Buying an RF amplifier for the first time can be a challenging process. These amplifiers aren't like your typical electronic devices, and you need to be attentive to a lot of different features to ensure that you get the right one for what you need. Before you go shopping for an RF amplifier for the first time, here's a look at some of the things that you should understand so that you get a machine that will fit your needs.
Assess The Gain Capability
In the amplifier world, the word gain is used to describe how much an amplifier can boost an incoming signal before sending it back out. The greater the gain, the greater the boost of the signal. You'll find, though, that an amplifier's gain rating will vary based on the frequency you're dealing with. It's not a linear factor, so the higher the frequency, the lower the gain is likely to be due to increased signal loss at higher frequency ratings.
Understand The Bandwidth
Another factor that you need to consider when you're choosing an RF amplifier is the bandwidth rating. The bandwidth of an RF amplifier refers to the frequency range at which your broadcast strength remains consistent. This bandwidth shows you how large a frequency range you have to work with before your gain drops off on either end of that ideal frequency.
Look For Harmonic Suppression
Harmonics are interfering signals that can disrupt the RF amplifier's operation by blocking proper RF signals or causing noise from excess transmissions on that signal and interference. Look for an RF amplifier that has mitigation tools to help suppress and combat harmonics. This will help you keep the incoming and outgoing signals clearer and free of the distortion and disruption that can come from interference.
Consider The Power And Cooling Needs
No matter what type of RF amplifier you choose, you also need to be sure that you have the power and cooling needs met as well. While most RF amplifiers will function on a standard household current, some of them require a different circuit instead. You may also find that, depending on the power draw of the amplifier, you may need a separate circuit installed for the amplifier to avoid excess demand.
Also, choose a model that incorporates cooling along with the power integration. Whether it's liquid cooling, an onboard fan, or any other techniques, make sure that your amplifier will be able to stay cool. You may even want to make sure that you have a cool room to keep it in when it's running to minimize heat issues.