You are on page 1of 8

6/2/2016

BASICLINEARAMPLIFIERSbySM0VPO

BASICLINEARAMPLIFIER
byHarryLythallSM0VPO

TableofContents
Introduction
Objectofthisarticle.
ModulationModes Basicinfoaboutmodulation.
ClassesofBias
Basicinfoaboutclassesofbias.
ClassAAmplifier Onetransistoramplifierproject.
ClassABAmplifier Twotransistoramplifierproject.
ComponentValues Rough/easyguidetocomponentselection.
Transformers
Andhowtheyareconstructed.
PrototypeDesign A(belated)prototypeforthisproject.
Conclusion
Afewpartingwordsandtips.

Introduction
ThisisbothaprojectANDabitofbasictheoryregardingthedesignofwidebandHFpoweramplifiers.Asusual,itispromptedas
aresultofemailinwhichIhavetorepeatmyselfoverandoveragain.Theobjectistoshowacoupleofbasicconfigurationsand
practicalexamplesofQRPlinearamplifiers,althoughIhavesomewhatoversimplifiedafewthings.ButasanauthorIhavethe
righttodothis!SoIwillNOTdelvedeepintomathematicsorgiveloadsofformulas,butsomedegreeofcalculationisneededby
thereader.IshalltrytomakeitassimpleasIpossiblycan,butyoumayneedtotakeyoursocksoff.

ModulationModes
A"LinearAmplifier"isjustanamplifierthatdoesnotcreateexcessivedistortion,anditcanbeusedtoamplifyareadymodulated
signalwithoutchangingthecharacteristicsofthatmodulatedsignal.Itcanbeusedforamplifyingmosttransmissionmodes,for
example:
CW ContinuousWave
AM AmplitudeModulation
DSB DoubleSideBand
SSB SingleSideBand
FM FrequencyModulation

Unchangingfrequencyoramplitude,usuallyinterpretedasMorseCode.
ACWsignal,theamplitudeofwhichconveysinformation.
AmplitudeModulationwithunusedcomponentremoved.
AmplitudeModulationwithunusedandduplicatedcomponentsremoved.
Asignalwithconstantamplitudebutvaryingfrequency.

Theremanyothermodes,butIamonlyconcernedwiththeabove,whichcompromisethemajormodesIaminterestedin.CWand
FMhaveanunchangingamplitudetoconveyinformationsononlinearamplifersarenotreallyrequired,butitdoesnoharmtouse
alinearamplifiertoamplifyCWandFMsignals.LinearAmplifiersmaybequitefrequencyconscious,makingthemunsuitablefor
suchtechniquesas"frequencyHopping"orevenvideo.InthisarticleIwillbeconcernedwithwideband(untuned)amplifiersfor
useintheHFband(1MHzto45MHz).
Anotheruseofthe"powerAmplifier",isforuseinreceivingantennadistributionsystems.Youmaywish,forexample,touseone
antennaforawholehousefullofreceivers.Thelinearpoweramplifierisanexcellentunitforthispurpose,betweentheantennaand
thepassivesignalsplitter.Yetanother,further,differentuseisthatofamplifyingantennasignalswherethereisthelikelyhoodof
strong"inband"orclosesignalscould"block"anormallowpowerreceiverpreamplifier.

ClassesofBias
Beforewecontinue,perhapsawordabout"ClassesofBias".TheinfoIgivehereisperhapsalittleoversimplified,sothemore
experiencedreadermaywishtojumpoverthissection.Thenextsection(ClassAproject)iscoloureddarkgreen.

http://sm0vpo.altervista.org/tx/rf_pa_cct_00.htm#clasb

1/8

6/2/2016

BASICLINEARAMPLIFIERSbySM0VPO

ClassA
Whenasignalisappliedtoatransistor,thatsignalcomprisesbothpositiveandnegativeswingsofcurrentorvoltage.
Unfortunately,transistorscannothandleanegativecurrent,sowemustaddastandingbiascurrent.Tothiscurrentwillbeadded
andsubtractedsignalcurrents,sothisbiasmustexceedthemaximumsignalinthenegative1/2ofthesignalwaveform.Thisis
ClassAbias.Itisusedinsingletransistoramplifiersbuthasapoorefficiency,practicallynotgreaterthan45%.

