Modulator Storage Element

The capacitor modulator storage element is used only in modulators that have a dc power supply and an electron-tube modulator switch.

The capacitor modulator storage element is charged to a high voltage by the dc power supply. It releases only a small part of its stored energy to the transmitter. The electron-tube modulator switch controls the charging and discharging of the capacitor storage element.

The artificial transmission line storage element, shown in view A of the figure below, consists of identical capacitors (C) and inductors (L) arranged to simulate sections of a transmission line. The artificial transmission line serves two purposes: (1) to store energy when the modulator switch is open (between transmitted rf pulses) and (2) to discharge and form a rectangular dc pulse (modulator pulse) of the required duration when the modulator switch is closed.

Modulator storage elements.

Modulator storage elements.

The duration of the modulator pulse depends on the values of inductance and capacitance in each LC section of the artificial transmission line in view A and the number of LC sections used. Other arrangements of capacitors and inductors (such as the pulse-forming network shown in view B) are very similar in operation to artificial transmission lines.

ARTIFICIAL TRANSMISSION LINES and PULSE-FORMING NETWORKS (pfn) are used more often than the capacitor-type storage elements.


The figure below shows a radar modulator that uses an artificial transmission line as its storage element. A modulator switch controls the pulse-repetition rate. When the modulator switch is open (between transmitted rf pulses), the transmission line charges.

Modulator with an artificial transmission line for the storage element.

The charge path includes the primary of the pulse transformer, the dc power supply, and the charging impedance. When the modulator switch is closed, the transmission line discharges through the series circuit. This circuit consists of the modulator switch and the primary of the pulse transformer.

The artificial transmission line is effectively an open circuit at its output end. Therefore, when the voltage wave reaches the output end of the line, it is reflected. As the reflected wave propagates from the output end back toward the input end of the line, it completely discharges each section of the line. When the reflected wave reaches the input end of the line, the line is completely discharged, and the modulator pulse ceases abruptly. If the oscillator and pulse transformer circuit impedance is properly matched to the line impedance, the voltage pulse that appears across the transformer primary equals one-half the voltage to which the line was initially charged.

The width of the pulse generated by an artificial transmission line depends on the time required for a voltage wave to travel from the input end to the output end of the line and back. Therefore, we can say the pulse width depends on the velocity of propagation along the line (determined by the inductances and capacitances of each section of the line) and the number of line sections (the length of the line).

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