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Microwave Communications


Signals with a frequency greater than 1 GHz.

The microwave region is generally
considered to extend to 300 GHz.
Point-to-point communications.
Utilize the line of sight path, which means
the two antennas (for transmitter and
receiver) should see each other (no
Microwave Radio-Frequency
Band Frequency (GHz) Application
L 12
S 24 Marine radar
C 48 Commercial use,
X 8 12 Military
Ku 12 18 Commercial use,
K 18 27 Commercial use,
Ka 27 40 Military
U 60 80
W 80 100
Types of Microwave Paths

Line of Sight (LOS) Path

Grazing Path
Obstructed Path
Line of Sight (LOS) Path

No obstruction exists and antennas could see

each other.
Grazing Path
The microwave beam barely touches the
obstruction; zero clearance.
Obstructed Path
The microwave beam is hindered by an obstruction.
Factors Affecting Microwave Energy


Ducting and Thermal Inversion
Earth Blge
Variation of field strength
caused by changes in
transmission medium.
Change in direction due to changes in transmission
densities, temperature, pressure, water vapor.

Energy loss due to absorption of wave by

atmospheric elements such as rain, snow,
oxygen, clouds and vapors.
The change in propagation direction of waves
due differences in density / velocity of medium.
A decrease in intensity
of energy to spreading
of energy, transmission
line losses or path
losses between two
Occur when waves strike smooth surfaces.

Ducting and Thermal Inversion

Trapped waves
bounce back and
forth in a duct caused
by temperature and
humidity inversion.
Earth Blge
Earths curvature presents LOS obstruction
and must be compensated using 4/3 earth
radius for atmospheric bending of waves.
Advantages of Microwave
1. Large information handling capacity (256
9600 kbps)
2. High reliability through diversity techniques.
3. Lower power consumption
4. Carry wideband circuits for high speed data;
high quality voice channels.
5. Could be fitted with anti-jam equipment,
adaptive modems and other accessories.
6. Forward error correction and hitless switching.
7. Microprocessor controlled pre-detection
Earth Curvature on RF Propagation

The earth, being spherical, limits the distance

of which of line of sight in possible. The
parameter which considers wave bending on
the earths curvature is the K-factor.


Unitless value which is the ratio of a

hypothetical effective earth radius over
6370km, which is the true mean earth radius.

K = r / ro
Translation of Various K-
Standard Condition

K = 4 / 3 normal condition of the atmosphere.

Under his condition, the radius of the earth

(fictitious radius), appears to the microwave
beams to be longer than the true radius; that
is, the earth appears flatter because of the
tendency of the beam to refract downward in
the atmosphere and follow the earth.
Translation of Various K-
Super-Standard Condition (Super-
K = bigger than 4 / 3 (abnormal
When this condition results in an effective
flattening of the equivalent earths curvature.

(When K = infinity, it is flat)

Translation of Various K-
Sub-Standard Condition

K = smaller than 4 / 3 (abnormal

When K = 1 / 2 the unusual refill condition is
also called earth bulging.

Typical microwave links are based on a K-

Factor of 4 / 3. Other K-Factor values are used
with the conditions of the link are known to be
serve or difficult to propagate over.
Path Profiling

Radio Path
Shows the cross-section of the earths
surface where the radio path passes over.
Determines the actual clearance along the path,
antenna heights and overall reliability. Normally
scaled at 4, 2, or 1 mile inch on the horizontal
and 25, 100 and 400 feet on the vertical.
Topographical Maps

Graph showing
contour lines,
thereby, elevations
and distances
between two
points are known.
Microwave Transmission Calculations:
Path Calculations / Link Budget
1. Consider the following for K-Factor of 4/3:

Height of a microwave system

hT(ft) = (d1(mi) x d2(mi)) / 2

(hT / d1) (d1 / 2) = (hR / d2)

(d2 / 2)
2. Transmitter Output (dB)

PT(dB ) = 10log (PT / 1W)

PT(dBW) = 10log (PT / 1W)

PT(dBm) = 10log (PT / 1mW)

3. Waveguide Loss (WL)

WL = (dB / m, ft) x m, ft
4. Gain of Parabolic Antenna

English system:

