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Engineering Notes


RF POWER AMPLIFIERS TECHNICAL REFERENCE MATERIAL


Graceful Degradation


Solid state power amplifiers contain many isolated transistors in parallel at the output. There is a significant advantage in "graceful degradation" compared to tube amplifiers. A failure of the tube results in the total loss of output power while the failure of a parallel transistor still yields significant output power. Another significant advantage is that transistors do not change output power as a function of time whereas tubes continue to drift.

For N combined devices, the RF power output as a function of device failures is obtained by the following formula:

Po = Pt (( N - Nf ) / N)2

where: Po = Output Power
Pt = Total Po without transistor failures
N = Total number of devices
Nf = Total number of failed devices

N REDUCTION IN OUTPUT POWER
WITH A SINGLE DEVICE FAILURE
dB %
2
4
8
16
32
64
-6.02
-2.50
-1.16
-0.56
-0.28
-0.14
75
44
23
12
6
3

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