Attenuators

PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

The ADRF5473 is a 6-bit digital attenuator with a 31.5 dB attenuation range in 0.5 dB steps manufactured in a silicon process attached on a gallium arsenide (GaAs) carrier substrate. The substrate incorporates the bond pads for chip and wire assembly, and the bottom of the device is metalized and connected to ground.

JFW’s 50BR-160 is a 50 Ohm Benchtop Attenuator designed to operate in applications operating from DC to 4000 MHz. It has attenuation range 0 to 121 dB by 1 dB steps and is rated for 1 Watt average RF power.

The 50PA-1197 from JFW is a 50 Ohm benchtop attenuator assembly that contains 24 solid-state step attenuators. The attenuators can be controlled manually with the keypad or remotely via Ethernet or Serial connection.

JFW’s 50PA-1183-XX and 50BA-048-95 are two attenuator assembly models designed to help automate Wi-Fi 6E testing.  Both models use 0-95dB x 1dB step attenuators that operate 0.2-8 GHz, and feature Ethernet and serial remote control with a command set that is script friendly.

The 50PA-1174-XX series is composed of 19 inch rack mount attenuator assembles containing 50 Ohm solid-state step attenuators. The number of attenuators can be selected from 1 to 8 attenuators. The attenuators have an attenuation range of 0 to 63 dB by 0.5 dB steps and operate at 200 MHz to 8 GHz. 

JFW’s Model 50DR-141 is a 50 Ohm manual step attenuator with attenuation range 0 to 40 dB by 1dB steps. It operates within the DC – 3600 MHz frequency range and is rated for 2 Watts average RF power. It is ideally designed for use in LTE Band 42 testing.

Mini Circuits offers a series of “full fan-out” or “fully non-blocking” matrices using a combination of programmable attenuators and splitters/combiners that deliver a flexible set of paths between the input and output ports. The configuration is analogous to a switch matrix except any individual path can be “on” (0 dB attenuation), or “off” (max attenuation), or any specific path loss in-between.

Model 50FHLB-xxx-100 is a uni-directional 100 Watt fixed attenuator that operates DC-3 GHz. It has a heatsink that is only 2.25 inches in diameter. It is available with 50 Ohm coaxial RF connectors N, 4.3/10, or 7/16.  It is currently available with attenuation values 10, 20, or 30dB. There are mounting holes (8-32 threads) on both ends of the heatsink.

ABOUT

Attenuators are the exact opposite of an amplifier. An attenuator is used to reduce the intensity of either electricity or sound. For example, the digital impulse that is used to drive a speaker may be stepped down to prevent the lower range speakers from failing. An equalizer in music is a form of amplifier and attenuator rolled up into one. However, it targets on particular frequency. Every instrument in a musical symphony and even the human voice occupy a certain frequency range. As an example, each note of a violin has a very specific frequency. The A string on a violin is exactly 440Hz. Using an attenuator, one can target the exact frequency of 440Hz and reduce its intensity. It can even be attenuated all the way down to zero. If this were to happen, then every time an A not of a violin was played, it would not be heard.

This sort of technology is used to clean up sounds of recordings and other sounds in a recording. It is even possible to pinpoint the frequency range of the human voice then use an attenuator to reduce it to zero. Imagine if one were to take a recording of a song and attenuate just the vocal portion, the song will now resemble a minus-one track.

Attenuators have other more sophisticated commercial uses. They can be used to reduce the electrical impulses that were amplified to travel long distances and may still carry strong energy when it arrives, so it needs to be attenuated before it is channeled for processing.