From Radar Handbook, Second Edition

Michael T. Borkowski
Raytheon Company


Solid-state devices have largely superseded vacuum tubes in logic and other low-power circuits and even in some very high power applications such as power supplies and power converters below 1 MHz. The only exception seems to be cathode-ray tubes (CRTs), which are less costly than large plasma displays. In radar transmitters, the transition from high-power klystrons, traveling-wave tubes (TWTs), crossed-field amplifiers (CFAs), and magnetrons to solid-state has been more gradual because the power output of individual solid-state devices is quite limited. However, compared with tubes, solid-state devices offer many advantages:

  1. No hot cathodes are required; therefore, there is no warmup delay, no wasted heater power, and virtually no limit on operating life.

  2. Device operation occurs at much lower voltages; therefore, power supply voltages are on the order of volts rather than kilovolts. This avoids the need for large spacings, oil filling, or encapsulation, thus saving size and weight and leading to higher reliability of the power supplies as well as of the microwave power amplifiers themselves.

  3. Transmitters designed with solid-state devices exhibit improved mean time between failures (MTBF) in comparison with tube-type transmitters. Module MTBFs greater than 100,000 h have been measured.

  4. No pulse modulator is required. Solid-state microwave devices for radar generally operate Class-C, which is self-pulsing as the RF drive is turned on and off.

  5. Graceful degradation of system performance occurs when modules fail. This results because a large number of solid-state devices must be combined to provide the power...

Copyright McGraw-Hill, Inc. 1990 under license agreement with Books24x7

Products & Services
Microwave Tubes
Microwave tubes are lamps that produce microwaves.
Magnetrons are high-powered vacuum tubes used to generate microwave signals. Products include cavity magnetrons and sputtering magnetrons.
Thin Film Sources
Thin film sources consist of magnetrons, evaporation thermal units, ion beams and other sources that produce deposition materials (vapors or ions) in a thin film system.
Cathode Emitters and Filaments
Cathodes are negatively charged electrodes used in batteries, electrolysis systems, plating, electrowinning, electron emission, and other specialized processes.
Board Mount Transformers
Board mount transformers are transformers designed to be embedded in or mounted on computer boards.

Topics of Interest

Helmut E. Schrank Gary E. Evans Daniel Davis Electronic Systems Group Westinghouse Electric Corporation 6.1 INTRODUCTION Role of the Antenna The basic role of the radar antenna is to provide a...

7.1 Introduction Future electronic steerable array radars will offer multifunction operation capabilities. They will be achieved with active array antennas applying individual transmit/receive...

The Klystron Power Amplifier The klystron power amplifier is the transmitting tube in most high-power synthesis systems. It is common that references to such systems are as klystron systems, rather...

The Magnetron Work on klystrons may well have preceded the magnetron; the brothers, Russell and Sigurd Varian , of the United States, had developed a two-cavity S-band klystron oscillator as early as...

A company specializing in medium power klystrons and solid-state power amplifies looked to Emerson & Cuming Microwave Products for microwave absorbers to control EMI. Medium power klystrons are used...