ClassB
ClassBdictatesthedevicehaslittleornostandingDCcurrentandthereforeamplifiespositive1/2wavesoftheappliedsignal.Due
tothelackofastandingandheavyDCcurrent,itisalotmoreefficientthanclassA.Whenappliedtoasingledeviceitcreatesa
LOTofdistortion,butwhenusedinacomplementaryorpushpullamplifyingconfiguration,littledistortionwillresult.Apractical
efficiencywouldbeintheorderof80%.

ClassAB
ThisclassofamplificationiswherethedeviceisbiassedsomewherebetweenclassAandClassBandwhenusedina
complementaryorpushpullamplifyingconfiguration,littleorno(comparatively)distortionwillresult.

ClassC
Thereisanotherclassofamplification:ClassC.IwillmentionthisinpassingbutIwillnotbeconcernedwiththisclassinthis
article.ClassCiswheretheamplifyingdeviceisheavilycutoff(nonconducting)sothatsmallsignalsarenotevenamplifiedat
all.Thisgeneratestremendousdistortionandharmonics,bothoddandeven.Thisclassofamplificationcanonlybeusedforultra
efficientamplifierswithoutanyamplitudeinformation,suchasCWandFM.ItisuselessforAMandSSB.Becauseofallthe
harmonics,ClassCisusedinfrequencymultipliers.

ClassAAmplifier

ThisisatypicalsingletransistorClassAamplifier.R1andR2dividethesupplyvoltagetofeedtheBaseofthetransistor,viathe
secondaryofT1.ThisnormallysetstheBasetoabout25%ofthesupplyvoltage.R3emitterresistorsetsthestandingDCcurrent
throughthetransistor.T2matchesthecollectortotheload.
ThesingletransistorcircuitisquitecapableofdeliveringseveralwattsofRFpower,withthecorrectchoiceofcomponents.Thebig
disadvantageofthiscircuitisthatTR1musthaveahighstandingDCcurrent,whichusuallymeansthetransistormustbefitted
withaheatsink.Anotherdownfallisthatthe"hfe"oftransistorsfallwithincreasedcurrent.ThismeansthatastheRFsignal
changesit'slevelthroughoutthecycle,so,too,willthegainofTR1.Asthecurrentrises,thegainfalls.Thefollowingdiagram
showsquiteclearlytheeffectontheRFoutputsignal.

Waveform#1isthedesiredwaveformbutifthetransistorisnotgrosslyunderratedthenwaveform#2iswhatyouwillget.Asyou
cansee,thisintroducesaLOTof3rdharmonic.Itmaynotbeasbadasshown,yoursmay20dBor30dBdownsoitwilllook
perfecttothenakedeye.Yourneighboursmayhaveotherviews,especiallyiftheyaretryingtowatch"TheBold&TheBeautiful"
http://sm0vpo.altervista.org/tx/rf_pa_cct_00.htm#clasb

2/8

6/2/2016

BASICLINEARAMPLIFIERSbySM0VPO

ontheironeeyedgod.Ifyouoverratethetransistor(usea10watttransistortodriveonly1watt)anduseadecentoutputlowpass
filter,thenallshouldbewell.

ClassABAmplifier

Hereisabettersolution.TR1andTR2eachamplifyoppositehalvesoftheRFwaveformandeachhalfiscombinedinT2,which
matchesTR1andTR2totheload.Again,R1andR2dividethesupplyvoltagetofeedtheBaseofthetransistors,viathesecondary
ofT1.Thisisnormallysettoabout1voltsoTR1andTR2areconductingjustasmallamountofcurrent.Ifatroughinthe
waveformcausesatransistortostopconductingthenthereisnoproblem,theothertransistorwillbedoingthework.Theemitter
resistorlimitsthecurrentandimproveslinearity.
Sincethisamplifierissymetrical,thethirdharmonicwillbegreatlyreduced,aslongasatleastoneofthetransistorsisalways
conductingsomething.Soineffect,onetransistoramplifiesthe+ve1/2cyclesandtheothertransistoramplifiesthevehalfcycle.

Waveform#3representsadecentsinewaveforcomparison,butwaveform#4showsyouwhathappensiftheclassofbiaschanges
fromClassABtoClassBandbeyond.Thisparticularcircuitisefficient,typically80%,andonlydissipatesanysignificantheat
duringRFactivity.ThiscircuitcanbeusedtodeliverRFpowerfrom100mWtowellover100Watts,withsuitablechoiceof
components.

