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Capture effect

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In telecommunication, the capture effect, or FM capture effect, is a phenomenon associated
with FM reception in which only the stronger of two signals at, or near, the same frequency will
be demodulated.
The capture effect is defined as the complete suppression of the weaker signal at the receiver
limiter (if it has one) where the weaker signal is not amplified, but attenuated. When both signals
are nearly equal in strength, or are fading independently, the receiver may switch from one to the
other and exhibit picket fencing.
The capture effect can occur at the signal limiter, or in the demodulation stage, for circuits that
do not require a signal limiter.[citation needed] Some types of radio receiver circuits have a stronger
capture effect than others. The measurement of how well a receiver can reject a second signal on
the same frequency is called the capture ratio for a specific receiver. It is measured as the lowest
ratio of the power of two signals that will result in the suppression of the smaller signal.
Amplitude modulation, or AM radio, transmission is not subject to this effect. This is one reason
that the aviation industry, and others, have chosen to use AM for communications rather than
FM, allowing multiple signals to be broadcast on the same channel. Similar phenomena to the
capture effect are described in AM when offset carriers of different strengths are present in the
passband of a receiver. For example, the aviation glideslope vertical guidance clearance beam is
sometimes described as a "capture effect" system, even though it operates using AM signals.
[citation needed]

[edit] Amplitude modulation immunity to capture effect

In FM demodulation the receiver tracks the modulated frequency shift of the desired carrier
while discriminating against any other signal since it can only follow the deviation of one signal
at a time. In AM modulation the receiver tracks the signal strength of the AM signal as the basis
for demodulation. This allows any other signal to be tracked as just another change in amplitude.
So it is possible for an AM receiver to demodulate several carriers at the same time, resulting in
an audio mix. If the signals are close but not exactly on the same frequency the mix will not only
include the audio from both carriers but depending on the carrier separation a whistle might be
heard as well representing the difference in the carrier frequencies. This mix can also occur from
an AM carrier being received on a channel that is adjacent to the desired channel in the form of
overlap. This results in the high pitched whistle (about 10 Kilohertz) that can often be heard
behind an AM station at night when other carriers from adjacent channels are traveling long
distances due to atmospheric bounce. Since AM is looking for changes in short term amplitude to
provide intelligence, any electrical impulse will be picked up and demodulated along with the
desired carrier. Hence lightning causes crashing noises when picked up by a AM radio near a
storm. FM radios suppress short term changes in amplitude and are therefore much less prone to
noise during storms and during reception of electrical noise impulses.
For digital modulation schemes it has been shown that for properly implemented on-off
keying/amplitude-shift keying systems, co-channel rejection can be better than for frequency-
shift keying systems.
[edit] Notes
• This article incorporates public domain material from the General Services
Administration document "Federal Standard 1037C" (in support of MIL-STD-188).
[edit] References

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from January 2010 | Wikipedia articles incorporating text from the Federal Standard 1037C |
Wikipedia articles incorporating text from MIL-STD-188
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