frequency.
29. As

you

perform

the

step

above,

examine

the

waveshape of the comparators output.


Question 5
What type of waveform does the Comparator output?

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Question 6
What does this tell us about the DC component of the
comparators output?

30. Rearrange the scopes connections to the set-up as


shown in Figure 19 below.

Figure 19

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The new scope connections can be shown using the block


diagram in Figure 20 below.

Figure 20
31. Vary the Variable DCV modules DC Voltage control
left and right to model the FM signals continuously
changing frequency.
Tip: Do this slowly to avoid confusing the scopes triggering
circuitry.
32. As you perform the step above, compare the outputs
from the Comparator and the Twin Pulse Generator
module (the ZCD).
Question 7
What type of waveform does the ZCD output?

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Question 8
As the FM signal changes frequency so does the ZCDs
output. What aspect of the signal changes to achieve this?
Neither the signals mark nor space
Only the signals mark
Only the signals space
Both the signals mark and space
Question 9
What does this tell us about the DC component of the
comparators output?

The next part of the experiment lets you verify your answer
to the previous question.
33. Rearrange the scopes connections to the set-up as
shown in Figure 21 below.

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Figure 21
The new scope connections can be shown using the block
diagram in Figure 22 below.

Figure 22

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34. Vary the Variable DCV modules DC Voltage control


left and right to model the FM signals continuously
changing frequency.
35. As you perform the step above, compare the outputs
form the Twin Pulse Generator module (the ZCD)
and the Baseband LPF.
Tip: You may find it helpful to set the scopes Channel 2

Vertical Attenuation control to 0.5V/div setting.


Question 10

If the original message is a sinewave instead of a variable


DC voltage, what would you expect to see out of the
Baseband LPF?

Part D Transmitting and recovering a sinewave using FM


This experiment has set up an FM communication system to
transmit a message that is a DC voltage. The next part of
the experiment lets you use the set-up to modulate, transmit
and demodulate a test signal (a sinewave).

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36. Disconnect the plug to the Variable DCV modules

VDC output.

Note: Leave the other plug thats connected to the modules

GND output in place.

37. Modify the set-up as shown in Figure 23 below.

Figure 23
This modification to the FM modulator can be shown using
the block diagram in Figure 24 on the next page. Notice
that the message is now provided by the Master Signal
modules 2kHz SINE output.

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Figure 24
38. Set the scopes Channel 2 Input Coupling control to
the AC position.

39. Adjust the scopes Timebase control to view two or

so cycles of the Master Signals modules 2kHz SINE


output.

40. Compare the message with the FM demodulators


output.
Note:

If

your

set-up

is

working

correctly,

the

FM

demodulators output should be the same as the message


(with some phase shift).
Question 11
What does the FM modulators output signal tell you about
the ZCD signals duty cycle?

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41. To verify your answer to the question above, use the


scopes Channel 2 input to examine the output of
the ZCD.
Tip: Leave the scopes Channel 1 input connected to the
Master Signal modules 2kHz SINE output.

Part E Transmitting and recovering speech using FM


The next part of the experiment lets you use the set-up to
modulate, transmit and demodulate speech. Note: To ensure
that the bandwidth issues dont adversely affect the circuits
performance, the speech signal that you generate will be
bandwidth limited to 2kHz using the Tuneable Low-pass
Filter module.
42. Locate the Tuneable Low-pass Filter module and set
its Gain control to about the middle of its travel.

43. Set the Tuneable Low-pass Filter modules Cut-off

Frequency Adjust control to about the middle of its


travel.

44. Connect the set-up shown in Figure 25 below.

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Note: Dont dismantle the existing set-up.

Figure 25
45. Set the scopes Timebase control to the 1 s/div
position.

46. Adjust the signal out of the Tuneable Low-pass Filter


modules fcx100 output to 200kHz.

Note 1: You do this by adjusting the signals period to 5s.

Note 2: Once the fcx100 output is 200kHz, the Tuneable


Low-pass Filter modules cut-off frequency is 2kHz.

47. Set the scopes Timebase control to 5ms/div position.

48. Disconnect the plug to the Master Signals modules

2kHz SINE output.

49. Modify the set-up as shown in Figure 26.

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Figure 26
50. Turn the Buffer modules Gain control fully anticlockwise.

51. Without wearing the headphones, plug them into the


Buffer modules headphone socket.
52. Put the headphones on.
53. As

you

perform

the

next

step,

set

the

Buffer

modules Gain control to a comfortable sound level.

54. Talk, sing or hum while watching the scopes display


and listening on the headphones.
Virasit, Sa-ngaun (2015).

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******* Lab Report: Each group is required to submit one copy of report.**************

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