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Chapter 3(III)

Intan Shafinaz Mustafa

Dept of Electrical Engineering
Universiti Tenaga Nasional

Modulator and Demodulator Circuit

 In AM, the info signal is used to vary the amplitude of the carrier wave
and then, at the receiver, these variations in the amplitude were
detected and the info recovered.
 In FM, the info signal is used to control the freq of the carrier wave.
 The freq of the carrier is made to increase as the voltage in the info
signal increase and to decrease in freq as it reduces. The larger the
amplitude of the info signal, the further the freq of the carrier signal is
shifted from its starting point.

FM Transmitter

These 2 blocks are often

combined in 1 circuit

Figure: FM Transmitter

FM Transmitter
 Very similar to the AM transmitter.
 The audio oscillator supplies the information signal (eg
microphone and AF amplifier to provide speech and music
instead of the sinewave signals in ANACOM 2).
 The only difference between AM and FM transmitters are the
 Two types of FM Modulator – function in much the same way.
 Varactor Modulator
 Reactance Modulator

How Do These Modulators Works?
 They both include an RF oscillator to generate the carrier and
these oscillators employ a parallel tuned circuit to determine
the frequency of operation.

Adding an additional capacitor

in parallel will cause the total
capacitance to increase and
this will result in a decrease in
The frequency of the resonance freq.
resonance depends — Recall,
on value of L and C
fo = Hz
2π LC

Figure: Parallel Tuned Circuit

How Do These Modulators Works?

 The tuned circuit is part of the oscillator used to generate the
carrier freq so, if the capacitance changes, then so will the carrier
freq. This is demonstrated in Figure below.

 To produce a freq modulated

carrier, it is needed to find a
way of making the info signal
increase and decrease the size
of the capacitance and hence
control the carrier freq.
 How to achieve? – using a
device called Varactor Diode
and then by using a transistor.

Figure: Frequency Modulated Carrier


Varactor Diode
 Varactor diode is a semiconductor diode that is designed to
behave as a voltage controlled capacitor.
 When a semiconductor diode is reverse biased, no current flows
and it consists of two conducting region separated by a non-
conducting region.
 This is very similar to the construction of the capacitor.
 Recall, the reverse biased diode has a capacitance of Cd =

Varactor Diode Cd =

- more capacitance.

- less capacitance.

 By increasing the reverse biased voltage, the width of the

insulating region can be increased and hence the capacitance
value decreased.
 Thus, if the info signal is applied to the varactor diode, the
capacitance will therefore be increased and decreased in
sympathy with the incoming signal.

The Varactor Modulator Circuit


Figure: The Varactor
Modulator Circuit

 Note that tuned circuit sets the operating freq of the oscillator and
the varactor, which is effectively in parallel with the tuned circuit.
 C1 is a DC blocking capacitor to provide DC isolation between the
oscillator and the collector of the transistor.
 L1 is an RF choke which allows the info signal through to the
varactor but blocks the RF signals.

The Varactor Modulator Circuit

The Operation of the Varactor Modulator

 The info signal is applied to the base of the input transistor and appears
amplified and inverted at the collector.
 This low freq signal passes through the RF choke (L1) and is applied across
the varactor diode.
 Varactor diode behaves as a voltage controlled capacitor.
 When low reverse biased voltage is applied, more capacitance is
generated and thus decrease the frequency.
 When high reverse biased voltage is applied, less capacitance is
generated and thus increase the frequency.
 The varactor diode changes its capacitance in sympathy with the
info signal and therefore changes the total value of the
capacitance in the tuned circuit.
 The changing value of capacitance causes the oscillator freq to increase
and decrease under the control of the information signal.
 The output is therefore an FM signal.

The Reactance Modulator Circuit
Behave like a
variable capacitor

Figure: The Reactance Modulator Circuit

 Task – how to make transistor appear to be a capacitor?

 Solution – making it generate a current that is leading an applied
voltage by connecting C and R in series with the collector and the
input of the transistor.


The Reactance Modulator Circuit

The Operation of the Reactance Modulator

 The oscillator and tuned cct provided the unmodulated carrier

freq, and this freq is present on the collector of the transistor.
 C and R provide phase shift between the collector voltage and
current – this makes the cct appear as a capacitance.
 The changing info signal being applied to the base has the same
effect as changing the bias voltage applied to the transistor i.e
capacitance value will increase / decrease.
 As the capacitance is effectively in parallel with the tuned cct, the
variations in value will cause the freq of resonance to change and
hence the carrier freq will be varied in sympathy with the info
signal input.


FM Receiver

 Similar to AM superhet Rx. The most significant different is

that the FM demodulator must now extract the info signal
from a freq modulated wave.
 The basic requirement of any FM demodulator is therefore
to convert freq changes into changes in voltage, with the
minimum amount of distortion.


