Microwave & RF Control Products & Integrated Assemblies

ARS Control Products & Integrated assemblies

ARS Products produces a line of systems that solve a variety of unique RF problems ranging from signal routing to Beamforming and Dynamic Range Expansion.

Routers, Switch Matrices, Remote Patch Panels

What Are They?

Integrated systems that can route (locally or remotely) multiple source signals (antennas, front-ends, etc.), to multiple destinations (receivers, modems, etc.). Some architectures allow for the simultaneous distribution to multiple destinations.

Not All Signal Routing Systems Are The Same

There are many ways for a signal to get from Point A to Point B.  The topology selection has a direct bearing on the functionality the switch matrix can provide in a customer’s application.  See the Appendix section of this website for more information.

Typical Applications

Test equipment routing typically uses Non-Blocking Architectures (Fan-Out=1).  Reception service providers typically use Full-Fan-Out architectures.  Earth stations typically use Full-Fan-In and Full-Fan-Out architectures.

Understanding Other Key Performance Needs

Other key factors in the selection of the switching system must also include balancing dynamic range and isolation.  Typically Front End Routers require the highest inter-modulation performance, with mid-level isolation
(50-70 dB).  Intermediate Frequency (IF) Routers require mid-level inter-modulation performance, with higher signal isolation (60-90 dB). In concept, the signal flow is quite simple; just route the signal from Point A to Point B.  This is where the simplicity ends.  In order for the signal to arrive at Point B with the highest fidelity, it must pass through amplification and switching circuits that introduce minimum distortion.  The primary goal is high dynamic range: the lowest noise figure, and the highest inter-modulation intercept points.

Switch Matrix Features

Easy to Live With- Many ARS Products switch matrices are modular.  This allows quick configuration and rapid serviceability.  A key feature is quick access to power supply modules.

High Dynamic Range- The lowest noise figure with the highest intermodulation intercept points.  ARS Products designs and manufactures specialized amplifiers and switch circuits to address systems that require or benefit from high performance levels.

Routing Topologies- Getting signals from Point A to Point B (and C and D).  ARS Products utilizes several topologies including Klos Architectures.  ARS Products delivers high performance solutions at economical prices.

A few of the ARS switching products are:

ProductDescriptionFrequency Range
Model 217RS422/V.11 Data Routing HubDC – 128KBPS
Model 21816 x 16 Extended Bandwidth Video RouterDC – 250 MHz
Model 22116 x 16 Audio Router20 Hz – 100 KHz
Model 234Telemetry-Video Distribution MatrixDC – 250 MHz
Model 240RS232/V.28 Data Routing HubDC – 19.2KBPS
Model 301IF Distribution Matrix/ Remote Patch Panel10 – 200 MHz
Model 302Intermediate Frequency Combining Matrix10 – 200 MHz
Model 303IF Distribution Matrix10 – 200 MHz
Model 304HF Distribution Matrix1 – 32 MHz
Model 307VHF/UHF Distribution Matrix10 – 1300 MHz
Model 308 (Gen II)Ultra Wide IF Distribution Matrix40 – 2200 MHz
Model 308J (Gen II)Ultra Wide IF Distribution Matrix40 – 2200 MHz
Model 310IF Distribution Matrix/ Remote Patch Panel10 – 200 MHz
Model 314L-Band Distribution Matrix900 – 2150 MHz
Model 319L-Band Combining Matrix900 – 2150 MHz
Model 321Simplex DS1/E1 MonitorDS1 (T1) or E1
Model 323IF Distribution Matrix10 – 250 MHz
Model 327L-Band Distribution Matrix900 – 2150 MHz
Model 328IF Distribution Matrix5 – 250 MHz
Model 345L-Band Combining Matrix950 – 2050 MHz
Model 353VLF-HF Distribution Matrix.01 – 30 MHz

Test Signal & Test Routing Equipment

What Is It?

Equipment designed for general purpose switching and calibrated signal manipulation.  Also includes controllable attenuators, phase shifters and delay lines.

ARS Products Test Routing Switch Features

  • Front panel displays to view and change routings
  • Multiple remote control interfaces
  • Automatically terminating unused ports
  • Local lockout commands to inhibit front panel access
  • All functions available through the remote interfaces
  • Bi-directional switches
  • Fan-Out = 1

A few of the ARS Test Routing products are:

ProductDescriptionFrequency Range
Model 1522 x 64 ATE Switch Matrix50 – 1000 MHz
Model 21416 Channel Programmable RF Gain Unit10 – 500 MHz
Model 216Test Routing MatrixDC – 8 GHz
Model 225Test Routing SwitchDC – 12.4 GHz
Model 707Flexible Configuration ChassisUp to 18 GHz

Multi-Coupler & Distribution Amplifiers

What Are They?

Multi-Couplers & Distribution Amplifiers are products that are high dynamic range (low noise, high intercept) amplifiers that are used to drive large downstream systems.  A multi-coupler is a distribution amplifier (single input) with multiple outputs.

