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  • pg 1
									                                  TECHNICAL FEATURE
                AVE JOU





               OR             A
                    IAL B O

                                  A 2.45 GHZ LOW COST,
                                  HIGH PERFORMANCE VCO
                                  This article addresses performance and cost issues associated with
                                  voltage-controlled oscillator design. Although the example design is application
                                  specific, the methods demonstrated apply to microwave oscillator design in
                                  general. CAE and on-the-bench techniques are used for a comprehensive
                                  approach to the designing of microwave oscillators.

                                          ngineers are under constant pressure to   band phase noise can be considered using this
                                          reduce the cost of microwave designs      equation:
                                          without sacrificing their performance.
                                  At 100 K volumes, oscillators can be produced                                             2    
                                                                                                                 1  F 
                                  at a fraction of the cost when compared to         PM   (           )
                                                                                             dBc / Hz = 10 log   
                                                                                                                2   2Qfm  + 1
                                  that of small-quantity purchased oscillators.                                                  
                                  This article presents a design procedure along                               
                                  with a practical example. An attempt is made                 C        NkT   2kTR v K 2 
                                                                                              •    + 1 •       +             
                                  to clarify some of the concerns associated with               fm   P              fm 2
                                  low cost, high performance microwave oscilla-
                                  tor design. Performance considerations in-
                                  clude low phase noise, linear monotonic tun-
                                  ing, low harmonic emissions and adequate          k    =    Boltzmann’s constant
                                  output power.                                     T    =    temperature in Kelvin
                                                                                    F    =    frequency of oscillation
                              INITIAL TOPOLOGY SELECTION                            fm   =    offset frequency
                                 All oscillator circuits require a gain block       Q    =    loaded Q
                              and a feedback method. The topology used              P    =    RF power at amplifier input
                              here is based on the Barkhausen criteria for          N    =    noise factor
                              oscillation. Figure 1 shows that the design re-       C    =    flicker noise corner frequency
                              quires a network to provide the gain, a fre-          Rv   =    tuning diode noise resistance
                              quency selection network (resonator) and              Kv   =    tuning gain (MHz/V)
Fig. 1 A basic oscillator     enough phase lag so that the overall phase for
                                                                                    (The equation has been modified to include the
configuration. w              the loop is equal to 2π radians. A small-signal
                                                                                    effects of varactor tuning.) Practical reduction
                                              scattering parameter approach
                                                                                    of the oscillator’s noise sidebands is addressed
                          GAIN                is used to evaluate the design.
                          BLOCK                                                     by increasing the loaded Q and signal-to-noise
                                              This method enables the use of
           LAG                                                                      ratio (SNR) and decreasing both the flicker
        NETWORK                               a network analyzer for the
                                                                                    and varactor modulation noise contributions.
                                              bench evaluation.
                                                 Before proceeding with the
               RESONATOR                      design, Lesson’s equation for
                                              single-sideband phase noise           JIM CARLINI
                                                PM is examined. The various         Detection Systems
                                              factors concerning single-side-       Fairport, NY
                                                         TECHNICAL FEATURE
                                          P1                            P2                                 P3            4 shows the circuits used in the simula-
                                                                                                                         tion. As the ESR of the capacitors used
                                                                                                                         in the tank increases, the overall Q of
                                                                                                                         the tank will decrease. As the tank’s un-
                                                                                                                         loaded Q is reduced, its 3 dB band-
                                                                                                                         width increases. This characteristic is
     2.558 pF                                  1.65 nH    1.279 pF           3.3 nH      0.64 pF                6.6 nH   shown in Figure 5 using single-port Z
                                                                                                                         parameters. The 0.707 point of the Z
                                                                                                                         parameter’s magnitude response repre-
                                                                                                                         sents the tank circuit’s 3 dB bandwidth.
                                                                                                                         Note how the band edges move out in
v Fig. 2                        Three 2.45 GHz tank circuits used in the simulation.                                     frequency as the capacitor’s ESR in-
                                                                                                                         creases from 0.2 to 0.8 Ω.
                                                                         2.558 pF tank circuit produces a
                                  1.65 nH 2.558 pF TANK                rapid change in the reflection phase on         RESONATOR DECOUPLING
                                  3.30 nH 1.279 pF TANK                either side of the resonant frequency,
                                  6.60 nH 0.640 pF TANK                                                                   The resonator is now evaluated as a
                                                                         making it the best L/C combination for
                                                                                                                         two-port network. Decoupling ele-
                         150                                             the proposed resonator.
                                                                                                                         ments are used to improve the res-
                                                                             A novel design approach was taken

