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Amplitude Modulation (AM)

Lecture objectives
Describe the AM process
Compute the modulation index
Solve problems involving bandwidth calculations
Draw a representation of an AM sine wave
Analyze and determine the carrier power and sideband power in AM
Amplitude modulation theory
The amplitude of carrier wave is varied by the modulating voltage (information
signal). The carrier is high frequency signal generated by an electronic circuit
called oscillator.

Let the carrier voltage and modulating voltage be represented by

= 1 cos( )
() = cos( ) = 2
Double sideband AM signal
The frequencies present in the AM signal are the carrier frequency and the first
pair of sideband frequencies. First pair of sideband frequency is written as
+ ,
Modulation index of AM system is defined us ration of message amplitude to
carrier amplitude


The time domain representation of the modulated signal is given by
() = () cos(2 )
The frequency domain representation of the DSB-AM signal is given by

() = ( ) + ( + )
2 2
Where M(f) if frequency transform of m(t)

This modulation results a shift of and scaling in the spectrum of message
The transmission bandwidth is twice the bandwidth of the message signal
The modulation index should be a number between 0 and 1. If the amplitude of
the modulating voltage is higher than the carrier voltage, m will be greater than 1
causing distortion of the modulated signal. If the distortion is high enough, the
signal meaning will be lost.
Distortion of voice transmission causes produces harsh, unnatural sounds in the
speaker. Distortion of video signals produces inaccurate picture on the TV screen.
The ideal condition for AM is when m = 1 which gives 100 percent modulation.
Assume a 400Hz signal modulates a 300 kHz carrier
Upper sideband = 300,000 + 400 = 300.4 kHz
Lower sideband = 300,000 400 = 299.6 kHz
Power content of an AM signal

= [1 + ]
M is called modulation index, and is the ratio between amplitudes of the
modulating signal and the carrier
An AM transmitter has a carrier power output of 50W. What would be the total
power produced with 80% modulation?
= 50 [1 + ] = 66
The carrier of an AM transmitter is 50W and when modulated by sinusoidal tone,
the power increases to 59W. Calculate
Depth of modulation
Ratio of maximum to minimum values of the wave

= 2( 1) = 60%

( 1 + ) = 50(1 + 0.6) = 80
(1 ) = 50(1 0.6) = 20
= =4

Single sideband AM
This is done by eliminating (filtering) of the sidebands. Therefore it occupies half
bandwidth of DSB-AM. The DSB spectrum has two sidebands; the upper sideband
and the lower sideband both containing the complete information of the
baseband signal. SSB transmits single sideband.

The first step in producing an SSB signal is to suppress the carrier, leaving the
upper and lower sidebands. Double sideband suppressed carrier modulation is
special case of AM with no carrier.
In DSB transmission, the information is contained in both sidebands. As a result,
there is no reason to transmit both sidebands in order to convey the information.
Thus one sideband can be suppressed. The remaining sideband is called single
sideband suppressed carrier.
SSB signal has the following advantages.
It occupies half spectrum space than DSB signals. This conserves the
spectrum frequency.
All the power devoted to the carrier and the other sideband can be applied
to single sideband, producing stronger signal.
SSB transmitters are smaller and contain fewer circuits
Because SSB signals occupy a narrow bandwidth, the amount of noise in the
signal is reduced.

Pulse modulation
When complex signals such as pulses or rectangular waves modulate a carrier, a
broad spectrum of carriers are produced. According to Fourier analysis, complex
signals such as rectangular and square waves are made up of a fundamental sine
wave and numerous harmonic signals of various amplitudes.
Pulses generate extremely wide bandwidth signals, thus in order for square wave
to be transmitted and faithfully received, all the most significant sidebands must
be passed by the antennas and the transmitting and receiving circuits
Amplitude shift keying
Consider the following figure when a square wave modulates a sine carrier. When
the square wave goes negative, it drives the carrier amplitude to zero. Amplitude
modulation by square waves or rectangular binary pulses is referred to as
amplitude shift keying (ASK). ASK is used in digital communication.
Another type of modulation can be achieved by simply turning the carrier on and
off (OOK)