GdB = 7.5 + 20logf GHz + 20logB ft

Metric system:

GdB = 17.8 + 20logf GHz + 20logB m

5. Effective Radiated Power (ERP)

6. Free Space Loss (FSL)

English system:

FSL dB = 96.6 + 20logf GHz + 20logD miles

Metric system:

FSL dB = 92.4 + 20logf GHz + 20logD km

7. Net Path Loss (NPL)

NPL dB = Total Losses Total Gains

8. Received Signal Level (RSL)


RSL=Transmitter Output Waveguide Loss (Tx) +Antenna Gain

(Tx) FSL + Antenna Gain (Rx) Waveguide Loss (Rx)
9. Noise (or Detection, or Absolute) Threshold (NT)

Sensitivity Threshold of a Receiver

the least or the weakest signal the receiver

could accept to be considered satisfactory.

NT dBm = - 114 + 10logBWMHz + FdB

10. FM Improvement (or Practical) Threshold (IT)

IT dBm = -104 + 10logBWMHz + FdB

11. Fade Margin (FM)
A margin for fading; an allowance (or
reservation) in dB, in case the RSL (Received
Signal Level) encounters fading.

FM dB = RSL dBm - IT
12. System Gain (SG)
The difference between the nominal output
power of a transmitter and the minimum input
power required by a receiver.

SG = PT(dBm) - IT
13. System Reliability

Rayleigh Reliability Table

Fade Reliabilit Outage
Margin y (%) (%)
8 90 10
18 99 1
28 99.9 0.1
38 99.99 0.01
48 99.999 0.001
58 99.9999 0.0001

a. Unavailability (U)
b. Reliability (R)
U = MTTR / (MTBF+MTTR) or Availability
R= (1 U) x 100 %
U = DownTime /
For Multi-hop Propagation

The Outage
For multi-hop propagation , the total outage
is the summation of each hop and reliability
100 % - Total Outage. In short, the
probability of an equipment or system being
operational is: 100% minus the Probability of
being non-operational.

Total System Reliability

The overall system reliability is the product

of all individual reliabilities.
Sample problem #1

If the MTBF of a communications circuit is 20,000

hours and its MTTR is 3 hours, what is its availability?
Sample problem #2

A long distance telephone company employs five

microwave radio hops over a single route to link
two important cities. If each hop has an MTBF of
10,000 hours and an MTTR of 3 hours, what is the
MTTR and reliability of the route? Assume that the
failure occur at different periods of time.
Fresnel Zones

Are concentric circular zones about the direct

path of a microwave signal forming a three-
dimensional imaginary solid called an

st Fresnel Zone

nd Fresnel Zone

rd Fresnel Zone
st Fresnel Zone

The radius of the circular zone is in the 1 st


Fresnel zone, when the reflected path on one-

half wavelength longer than the direct path.
nd Fresnel Zone

The radius of the circular zone is in the 2 nd


Fresnel zone, when the reflected path is two

(2) one-half wavelength longer than the direct
path, (or one wavelength longer)
rd Fresnel Zone

The radius of the circular zone is in the 3 rd


Fresnel zone, when the reflected path is three

(3) one-half wavelength longer than the direct
path (or 1 wavelength longer).
Radius of the First Fresnel Zone

F1(ft) = 72.1 ((d1(mi) d2(mi)) / (fGHz Dmi))

F1(m) = 17.3 ((d1(km) d2(km)) / (fGHz

Dkmof))the nth Zone

Fn = F1 n

For minimum tower height requirement,

design your microwave system to 0.6 of F1, a
condition of no gain and no loss.
Sample problem:

A single hop microwave system has the following


operating frequency 4 GHz

receive/transmit antenna diameter 3 ft.
hop distance 20 miles
transmitter output power 1 watt
receiver threshold-78 dBm

Calculate the following:

a. Free space loss

b. System gain
c. Fade margin and estimated percent reliability
d. Fresnel zone diameter
Microwave Repeaters


1. Active

intercepts, amplifies Provides gain, (55 to

and retransmits the 105 dB higher than
signal. the received power)
and frequency
change (252MHz).
Types of Active
Baseband Repeater

IF Heterodyne Repeater

RF Heterodyne Repeater
Baseband Repeater

It is amplified, demodulated, amplified in the

baseband frequency and remodulated.
Typical output power is 1 watt

Offers possibility to drop or insert

IF Heterodyne Repeater

Improved noise performance

Typical output power is 5 watts.
RF Heterodyne Repeater

Amplification is provided directly at

microwave frequency.
2. Passive

Bounces the signal from one direction to another.

