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Conquer Radio Frequency Answers to RF Cafe
All RF Cafe Quizzes make great fodder for
employment interviews for technicians or engineers - particularly those who are
fresh out of school or are relatively new to the work world. Come to think of it,
they would make equally excellent study material for the same persons who are going
to be interviewed for a job. Bonne chance, Viel Glück, がんばろう,
buena suerte, удачи, in bocca al lupo, 행운을 빕니다,
ádh mór, בהצלחה, lykke til, 祝你好運.
Well, you know what I mean: Good luck!
This material, which includes a full-color textbook and over 12 hours of video
tutorials (in mp4 format on enclosed DVD-R), provides a comprehensive guide for
the RF and Microwave engineering student or junior professional. It allows the reader
to achieve a good understanding of the foundation theory and concepts behind high
frequency circuits as well illustrating the most common design and simulation techniques
for passive and active RF circuits. A preview of the textbook, a comprehensive description
of the content of the video tutorials and sample video tutorials are available on
the Explore RF website -
Note: Dr. Fornetti personally provided the copy of Conquer Radio Frequency that was used to create this quiz,
and has authorized me to include it in the monthly
Book Drawing. His
video to the right provides a great introduction to the book and to the very well-done
set of instructional videos featured on the included DVD. AWR's
Office (MWO) software is used throughout the tutorials. A live, narrated, step-by-step
process is fully captured on-screen so you see how to create the circuit schematic,
set up the component parameters for simulation and optimization, specify graph and
table types, how to designate input files, configure input stimulus, and how to
interpret the results of the simulation. It is an excellent way to familiarize yourself
with where to find everything in MWO's menu and toolbar structure - which can be
a daunting task with any sophisticated software. The book itself is chock full of
very understandable instruction beginning with AC/RF fundamentals and progressing
through impedance matching, transmission lines, Q factors, amplifier design, and
much more. The illustrations are excellent.
1. What mnemonic is used
to determine the direction of a magnetic field around a current-carrying wire?
b) The right-hand rule
Wrap your right hand around the wire with your thumb pointing in the direction
of conventional current flow (see question #2). The direction your fingers wrap
around the wire indicated the direction of the magnetic field encircling the wire.
(see page 5)
2. What is
conventional current flow?
a) Current flowing from positive to negative
Before the nature of electron flow was known, scientists set a standard that
current flowed out of the positive terminal of a source and back into the negative
terminal. That is the definition of "conventional current flow." "Electron current
flow" is from negative to positive. (see page 5)
3. What quantity (or quantities) does complex impedance
d) Ratio of voltage to current amplitude and phase relationship
Complex impedance consists of a real (resistive)
and an imaginary (reactive) component; i.e., Z = R ± jX. In the case of a
pure resistance the imaginary component is zero; i.e., Z = R ± j0. In the
case of a pure reactance the real component is zero; i.e, Z = 0 ± jX. The
magnitude of the impedance, |Z|, is sqrt(R2 + X2), and the
phase angle, / X, is tan-1(X/R).
(see page 25)
4. What happens to the characteristic impedance of a coaxial
transmission line when the dielectric constant of the space between the inner and
outer conductor is increased?
a) Impedance decreases
The equation governing characteristic impedance in a coaxial transmission line
is Z0 = (138/√εr)log(douter/dinner) Ω
(see page 41)
5. What portion of an incident signal is reflected by
an open-circuit load and a short-circuit load, respectively?
d) 100% by the open circuit and 100% by the short circuit
With an open-circuit load no current can flow beyond the interface so all of
the incident signal is reflected back toward the source. With a short-circuit load
all current is shunted at the interface so all of the incident signal is also reflected
back toward the source. The difference is that with an open circuit the reflected
signal is in phase with the incident signal and with the short circuit the reflected
signal is 180° out of phase with the incident signal. A way to conceptualize
the situation is that in the case of the short circuit, in order for the voltage
at the short to be zero (which it must be), the vector sum of the incident and reflected
signals must be equal in amplitude and opposite in phase, hence they completely
cancel. (see pages 75 - 85)
6. How does the source "see" a 1/4-wavelength transmission
line that is terminated in a short circuit?
c) As an open circuit
Since a 1/4-wavelength transmission line is exactly the distance a signal of
a specific frequency travels in 1/4th of its cycle period, the round-trip distance
of a signal from the source to the load and back is 1/2 wavelength. Therefore, since
a short circuit reflects the incident signal by 180°, and the length of the transmission
line is also 1/2-wavelength, the total round-trip phase shift is 360°, hence, in-phase
like an open circuit (ref. question 5).
(see page 97)
7. How many degrees of phase
change is represented by moving an impedance point all
the way around a constant impedance or constant admittance circle of a Smith Chart?
A way to conceptualize it is that the top half of the Smith Chart represents
positive reactances (inductive, hence 0° to 90° of phase) and the bottom half of
the chart represents negative reactances (capacitive, hence -90° to 0° of phase),
the full range represents a total of -90° to 90°, or 180° of total phase change.
(see section 4.4.1)
8. What is the phase relation of voltage and current in
an ideal inductor?
b) Voltage leads current by 90°
Since an inductor opposes an change in current flow, the full changing voltage
in an AC signal assumes its new value across the inductor instantaneously while
the current assumes its new value a quarter cycle later. Thus, the current lags
the voltage (another way of saying the voltage leads the current). That reaction
(hence "reactance") to an instantaneous change in current is due to the magnetic
field associated with the inductor creating a counter EMF which opposes the current
in proportion to dI/dt (Vinductor = LdI/dt). A single sinusoidal frequency
component (per a Fourier series if not a pure tone) has as its first derivative
the cosine, which leads by 90°. Just the opposite is true for a capacitor where
the current leads the voltage. A commonly used mnemonic is ELI the ICE man, where
E is voltage, L is inductance, I is current, and C is capacitance. By inspection,
"E" (voltage) leads "I" (current) for "L" (inductance). (see page 155)
9. What is the meaning of unconditional stability for
an amplifier circuit?
d) The amplifier is not capable of oscillation at any phase of the source
Input and output stability circles plotted on a Smith Chart indicate the impedance
regions, if any, within which the amplifier is capable of experiencing positive
feedback from the output to the input and thereby going into oscillation. Those
regions of instability can change with temperature, bias variations, signal impurities,
or dynamically changing terminations, so margin is built into the design to allow
for them. An old axiom illustrating the frustration of designing high frequency
amplifier and oscillators (which are purposely designed with positive feedback to
sustain oscillations) is, "If you want an amplifier, design an oscillator; if you
want an oscillator, design an amplifier," meaning sometimes you can't stop an amplifier
from oscillating and you can't get an oscillator to sustain oscillations. Such scenarios
are prevented with the knowledgeable use of simulators like Microwave Office.
(see section 5.3.2)
10. What are the three main stages of amplifier design?
a) Biasing, stabilization, and impedance matching (see page 208)
Posted April 14, 2021
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