Fixed Attenuators

Written by Kevin Little
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Fixed attenuators zero in on a given level of attenuation and deliver it, transmission after transmission. A fixed attenuator is less versatile than a variable attenuator, though some have postulated that the fixed version is more accurate in terms of providing precise attenuation levels (the jury is out on this issue, due to technological advances in the field of variable attenuators). Still, a fixed attenuator has many valuable uses when placed in an RF system.

One of the major advantages of using fixed attenuators (or any kind of attenuator, for that matter) is the lack of reflection one finds when employing these devices. Signal reflection is a major cause of garbled transmissions. Reflection is also a major nuisance when one is testing a system, as slight fluctuations can affect readings generated by a test.

The Purpose of Fixed Attenuators

Of course, the major purpose of using a fixed attenuator is to weaken a signal. This feature is also used in component testing, as condensed signals are quite useful when attempting to obtain spot-on readings. Weaker signals are also less likely to overload a testing system.

Of course, overload is a potential problem facing any RF system that receives transmissions. Fixed attenuators are a great safety precaution to take when one is looking to protect expensive equipment. Increased safety and better functionality are two very desirable attributes for any RF application.

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