Chapter: Basic Electrical and electronics : Foundamentals of Communication Enginnering

Block diagram of radio

In order to better understand the way the radio transmitter works, block - diagram of a simple AM (amplitude modulated) signal transmitter is shown on Pic. The amplitude modulation is being performed in a stage called the modulator.

Block diagram of radio


AM Transmitter


In order to better understand the way the radio transmitter works, block - diagram of a simple AM (amplitude modulated) signal transmitter is shown on Pic. The amplitude modulation is being performed in a stage called the modulator. Two signals are entering it: high frequency signal called the carrier (or the signal carrier), being created into the HF oscillator and amplified in the HF amplifier to the required signal level, and the low frequency (modulating) signal coming from the microphone or some other LF signal source (cassette player, record player, CD player etc.), being amplified in the LF amplifier. On modulator's output the amplitude modulated signal UAM is acquired. This signal is then amplified in the power amplifier, and then led to the emission antenna.


 The shape and characteristics of the AM carrier, being taken from the HF amplifier into the modulator, are shown on Pic. As you can see, it is a HF voltage of constant amplitude US and frequency fS. On Pic. the LF signal that appears at the input of the modulator at the moment t0 is shown. With this signal the modulation of the carrier's amplitude is being performed, therefore it is being called the modulating signal. The shape of the AM signal exiting the modulator is shown on Pic. From the point t0 this voltage has the same shape as that on Pic. From the moment t0 the amplitude of AM signal is being changed in accordance with the current value of the modulating signal, in such a way that the signal envelope (fictive line connecting the voltage peaks) has the same shape as the modulating signal.


Let's take a look at a practical example. Let the LF signal on Pic. be, say, an electrical image of the tone being created by some musical instrument, and that the time gap between the points t0 and t2 is 1 ms. Suppose that carrier frequency is fS=1 MHz (approximately the frequency of radio Kladovo, exact value is 999 kHz). In that case, in period from t0 till t2 signals us on Pic. and AM on should make a thousand oscillations and not just eighteen, as shown in the picture. Then It is clear that it isn't possible to draw a realistic picture, since all the lines would connect into a dark spot. The true picture of AM signal from this example is given on Pic. That is the picture that appears on screen of the oscilloscope, connected on the output of the modulator: light coloured lines representing the AM signal have interconnected, since they are thicker than the gap between them.


Block - diagram on Pic is a simplified schematic of an AM transmitter. In reality there are some additional stages in professional transmitters that provide the necessary work stability, transmitter power supply, cooling for certain stages etc. For simple use, however, even simpler block diagrams exist, making the completion of an ordinary AM transmitter possible with just a few electronic components.

FM Transmitter


Block diagram of an FM (frequency modulated) transmitter is given on Pic.2.4. Information being transferred, i.e. the modulating signal, is a signal from some LF source. it is being amplified in LF amplifier and then led into the HF oscillator, where the carrier signal is being created. The carrier is a HF voltage of constant amplitude, whose frequency is, in the absence of modulating signal, equal to the transmitter's carrier frequency fS. In the oscillatory circuit of the HF oscillator a varicap (capacitive) diode is located. It is a diode whose capacitance depends upon the voltage between its ends, so when being exposed to LF voltage, its capacitance is changing in accordance with this voltage. Due to that frequency of the oscillator is also changing, i.e. the frequency modulation is being obtained. The FM signal from the HF oscillator is being proceeded to the power amplifier that provides the necessary output power of the transmission signal. Voltage shapes in FM transmitter are given on Pic.2.5. Pic.2.5-a shows the LF modulating signal. The frequency modulation begins at moment t0 and the transmission frequency begins to change, as shown on Pic.2.5-b: Whilst current value of the LF signal is raising so is the trasmitter frequency, and when it is falling the frequency is also falling. As seen on Pic.2.5-c, the information (LF signal) is being implied in frequency change of the carrier.

The carrier frequencies of the radio difusion FM transmitters (that emmit the program for "broad audience") are placed in the waveband from 88 MHz til 108 MHz, the maximum frequency shift of the transmitter (during the modulation) being ±75 kHz. Because of that the FM signal should be drawn much "thicker", but it would result in a black-square-shaped picture.


