JED - December 2017 - 49

TECHNOLOGY SURVEY

A SAMPLING OF SIGINT TUNERS AND TUNER MODULES
By Ollie Holt

Figure 2

Survey intro continued on page 61

The Journal of Electronic Defense | December 2017

Signals outside of the operating range would be rejected
to prevent creating false signals or other unwanted interference. This pre-filtering may not exist in all tuners.
The next stage of the tuner is the mixer, which is
where the frequency translation takes place. A mixer
takes a continuous RF signal from a local oscillator (LO),
which maybe a fixed oscillator or a tunable frequency
oscillator, such as a direct digital synthesizer (DDS) or a
voltage controlled oscillator (VCO), and mixes that signal
with the RF input. The resultant signals are the sum (Input Frequency plus the LO Frequency) and the difference
(Input Frequency minus the LO Frequency). An example
might be a signal at 5 GHz mixed with an LO at 3 GHz,
resulting in both an 8-GHz
and a 2-GHz output. FollowAntenna
ing the mixer, as shown in
Tuner or
Output Device
Figure 2, would be a band
Parameter
Signal
Down
Display,
pass filter that would select
Measurement
Characterization
Converter
Speaker, etc.
either the upper frequency
or lower frequency product.
Typical Receiver Block Diagram
The mixer section can and
usually is broken into one,
Figure 1
Figure
1
two or more mixing stages.
The RF tuner may connect directly to the antenna or
It is not always convenient to go directly from the init may have some limiters and pre-amplification in the
put frequency range to the desired baseband frequencies
RF path from the antenna. The limiters' function is to
bandwidth of the Detector/Demodulator device. Lots of
prevent high-power signals from damaging the tuner.
times, the LO will be selected to mix the input frequency
The limiter will, as its name implies, "limit" signals
to some value above the SIGINT receiver's operational
above a specific power level to some maximum power
frequency range to reduce the chance of spurious siglevel. Pre-amplification maybe added to overcome cable
nals and then mix that value down to the operational
losses between the antenna and the tuner. Figure 2 (bebaseband.
low) is a simple diagram of a tuner.
Not shown in the tuner diagram after the amplifier
THE SURVEY
and prior to the mixer is some pre-filtering. The preThe first parameter listed in the survey table is the
filtering, if included, is used to "band limit" the input
systems operational frequency range. Next is the Center
to just signals within the operating range of the tuner.
Intermediate Frequency (IF). This is the center frequency
of the output bandwidth. Some of the
results list no information or "digital"
Mixer
because the tuner already contains a
signal detection process and the outFilter
Output
Input
put is digital information. Others have
Amplifier
a frequency value. An example might
be a tuner that has a Center IF of 1
GHz and a Bandwidth of 500 MHz; this
means that the input would span 750
to 1250 MHz (500 MHz centered at 1
Local
GHz).
Oscillator
Next, the survey looks at the tuning
time. Tuning time defines how long it
Typical Tuner Block Diagram
takes to tune the LO of the RF Tuner to
ED has published many surveys on communications intelligence (COMINT) and electronic
intelligence (ELINT) systems. Did you ever wonder what was under the hood of these systems?
Below is a block diagram of a typical receiver system. It could be an EW system or even your home
stereo or TV system. As Figure 1 shows, a receiver is made up
of an antenna, a tuner (which is sometimes called a downconverter), a parameter measurement or detector/demodulator
device, the signal characterization (signal processing) function and an output device. This survey is looking at different
tuners that might be used in configuring a signals intelligence
(SIGINT) system.

49



JED - December 2017

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of JED - December 2017

The View From Here
Conferences Calendar
Courses Calendar
From the President
The Monitor
Washington Report
World Report
An Approach to UAV-Based ELINT
Combined EW and Cyber Event Illuminates Important Issues and Disconnects
Technology Survey: RF Tuners and Tuner Modules for SIGINT Applications
AOC EW Singapore 2018 Preview
Report from the 2017 AOC CEMA Conference
New Products
Recounting the History of the EW Working Group
EW 101
AOC 2017 Annual Award Winners
AOC News
Index of Advertisers
JED Quick Look
JED - December 2017 - intro
JED - December 2017 - cover1
JED - December 2017 - cover2
JED - December 2017 - 3
JED - December 2017 - 4
JED - December 2017 - 5
JED - December 2017 - The View From Here
JED - December 2017 - 7
JED - December 2017 - Conferences Calendar
JED - December 2017 - 9
JED - December 2017 - Courses Calendar
JED - December 2017 - 11
JED - December 2017 - From the President
JED - December 2017 - 13
JED - December 2017 - 14
JED - December 2017 - insert1
JED - December 2017 - insert2
JED - December 2017 - The Monitor
JED - December 2017 - 16
JED - December 2017 - 17
JED - December 2017 - 18
JED - December 2017 - 19
JED - December 2017 - 20
JED - December 2017 - 21
JED - December 2017 - 22
JED - December 2017 - 23
JED - December 2017 - Washington Report
JED - December 2017 - 25
JED - December 2017 - World Report
JED - December 2017 - 27
JED - December 2017 - An Approach to UAV-Based ELINT
JED - December 2017 - 29
JED - December 2017 - 30
JED - December 2017 - 31
JED - December 2017 - 32
JED - December 2017 - 33
JED - December 2017 - 34
JED - December 2017 - 35
JED - December 2017 - 36
JED - December 2017 - 37
JED - December 2017 - 38
JED - December 2017 - 39
JED - December 2017 - 40
JED - December 2017 - Combined EW and Cyber Event Illuminates Important Issues and Disconnects
JED - December 2017 - 42
JED - December 2017 - 43
JED - December 2017 - 44
JED - December 2017 - 45
JED - December 2017 - 46
JED - December 2017 - 47
JED - December 2017 - 48
JED - December 2017 - Technology Survey: RF Tuners and Tuner Modules for SIGINT Applications
JED - December 2017 - insert3
JED - December 2017 - insert4
JED - December 2017 - 50
JED - December 2017 - 51
JED - December 2017 - 52
JED - December 2017 - 53
JED - December 2017 - 54
JED - December 2017 - 55
JED - December 2017 - 56
JED - December 2017 - 57
JED - December 2017 - 58
JED - December 2017 - 59
JED - December 2017 - 60
JED - December 2017 - 61
JED - December 2017 - 62
JED - December 2017 - AOC EW Singapore 2018 Preview
JED - December 2017 - 64
JED - December 2017 - 65
JED - December 2017 - 66
JED - December 2017 - 67
JED - December 2017 - Report from the 2017 AOC CEMA Conference
JED - December 2017 - 69
JED - December 2017 - 70
JED - December 2017 - 71
JED - December 2017 - 72
JED - December 2017 - 73
JED - December 2017 - New Products
JED - December 2017 - 75
JED - December 2017 - 76
JED - December 2017 - Recounting the History of the EW Working Group
JED - December 2017 - 78
JED - December 2017 - 79
JED - December 2017 - 80
JED - December 2017 - EW 101
JED - December 2017 - 82
JED - December 2017 - 83
JED - December 2017 - 84
JED - December 2017 - AOC 2017 Annual Award Winners
JED - December 2017 - 86
JED - December 2017 - 87
JED - December 2017 - 88
JED - December 2017 - 89
JED - December 2017 - 90
JED - December 2017 - 91
JED - December 2017 - 92
JED - December 2017 - 93
JED - December 2017 - 94
JED - December 2017 - AOC News
JED - December 2017 - 96
JED - December 2017 - Index of Advertisers
JED - December 2017 - JED Quick Look
JED - December 2017 - cover3
JED - December 2017 - cover4
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