Product Features*

  • Main chassis includes power supply, display, and control
  • Front panel displays the health/ status of the chassis and its power supplies
  • The unit may be remotely controlled from the available communication ports
  • Multiple connector options available for several models
  • Many units are customizable with different numbers of inputs available
  • *Some features only available in certain models.

Models Available For

  •          Distribution of IF signals for a downconverter
  •          Distribution of video signals from demodulators
  •          High Frequency multi-couplers
  •          Microwave multi-couplers

A few of the Multi-Coupler, Distribution Amplifier Products are:

ProductDescriptionFrequency Range
Model 158Microwave Multi-Coupler1 – 18 GHz
Model 160High Frequency Multi-Coupler1 – 32 MHz
Model 195VHF/UHF Multi-Coupler20 – 3000 MHz
Model 701High Frequency (HF) Distribution System1 – 32 MHz

Receiver Dynamic Range Extensions

Receiver Dynamic Range Extensions

What Are They?

ARS Products creates specialized front-end devices that reduce receiver desensitizing without introducing inter-modulation distortion.  Products include non-reflective limiters, and frequency programmable notch filters.

ARS Products Notch Filters are designed to reduce radio front-end desensitization.  This process is achieved by selectively attenuating strong signals.  Front panel displays and controls allow users to easily make changes.

RF Signal Limiter Features

  •          Does not distort the incoming signals or degrade the system’s impedance match
  •          Does not reflect energy back to the antenna
  •          Proportionately attenuates the incoming signals preserving the system’s linear performance and match
  •          Intended for front-end protection in transmitter co-located environment
  •          Units housed in a hermetic Kovar package

HF & VHF Notch Filter Features

  •          Any notch can be set to any frequency in its appropriate band
  •          Bypass mode allows for the removal of the filters
  •          Units front panel permits local users to view and change notch frequencies
  •          All functions and status are available through remote interfaces
  •          User replaceable power supply module (front access)

A few of the Dynamic Range Extension Products from ARS are:

ProductDescriptionFrequency Range
Model 503FPNon-Reflective HF Limiter0.1 – 32 MHz
Model 504FPNon-Reflective VHF Limiter30 – 500 MHz
Model 505FPNon-Reflective UHF-L Limiter500 – 1200 MHz
Model 506FPNon-Reflective UHF-H Limiter1200 – 3000 MHz
HF NotchFour Channel Programmable HF Notch Filter2 – 30 MHz
VHF/UHF NotchFour Channel Programmable VHF/UHF Notch Filter30 – 825 MHz

Beamforming & Beamsteering Networks

What Are They?

ARS Products designs and manufactures specialized phase and amplitude control sub-systems for RF signal manipulation.  Our products can be used for individual feed manipulation (phase shifters or amplitude modulators), or at the beam culminating point (beamformer).

Dynamic Beamforming: What Is It?

A melding of Butler Matrix and Phased Array techniques.

Beamforming Applications:

  •          Direction finding with spatial signal suppression
  •          Allows the user to change the pattern in real time
  •          Can also be used for transmission

Key Beamformer Differentiators:

Frequency Coverage- From fractional to multiple octave bandwidths

Power Handling- From sensitive receive levels, to kilowatt transmit levels.

Architecture- Able to re-implement designs, changing between quadrature and sum/difference implementations.

Mediums- Stripline, microstrip, and high permeability materials such as ferrite and powdered iron

A few of the Beamformer products are:

ProductDescriptionFrequency Range
Model 4018 x 3 Butler Matrix200 – 2000 MHz
Model 4028 x 8 Butler Matrix200 – 2000 MHz
Model 414Eight to One Steerable Modeformer30 – 800 MHz
Model 415Eight to One Steerable Modeformer800 – 3000 MHz
Model 421Steerable Modeformer30 – 800 MHz
Model 422Steerable Modeformer800 – 3000 MHz


What Are They?

ARS Products cancellers are designed to prevent receiver overload or desensitization by reducing transmit levels before entering the input of co-located receivers.

Canceller Features

  •          Front panel indicators and adjustments
  •          Remote control interfaces
  •          Can be monitored both locally and remotely
  •          Internal power detectors check the levels of incoming and cancelled signals

Two of the Cancellers are:

ProductDescriptionReceiver Freq. RangeCanceling Freq. Range
Model 176Low Band VHF Co-Location Canceller30 – 100 MHz30 – 88 MHz
Model 190VME Low Band VHF Canceller30 – 108 MHz30 – 88 MHz

Kratos-MED (General Microwave)

Integrated Microwave Assemblies and Sub Assemblies.  

These are almost always custom designed to meet a customer’s specific requirements.  An IMA can be as simple as integrating a limiting function with an LNA to meet specific needs such as noise figure, gain, intercept point, and front end protection.  A more complex assembly could be comprised of a RCVR front end, PA, T/R switch, filtering and up/down convert stages.  The IMA offers the customer a single package that has all the component parts matched to one another in a usually smaller volume than if the components were interconnected individually.