AM radio broad cast transmitter

AM broadcasting is the process of radio broadcasting using amplitude modulation (AM). AM was the first method of impressing sound on a radio signal and is still widely used today. Commercial and public AM broadcasting is authorized in the medium wave band worldwide, and also in parts of the long wave and short wave bands. Radio broadcasting was made possible by the invention of the amplifying vacuum tube, the Audion(triode), by Lee de Forest in 1906, which led to the development of inexpensive vacuum tube AM radio receivers and transmitters during World War I. Commercial AM broadcasting developed from amateur broadcasts around 1920, and was the only commercially important form of radio broadcasting until FM broadcasting began after World War II. This period is known as the "Golden Age of Radio". Today, AM competes with FM, as well as with various digital radio broadcasting services distributed from terrestrial and satellite transmitters. In many countries the higher levels of interference experienced with AM transmission have caused AM broadcasters to specialize in news, sports and talk radio, leaving transmission of music mainly to FM and digital broadcasters.

AM radio technology is simpler than frequency modulated (FM) radio, Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB), satellite radio or HD (digital) radio. An AM receiver detects amplitude variations in the radio waves at a particular frequency.

It then amplifies changes in the signal voltage to drive aloudspeaker or earphones.

The earliest crystal radio receivers used a crystal diode detector with no amplification, and required no power source other than the radio signal itself.

In North American broadcasting practice, transmitter power input to the antenna for commercial AM stations ranges from about 250 to 50,000watts. Experimental licenses were issued for up to 500,000 watts radiated power, for stations intended for wide-area communication during disasters. One such superstation was Cincinnati station WLW, which used such power on occasion before World War II. WLW's superpower transmitter still exists at the station's suburban transmitter site, but it was decommissioned in the early 1940s and no current commercial broadcaster in the U.S. or Canada is authorized for such power levels. Some other countries do authorize higher power operation (for example the Mexican station XERF formerly operated at 250,000 watts). Antenna design must consider the coverage desired and stations may be required, based on the terms of their license, to directionalize their transmitted signal to avoid interfering with other stations operating on the same frequency.


Radio receiver


In the early days of what is now known as early radio transmissions, say about 100 years ago, signals were generated by various means but only up to the L.F. region.


Communication was by way of morse code much in the form that a short transmission denoted a dot (dit) and a longer transmission was a dash (dah). This was the only form of radio transmission until the 1920's and only of use to the military, commercial telegraph companies and amateur experimenters.


Then it was discovered that if the amplitude (voltage levels - plus and minus about zero) could be controlled or varied by a much lower frequency such as A.F. then real intelligence could be conveyed e.g. speech and music. This process could be easily reversed by simple means at the receiving end by using diode detectors. This is called modulation and obviously in this case amplitude modulation or A.M.


This discovery spawned whole new industries and revolutionized the world of communications. Industries grew up manufacturing radio parts, receiver manufacturers, radio stations, news agencies, recording industries etc.


Disadvantages to A.M. radio


Firstly because of the modulation process we generate at least two copies of the intelligence plus the carrier. For example consider a local radio station transmitting on say 900 Khz. This frequency will be very stable and held to a tight tolerance. To suit our discussion and keep it as simple as possible we will have the transmission modulated by a 1000 Hz or 1Khz tone.


At the receiving end 3 frequencies will be available. 900 Khz, 901 Khz and 899 Khz i.e. the original 900 Khz (the carrier) plus and minus the modulating frequency which are called side bands. For very simple receivers such as a cheap transistor radio we only require the original plus either one of the side bands. The other one is a total waste. For sophisticated receivers one side band can be eliminated.


The net effect is A.M. radio stations are spaced 10 Khz apart (9 kHz in Australia) e.g. 530 Khz...540 Khz...550 Khz. This spacing could be reduced and nearly twice as many stations accommodated by deleting one side band. Unfortunately the increased cost of receiver complexity forbids this but it certainly is feasible.

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