ComponentValues
ComponentsforClassAAmplifier
TheClassAamplifiermustbesobiasedastohaveastandingcurrentexceedingthemaximumsignalcurrentvariations.Soletus
beginattheoutput,sinceitistheoutputpowerthatdictatesthebiascurrent.Letusassumewewanta100mWoutputpowerandthe
supplyvoltageis12volts(13.8v).Thecircuitweshallbeusingis:

Witha12volt(13.8v)supply,thecompletesinewavepeaktopeakvaluecanonlyvaryfromabout2voltstoabout13volts,ora
totalswingofjustover10volts.TheRMSvalueofvoltageistherefore10x0.3535=3.5volts.Thisisthemaximumamplitudeof
ouroutputvoltageatthecollectorofTR1.Todeliver100mWofpower,withonly3.5volts,weneedacurrentofW/E=Ior0.1/
3.5=0.028Amperes=28mA.SincethisistheRMSvalue,thenthepeakcurrentwillbe28x1.414=40mA.Sotheoutputsignal
atthecollectorofTR1needstovaryfrom40mAto+40mAatpeaks.Wemustthereforeaddastandingbiasthatisgreaterthan
40mA,say,50mA.Sonowthecurrentwillvaryfrom10mAto90mAwithanaveragevalueof50mA.
Iwillselectatransistor,suchastheBC547,withan"hfe"ofabout200.With50mAstandingCollectorcurrent,thentheBase
http://sm0vpo.altervista.org/tx/rf_pa_cct_00.htm#clasb

3/8

6/2/2016

BASICLINEARAMPLIFIERSbySM0VPO

currentisIc/hfe=50mA/200=0.25mA.ThismeansthatR1+R2mustburnatleast2.5mA(10xBasecurrent),soR1+R2
mustbeabout5520Ohms.R1=4K7andR2=820Rwouldbeagooddivisionusingpreferredresistorvalues,andthiswouldgive
about2.05voltsattheBaseofTR1,resultingin1.3voltsattheEmitterofTR1.R3=Ve/Ie=1.3v/50mA=26Ohms.27Ohms
wouldbecloseenoughsinceIhaveroundeduptheoddnumberhereandthere.
C1andC2shouldjustbebigish.22nfwouldbefineandtheelectrolyticisnormalpracticeforRF.47ufisfine.C3willincreasethe
gain,butalsoincreasedistortionquitealot.

ComponentsforClassABAmplifier
TheClassABamplifierdoesnotneedbesobiasedastohaveastandingcurrentexceedingthemaximumsignalcurrentvariations.
Justasmallstandingcurrentof5mAisadequateforuptoabout1Watt,20mAforupto10wattsand80mAupto100Watts.But
wewillmakeanamplifierfor5Wattsusing2SC2078,adeviceusedforCBRFoutputtransistors.Youcanpickotherdevices,such
as2SC3781alineoutputtransistorforportableTVsets.Letusassumewewanta5Wattsoutputpower,andthesupplyvoltageis
12volts(13.8v).Thecircuitweshallbeusingis:

Sincetwodevicesareeachhandling1/2theinputwaveformthenthepeakcollectorvoltageofonedevicewillbeabout12vvolts
andtheRMScollectortocollectorvoltagewillbeabout8volts.Todeliver5watts,theRMScurrentwillbeW/E=Ior5/8=
0.625Amperes=625mA.SincethisistheRMSvalue,thenthepeakcurrentwillbe625x1.414=885mA.Eachtransistorwill
thereforebeconductingalmost1Ampereatsignalpeaks.UsingapowertransistorwithHfe=80thenBasecurrentisgoingtobe
about11mA.R1+R2=13.8v/11mA=1254Ohms.ThistimeIwillincreasethecurrentalittleanduseresistorsofR1=1K0and
R2=100R.ThismeanstheemittersoftheTR1andTR2willbeabout0.5vDC.R3shoulddropnomorethan1voltatfulloutput
(900mA)so1Ohmwillbeaboutrighthere,BUTthe100Ohmresistormustbereducedinvaluetosetthestandingbiascurrentto
10mAorso.R2shouldthereforebeapresetvariableresistor.

AnothervariationthatwouldbemorestablewouldbetoreplaceR2withanordinarysilicondiode.R1couldthereforebeselected
togiveTR1+TR2standingcurrentof10mAandnoadjustmentsneedbemade,evenwithvaryingsupplyvoltages.

