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Amplitude Modulation Reception

Amplitude Demodulation

Receiver Characteristics
Signal from antenna is very small
Amplification required but need with

Low-noise characteristics
Only accept desired carrier and sideband frequencies
Avoid interference from other stations
Minimize received noise

Sufficient amplification of a circuit to detect intelligence from RF signal

More detection and further amplification needed for power
That power to drive loudspeaker

Tuned Radio Frequency (TRF) Receiver

The most elementary receiver design, consisting of RF
amplifier stages, a detector, and audio amplifier stages

Two major characteristics of receiver:

1. Sensitivity
2. Selectivity

Sensitivity & Selectivity

Sensitivity: the minimum input RF signal to a receiver required to produce a specified
audio signal at output
Ability to drive the output transducer (e.g., speaker) to an acceptable level
Determined by provided gain and noise characteristics

Noise Floor: the baseline on a spectrum analyzer display, representing input noise of the
system under test
Input signal must be greater than the noise at the receivers input
This input noise is called Noise Floor
Easy to increase gain
Hard to get noise figure below certain level

Selectivity: the extent to which a receiver can differentiate between the desired signal
and other signal
Distinguish between wanted signal and noise

AM signal 15 kHz which generate upper and lower sideband extending 15 kHz above and below carrier
Total signal become 30 kHz that leads to selectivity should be 30 kHz
But, if 5 kHz is selected, upper and lower extend only 2.5 kHz above and below carrier
Thus, output not included full intelligence
If 50 kHz selected, unwanted from adjacent signal and external noise superheterodyne receiver for AM
In general, AM extend ~30 kHz 10 kHz bandwidth (no need high bandwidth due to talk show)
Provide audio output up to 5 kHz (good for human voice range)

TRF Selectivity
Consider AM broadcast band receiver that spans the frequency range from
550 to 1550 kHz.
To find, desire 10 kHz bandwidth (BW) and quality factor (Q) of 100
Q provide a measure of how selective (narrow) its passband is compared
to its center frequency fr

Example 3-1
A TRF receiver is to be designed with a single tuned circuit using a 10 H inductor
a) Calculate the capacitance range of the variable capacitor required to tune from
550 to 155o kHz
b) The ideal 10 kHz BW is to occur at 1100 kHz. Determine the required Q
c) Calculate the BW of this receiver at 550 kHz and 1550 kHz

AM Detection
Detection of amplitude-modulated
signal require non-linear device
Similar to AM generated by nonlinear device
Input to ideal nonlinear device

Carrier frequency
Upper sideband
Lower sideband
DC component

LPF suppressed unwanted and

Only low frequency intelligence
and DC component left
Average current curve in Fig (a)
Practical detector, square-law
curve in Fig (b)

Diode Detector
Simplest and effective detectors
Modulated carrier into the tuned circuit with LC1 (Fig-a)
Nearly ideal nonlinear characteristics in I-V curve (Fig-b)
Region of low current indicate small signal output of detector
Positive region show square-law
Negative region show rapid nonlinearity occurs

Wave shape of input to diode (Fig-c)

Diode operate only half-cycle. Remove negative half-cycle
Average output (Fig-e)
Output C2 is varying voltage that follow peak variation of
modulated carrier (Fig-f)

LPF made up of C2 and R removes carrier (radio frequency)

C2 charge rapidly to peak voltage through diode
Discharge slowly through R
R and C2 form
Short time constant at intelligence (audio) frequency
Long time constant at radio frequency

DC component produced by detector removed by C3

resulting AC voltage wave shape (Fig-g)
It is often called an envelope detector

Diode Detectors

Synchronous Detectors

1. Can handle relatively high power signal
Low distortion (under 1%)
2. No practical limit to the amplitude of input
Greater ability to follow fast
modulation waveform in
3. Acceptable for distortion levels
Pulse modulation
4. Distortion decrease as amplitude increase
High-fidelity application
5. Highly efficiently (~90%)
Ability to provide gain instead
6. Usable DC voltage for automatic gain control
of attenuation as in diode
1. Power is absorbed from turned circuit by
diode circuit
2. Reduce Q and selectivity of tuned input
Diode detector used in vast majority of AM detection
High fidelity is not important
3. No amplification occur in diode detector
Distortion level of several % can be tolerated easily

Diagonal Clipping
To obtain optimum efficiency in diode detector
Selection of component parts is important

Very important consideration is RC2 time constant

Particularly in pulse modulation

Carrier modulated by square pulse applied in diode

detector (Fig-b)
Produced wave form (Fig-c)
If RC2 time constant is too long compare to RF wave

Several cycles are required to charge C2 leading edge of

output pulse is slope (Fig-d)
After pulse passes by, the capacitor discharge slowly and
trailing edge is exponential rather than square, as
desired. It is called diagonal clipping.

