RF Power Attenuators

Res-net Microwave Power Attenuator

Attenuators are considered to be passive electronic components. They are used extensively in RF and microwave applications. As the name suggests, they are used to attenuate a RF or microwave signal. This means they reduce the amplitude of a signal without the distortion of the waveform and as these operate in higher frequency ranges their VSWR (voltage standing wave ratio) also becomes a factor.

In most instances, power attenuators can be identified as those that operate over a 100 watts. There are some that actually operate in the 1,000 to 2,000 watt range. They all have heat sinks to disipate the heat these wattages generate. The largest ones, 1,000 to 2,000 watts, also have fans to further help dissipate the heat that their extensive power creates. The attenuator in the picture to the right is a 1,000 watt attenuator that operates up to 2.4 GHz.

As we move away from analog signals in favor of digital because of its lack of noise, there is less power that is required. So, the need for these type of larger power attenuators in not as prevalent as it once was in the past. There are, however, still requirements that call for these power carrying components, albeit they are not as common as they once were.