                         100                                                                                             onator’s loaded Q. This configuration
                                                                         that uses a Coilcraft microspring air-
                                                                                                                         provides valuable insight concerning
                          50                                             core coil. (This coil is available at great-
                                                                                                                         the design of the intended oscillator.
                                                                         ly reduced cost when compared to that
                            0                                                                                            One method used to study the loaded
                                                                         of a typical distributed ceramic or
                          −50                                                                                            Q for a two-port network is to evaluate
                                                                         Teflon resonator.) It was estimated that
                                                                                                                         the rate of change in the phase slope,
                         −100                                            the 1.65 nH coil could maintain a Q of
                                                                                                                         which can be expressed as dφ/dω or
                                                                         at least 180 at 2.5 GHz. This Q value
                         −150                                                                                            group delay GD. The group delay dif-
                            1.0     1.5   2.0 2.5   3.0        3.5       was determined to be high enough for
                                                                                                                         ferentiation process eliminates the lin-
                                      FREQUENCY (GHz)                    the intended resonator design. The air-
                                                                                                                         ear portion of the phase response and
                                                                         core inductor is a primary component
v Fig. 3   Simulation results for the three
                                                                         in lower frequency RF oscillator de-
                                                                                                                         transforms the deviations from linear
tank circuits.                                                                                                           phase into deviations from constant
                                                                         signs. The problem at microwave fre-
RESONATOR DESIGN                                                                                                         group delay. It can be shown that the
                                                                         quencies is that the inductor Q de-
                                                                                                                         loaded Q is related to the group delay
   The unloaded Q of the resonator ul-                                   grades with frequency, particularly as
                                                                                                                         by Qloaded = πfoGD. Group delay is the
timately limits the oscillator’s loaded Q.                               the coil approaches its self-resonant           rate of change in the phase of the for-
The relationship between the loaded Q                                    frequency (SRF). The SRF for the 1.65           ward transmission coefficient vs. fre-
and noise sidebands can be written as                                    nH inductor is greater than 10 GHz,             quency. The nice thing about using
–10log(Q loaded ) 2 . This relationship                                  thus eliminating this concern.                  group delay as a figure of merit in res-
holds true until the ratio of the loaded                                     Care must be used in the selection          onator design is that it can be evaluated
Q to unloaded Q exceeds 2/3. To                                          of the tank circuit’s capacitive element.       with a simulator such as Microwave
achieve a high unloaded Q the design                                     As the capacitor’s reactance is reduced,        Harmonica and also measured on the
must maintain the lowest possible se-                                    its potential to reduce the unloaded Q          bench with a network analyzer. Note
ries resistance and achieve the lowest                                   of the intrinsic tank resonator is in-          that the end coupling capacitors used
possible L/C ratio for the components                                    creased. A new line of high Q RF ca-            increase the capacitive loading on the
used in the tank. A fast change in the                                   pacitors made by American Technical             tank resonator. This effect requires the
reflection phase on either side of the                                   Ceramics was investigated. It was de-           capacitor(s) in the tank circuit to be
resonant frequency indicates a high                                      termined that these RF capacitors dis-
unloaded Q. Figure 2 shows three                                         played an equivalent series resistance                                           ESR = 0.2 Ω
2.45 GHz tanks used in the simulation.                                   (ESR) similar to that of most mi-                                                ESR = 0.5 Ω
The simulation results shown in Fig-                                     crowave capacitors at 2.5 GHz but with                                           ESR = 0.8 Ω
ure 3 clearly indicate that the 1.65 nH                                  a substantial reduction in cost. Figure                              4
                                                                                                                           Z MAGNITUDE (kΩ)

