RF waveguide amplifiers accept a varying input signal and produce an output signal that varies in the same way, but with larger amplitude. They have rectangular, circular or elliptical cross-sections and are usually made aluminum, brass, bronze, copper, or silver. RF waveguide amplifiers differ in terms of the number of apertures and may meet U.S. military specifications (MIL-SPEC). Single-ridge, double-ridge, and quad-ridge devices have 1, 2, and 4 apertures, respectively. Dimensions for RF waveguide amplifiers include length or height, and width or radius.
There are many types of RF waveguide amplifiers. Examples include linear amplifiers, RF amplifiers, RF signal amplifiers, RF power amplifiers, RF broadband amplifiers, RF distribution amplifiers, and traveling tube wave amplifiers. RF linear amplifiers consist of an electronic circuit whose output is proportional to its input, but is capable of delivering more power into a load. RF signal amplifiers receive and amplify a signal for subsequent processing. RF broadband amplifiers are solid-state power amplifiers that are designed for a selected frequency band. RF distribution amplifiers consist of low phase-noise RF components that maintain channel isolation. Traveling tube wave amplifiers are used to produce high-power RF signals.
RF waveguide amplifiers carry performance specifications for gain, peak power, and average power. Gain is the ratio of the power required at the input of a loss-free reference antenna to the power supplied to the input of the given antenna to produce, in a given direction, the same field strength at the same distance, usually in the direction of maximum radiation. Peak power is the maximum power in watts (W) that RF waveguide amplifiers are designed to support. Like peak power, average power is measured in watts.
Operating frequency range, voltage standing wave ratio (VSWR), and EIA waveguide size are also important to consider when selecting RF waveguide amplifiers. Operating frequency range refers to the range of frequencies over which RF waveguide amplifiers are guaranteed to meet all product specifications. Typically, RF waveguide sizes are approved by the Electronic Industry Alliance (EIA). Voltage standing wave ratio (VSWR) is a unit-less ratio ranging from one to infinity. It expresses the amount of reflected energy at the input or output of the device. A value of one indicates that all of the energy will pass through, while any other value indicates that a portion of the energy will be reflected.