Diagonal clipping effect from sine-wave intelligence

If RC2 time constant is too short compare to RF wave
Reduce average amplitude of pulse
Leaving sizable component of carrier frequency in the
output (Fig-f)

Synchronous Detector (Product or Heterodyne)

Product detector: oscillator,
mixer, and Low-Pass Filter stage
used to obtain the intelligence
from AM signal
Imagine receiving transmission at
900 kHz containing 1 kHz tone
Carrier at 900 kHz
Upper sideband at 901 kHz
Lower sideband at 899 kHz

AM waveform

Mixed with internally generated

900 kHz sine wave
Through nonlinear device
Resulting difference frequency 1
kHz (intelligence)

LPF filtered higher sum


Simulation of Synchronous Detector

AM signal feeds

Y input to the mixer A1

Through high-gain limiter stage A2
Limiter limit amplitude variation
Leaving 900 kHz carrier signal

Mixer output
Sum and difference in two input frequencies on X
and Y input

Sum is twice the AM carrier frequency plus 1

kHz component
Difference is intelligence (1 kHz)
L1, R1, C1 form LPF with cutoff frequency 1
kHz to filter higher than 1 kHz
Display only 1 kHz at output

Superheterodyne Receivers
1st stage is RF amplifier
2nd stage is mixer which accepts two inputs

Output of 1st stage

Output of local oscillator (LO)
Mixer utilized sum and difference frequencies
Output show AM signal with carrier frequency
regardless of transmitter frequency

3rd stage is intermediate frequency (IF) amplifier

Provide RF signal amplification at fixed frequency

Allow constant bandwidth (BW) over entire band of
Key of superior selectivity of superheterodyne
IF frequency is usually lower than RF voltage gain
of signal more easily attained at IF

4th stage is detector to extract intelligence from

radio signal
5th stage is amplifier to amplify audio signal for

Frequency Conversion Process

Mixer perform frequency conversion process
Lets consider, AM signal into mixer

At 1000 kHz carrier that modulated by 1 kHz sine wave

Produce side frequencies at 999 kHz and 1001 kHz
LO input 1455 kHz sine wave

Mixer generates

Frequencies at 999, 1000, 1001 kHz

Sum and difference components: 1455
(999,1000,1001 )

Output at 2454, 2455, 2456, 454, 455, 456 kHz

Harmonic of all frequencies generated by mixer

IF amplifier (tuned circuit) accept only near 455 kHz

In this case, 454,455,456 kHz

Mixer maintain same AM input amplitude at 999,1000,1001 kHz

That signal passing IF is replica of original AM signal

Only difference after IF is carrier frequency at 455 kHz

Its envelop is identical to that of original AM signal

Therefore, frequency conversion or translation

Frequency translated the carrier from 1000 kHz to 455 kHz

Frequency intermediate to original carrier and intelligence frequency

Thats why, it is called intermediate frequency amplifier or IF


Sometime mixer is referred to first detector

Superheterodyne Tuning

Tracking consideration
Occur when RF amplifier and mixer tuned circuit are exactly together and
LO is above these two by amount exactly equal to IF frequency
Tracking requirements
Trimmer: small variable capacitance in parallel with each section of ganged capacitor
Padder capacitor: small capacitor in series with each ganged tuning capacitor in a superheterodyne
receiver to provide near-perfect tracking at low end of tuning range
Final adjustment made by mid-frequency by slight adjustment of inductance
Varactor/Varicap/VVC diode: having small internal capacitance that varies as a function of their reverse
bias voltage

Varactor diode symbols and C/V curve

Amount of capacitance exhibited
by reverse-biased silicon diode, Cd


C0 = diode capacitance at zero bias

VR = diode reverse bias voltage

Broadcast-band AM receiver front end with electronic tuning.

Q1 perform dual function of
mixer and local oscillator (LO)
D1 varactor diode provide
variable capacitance to tune
radio signal from antenna
D2 allows variable LO frequency
-1 to -12 V supply from tuning
Provide necessary variable
reverse voltage for both varactor

Superheterodyne Analysis
Image frequency situation

Consider receiver tuned to receive 20

MHz station that use 1 MHz IF
LO in this case at 21 MHz to generate 1
MHz at mixer output

If undesired station at 22 MHz also on

the air
It is possible to get into mixer even
though mixer tuned at 20 MHz
When 22 MHz feds into mixer, it mixed
with 21 MHz LO signal
Produced 22 21 = 1 MHz which is IF

Effect signal

Undesired station interference with

desired station
Completely overridden the desired

Image frequency: Undesired input frequency in

superheterodyne receiver that produces the
same intermediate frequency as the desired
input signal

Image Frequency Rejection

Double conversion is employed to solve the image frequency problem

Double conversion: superheterodyne receiver design that has two separate
mixers, local oscillators, and intermediate frequencies to avoid image
frequency problems

Example 3-2
Determine the image frequency for a standard broadcast band
receiver using a 455 kHz IF and tuned to a station at 620 kHz.