                                      P1                                P2                            P3

                                                                                                                                                                      3 dB BW

                                                                                                                                              1        3 dB BW
 2.558 pF                                  1.65 nH        2.558 pF           1.65 nH   2.558 pF             1.65 nH
                                                                                                                                                                 3 dB BW
                                  0.2 Ω                              0.5 Ω                         0.8 Ω                                      0
                                                                                                                                              2.30   2.35 2.40 2.45 2.50        2.55
                                                                                                                                                         FREQUENCY (GHz)
                                                                                                                         v Fig. 5   Effects of the capacitor’s ESR
v Fig. 4                        Tank circuits used for the Z-magnitude simulation.                                       on the tank circuit’s Q.
                                 TECHNICAL FEATURE
                         P1                                   P3                           It was decided to use the simple
                                                                                        biasing network shown previously to
                                                                                        reduce circuit complexity and cost. A
                0.2 pF                               0.4 pF                             DC bias current of approximately 10
            2.0709 pF                         1.72989 pF                                mA was used to determine a balance
                              1.65 nH                              1.65 nH              for the various noise-related bias con-
                                                                                        cerns. In addition, S-parameter data
                0.2 pF                               0.4 pF                             with 10 mA bias are available from
                                                                                        the manufacturer for the entire 6X6
                                                                                        family of transistors.
                         P2                                   P4
v Fig. 6   The decoupled resonators.                                                    SUBSTRATE CONSIDERATIONS
                                                                                           Since the design frequency is 2.45
tweaked in order to re-center the res-       gain at the desired frequency. A resis-    GHz, the PCB material is a significant
onator’s center frequency.                   tor in the DC biasing network also         consideration. In this application it is
   To examine the trade-offs concern-        can be used for the prevention of          considered preferable that the utilized
ing insertion loss and loaded Q, a           spurious moding. This goal is accom-
swept display of several decoupled           plished using a 51 Ω resistor. Figure                                          0.2 pF DECOUPLING
resonators is shown. Different degrees       8 shows the intended gain block.                                               0.4 pF DECOUPLING
of decoupling were used, as shown in             The required biasing current has a                            5
Figure 6. The 1.65 nH inductor is            strong effect on the oscillator’s close-
held constant while the tank’s capaci-       in noise performance. As the bias                                 4

                                                                                         GROUP DELAY (ns)
tor is adjusted to center the frequency      current is increased, the close-in
at 2.5 GHz. The simulation results           phase noise that results from the de-                             3
shown in Figure 7 clearly display the        vice transposing low frequency base-
increase in both group delay and in-         band noise is degraded. This low fre-                             2
sertion loss as the amount of decou-         quency AM and PM noise is convert-
pling is increased. The degree of de-        ed into frequency fluctuations at the                             1
coupling used in the final oscillator is a   carrier by a nonlinear mixing process.
trade-off between the goals of ade-          This type of noise is referred to as 1/f                          0
                                                                                                               2.0        2.2   2.4  2.6     2.8       3.0
quate start-up gain and maintaining          noise. In addition, as the bias current                                         FREQUENCY (GHz)
the resonator’s loaded Q.                    is increased the device’s noise figure
                                             also increases, further degrading the                             0
GAIN BLOCK DESIGN                            oscillator’s noise performance. This
    Often a discrete transistor can pro-     result is due to a decrease in the os-
                                                                                         INSERTION LOSS (dB)