FM Receiver

Figure: FM Receiver

The Quadrature Detector

Figure: Block Diagram of Quadrature Detector

 The incoming signal is passed through a phase-shifting circuit.

 The degree of phase shift that occurs is determined by the exact
freq of the signal at any particular instant.
 The rules are:
 If the carrier is unmodulated, the phase shift is 90°.
 If the freq carrier increase, the phase shift is GREATER than 90°.
 If the freq carrier decreases, the phase shift is LESS than 90°.

The Quadrature Detector

 Phase comparator circuit is use to detect the changes in the phase
of the signal by comparing the phase of the original input signal with
the output of the phase shifting circuit.
 It then produces a DC voltage level which depends on the result of
the comparison according to the following rules:
 Phase shift = 90°, no change in DC voltage level.
 Phase shift > 90°, result in increased DC voltage level.
 Phase shift < 90°, result in decreased DC voltage level.
 As the phase change, the DC voltage level moves up and down and
re-creates the audio signal.
 A low pass filter is included to reduce the amplitude of any high-freq
ripple and also blocks the DC offset. Consequently the signal at the
output closely resembles the original input signal.


The Phase-Locked Loop (PLL) Detector

Error Voltage


Tuned Voltage used

to control the VCO

Figure: Block Diagram of PLL Detector

 PLL is a closed loop feedback control system in which either the frequency
or the phase of the feedback signal is the parameter of interest.

The Phase-Locked Loop (PLL) Detector

 When there is no external input signal (FM signal, fi), the VCO
operates at the preset frequency (natural/free-running frequency, fn)
 The VCO’s natural freq is determined by external component. It is
normally set (locked) to IF center freq.
 When FM signal applied to the PLL, the phase comparator compares
the fi with the VCO output freq.
 Phase comparator produced error voltage that is proportional to the
freq difference (fd= f0-fi)
 After several cycles around the loop, the VCO’s freq will be equal to
FM signal freq. And the loop is said to have acquired freq locked.
 Once the loop is freq locked, the phase difference between the
external input and the VCO’s output is converted to a dc bias voltage.
 The error voltage is filtered, amplified and applied back to the input
of the VCO.
 Therefore, the error voltage is also proportional to the freq
deviation demodulated info signal

The Phase-Locked Loop (PLL) Detector
 A PLL operate in three different modes:
 Free running
 In the free running mode, the input frequency is not close enough
to the VCO frequency and the PLL runs at the free running
frequency determined by the tuning circuits of the VCO. The error
voltage is outside the range of the VCO.
 As the input frequency gets closer to the VCO frequency, the error
voltage reaches a value at which it can begin to change the VCO
frequency. This is the capture mode. The error voltage will
continue to decrease as the VCO frequency gets closer to the input
 Finally, when the VCO is operating at the same frequency as the
input, the PLL is in the tracking mode. The VCO will track changes
in the input frequency as long as the input frequency remains in a
range of frequencies known as the hold-in range.

Advantage of Angle Modulation over AM

1. Noise Immunity
 Most noise results in unwanted amplitude variation. FM/PM receiver
use amplitude limiter to remove the amplitude variation.

Figure: The Amplitude Limiter

 AGC is not necessary in an FM receiver, because the limiter circuit provides

AGC action.
 The limiter clips all noise peaks from the IF signal and the output of the
linear has constant amplitude.
 A limiter cannot be used for this purpose in an AM receiver, because
amplitude variations in the signal contain information as well as noise.

Advantage of Angle Modulation over AM
2. Noise performance and SNR improvement
 In FM/PM, limiters reduce noise thus improve SNR ratio during
 In AM, once signal is contaminated with noise, it cannot be remove.

3. Capture Effect
 FM/PM receiver can differentiate between 2 signals received with the
same frequency. The receiver will capture (locked on) the stronger
signal and eliminates the weaker signal.
 In AM, if signals are received at the same freq, all of them will be
demodulated and heard.

4. Power Utilization and efficiency

 In FM/PM, total power remains constant regardless if modulation is
present (power is taken from carrier and redistributed to SBs).
 In AM, total power is the constant carrier power plus SBs powers.

Disadvantage of Angle Modulation

1. Wide bandwidth of the transmission

 High quality angle modulation produces many side freq, thus it
require wider BW than AM.
 Eg. Commercial AM radio band => 10kHz of BW
 Commercial FM radio band => 200kHz of BW

2. Circuit complexity and cost

 Modulation and demodulation cct required for FM/PM are complex
than those for AM i.e expensive.
 But now, it is almost comparable due to advent of IC technology.