Control Products

Control products alter a signal in amplitude or phase or a signal’s path in a system. They include Attenuators Programmable & Fixed, Phase Shifters, Limiters, Switches Resistors, Terminations.

Attenuators reduce a signal’s amplitude frequently in fixed increments without altering any other of the signal’s characteristics such as phase or frequency.  Attenuators can be implanted using PIN diodes to vary the attenuation continuously or through fixed attenuator ships often made on AlN.  Some attenuator design will use PIN diodes to switch fixed attenuator chips to provide a step attenuator function. Power dissipation is an important consideration in attenuator selection, dissipation levels are available from fractions of a Watt in SMT chip packages to Kilowatts in air cooled finned housings and water cooled for very large amounts of power.

A phase shifter can be characterized as a linear two port device which alters the phase of its output signal in response to an external electrical command. (Mechanical phase shifters are not considered here.) Expressing this mathematically, with an input signal sin (ωt), the output will be A(n)*sin[(ωt+Θ(n)], where n is the programmed phase and A(n) is the insertion loss. The difference between the input phase and the output phase is the sum of the phase shift due to the propagation through the phase shifter plus the programmed phase shift.
The relative simplicity of the idea that any reactance placed in series or shunt with a transmission line will produce a phase shift has given rise to many different circuits over the years for use as phase shifters at microwave frequencies.

Usually, for high speed applications, the controlling elements have been semiconductor devices such as PIN, Schottky and varactor diodes, whereas for high power requirements, when slower switching speed can be tolerated, ferrites are frequently employed. The final choice of a phase shifter network and control element will depend on the required bandwidth, insertion loss, switching speed, power handling, accuracy and resolution. In addition, a choice between analog and digital control must also be made.

Analog phase shifters are devices whose phase shift changes continuously as the control input is varied and therefore offer almost unlimited resolution with monotonic performance. The most commonly used semiconductor control devices used in analog microwave phase shifters are varactor diodes, which act as current controlled variable resistors. Schottky diodes and ferrite devices are also used as variable elements in analog phase shifters but the former suffer from limited power handling capability and matching difficulty in broadband networks whereas the latter are generally larger, require more bias power, and are relatively slow compared to semiconductor designs. 

Microwave & RF Switches fall into 2 basic catagories, electro-mechanical and solid state. 

The microwave solid state switch at Kratos-MED (General Microwave) is usually implemented using PIN diodes though FET switches are becoming more widely available. There are two fundamental methods of connecting PIN diodes to a transmission line to provide a switching function: in series with the transmission line so that RF power is conducted when the PIN diode is forward biased and reflected when reverse biased; or in shunt with the transmission line so that the RF power is conducted when the diode is reverse biased and reflected when forward biased. A simple reflective SPST switch can be designed utilizing one or more PIN diodes in either configuration.

A multi-throw microwave switch essentially consists of combination of SPST switches connected to a common junction and biased so that each switch port can be enabled individually. The common junction of the switch must be designed to minimize the resistive and reactive loading presented by the OFF ports in order to obtain low insertion loss and VSWR for the ON port. There are two basic methods of realizing a multi-throw microwave switch common junction for optimum performance over a broad frequency range. The first employs series mounted PIN diodes connected to the common junction. A path is selected by forward biasing its series diode and simultaneously reverse biasing all the other diodes. This provides the desired low-loss path for the ON port with a minimum of loading from the OFF ports. The second method utilizes shunt mounted PIN diodes located a quarter wavelength from the junction. The diode(s) of the selected ON port is reverse biased while the OFF ports are forward biased to create a short circuit across the transmission line. As a result of the quarter wavelength spacing, the short circuits are transformed to open circuits at the junction. By proper choice of transmission line impedances and minimization of stray reactance it is possible to construct a switch of this type with low insertion loss and VSWR over a three to one bandwidth. 

Electro-Mechanical Switches

Relcomm Technologies : www.relcommtech.com

RelComm Technologies, established in April 1994, designs and manufactures Design Enhanced Application Specific RF Coaxial Relay Products for high volume commercial telecommunications infrastructure, military communications as well as test and measurement instrumentation operating from DC to 40 GHz. The management team has more than seventy-five years of combined experience in design, manufacturing and marketing of products for this industry. At RelComm Technologies we believe in understanding the total opportunity. This means targeting the goals of our customers, achieving those goals, establishing long term relationships that are mutually beneficial, and then, exceeding all expectations.

Typical  electro mechanical switch specifications  

Switches are offered in surface mount, SMA and N connector packages

Nominal Impedance (Ohm)50
Frequency Range (GHz)DC – 11 – 22 – 44 – 88 – 1212 – 1818 – 26.5
VSWR (maximum)1.1:11.15:11.2:11.3:11.4:11.5:11.6:1
Insertion Loss (dB max)
Isolation (dB minimum)80757070606050
Operating Temp. Range-30 to +85°C
Storage Temp. Range-55 to +100°C
Nominal Operating Coil Voltages5, 12, 15, 24, 28 VDC
CoverAluminum/Black Anodized
Pin OutsBrass/Gold
Nominal Impedance (Ohm)50