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24 GHz Modules

Luis Cupido, CT1DMK

Abstract: Recent, low cost, GaAs devices Kurzfassung: Nachdem GaAs-FET's fur
have proven to be usable at 24GHz for the 11 GHz DBS-Systeme immer billiger werden,
construction of LNA {low noise amplifiers), kann man diese Transistoren auch fur 24GHz
power amplifiers and frequency multipliers. einsetzen, um Mischer, LNA's und Oszillato-
This article presents a low cost solution to ren zu bauen. Es werden drei verschiedene
build 24GHz modules using a common de- Module, ein Mischer, eine LO-Verdopplerund
sign for the mechanics, enabling this way the eine Verstarker, der sich sowohl als LNA als
experimentation with several devices and auch als Leistungsverstarker verwenden
configurations without the cost and time as- lal3t, beschrieben. Alie Module passen in das
sociated with the manufacturing of a milled gleiche Gehause. Deswegen wird die lastige
case ror each design. Also presented here, Gehausefrage unbedeutend.
three basic modules for 24GHz, an amplifier,
a frequency doubler. and a fundamental 1. Introduction
mixer. Packaged GaAs Fets, used in the TVRO
industry, prove to be usable at 24GHz. Al-

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Fig. 1: LNA for 24GHz

DUBUS 3/1998 12
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Luis Cupido. CTlDMK: 24 GHz Modules

2<1GHz Low No I se Amp l I f"I er-.


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~. ~:~?:~ Hal . 98

Bild/ Figure 3: Circuit Diagram for LNA

though they are usually specified up to 18 Es gibt einige Schaltungen tor 24GHz LNA's
(and sometimes to 20GHz) they can be put to (/1/, /2/) und VeNielfacher (/3/, /4/). Auch auf
work at 24GHz with careful tuning. Low noise 47GHz wird bereits experimentiert ((/5/, /6/).
amplifiers where developed / 1,2/ and also
Die Schaltungen funktionieren nur brauchbar,
frequency multipliers operating at 24GHz
wenn auch geeignete, aus Aluminium oder
/3,4/, and even some attempts at 47GHz
Messing gefraste Gehause und die richtigen
have been done by the author, by DB6NT,
SMA-Buchsen, die bis 26GHz spezifiziert
J E1AAH /5,6/ and certainly by others. One
sind, verwendet werden.
major limitation on the experimentation at
these frequencies is the fact that each circuit
needs to be properly mechanically installed in 2 The designs
a shielded box (usually a aluminum milled To make the experimentation easier I decided
box) and provided with the necessary coaxial to attack the problem the other way around.
or wave-guide input and output. Every time a Only one mechanical design is necessary (or
new circuit is to be experimented one must two if you want, I explain later) and the several
build a new box to accommodate the PCB. modules will fit inside. This requires that all
Therefore (excepting a few audacious peo- circuits must have the connections placed at
ple) only certified or quasi certified designs the same position, which is not a restriction
worth the effort and money. for the kind of modules we envisaged. The
maximum number of FET Is likely to be 3, as
l EinfUhrung in the DB6NT amplifier /1/, all the other cir-
cuits are expected to be smaller than a 3 FET
Handelsubliche GaAs-FET's konnen auf
amplifier. I used this assumption to define the
24GHz eingesetzt werden, obwohl sie mei·
maximum room that I need for a module,
stens nur bis 18GHz spezifiziert sind.
resu lting in 45 x 16 mm internal dimensions.
All power supply components will be external
to save on the amount of PCB needed and

DUBUS 3/1998 14
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Luis Cupido. CTlOMK: 24 GHz Modules

