VSWR Mismatch Errors
Both amplitude and phase errors are introduced when mismatched impedances are present at an electrical interface. When an ideal match is not encountered by the incident (forward) wave, part of it is coupled to the load and part is reflected back to the source. Upon arriving back at the source, part of the reflected wave is coupled back to the source and the rest is reflected back again to the load. The process iterates until the amplitude of the wave is attenuated to an insignificant level due to the loss of the interface (cable, connector, waveguide, etc.). Each time a reverse and forward reflection occurs, the amplitude and phase of all the signal components traversing the path between the source and the load add vectorially. The result is ripple across the frequency band (since the VSWR of each interface typically varies with frequency), as well as a portion of the incident power being reflected back to the source. What begins as a pure sinewave can look like a real mess when viewed on an oscilloscope.