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Inside Frequency Control

How to Prevent Frequency Perturbations in Crystal Oscillators

Posted by Rob Rutkowski on Sep 19, 2023 9:00:00 AM

Frequency perturbations, also referred to as activity dips, can be difficult to spot in crystal oscillators. But a single perturbation can cause major problems in an application’s signal, including within GPS or missile systems.

Imagine launching a missile and then losing control of its navigation. Or getting a very inaccurate GPS velocity reading of an aircraft. These (and many other problems) can be caused by a failure to spot activity dips in crystals.

In this article, we'll help you  understand what frequency perturbations are and how to prevent them from occurring in crystal oscillators.

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Topics: crystal oscillators

The Secret to Low Phase Noise in Crystal Oscillator Circuits

Posted by Rob Rutkowski on Sep 12, 2023 9:00:00 AM

Quartz crystal oscillators are the high and mighty option for low phase noise and added frequency stability in circuit design. Yes, simple oscillators like those made with resistor-capacitor (RC) or inductor-capacitor (IC) resonators are fine for some circuits.

But if you're dealing with higher performance applications in the aerospace, military, and space industries, you're going to want a higher performance crystal oscillator that can maintain low phase noise and strong stability. Otherwise, you'll risk deviating from the very specific (and usually critical) center frequency selected for your design.

In this blog, we'll discuss how to measure low phase noise and how to maintain it in your applications.

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Topics: crystal oscillators, RF Technology, Integrated RF

DOCXO Guide: When Should You Use a Double Oven Crystal Oscillator?

Posted by Bliley Technologies on Aug 29, 2023 9:00:00 AM

One is definitely the loneliest number. So what's better, a single (OCXO) or double oven controlled crystal oscillator (DOCXO)?

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Topics: crystal oscillators

How to Maintain Frequency Stability in Crystal Oscillators

Posted by Bliley Technologies on Aug 7, 2023 9:00:00 AM

One of the core challenges any RF engineer faces is maintaining frequency stability in crystal oscillators. In an ideal world, an oscillator would transmit at the desired frequency indefinitely and without deviation… but of course, we don’t live in an ideal world, and frequency drift is a real problem in many applications.

There are a number of factors that can cause an oscillator to deviate from the correct frequency, but frequency drift is not an insurmountable issue. There are various approaches engineers can take to improve stability. In this article, we'll discuss the best approaches to maintaining a high degree of stability your in crystal oscillators.

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Topics: crystal oscillators

Can a Crystal Oscillator Operate Outside of the Specified Temperature Range?

Posted by Bliley Technologies on Jul 27, 2023 9:00:00 AM

Will a crystal oscillator operate outside its specified temperature range? This is a common question and the short answer is: yes, but it's complicated.

If, for example, a crystal oscillator is specified over 0 to 60 °C, it will most likely perform without any issues over -40 to 85 °C. But it's possible that it will fall outside its specified stability. This may not matter if the application needs just a stable frequency rather than an accurate frequency.

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Topics: crystal oscillators, Clocks & Crystals

4 Top Factors That Influence Crystal Oscillator Frequency Stability

Posted by Bliley Technologies on Jul 25, 2023 9:00:00 AM

RF engineers would love to get their hands on an ideal crystal oscillator circuit. That is, a quartz crystal oscillator that transmits at the designated frequency for the entire life of the device without any frequency deviation. Unfortunately, that ideal circuit world is a mathematical fantasy.

There are many factors that contribute to quartz oscillator stability and frequency drift issues. To prevent these problems as much as possible, it's important to have a firm understanding of precise frequency stability. This will give you the tools to keep your applications performing optimally. But there's another problem...

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Topics: crystal oscillators, RF Technology

How Does a VCXO Work?

Posted by Bliley Technologies on Jun 29, 2023 9:00:00 AM

There are many different types of crystal oscillators. OCXOs, TCXOs, and VCXOs are some of the most common types of oscillators. Each have their own advantages and disadvantages. One of the core responsibilities of a lead RF engineer is to pick the oscillators that are an optimal fit for their designs and applications.

If you want to be able to fine-tune your frequency source and get a stable, dependable signal, a voltage-controlled crystal oscillator (VCXO) might be just the solution you’re looking for. Let’s explore the benefits of the VCXO and how you can put them to work in your designs.

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Topics: crystal oscillators

The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Phase Noise

Posted by Bliley Technologies on Jun 15, 2023 9:00:00 AM


Maintaining strong frequency stability in electronic RF circuits by eliminating phase noise is important in many high-end communication applications. This is especially true for precise targeting in radar systems and spectral purity in other communication systems.

Let's take a deep dive into exactly what the terms phase noise and jitter mean. This will help give you a better idea why reducing a system's phase noise is so important.

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Topics: engineering, crystal oscillators

7 Key Factors of Crystal Oscillator Circuit Design

Posted by Rob Rutkowski on May 18, 2023 8:27:00 AM

There are 7 key factors to understanding successful crystal oscillator circuit design. These include:

  1. Series circuit
  2. Crystal load capacitance
  3. Parallel circuit
  4. Drive level
  5. Frequency vs. mode
  6. Design considerations
  7. Negative resistance
In this post, we're going to cover the basics of oscillator design and each of the 7 key components of great crystal oscillator circuit design.
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Topics: crystal oscillators

What Are GPS Disciplined Oscillators (GPSDO)?

Posted by Bliley Technologies on Apr 27, 2023 9:00:00 AM

GPS disciplined oscillators (GPSDO) are some of today's most trusted and accurate sources of timing. These powerful devices (sometimes called GPS clocks) consist of a high-quality stable oscillator and a GPS receiver. The GPSDO works by disciplining (or steering) the oscillator output to a GPS device or GNSS satellite signal via a tracking loop.

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Topics: crystal oscillators, RF Technology, GPS & GNSS, Integrated RF, Defense & PNT

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