Bild/ Figure 5: Parts Layout for LNA

also to have the smallest overall size possi- as the cable's shield. The transition from the
ble. A configuration where a wave-guide input stripline to the wave-guide is done in the
and coaxial output (or vice versa) (fig.1) gives same plane as the WG flange (that is, parallel
the maximum possibilities for interconnec- to the bottom of the box, see drawing and
tion. So a low noise amplifier will have WG photos for clarification). This arrangement re-
input and coax output, while a power amplifier sulted in little return loss and proved to be
will have coaxial input and wave-guide output better than the 90deg solution commonly
and a frequency doubler would be coaxial used on 1OGHz and 24GHz.
input (at 12GHz) and WG output (at 24GHz).
As input and output are at the same relative 2. Die Schaltungen
position, any of the modules can be placed Um die Entwicklung zu vereinfachen, benutz-
inside the box either way. If you want to have te ich nur einen Typ von Gehause, in das alle
the same modules but only SMA connectors Schaltungen passen. Alie Buchsen mussen
and no WG port a second milled case can be zwangslaufig an derselben Stelle sitzen.
built (fig 2). The WG input (or output) transi-
tion central pin is made of semirigid UT085 Da nur maximal 3 FET's verwendet werden,
cable, using only the teflon inner conductor, habe ich das gemeinsame Gehause tor 3
that fits inside a hole with the same diameter Stufen ausgelegt. Die internen Abmessungen

Bild/ Figure 4: PCB of LNA

15 DUBUS 3/1998
Luis Cupido, CTlDMK: 24 GHz Modules

Bild/ Figure 6: 24GHz Setup

s1nd 4Sx16mm. Alie Schaltungen tor die live bias voltage generation. The first stage
Gleichspannungsversorgung sind extern an- connects directly to the waveguide for the
geordnet. Eine Seite isl mil einem Streifenlei- lowest possible loss, while the output is DC
tungs/Hohlleiter-Obergang ausgerustet. Die isolated with a % coupler. The prototype PCB
andere Seite hat eine Koaxbuchse (SMA) uses only straight son lines and requires
(Siehe Bild 1 ). tuning on each FET (at gate and drain ) by
Ein LNA hat einen Hohlleiter-Eingang und placing small stubs along the lines while
einen Koaxausgang, ein Leistungsverstarker monitoring the relevant characteristics (be
und der Verdoppler genau umgekehrt. In Abb. noise figure or gain). This way some ditterent
2 isl auch eine Gehauseversion mit zwei types of transistors could be tested and their
Koaxbuchsen gezeigt. possible use on 24GHz evaluated. The sets
FHX13, FHX13, FHX14 and NE32463,
Der Streifenleitungs-Hohlleiterubergang ist NE32463, NE32563 were the ones that pro-
mit einem Stuck UT-08S Festmantelkabel duced the best results. A gain better than
realisrert. Der Erreger liegt parallel mil der 24dB, with noise figures below 2.0 dB, should
Ebene des Flansches und nicht, wie sonst be always possible to obtain. The best I could
ublich, go· zum Flansch. Die Ruckflur3damp- get was from the NEC transistor set and was
fung der von mir gewahlten Anordnung isl 26dB gain and 1.4dB (+/- 0.2dB) noise figure.
besser. Noise figure measurements where done with
HoVCold method using load at different tem-
3. Low Noise Amplifier perature and also the sky of several clear
The LNA consists of three HEMT stages days, as suggested by DK8CI in 17/, for the
connected via ¥4 couplers on son lines people without a good noise source and no
somehow similar to DB6NT's /1/ but rear- liquid nitrogen at hand. To operate, the ampli-
ranged to fit inside the box and without nega- fier requires +SVolt and -SVolt from a external

DUBUS 3/1998 16
- - - J __;J

Luis Cupido, CTl DMK: 24 GHz Modules

24GHz Tx/Rx Mixer.


..... . Ql

Mal. 98

Bild/ Figure 7: Circuit Diagram of Mixer Module

supply. The FET's polarization should be ad- au ch verschieden Typen von HEMT's auspro-
justed for maximum gain or lowest noise fig- bieren.
ure on the first FET {also on the second if
Als die am besten geeigneten HEMT's haben
desired). Mitsubishi HEMT transistors were
sich die Satze FHX13, FHX13, FHX14 und
not available at my stock, therefore I could not
NE32463, NE32463, NE32563erwiesen. Da-
test them, but should work as well.
mit kann eine Verstarkung von 24dB und eine
Rauschzahl von weniger als 2dB erzielt wer-
3. Vorverstarker den.
Der Vorverstarker besteht aus 3 HEMT·Stu-
Die besten Werte lagen bei 26dB Verstarkung
fen, die durch lf4-$chlitzkoppler getrennt
und 1,4dB Rauschzahl mit den NEC-Transi-
sind. Diese Anordnung isl ahnlich der von
DB6NT beschrieben Schaltung in /1/. Der
Eingang geht direkt auf den Hohlleiter-Erre- Die Rauschzahlmessungen wurden mrt der
ger. 'HoVCold'-Methode durchgefi.ihrt, die von
Der Prototyp benutzt einfach 500 Leitungen,
DK8CI rn m beschrieben wurde.

