V60 Octave Voltage Controlled Oscillators (VCO)
Kratos General Microwave's catalog line of broadband VCOs covers the 2-18 GHz frequency range in octave (2-4, 2.6-5.2 and 4-8 GHz) and half-octave (8-12 and 12-18) GHz bands. The major features of the VCOs are fast settling time, low phase noise and excellent frequency stability.
A simplified block diagram is shown in Fig. 1. For optimum performance, the active element used is a silicon bipolar transistor. (This is in lieu of GaAs FETs which typically exhibit 10-20 dB poorer phase noise performance. Although GaAs FETs have extremely low noise in amplifier applications, they suffer from high 1/f noise, which is upconverted in the nonlinear oscillator to phase noise near the carrier.) To vary the frequency of the oscillator, a high-Q silicon hyperabrupt varactor is utilized. The capacitance-voltage characteristic is specified to provide as nearly linear frequency vs. voltage tuning curve as possible. In practice, good linearity can only be realized over a small portion of the tuning range because of parasitic reactances present in the physical circuit and the bipolar transistor. Typical ratios of maximum to minimum frequency vs. voltage sensitivity for an octave band are 2:1 and are specified at 3:1. GaAs varactors, although having higher Q's than silicon varactors, suffer from long-term charging effects as well as relatively poor thermal conductivity. Silicon varactors are therefore mandatory in high-speed applications requiring settling times of the order of several hundred nanoseconds and low post-tuning drift.
To minimize pulling effects on the oscillator frequency due to variations in the external load, attenuator pads followed by buffer amplifiers are incorporated at the oscillator output. Voltage regulators are also included to minimize the effect of variations in the power supply voltage on both oscillator frequency and power level. Finally, filtering is provided to reduce the harmonic content of the output signal.
Of particular note is Kratos General Microwave's 8-12 GHz VCO, which utilizes a high performance transistor operating in the fundamental, rather than the doubling push-push mode. This mode of operation eliminates all (2n + 1) fO/2 frequencies in the output spectrum. The second harmonic signal is speciied at –40 dBc maximum but is typically less than –50 dBc.
Because fundamental mode oscillation is not currently achievable with available silicon devices in the 12-18 GHz band, the doubling push-push approach, shown schematically in Fig. 2, is used. Thus, for example, for a 12 GHz output frequency, each oscillator is designed to operate at 6 GHz. If the structure were perfectly symmetrical, all odd harmonics of 6 GHz would be suppressed, and only even harmonics would be present in the output spectrum. By suitable filtering, an essentially pure 12 GHz output signal could be obtained. In practice, imperfect symmetry results in fO/2 and 3fO/2 signals, which are filtered to the extent possible. (For the case of a 12 GHz output signal, the undesired 3fO/2 signal at 18 GHz cannot be filtered since it is within the 12-18 GHz frequency range of the VCO.)
SERIES V60 BROADBAND VCO SPECIFICATIONS
DIMENSIONS AND WEIGHT
Approved for Public Release – DoD DOPSR Case No. 14-S-0850