vide a much more cost-effective solu-        cillator’s SNR. Contrasting the goals                             −2
tion than a MMIC. Although a little          of minimizing the transistor’s bias
more work is involved in designing an        current to reduce noise is the fact
oscillator using a discrete solution, it     that the signal portion of the oscilla-                           −4
is well worth it if low cost is a primary    tor’s SNR is improved with increased
design concern. It is also advisable         bias current. This effect occurs be-
(although not necessary) to use a de-        cause the absolute value for the noise                            −6
                                                                                                                2.44 2.46 2.48 2.50 2.52 2.54 2.56
vice that presents a reasonable de-          sidebands does not vary with the sig-                                       FREQUENCY (GHz)
gree of match at the intended fre-           nal level produced by the oscillator. It    (b)
quency of oscillation. The device’s          has been noted that both noise figure
close match helps to ease the oscilla-       and low frequency 1/f noise (flicker
                                                                                        v Fig. 7    Decoupled resonator
                                                                                        performance; (a) group delay and
tor’s gain requirements.                     noise) are not affected significantly      (b) insertion loss.
    A network that can provide for           by an increase in the bias voltage.
good spurious suppression should                 After evaluating cost and perfor-                                  +5 V DC
surround the transistor and usually          mance for various families of transis-                                              150 Ω        100 pF
produces unconditional stability at          tors, an NE6X6-type device was cho-
low RF frequencies. At lower fre-            sen. These transistors are reasonably                                                           51 Ω
quencies, simple resistor biasing can        priced, and data from the manufac-                                3.9 pF             22 kΩ
be used to accomplish this goal. As          turer show that the NE6X6 devices                                           20 Ω
the frequency increases, it is advis-        have both low noise figure and low
able to use choke biasing networks in        1/f noise characteristics. The transis-                                            INDUCTORS
order to avoid degrading the gain of         tor’s VCEO (collector to emitter break-                                                                OUT
the transistor any more than need be.        down voltage with the base held                                        IN                        ICE ≈ 10 mA
A useful method for preventing mod-          open) is 6 V DC. With V CE set to
ing is to use resistive loading at out-      3 V, there is ample margin for peak-
of-band frequencies. This configura-         to-peak variations in the steady-state
tion is used so as not to degrade the        signal.                                    v Fig. 8                         The gain block’s schematic.
                                                      TECHNICAL FEATURE
material be very inexpensive and pro-                                                               produced in order to enable a two-          noise performance.) The goals for the
vide a well-controlled dielectric con-                                                              port analysis technique to be used. It      initial simulation stage of the oscilla-
stant. This characteristic is required                                                              is best to make the break at a point in     tor design have been achieved.
because the printed portion of the cir-                                                             the circuit where a reasonable degree
cuit is used to control the amount of                                                               of match exists. The goal is to adjust      TUNING CONSIDERATIONS
phase lag between the transistor and                                                                the decoupling capacitors C2 and C3             Tuning of the oscillator’s center
resonator. Since the printed portion of                                                             to allow enough gain for the start-up       frequency is accomplished by using a
the circuit exhibits only a relatively                                                              condition while minimizing the degra-       varactor tuning diode. Since the cost
minimal effect on the resonator’s                                                                   dation to the loaded Q. The desired         of the components becomes a critical
loaded Q and loop gain, the attenua-                                                                gain margin for the open loop in this       concern the tolerance used is often
tion resulting from the substrate’s di-                                                             design is between 3 and 4 dB. A mini-       not as tight as that of more extensive
electric losses was not considered over-                                                            mum of 3 dB is suggested for ade-           components. As an example, a 0.2 pF
ly critical. After evaluating several op-                                                           quate start-up gain. The 4 dB maxi-         capacitor nearly doubles in price as
tions, including various sources of FR4                                                             mum is recommended to prevent the           the component tolerance is increased
material, it was decided to use a low                                                               transistor from hard limiting any more      from ±0.1 to ±0.05 pF. It is advisable
cost material available from GIL Tech-                                                              than necessary. As the transistor is dri-   to allow for deviation in the center
nologies with a dielectric constant of                                                              ven harder into limiting, it will tend to   frequency as a result of component
3.86 ±0.08. In addition, the substrate                                                              increase the production of undesired        variations when evaluating tuning op-
material is available for approximately                                                             harmonics. Reducing the loop gain           tions. This design is intended for use
the same price as FR4.                                                                              also helps reduce the change in the         in security sensor applications and is
                                                                                                    transmission phase during the oscilla-      required to tune from 2.435 to 2.465
THE FINAL CONFIGURATION                                                                             tor’s transition from small-signal to       GHz. The oscillator’s tuning band-
   Having chosen the topology, a lin-                                                               large-signal conditions.                    width must extend far enough on ei-
ear simulation was performed. This                                                                      It is critical for the transmission     ther side of these band edges to ac-
procedure allows for precise adjust-                                                                phase to be 0° at the peak of the res-      count for all of the component toler-
ments in the phase for the intended                                                                 onator magnitude response. It has           ance variations. This concern must be
design. A 2 pF capacitor located at                                                                 been shown that degradation in the          juggled with the fact that the tuning
the collector is used to couple the sig-                                                            resulting noise sidebands due to            diode’s noise contribution is magni-
nal to the 50 Ω load. The initial                                                                   nonoptimal transmission phase is re-        fied as its tuning gain is increased.
schematic for the oscillator is shown                                                               lated by 40log(cos θ).8 The microstrip      The tuning gain is simply df/dV. The
in Figure 9. A break in the circuit is                                                              transmission lines are used to adjust       tuning diode is decoupled to reduce
                                                                                                                        transmission phase.     its tuning gain by using a capacitive
                                                                                                                        After simulating the    series combination in the resonator
                                                          NE696M01                                           2 pF       intended oscillator     tank circuit. One of these capacitors
                                                         BIAS                                                           design with various     is the tuning diode.
                                                      3 V, 10 mA                                                        transistors from the        The tuning diode’s effect on the
                                                                                                              50 Ω      NE6X6 family it         oscillator’s phase noise performance
                                       0.3 Ω
                                                                                                                        was determined          can vary greatly depending on the
                                C2                                                                  PORT 2
                                       0.1 pF                                                                           that the model          type of tuning diode used, its tuning
                       0.3 Ω
                                                       Q = 220                                            PORT 1
                                                                                                                        NE696M01 device         gain and its Q. The modulation noise
                                       1.65 nH
                             2.26 pF                  AT 2.5 GHz                                                        would produce the       produced by the tuning diode is
                                       0.3 Ω
                                                                                                                        required start-up       summed with the noise sidebands of
                                       0.2 pF                                                                           gain. The ft for the    the oscillator and can degrade the os-
                                                                                                                        NE696M01 transis-       cillator’s phase noise performance.
                                                                                                                        tor is 14 GHz with a    Much of this noise is due to the mod-
                                                                                                                        3 V, 10 mA bias.        ulation of the tuning diode junction
v Fig. 9                      The initial oscillator schematic.
                                                                                                                        This ft is somewhat     capacitance by baseband noise. Re-
                                                                                                    higher than desired for a 2.45 GHz          ducing the baseband biasing resis-
                                                                                                    oscillator and is typical of the type of    tance helps to reduce varactor modu-
                         5                             150                   6                      trade-offs involved in oscillator de-       lation noise. In this design the varac-
                                                                                                    sign. The simulation of the intended        tor biasing resistor is only 200 Ω. In