die durch kleine Stubs, die aufgelotet werden,

abgestimmt werden. deswegen kann man
4. Power amplifier
A 1O milliwatt power amplifier can be built
using the same strategy as the LNA de·

17 DUBUS 3/1998
Luis Cupido. CTl DMK: 24 GHz M odules

24M l LC9739

Bild/ Figure 8: Parts Layout of Mixer Module

scribed previously. Basically the PCB design range of 8 to 12 dBm. A 1OdBm output is easy
is the same with only the iy'4 coupler now on to obtain.
the input and direct stripline on the output, to
the waveguide port. Also the FET biasing 4. Leistungsverstarker
resistors are modified in order to make them Mit demselben Design kann man einen
drawn more current from the 5V, specially on 10mW Leistungsverstarker aufbauen. Die
the last stage (reduce the R1 , R2 and R3 to Widerstande in der Gleichspannungsversor-
47Q). The HEMT transistors used here may gung wurden reduziert, um die hOheren Stro-
be the ones with higher NF (lower cost) like me zu erlauben.
the NE32863 or the FHX15, since in principle
they have the same all other characteristics Als FET's nimmt man die billigsten elner Se-
besides noise figure. Attempts with a rie, z.B. den FHX15. Die Verstarkung betragt
MGF1303 and MGF1425 where done with ca. 23dB bei einer Ausgangsleistung von
good results but lower gain was obtained 10dBm.
(1 SdB) comparing with the HEMT devices
(23dB ). Output power, at ldB compression,
vary from device to device and are in the


0 ••
Bild/ Figure 9: PCB of Mixer Module

DUBUS 3/1998 18
Luis Cupido, CTl DMK: 24 GHz Modules

5. Frequency doubler compromise between insertion loss and

bandwidth. The present design has already 3
To use fundamental mixers on 24GHz (some- to 4 dB of insertion loss making the realization
times, good WG units were found at flea of narrower filters unpractical. Although the
markets) a good source for local oscillator is 1.5 GHz bandwidth can be tweak in such a
mandatory. Also for those experimenting at way that it starts to cut just below the fre-
47GHz a good source of 24GHz is of interest. quency of interest, making the image sup-
This design uses two transistors, the first as pression greater than 30dB for an IF of
a buffer for the 12GHz, and the second as the 1296MHz. This module requires a local oscil-
multiplying device. Again, to allow the test of lator in the 12GHz range and 11 employs a
several types of transistors, all signal lines are GaAs FET as the local oscillator frequency
son and tuning is required to match every doubler to get about 7dBm to drive a rat race
transistor. Tests were made using a mixer. The diodes should be the best one can
MGF1303 plus a MGF1425 and more than get. The BAT15 work reasonably well while
10dBm were obtained after quick tuning (for the BAT30 (beam lead) should be the way to
10dBm at input). Levels as high as 15dBm go for best performance .
may be reached by increasing the current and
exhaustive tuning but also the transistor may 6. Mischer
show its limits during the tests. If you don't
have many transistors or don't like GaAs Der Mischer auf 24GHz isl ein einfach sym-
metrischer Mischer mil einem 'Rat-Race' Hy-
smoke, don't push much above 10 dBm.
brid. Er benutzt eine Diodenpaar, das entwe-
der eine BAT15 oder noch besser eine Beam-
5. Frequenzverdoppler lead-Diode BAT30 isl.
Um einen Mischer auf 24GHz zu betreiben
braucht man ein LO auf 24GHz. Dieser kan~ Eine Version ist ohne Filler. Diese benotigt ein
auch gute Dienste fOr 47GHz Stationen lei- externe9' Hohlleiterfilter, um die Spiegelfre-
sten. Die Schaltung benutzt die erste Stufe quenz bei niedrigen ZF-Frequenzen von un-
als Puffer und eine zweite HEMT-Stufe als ter 1,3GHz zu unterdrucken.
Verdoppler. Die zweite Version hat ein integriertes Ml-
Ein MGF1303 gefolgt von einem MGF1425 krostreifenleitungsfilter, das eine Bandbreite
ergab nach einigem Abstimmen eine Aus- von ungefahr 1,5GHz hat. Die Durchgangs-
gangsleistung von 10dBm. Die Verstarkung dampfung ist ca. 3 bis 4dB. Noch schmalere
istOdB. Filter sind nicht zu realisieren. Bei einer ZF
von 1,3GHz betragt die Spiegelunter-
6. 24GHz Mixer druckung ca. 30dB. Der Mischer benotigt eine
LO-Leistung von ?dBm, die von dem oben
This is the last module I present here and is beschrieben Verdoppler geliefert werden
a fundamental one to make a transverter. Two konnen.
different version are presented: one with inte-
gral microstrip band pass filter and another
without filter. For transverter designs using
7. Construction
144MHz as intermediate frequency the filter All PCBs are made of Rogers RT5780 1Omlls.
required is too narrow to be feasible in a After etched 1.5mm holes are opened at the
microstrip design. In this case a mixer module grounding positions. Then solder them to a
without filter should be used and installed with 0.8mm thick cooper sheet cut to fit inside the
the input to the WG port, allowing direct con- milled box. Some filing may be necessary for
nection to the waveguide filter. The module them to fit correctly. After some cleaning, to
with integral band pass !liter is suitable only remove the solder flux they are ready to be
for configurations having an IF greater than populated. The modules can be placed in and
1GHz since the filter has about 1.5GHz band changed as many times as necessary. As-
pass at 3dB. The filter design resulted in a sembly of all components should be made

