Even if you barely know anything about radio signals, you’ve probably heard of combiners and splitters. The main application of these is to combine power. This is something that you need to understand because it is crucial in antenna setups. Here are some answers to your questions about these devices and how they work.
Why Combine Power?
Any power amplifier technology has its limitations. However, using power combiners allow you to overcome most limitations. This makes these devices especially important in solid-state power amplifier setups.
Can Bandwidth be a Problem?
Power combiners can only handle low bandwidth, but this usually is not a problem. In cases where bandwidth is wider, certain combiners can still be used. For instance, corporate combiners, such as Wilkinson splitters, can handle any bandwidth necessary.
Is It Efficient?
Anytime you deal with amplifiers, you want to minimize your loss. Otherwise, you could end up losing half of your power by the time you are through the combiner. After all, you will probably lose even more power as your signal transfers to the next splitter. The good news is that most combiners, especially radial ones, are incredibly efficient.
Are There Multiple Sizes?
There are plenty of combiners, and the size necessary is often based on function and media. For instance, a stripline requires smaller combiners than a waveguide.
What Type of Combiner Should You Use?
The most important decision you will make when designing high-powered setups is what type of combiner you need. When you need to combine three or more amplifiers, you should consider using coupled, corporate, spatial, or radial combiners. When you only need to merge two signals, you can use reactive, quadrature, 180-degree, or in-phase combiners.
Power combiners are crucial to antenna setups and signals. Therefore, you need to know the basics of these devices, even if you don’t know much about radio signals.