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Inside Frequency Control

GPSDOs vs. Atomic Clocks: Which Works Best for LEO, MEO, & GEO Satellites?

Posted by Bliley Technologies on Jul 22, 2024 9:00:00 AM

We've seen some confusion over which timing device works best in satellite communication applications. Should you use a standard oscillator (OCXO), a GPS disciplined oscillator (GPSDO), or an atomic clock in your satellite?

The short answer is, "it depends." You'll need to choose your timing device based on on your specific needs, limitations, and operational orbit. Let's take a look at each operational orbit (LEO, MEO, and GEO) and which types of timing devices their satellites require.

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Topics: Space & Satellites, Integrated RF

What Is Swept Quartz & Is It Necessary for Your Application?

Posted by Rob Rutkowski on Jul 18, 2024 9:00:00 AM

Swept quartz crystals are necessary in timing applications that require radiation resistance, but it's important to understand how they work and when you should use them. 

In this blog, we'll review what swept quartz crystals are, how they're manufactured, their common applications, and a common misconception about their benefits.

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Topics: crystal oscillators, RF Technology

3 Things to Know When Buying Crystal Oscillators & Frequency Control Devices

Posted by Rob Rutkowski on Jul 11, 2024 9:00:00 AM

The process of buying crystal oscillators can be a headache if you don't know what to expect. But learning the basics of how to procure frequency control devices can help you plan accordingly and reduce your frustration. 

There are three main things you should know about crystal oscillators and frequency control devices when ordering them:

  1. They have long lead times
  2. They typically have a long shelf life
  3. They have large purchased lot sizes

Let's dive a little deeper into each of these to give you a better idea of how they'll impact your purchasing strategy. We'll keep this blog short and to the point, but if you want to learn more, we've included links to our more in-depth articles on each topic.

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Topics: crystal oscillators, Clocks & Crystals

NTP Stratum Levels: What You Need to Know

Posted by Rob Rutkowski on Jul 10, 2024 9:00:00 AM

When it comes to NTP stratum levels and minimum performance requirements for digital network synchronization, there's definitely a lot to know. A standard first released in 1987 entitled "Synchronization Interface Standards for Digital Networks" from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) lays out all the official information and requirements. 

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Topics: RF Technology

How to Calculate Integrated Phase Deviation with Formulas

Posted by Rob Rutkowski on Jun 28, 2024 9:00:00 AM

With the advances of RF technology over the last many years, most modern spectrum analyzers can now automatically detect changes in phase noise levels (mostly of sine wave signals) measured in units of dBc or rads.

But it’s always a good idea for RF engineers to understand how modern spectrum analyzers measure integrated phase deviation. Or better yet, for them to understand how to optimize a spectrum analyzer’s measurements even further. Believe it or not, but many spectrum analyzer readings of phase noise can be significantly off.

Measuring phase noise deviations is easier than it sounds. All you really have to do is learn how to determine the Root Mean Square (RMS). This is done by calculating the ratio of power from the single-sideband (SSB) phase noise to the carrier.

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Topics: RF Technology

Ultra-Stable Oscillators & 5 Elements That Affect Frequency Stability

Posted by Rob Rutkowski on Jun 20, 2024 9:00:00 AM

Here’s the scary thing…

Even if you sit for hours upon hours trying to set a precise initial frequency of an oscillator, it’s still going to drift and the oscillator will not be able maintain that frequency over the full course of its use. In this post, you’ll learn the many sources of frequency instability and why an ultra-stable OCXO may be the fix-all solution.

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Topics: crystal oscillators, RF Technology, Integrated RF

Ka-Band & Ku-Band Systems: Basics & RF Design Considerations

Posted by Bliley Technologies on Jun 19, 2024 9:00:00 AM

What's the difference between Ka-band and Ku-band systems? In this article, we explore what they are,  what sets them apart, the advantages of each, and the design considerations you should keep in mind. 

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Topics: engineering, crystal oscillators, RF Technology, Space & Satellites

The TCXO Oscillator: 5 Elements of Temperature Compensated Oscillators

Posted by Bliley Technologies on May 31, 2024 8:15:00 AM

The most common types of crystal oscillators in electrical and RF engineering include OCXOs, TCXOs, VCXOs, and clock oscillators. In this post, we'll be reviewing the basics of temperature compensated crystal oscillators (TCXOs).

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Topics: crystal oscillators, Clocks & Crystals

3 Types of OCXOs & How They Establish Precise Frequency Control

Posted by Bliley Technologies on May 16, 2024 9:00:00 AM

Temperature variations are the most significant factor contributing to frequency drift in crystal oscillators.

Other variables that affect frequency output, such as humidity and pressure, can be alleviated easily with a hermetically sealed packaging of the crystal in a vacuum or in an inert gas, such as nitrogen. But controlling temperature for precise frequency output in a crystal oscillator circuit requires a higher level of electronic RF design ingenuity. Enter: the oven controlled crystal oscillator (OCXO).

In this post, we'll take a look at the three types of OCXOs available for RF engineers to meet individual design priorities such as frequency precision, warm-up time, crystal aging, and power consumption.

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Topics: crystal oscillators, RF Technology

The 3 P’s of Oscillator Pricing: How to Maximize Your ROI

Posted by Bliley Technologies on May 15, 2024 9:00:00 AM

Oscillators have become indispensable in modern technology. They are the core component that makes RF engineering possible, and are crucial to cell phones, Wi-Fi, GPS, and so much more.

The modern interconnected economy and daily life as we know it would grind to a halt if crystal oscillators were not abundant, well designed, and reasonably affordable. But what determines oscillator pricing?

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Topics: crystal oscillators

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