19 DUBUS 3/1998 ll
Luis Cupido. CTl OMK: 24 GHz Modules

12GHz / 24GHz Ac t iv e do u b l er.



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Bild/Figure 10: Circuit Diagra m of Active Doubler

with the modules out of the aluminum box. 8. Concluding remarks.

The ground connection or the FETs sources
should be done at the exact position where I believe that one dB or two more may be
the ceramic case ends (to make the connec- obtainable on any of the developed modules,
tion as short as possible). Apply all general but it is also my opinion that the tuning of such
rules for GaAs FETs and SMD described in circuits becomes limited by the hand move-
so many other articles. ment precision and patience (that last no
longer than one hour) than by the devices
themselves. There is plenty of room for your
7. Konstruktion
skills here. Thanks to all that helped with info
Alie Leiterplatten sind aus Rogers RT-5780 and components.
Duroid mil einer Dicke von 1Omil=O 25mm
gelertigt. Nach dem Atzen werden de~ Befe-
8. Bemerkungen
stigungen 1,5mm Locher gebohrt. An diesen
Stellen wird die Platine auf eine 0,8mm starke Durch geduldiges Tunen konnen sicher eini-
Kupferfolie gelotet, die in das Gehause paBt. ge dB mehr herausgeholt werden. Aber selbst
Nach dem Reinigen kann man die Platinen die erreichten Ergebnisse sind o.k. Vielen
beliebig im Gehause wechseln, um Experi- Dank an die, die mir mit Tips und Komponen-
mente zu erleichtern. ten geholfen haben.

Die FET's werden direkt an der Keramik des

Gehauses durchkontaktiert.

DUBUS 3/1998 20
- - --·- - --- - - - - --- - - - - - •-.

Luis Cupido. CTlDMK: 24 GHz Modules


Bild/ Figure 12: Ports Layout for Ac tive Doubler

/1/ Michael Kuhne, DB6NT, 'Low noise
24GHz amplifier', DUBUS 3/96
121 Erich Zimmermann, HB9MIN, '24GHz Ra·
tRace mixer', DUBUS 2193
/3/ Erich Zimmermann, HB9MIN, 'Rauschar-
mer 24GHz Vorvestarker', DUBUS 1/94
/4/ Michael Kuhne, DB6NT, '47GHz Trans·
verter', DUBUS 1/94
/5/ T. Takamizawa, JE1 AAH, '47GHz High
performance components', MW update 96
161 T. Takamizawa, JE1AAH,47GHz Active
doubler', DUBUS 4/94
171 Hermann Hagen, DK8CI, in CT1 WW Me·
morial 1997, Oliv.Azmeis/Portugal.

24Dl LC9738 CTlDMK

••• ••
Bild/ Figure 11 : PCB of Ac tive Doubler

21 DUBUS 3/l 998

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