                                                                                 GROUP DELAY (ns)

                                                       100                   5
                         0                                                                          oscillation is shown in Figure 10. A        addition, using a varactor with a less
                                                             S21 PHASE (°)

                                                        50                   4                      50 Ω, 0.61 λ length of microstrip is        abrupt tuning curve reduces the tun-
                        −5                               0                   3                      used to bring the transmission phase        ing diode’s nonlinearity. However, as
                                                       −50                   2                      to 0° at 2.45 GHz. The gain response        the tuning curve becomes less
                       −10                                                                          is peaked at 2.45 GHz. A gain of 2.63       abrupt, tuning linearity may be sacri-
                                                      −100                   1
                                                                                                    dB is a bit low but considered enough       ficed. Furthermore, the tuning
                       −15                     −150                          0
                         2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7                                                    for start-up concerns. The simulator        diode’s series resistance degrades the
                            FREQUENCY (GHz)                                                         shows that the group delay is 4.67 ns.      oscillator’s loaded Q. It is suggested
                                                                                                    The loaded Q for the small-signal           that samples of various tuning diodes
                                                                                                    simulation is approximately 36. (This       be evaluated on the test bench prior
v Fig. 10                      The open-loop simulation.                                            Q value shows the potential for low         to final selection.
                                              TECHNICAL FEATURE
                                                                                                                  100 pF
                                                  100 Ω                                                                                                  −20
                                       +5 V