Transformers
Asageneral"ruleofthumb"youcanassumetheinputimpedanceofastageisequaltotheemitterresistor.Itmaynotbe100%
accurate,butitwillputyouintherightareaandiscertainlycloseenoughforwindingcoils.InalltheseexamplesIusedtorroidal
transformers.Thesecompriseaferriteslabwithtwoholesthroughthem.Youcanplacetwoferritebeadstogetherandtreatthem
exactlythesamethisiswhatIdo,anditischeaper.ThisisthemethodIusedinthisphotograph:

http://sm0vpo.altervista.org/tx/rf_pa_cct_00.htm#clasb

4/8

6/2/2016

BASICLINEARAMPLIFIERSbySM0VPO

T1100mW
T1isdesignedtomatchtheinputtothebaseofthetransistor.Inour100mWClassAsingletransistoramplifier,thebase
impedanceisalittleuner25Ohms,andtheinputis75Ohms.Withanimpedanceratioof(makingthenumberseasy)80:20=4:1.
Theturnsratioisthesquarerootoftheimpedanceratio=2:1.8turnsprimaryand4turnssecondary.Ihavealwaysfoundit
advisabletofeedtransistorsalittlelowerimpedance.Thecircuitthenbecomesmorepredictable,evenwithdifferenttransistors.I
picked8turnsforthe50/75Ohmwindingbecauseexperiencehastaughtmethatthisisagoodgeneralfigurethatworksfrom
1MHzto40MHzwithmostferrites.

T2100mW
T2inthe100mWcircuitmatchestheloadtothecollectorofthetransistor.WhenworkingoutthecollectorimpedanceFORGET
THEDCBIAS.Itisonlythesignalthatisofinterest.Inout100mWamplifierwehad3.5vRMSat28mA,sothecollector
impedanceis3.5/.028=125Ohms.Tomatch125Ohmsto75weneedanimpedanceratioof125:75=1.7:1orastepdownturns
ratioof1.3:1.T2couldhavetwoconfigurations8turnswithatappingat2turnsfromthecollectorOR8turnsprimarywith6
turnssecondary.

T15Watts
The5wattversionhasamuchlowerBaseimpedance.Inthiscaseitisaround1Ohmforeachtransistor.Iftheinputis50/75Ohms
thentheimpedanceratioisabout64:1+1whichisaniceroundfigureof8:1+1turnsratio.8turnsprimarywindingand1+1turns
secondary.Thismeans2turnswithacentretap.Usealittlethickerwireforthelowerimpedancewindings.

T25Watts
The5Wattversionoutputtransformermustmatch8volts(RMS)at625mA=12.5Ohmstotheoutputof50/75Ohms.Interesting
thatfor50Ohmstheimpedanceratiois1:4sotheturnsratiois1:2(2:4).Theprimaryistapped,so1+1:4isthecorrectturnsratio.
Theprimaryconsistsof4turnswithacentretap(2turns+2turns)andthesecondaryof8turns.

T1/T2Multistage
Youcouldmakeamultistagetransformerinexactlythesamewayassumesomewherearound8turnsto12turnsis50/75Ohms
andwindaccordingly.Ifyouhad,forexample,the100mWversionfeedingthe5Wattversiontomakea3transistorPower
Amplifier,thenthecouplingtransformerwillbe"T2100mWPrimary"and"T15WattSecondary".Thiswouldbe4+4primary
and1+1turnssecondary,justlikethis:

http://sm0vpo.altervista.org/tx/rf_pa_cct_00.htm#clasb

5/8

6/2/2016

BASICLINEARAMPLIFIERSbySM0VPO

T1/T2Ferrites
WhenIlookinmyjunkboxIfindmanyferrites.IpicktheGREYonesforRFuse.TheminiatureferritesIuseareabout3mm
Diameterwitha1mmhole.Thelengthisabout4mm.Theseferritesworkwelluptoabout1wattofpower.Oneofthemost
commonmistakesistouseferritesthataretoobig.Thelargertheyarethentheworsetheyareathigherfrequencies.TheferritesI
usehereseemtoworkwellupto150MHzwithoutaproblem.Youdo,however,needbiggerferritesaboveabout1watt.Todaythey
areexpensiveorhardtogetbutIhavehadsomesuccessmodifying"junkboxferrite".Ifyouwanttodrillferritesthenfreezethem
inalargeblockoficeandusenicenewtungstendrillbitsinahighspeeddrill.