RF Amplifiers
Major benefits of using RF amplifiers

Enhanced image frequency rejection

Higher gain
Better sensitivity
Improved noise characteristics

Generally FET usage in RF amplifers

High input impedance does not load
down the Q of tuned circuit
Good selectivity
Dual-gate FET provide isolated injection
point for Automatic Gain Control (AGC)
Input/Output square-law allows for
lower distortion levels

Cross-modulation (distortion):
distortion that results from undesired
mixer output

Dual-gate MOSFET RF amplifier.

Mixer / LO
Frequency conversion done by mixer/LO
All make use of devices nonlinearity to
generate sum and difference frequencies
between RF and LO signals
Single diode provide nonlinearity for
generating sum and difference frequencies
Self-Excited Mixer: single stage in a
superheterodyne receiver that creates the LO
signal and mixes it with applied RF signal to
form IF signal (Fig-b)
Widely used IC mixer Philips SA602A
(NE602) IC contains transistorized mixer and
npn transistor that generated the local
oscillator signal based on frequency-selective
components (Fig-c)

IF Amplifiers

IF amplifier provide receivers gain

That gain influence on its sensitivity and selectivity

Automatic Gain Control (AGC)

Without AGC, receiver will useless
AGC systems obtain the AGC level just
following the detector
Output from diode detector with no filtering
Addition of filter provided two different
envelop levels while filtering out high
frequency content (Fig-b)
Longer time constant filter actually filtered
output into a dc level (Fig-c)

Controlling Transistor Gain

Variable dc AGC level can be used to control the gain of a common emitter (CE) transistor amplifier stage.

IF / AGC Amplifiers

IF/AGC operates wide input J1 of 82 dB

Two transistor (Q1 and Q2) use as peak detector

Q2 function as temperature-dependent current source

Q1 as half-wave detector
Q2 biased for collector current of 300 A at 27C with 1A/C temperature

Capacitor current (CAV) is difference in Q1 and Q2 collector currents

which proportional to output signal at J2

AGC voltage (VAGC) is time integral of difference current

The gain of A1 and A2 is 41 dB maximum for total possible 82 dB gain

Full range of gain from VAGC = 5 V (0 dB) to VAGC = 7 V (82 dB)

Approximately linear relationship VAGC = 6 V (41 dB) [

Bandwidth 40 MHz allows IF operation at 455 kHz, 10.7 MHz, 21.4 MHz

At 10.7 MHz

AGC threshold = 100 V rms (-67 dBm)

Output =1.4 V rms (3.9 V p-p)
Corresponding gain of 83 dB 20




82 = 41]

= 82.9226

Output hold steady at 1.4 V rms for input from -67 dBm to as high as
+15 dBm giving 83 dB AGC range

Note that input signal above +15 dBm overdrive the device

Undesired harmonic output typically at least 34 dB down from


AM receiver Systems

AM broadcast superheterodyne receiver

Linear Integrated Circuit (LIC) AM Receiver

TDA1572T AM receiver
(Courtesy of Philips

Complete function of superheterodyne AM receiver can be accomplished with LIC

AM Stereo

C-Quam receiver system. (Courtesy of Motorola, Inc.)

AM stereo block diagram

Receiver Analysis
Consider power gain or attenuation of various receiver stages in terms of
decibels related to reference power level
Widely used reference = 1 mW (dBm) and 1 W (dBW)

= 10 log10 1

= 10 log10 1

dBm or dBW is actual amount of power

dB is ratio of power

Example 3-3
Consider the radio receiver
shown in figure. The antenna
receive an 8 V signal into
its 50 input impedance.
Calculate the input power in
Watts, dbm, and dbW.
Calculate the power driven
into the speaker.

Analyze and troubleshoot AM mixer circuit (Autodyne circuit)

Combination of mixer and Local Oscillator (LO) in single stage

Very important part in AM reception

Received RF signal fed into base of Q1 from coils L1 and L2

Input AM signal selected by tuning C1

LO stage comprise of L3,L4, adjusted C4
LO frequency change to maintain difference frequency of 455 kHz
above received AM signal
Feedback capacitor C3 send portion of LO signal from a tap L4 to
emitter Q1

Received RF signal and LO signal mixed in Q1 to produce IF that

send to L5

All frequencies except 455 kHz IF signal filtered by tuned circuit L5

and C5
R1 and R2 form voltage divider network to bias transmitters baseemitter
R3 acts as dc stabilizer for emitter circuit
C2 decoupling capacitor to keep IF frequency from being fed back
to Q1 base
Q1 collector dc voltage is supply by R4

Any IF signal present at Q1 base shorted to ground

Symptoms and likely causes

No/poor AM RF signal or dead LO

Stations fade in and out or no reception or no stations

Used DMM to check power converter and voltage for each


Signal Injection: troubleshooting by injecting input signal and

tracing through the circuit to locate the failed component

Troubleshooting with Multisim

AM source with carrier=100 kHz,
intelligence=1 kHz, m=50%
Channel A connected to AM source
Channel B connected to detector
Slightly carrier noise on recovered 1
To remove noise adjust C1 and