                                                                                                                                    PHASE NOISE (dBc)
                                                              0.1 µF                                            51 Ω                                     −40
                                                                         CHOKE                   22 k Ω
                                                                                             20 Ω
           −Vtune                                                                            3.9 pF             MICROSTRIP                              −100

   1 nF              200 Ω                                                                     NE696M01                                                    −50                0                 50
                                                                                                                   2 pF
                                                                                                                                                                     FREQUENCY OFFSET (kHz)
                                                                                                                       50 Ω
                     27 nH                           0.3 nH                                                            LOAD       v Fig. 14   The oscillator’s phase noise
                                                     0.1 pF                                                                       at 2.45 GHz in a 1 kHz RBW with 20 dB
                                                                                                                                  input attenuation.
                                                    0.3 Ω
                                   0.8 pF                                                                   2
                                                                1.65 nH                                                                                   0
                                                                Q = 200
                               0.3 Ω     0.3 nH

                                                                                                                                    AMPLITUDE (dB)
                                                     0.3 nH
                                                     0.2 pF                                                                                             −40
                                                     0.3 Ω
                      0.7 pH
                     2.7 pF                                                                                                                             −80
                     1.0 Ω                                                                                                                         −100
                                                                                                                                                       0             2.6   5.2 7.8 10.4       13.0
                                                                                                                                                                       FREQUENCY (GHz)
v Fig. 11              The final schematic.
                                                                                                                                  v Fig. 15                     The oscillator’s harmonics.
                                                                       INPUT RETURN

                                                                                         0                                        Fig. 16 The oscillator’s output frequency vs.
   LOSS (dB)

                                                                         LOSS (dB)

                 0                                                                      −5                                        tuning voltage. w
               −10                                                                     −15
               −20                                                                     −20                                                              2.54

                                                                                                                                    FREQUENCY (GHz)
                2.21             2.45                  2.69                             2.21             2.45              2.69                         2.50
                           FREQUENCY (GHz)                                                          FREQUENCY (GHz)                                     2.46
 (a)                                                                   (a)
                                                                       OUTPUT RETURN

  DELAY (ns)

                                                                                         0                                                              2.38

                                                                         LOSS (dB)

