What Are RF Terminators?

An RF signal, or radio frequency signal, is one that is transmitted as a radio wave with a frequency between the range of 20 kHz to 300 GHz. RF signals are the backbone of countless communication applications and some medicinal equipment, and they may also serve various measurement operations as well. Despite their importance, RF signals have the chance of being reflected back from open-ended or unused ports, potentially posing an issue for some applications and processes. To prevent such problems from occurring, RF terminators are used.

With an RF terminator, RF signals can have their energy absorbed so that they do not accidentally reflect in an undesirable fashion. RF terminations can be established in various ways, the most common types including coaxial, waveguide, and chip options. The choice between each will generally depend on the type of port or device that one is working with. For instance, a coaxial terminator is best paired with a coaxial port, while a waveguide terminator is compatible with a waveguide port. Meanwhile, chip terminations feature an integrated circuit (IC) chip form factor, and they may be manufactured with thin-film technology. While such options are the most popular, there are other various mounting styles for RF terminators, those of which include screw terminal, stand-alone, board-level, panel mount, through-hole, and surface mount types.

When you are in the market for various types of RF load terminators, it is important to consider the various specifications that may affect performance and compatibility. Generally, the most important specifications to pay attention to are frequency range, power rating, voltage standing wave ratio (VSWR), return loss, and resistance. Frequency range is fairly straightforward, serving as the range of frequencies that can be handled by the RF terminator. On the other hand, the power rating is simply the input rated power.

In terms of VSWR, one is referring to a unitless ratio that is expressible by the amount of energy that is reflected at the input. If the VSWR value is “1,” then all energy will pass through the terminator. If the value is any other number, then that value is indicative of the portion of energy that is being reflected. Return loss can typically be measured by finding a match between the RF termination impedance and the system impedance. When choosing resistances, the most popular options are 50 ohm and 75 ohm variations.

Alongside determining the necessary attributes for a particular terminator, one should also determine the connector type that is suitable for their needs. There are many types of connectors that one can choose from, options including Type C, FME, Type N, QMA, SC, MCX, BMA, and much more. There are also connectors with varying frequencies, such as ultra-high frequency connectors that are all-purpose and economical for the benefit of low-voltage/frequency applications. As a final consideration to make, one should ensure that the particular RF terminators that they are interested in meet the standards and certifications necessary for the application in question. Once you have narrowed down your particular needs, get in touch with an Aerospace Simplified representative who would be happy to assist you through the purchasing process however necessary.

Aerospace Simplified is a leading distributor of RF terminators, presenting customers access to an unrivaled selection of items that have been sourced from top global manufacturers that we trust. Take the time to explore our massive set of offerings as you see fit, and our team is always ready to assist you however necessary. With our Instant RFQ service, customers can easily request quotes for their comparisons, and responses are always given within 15 minutes of receiving a completed form. Connect with an Aerospace Simplified representative today and see how we can save you time and money while fulfilling all of your operational needs.


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