Types of Passive


Back to Back Passive


Flat metal type used to reflect microwave signals.

Acts as a microwave mirror with no power needed.

Back to Back
Uses two standard antenna dishes directly
joined by a short length of waveguide.
Gain of a Passive Repeater

English System

G dB
dB = 22.2 + 40logf GHz
GHz + 20logAft
ft + 20cos

Metric System
G dB = 42.9 + 40logf GHz + 20logAm2 +

An antenna with good directivity or narrow

beamwidth has the reliability of providing
directional gain.
Sample problem:

A plane passive reflector 10 x 16 ft. Is erected 21

miles from one active site and only 1 mile from the
other. The operating frequency is 2000 MHz. By
formula, the free space loss for the longer path is
129.5 dB and for the shorter path, it is 103 dB,
calculate the gain of the passive plane reflector
and the net path loss if the included angle is 110
Diversity Reception

A method of utilizing 2 or more receivers to reduce

fading or increase reliability of the system.
Methods of Diversity Reception

Frequency Diversity

Space Diversity
Polarization Diversity

Hybrid Diversity

Angle Diversity

Quadrature Diversity
1. Frequency Diversity

Signal is transmitted on two (2) different frequencies

(properly spaced), over the same path.

Two waves at different frequency travel the

same path in a multipath fade.
CrossBand Diversity variation of frequency
diversity. Frequency separation are entirely of
different band allocations.
2. Space Diversity

Signal is transmitted over two different paths

(vertically spaced several wavelength apart),
on the same frequency.
Advantages of Space Diversity

a. Frequency Conservation
b. Minimized Multipath Fading
c. Availability of Sufficient Signal Output
d. Compensation for Electrical Differences
Between Direct and Reflected Waves.

Disadvantages of Space
a. Costly
b. More towers required
c. Concept does always work as intended
Vertical Space Between Antennas

Spacing ft = (43.4 d) / hT
3. Polarization Diversity

Using dual polarization (vertically and

horizontally). Applied to microwave system
beyond L-O-S path, (or obstructed path).
It requires feedhorn reorientation and is
applied to paths beyond LOS as in
troposcatter systems.
4. Hybrid
A special combination of frequency and space
5. Angle
Is the transmission of information at two or
more slightly different angles resulting to two
or more oaths based on illuminating different
scatter volumes in troposcatter systems.
6. Quadrature Diversity

The condition where four signals carrying the same

information (whose system employs the combination
of space or polarization or frequency diversity
technique) are available in the receiver, combination
of frequency, space and polarization diversity.
Types of Microwave Antennas

Direct Radiating Antenna

High Performance /
Cross Band Parabolic
Horn Reflected Antenna

Periscope Arrangement
a. Direct Radiating
Consist of parabolic
antenna with
parabolic dish,
illuminated by a
feed horn at its
b. High Performance / Shrouded

Similar to the common

parabola, except that
they include a
cylindrical shield to
improve the front-to-
back ratio and the wide
angle radiation
discrimination. Gain
efficiency is lower than
ordinary parabolic

a metal wrapped
around the antenna
aperture to eliminate
side lobes which may
cause interference to
nearby microwave

a non-metallic (canvass)
covering in a parabolic
antenna for protection
against strong wind
velocity. In cold places,
ice accumulation is
prevented by the use of
heated radome.
c. Cross Band Parabolic

Permits operation into two widely separate bands.

