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J.V. Rañada, ECE

AM Demodulation
• Reverse process of modulation
• Receiving
• Amplifying
• Demodulating an AM wave
AM Demodulation Diagram
Sections of an AM Demodulator
RF section – 1st stage of the receiver, also known as
the receiver front end.
• Detecting
• Band limiting
• Amplifying received Radio Frequency (RF) signals.

MIXER/Converter Section – down-converts Radio Frequencies

to Intermediate Frequencies (IF)

IF Section – amplification and selectivity.

Sections of an AM Demodulator
AM detector – simply converts AM wave to original
format of an information or intelligence signal. (or
modulating signal)

Audio Section – amplification (amplifiers).

Receiver Parameters
The most important parameters are selectivity and

• Selectivity – ability of the receiver to accept signal

frequencies and reject all others.
- Shape Factor ---- ideal is 1.

Note: AM Broadcast band separation

channels = 10 kHz (Bandwidth allocation)
Receiver Parameters
• Bandwidth Improvement – simply reducing the
bandwidth of the system to increase the S/N ratio.
- Reducing noise figure
- Improving system performance
• The bottom line is that the receiver’s bandwidth
must exceed the bandwidth of the information
• Practical Problem – higher order filters are needed.
• Theoretical problem – the quantity of BW reduced.
Receiver Parameters
• The corresponding reduction in the noise figure due to
the reduction in BW is called noise figure improvement.

• Sensitivity – the parameter of the receiver that can

receive the minimum RF signal level and still produce a
usable demodulated information signal.
- microvolts, typical
- also known as receiver threshold.
- the best way to improve this parameter is
to reduce noise level.
Receiver Parameters
• Dynamic Range – input power range of the receiver
in which demodulation process is still useful.
• Fidelity – an ability of the receiver to produce an
exact replica of the original source information.
Note : any frequency, phase or amplitude
variations that are not present from the original
source that was demodulated are considered
- typically results in non-uniform gain and
frequency response on amplifiers and filters.
Insertion Loss
• Attenuation of signal due to losses from different
lossy components (resistors)
AM receiver types
• Coherent – the oscillator freq. produced at the
receiver should synchronized to oscillator produced
from the transmitter. Used for single-sideband

• Non-coherent – demodulation are completely

independent from the transmitter carrier
frequency. Also called envelope detection. Simply
detecting the shape of the AM wave to recover the
intelligence signal.
Tuned Radio Frequency (TRF)
• Earliest types of AM receivers.
• RF stages, detector stage and an audio amplifier
• Disadvantage – BW is inconsistent, varies with
center frequency when it comes to tuning. Due to
skin effect.
• Not stable due to large number of RF amplifiers
having the same center frequency.
• Gains are not uniform over the wide frequency
Block Diagram of TRF Receiver
Superheterodyne Receiver
• Means to mix to frequencies in a non-linear device
to translate one frequency to another.
• RF section
- preselector and an amplifier.
- preselector bandlimiting frequencies to prevent
image frequencies.
- RF amplifier – determines the sensitivity of the
receiver. Primary contributor of noise (e.g. thermal and
shot noise)

• Mixer/Converter Section – known as the first detector.

RF to IF conversion. AM Intermediate frequencies is
455 kHz
• IF Section – most of the receiver’s gain and
selectivity is achieved in this section. IF center
frequency and BW are constant for all stations.
• Detector Section – convert IF signals to original
source information. The 2nd detector.

• Audio amplifier section – simply amplifies the

demodulated signal such that it will perceived by
the receiver’s destination.
• Gang tuning – means that two adjustments of center
frequency one at a time.

• High Side Injection – LO frequency is above the RF


• Low-side Injection – LO frequency is below the RF


• Typical AM broadcast band receivers use High- Side

Injection. For practical purposes.
• Tracking – the ability of the LO in a receiver to
oscillate above or below the RF freq. by an amount
equal to IF throughout the entire radio frequency
band. (e.g. 455 kHz for AM, 10.7 MHz for FM)

• Tracking error – if not equal to IF. Can be corrected

with fine tuning using variable capacitors.
• Electronic ganged tuning
Image Frequency (fim)
• Any frequency other than the selected radio
• Will cause an interference.
• Two different stations are received simultaneously.
• The higher the IF, the less the fim will occur.
Image frequency Rejection Ratio
• A numerical measure of the ability of a receiver to
reject fim.
Double Spotting
• Occurs when a receiver picks up the same station at
two nearby points. One point is the desired
location and the other point is the spurious point.

• It will cause weak stations to be overshadowed by

the stronger station.
Reading Assignments
• AM receiver Circuits
• RF section
• Mixer/Converter
• IF Section
• Demodulator (detector)
• Audio Amplifiers
• LOW- Noise Amplifier (LNA)
IF transformers
IF transformers
IF transformers come as specially designed tuned
circuits in groundable metal packages called IF CANS
Automatic Gain Control (AGC)
• Compensates for minor variations in the received
RF signal level.
• Automatically increases the receiver gain for weak
signals, and automatically decreases when a strong
signals is received. (to prevent saturation)

• Simple AGC
• Delayed AGC
• Forward AGC
Simple AGC
Forward AGC
Squelch Circuits
• Quieting a receiver in the absence of a received
• To prevent receiver to demodulate and amplify its
own internal noise.
• Keeps the audio section muted when there is no RF
signal received.

• One disadvantages is that weak signals may not

Applications of Clippers or
• High amplitude noise transients of short duration
on the received signals can be eliminated using
these. (at the audio section)
• Threshold level – maximum peak of the intelligence
Double Conversion AM Receivers
• For good image frequency rejection, high IF should
be considered.
Net Receiver Gain
• Simply the ratio of the demodulated signal level at
the output of the receiver to the RF signal level at
the input of the receiver.
• The sum of all the gains minus the sum of all the
losses. (note: in dB)

• GdB= gainsdB - lossesdB

Net Receiver Gain