               2                                                                        −6                                                              2.34
               1                                                                        −9                                                                  0    1    2 3 4 5 6 7 8           9 10
               0                                                                       −12                                                                            TUNING VOLTAGE (V)
               2.21             2.45                   2.69                             2.21             2.45              2.69
                           FREQUENCY (GHz)                                                          FREQUENCY (GHz)               and justifies the resonator selection.
                                                                                                                                      After evaluation of the oscillator
v Fig. 12   The oscillator’s (a) insertion loss                   v Fig. 13   The oscillator’s (a) input                          with the network analyzer, the closed-
and (b) group delay.                                              and (b) output return losses.
                                                                                                                                  loop analysis is performed and the
THE FINAL PROTOTYPE                                               minimum by varying the VNA’s                                    complete circuit is assembled. The
   The final schematic is shown in                                smoothing aperture. In this way the                             output power and phase noise were
Figure 11. The rest of the microstrip                             best possible display of group delay is                         measured. Figure 14 shows the
has been added, and provisions for                                obtained. A display of the oscillator                           phase noise to be –95 dBc at 10 kHz
the tuning diode have been made.                                  group delay and insertion loss is                               offset using a 1 kHz resolution band-
The phase has been tweaked to adjust                              shown in Figure 12. The magnitude                               width. This noise level is considered
for various distributed discontinuities                           of both transmission responses is                               more than adequate for most com-
and parasitic reactances. Low induc-                              peaked at the intended frequency of                             munication receiver applications. The
tance microwave grounding is main-                                oscillation. The input and output re-                           output power is 5.2 dBm at 2.45
tained by using 31-mil-diameter vias                              turn loss of the resonator is shown in                          GHz, which is a respectable signal
to decouple all lumped components.                                Figure 13. The low reflections mea-                             level. The resulting RF-to-DC effi-
   Having established a promising                                 sured at the resonant frequency vali-                           ciency is greater than nine percent.
design with the simulator, the proto-                             date the VNA analysis technique.                                The VCO’s harmonics are shown in
type VCO was constructed. An HP                                   Having analyzed the group delay, the                            Figure 15. It is apparent by the fact
8720B vector network analyzer                                     actual loaded Q is determined to be                             that the second harmonic is down by
(VNA) was used to evaluate the open-                              26. This value is 25 percent lower                              approximately 20 dB that the emis-
loop oscillator. The number of test                               than the original simulated value and                           sion’s performance is quite satisfacto-
frequency points determines the min-                              is attributed to slightly tighter cou-                          ry. By varying the tuning voltage be-
imum resolution when recording                                    pling in the actual circuit. However, a                         tween 3.3 and 5.9 V the frequency
group delay data on the VNA. This                                 loaded Q of 26 is considered re-                                changed linearly from 2.41 to 2.49
resolution is then increased from                                 spectable for such a low cost design                            GHz. Figure 16 shows the output
                          TECHNICAL FEATURE
frequency vs. applied tuning voltage.     optimization was to the tuning diode             3. George Vendilin, Anthony M. Pavio and
Across this tuning span the output        used. A practical microwave oscillator              Uldrich L. Rohde, Microwave Circuit De-
                                                                                              sign Using Linear and Nonlinear Tech-
power varied by only 1.3 dB and vari-     design has been demonstrated.                       niques, John Wiley and Sons, 1990.
ations in phase noise were measured                                                        4. Application Note AN1026, 1/f Noise Char-
to be less than 2 dB. Tuning was ac-      ACKNOWLEDGMENT                                      acteristics Influencing Phase Noise, Cali-
complished using a low cost                  Thanks go to Walter Budziak and                  fornia Eastern Labs.
                                                                                           5. Vector Measurements of High Frequency
SMV1234-079 tuning diode from Al-         Steve Carlini for help in reviewing                 Networks, Hewlett-Packard, April 1989.
pha Industries. A second oscillator       this article, and to Jayanti Venkatara-          6. Jeremy K.A. Everard, “Low Noise Oscilla-
was built and tested in order to verify   man at the Rochester Institute of                   tors,” IEEE Transactions on Microwave The-
the design. (The test results were        Technology for the use of the mi-                   ory and Techniques, 1992, pp. 1077–1080.
nearly identical.) Using typical high     crowave laboratory. Thanks also go to            7. M.J. Underhill, “The Need for Better Var-
                                                                                              actor Diodes in Low Phase Noise Tunable
volume pricing this circuit was built     Jerry Hiller of Alpha Industries, Rick              Oscillators,” IEE Colloquium, December
for less than $1.30.                      Cory of M/A-COM and Olivier                         1998, pp. 5/1–5/6.
                                          Bernard of California Eastern Labs
CONCLUSION                                for discussions concerning the various                                    Jim Carlini has been in
                                                                                                                    the field of RF
   A design technique for using a         microwave semiconductor noise                                             electronics since 1980
commercially available simulator (Mi-     mechanisms, and to Bill Dipoala for                                       and is currently an RF
crowave Harmonica) to evaluate low        encouraging new product develop-                                          design engineer at
cost options for a 2.45 GHz oscillator    ment at Detection Systems. s                                              Detection Systems. He
                                                                                                                    spent many years
has been demonstrated. The design                                                                                   working on microwave
was later analyzed on the bench using                                                                               receivers for the
a VNA and spectrum analyzer and           References:                                                               government and
was shown to display low phase noise,      1. D.B. Leeson, “A Simple Model of Feed-                                 defense electronics
linear tuning and low harmonic emis-          back Oscillator Noise Spectrum,” Proceed-                             industry, and now
                                              ing of the IEEE, Vol. 54, February 1966,    designs wireless UHF data links as well as S-
sions. The output power was verified          pp. 329–330.                                and X-band microwave sensor products for
to be more than adequate for many          2. Randall W. Rhea, Oscillator Design and      security applications. One of his main
applications. The only on-the-bench           Computer Simulation, Mcgraw Hill, 1995.     responsibilities is the investigation of low cost
                                                                                          design solutions. Carlini’s primary interest is in
                                                                                          microwave electronics.

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