PrototypeDesign
Thisisthedifficultbit.Ihavealreadyusedthesecircuitsasbuildingblocksformanyyears,soitisabitlatetostarttalkingabout
prototypes.SoIproposetojust"throwtogether"aprototype250mWQRPlinearamplifier,usingClassABandincludethe
mandatorylowpassfilteronthePCB.Theboardhassufficientspacetoaddlargerferritesandthetransistorpinspacingallowsyou
toinsertTO220powerdevicestomakethatlarger5Wattamplifier.TheTO220'smaybemountedbelowtheboard,bentoverand
boltedtoaheatsink.ThiswillalsosupportthePCB,butitisabitfiddlywhenitcomestopositioningthelegsandbendingthem
over.YouevencouldmodifytheartworkalittletousetwopairsofBC547transistorsandget600mWout(T2secondary=5turns).
ButIwillcontinuewithmy2xBC547andbecontentwith250mW.Idon'tnormallygivePCBcomponentlayoutsheredueto
limitedspaceontheprojectsserver,butinthiscaseIwillmakeanexceptionsinceitisonly12K.Hereisthesimpleamplifier.It
onlyneeds5mWofdriveat1.8MHztogive300mWoutsoitmakesanidealadditiontoanAMoscillatortogenerateAMorQRP
SSBsignals.

ThecircuittoaccompanythisPCBis:

http://sm0vpo.altervista.org/tx/rf_pa_cct_00.htm#clasb

6/8

6/2/2016

BASICLINEARAMPLIFIERSbySM0VPO

Asyoucansee,thecircuitisexactlyasdiscussedabove:yetanothercaseofsimpleisgood.Componentvalueswouldbe:
R1=4K7,R2=1K0,R3=47R,C1=10n+22n+10uf,C2=22nf,
T1=8turnsprimaryplus4turnssecondarywithcentretap,
T2=8turnsprimarywithcentretapplus4turnssecondary.
FrequencyDependentComponents
1.8MHz 3.5MHz 7MHz 10MHz 14MHz 21MHz 28MHz
C4 1800pf 1000pf 470pf 350pf 150pf 100pf
91pf
C5
C6
L1
L2

2700pf
1800pf
4.80uH
4.80uH

1800pf 820pf 610pf 330pf 220pf 180pf


1000pf 470pf 350pf 150pf 100pf
91pf
2.75uH 1.40uH 1.05uH 0.70uH 0.46uH 0.35uH
2.75uH 1.40uH 1.05uH 0.70uH 0.46uH 0.35uH

Whenitisallbuiltitlookssomethinglikethephotographbelow.Hereyoucanseethecoilconstructionquiteclearlyandthatthere
isloadsofspaceformuchlargerferritesthanthelittletiddleyonesIhavechosen.Therestoftheboardisquitewellspacedoutso
thereisplentyofroomforusinglargercomponentsthanthoseIchose.Thisparticularphotograph,however,isisthesameboard
foilIhaveprovidedbutthepushpulloutputalsodrivesanotherpushpulloutputstagetogive5wattsout.

Conclusion
IhaveavoidedmathematicsasmuchaspossibleandtriedtousesimpleOhm'sLawand"fingermaths"withadescription.For
exampletheoutputcollectorimpedanceofanamplifyingstageisgivenbytheexpression"Vccsquaredoveroutputpowerin
Watts".This,however,isaMAXIMUMvalue.Theimpedancemaybealittlelower,butneverhigher.InthisrespectIbelievethata
littleexplanationandfingermathsismorethanadequatefortheamateurconstructor.IfyouwishtogodeeperthendoasIdidbuy
booksandread.
Ifyounowwanttoseeanolderprojectbasedupontheinformationgivenonthispagethenlookatmy10WattPowerAmplifier
projectSincethisprojectwilldeliverover15Wattsalittlemoreattentionhasbeenpaidtoneutralising(330R+10nf)andbias
control.Thebiascontroliseventemperaturecompensated.
SonowallyouhavetodoistowaituntilIcanaddthePCBfoilpatternfiletomydownloadsectionandyoucanstartbuildingyour
ownQRPtransmittersbasedonmydesign.Smalltipforyou,a5turnlooparoundthecoilofmyGridDipOscillator(GDO)will
provideseveralmilliwattsofRFdriveanexcellenttestingtool.
NotethatIhavetriedtosplittheprojectupusingadifferenttextcolourforeachparagraph.Ifitworkedthenpleaseletmeknow(viamymessageboard)
http://sm0vpo.altervista.org/tx/rf_pa_cct_00.htm#clasb

7/8

6/2/2016

BASICLINEARAMPLIFIERSbySM0VPO

sinceanyfeedbackonpresentationisappreciated,howeversmall,positiveORnegative.

ReturntoINFOpage

http://sm0vpo.altervista.org/tx/rf_pa_cct_00.htm#clasb

8/8