Very complex and critical feed assemblies, have lower
gains and poorer VSWR than single band antennas.
d. Horn Reflected Antenna

Contains a section of large parabola mounted

such as an angle that the energy feedhorn is
simultaneously focused and reflected at right
angles. It provides a good front-to-back ratio,
good VSWR and can be used for multi-band
operation on both polarization but offers some
moding and distortion problems particularly at
higher frequencies.
f. Periscope
is a combination of a
reflector mounted on
a tower and the
parabolic antenna
below. Use the 150
feet and beyond. The
spacing between the
antenna and the
reflector should be in
the near field.
Shapes of Reflector

1. Rectangular, flat
2. Rectangular,
3. Elliptical, flat
4. Elliptical, curved
5. Flyswatter
Microwave Components and Devices

General Types of Microwave



Travelling Wave Tube (TWT)

An electron tube in Velocity Modulation
which the electrons The bunching of
are periodically the electrons within
bunched by electric the klystron caused
fields. It is used as by changing their
an oscillator or rate of speed
amplifier in (velocity).
transmitters and
between an
electron beam and
an RF voltage.
Two Types of Klystron

Cavity Reflex
High Power Multicavity
a. Cavity Reflex Klystron operates as a low
power RF oscillator in
the microwave
b. High Power Multicavity Klystron

two or more cavities,

used extensively in
fixed radar
installations and in
UHF television.
The size and shape of
The size and shape of
multicavity klystron
largely determine
their operating
frequency and power
handling capability.
smaller klystrons
operate at higher
frequencies and large
klystrons have the
higher power
handling capability.
A diode vacuum tube
used as a microwave
oscillator in radar
and microwave
ovens to produce
powers up to the
megawatt range.

A magnetic field
ensures a constant
electron beam-RF
field interaction.
3. Travelling Wave Tube
A microwave power
amplifier with very
wide bandwidth.

An electric field is
used to ensure the
interaction between
the electron beam
and the RF field is
Other Microwave Tubes

Crossed-Filled Amplifier (CFA)

Backward-Wave Oscillator
Extended Interaction
Amplifier (EIA)
1. Crossed-Filled Amplifier
A microwave power amplifier based on the magnetron
and looking very much like it. It is a cross between the
TWT and the magnetron in its operation.

(2)anode with resonant-
(3) Space-Charge Wheel
(4)delaying strapping rings
2. Backward-Wave Oscillator (BWO)

A CW oscillator with an enormous tuning and

overall frequency coverage range. It operates
on TWT principles of electron beam-RF field
interaction, generally using a helix slow wave
structure. It looks like a shorter, thicker, TWT.
3. Twystron

A hybrid combination of klystron driver and TWT

output section in tandem with the same envelope.
4. Extended Interaction Amplifier (EIA)

A multicavity klystron with interconnected

multigap cavities.
Semiconductor Microwave Devices and

Passive Microwave Circuits



Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW)

1. Stripline

consists of flat metallic

ground planes,
separated by a thickness
of dielectric in the
middle of which a thin
metallic strip has been
2. Microstrip

has the advantage over

stripline in being simpler
construction and easier
integration with
semiconductor devices,
lending itself well to
printed circuit and thin
film techniques.
3. Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW)

use solid piezoelectric

materials at frequencies in
the VHF and UHF regions.
Microwave Solid State Devices

Point-contact and Schottky or Hot-carrier Diodes

Varactor Diodes or Variable Capacitance Diodes

Step-recovery or Snap-off Diode

Gunn Diode
Metal Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor (MESFET)


Parametric Amplifier
1. Point-contact and Schottky or Hot-carrier
Widely used as mixers in
microwave equipment as they
have low capacitance and
2. Varactor Diodes or Variable Capacitance Diodes

Widely used as microwave frequency multipliers.

Multiplication factors of 2 and 3 are common with
power levels up to 20W and efficiencies up to 80%.
3. Step-recovery or Snap-off Diodes

Junction diodes which can store energy in

their capacitance and then generate
harmonics by releasing a pulse of current.

Are also widely used as frequency multipliers with

multiplication factors up to 10 , power ratings up
to 50W, and efficiencies approaching 80%.
4. Gunn
A microwave
semiconductor device
used to generate
microwave energy.
When combined with a
microstrip, stripline, or
resonant cavity, simple
low power oscillators
with frequencies up to
50GHz are easily
(Metal Semiconductor
Field Effect Transistor)
is used in the
microwave band as
amplifiers and
Replaced parametric
amplifiers in the