RF power amplifier

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Not to be confused with Audio power amplifier.
An RF power amplifier
Class C VHF power amplifier based on the transistor MRF317.

An RF power amplifier is a type of electronic amplifier used to convert a low-power radio-frequency signal into a larger signal of significant power, typically for driving the antenna of a transmitter. It is usually optimized to have high efficiency, high output Power(P1dB) compression, good return loss on the input and output, good gain, and optimum heat dissipation.

RF amplifiers formerly were all made used vacuum tubes (called valves in some English-speaking countries. Tubes are still used for exceptionally high-power transmissions; tube- or valve-based amplifiers are discussed separately in the Wikipedia article Valve RF amplifier.


The basic applications of the RF power amplifier include driving to another high power source, driving a transmitting antenna and exciting microwave cavity resonators. Among these applications, driving transmitter antennas is most well known. The transmitter–receivers are used not only for voice and data communication but also for weather sensing (in the form of a radar).

Wideband amplifier design[edit]

Impedance transformations over large bandwidth are difficult to realize, thus most wideband amplifiers use 50 Ω output loading. Transistor output power is then limited to

P_{out} \le \frac{(V_{br} - V_k)^2}{8Z_o}

V_{br} is defined as the breakdown voltage

V_k is defined as the knee voltage

and typically Z_o = 50\Omega\,

External links[edit]

Khanifar, Ahmad. "RF Power Amplifier Design for Digital Predistortion". http://www.linamptech.com/. Retrieved 1 December 2014.