power requirements. It is also used in extremely high-power, wideband equipment such as television transmitters where high-level or plate modulation is difficult and costly to achieve. Figure 1-48 is a basic schematic for a typical control-grid modulator. ">
In cases when the use of a minimum of af modulator power is desired, a form of low-level modulation is necessary. The CONTROL-GRID MODULATOR is used widely in portable and mobile equipment to reduce size and power requirements. It is also used in extremely high-power, wideband equipment such as television transmitters where high-level or plate modulation is difficult and costly to achieve. Figure 1-48 is a basic schematic for a typical control-grid modulator.
Figure 1-48. - Control-grid modulator.
The control-grid modulator uses a variation of grid bias (at the frequency of the modulating signal) to vary the instantaneous plate voltage and current. These variations cause modulation of the carrier frequency. The carrier frequency is introduced through coupling capacitor Cc. The modulating frequency is introduced in series with the grid bias through T1. As the modulating signal increases and decreases (positive and negative), it will add to or subtract from the bias on rf amplifier V1. This change in bias causes a corresponding change in plate voltage and current. These changes in plate voltage and current add vectorially to the carrier frequency and provide a modulation envelope in the same fashion as does the plate modulator. Since changes in the plate circuit of the rf amplifier are controlled by changes in the grid bias, the gain of the tube requires only a low-level modulating signal. Even when the input signals are at these low levels, occasional modulation voltage peaks will occur that will cause V1 to saturate. This creates distortion in the output. Care must be taken to bias the rf amplifier tube for maximum power out while maintaining minimum distortion. The power to develop the modulation envelope comes from the rf amplifier. Because the rf amplifier has to be capable of supplying this additional power, it is biased for (and driven by the carrier frequency at) a much lower output level than its rating. This reduced efficiency is necessary during nonmodulated periods to provide the tube with the power to develop the sidebands.
Compared to plate modulation, grid modulation is less efficient, produces more distortion, and requires the rf power amplifier to supply all the power in the output signal. Grid modulation has the advantage of not requiring much power from the modulator.
The BASE-INJECTION MODULATOR is similar to the control-grid modulator in electron-tube circuits. It is used to produce low-level modulation in equipment operating at very low power levels.
In figure 1-49, the bias on Q1 is established by the voltage divider R1 and R2. With the rf carrier input at T1, and no modulating signal, the circuit acts as a standard rf amplifier. When a modulating signal is injected through C1, it develops a voltage across R1 that adds to or subtracts from the bias on Q1. This change in bias changes the gain of Q1, causing more or less energy to be supplied to the collector tank circuit. The tank circuit develops the modulation envelope as the rf frequency and af modulating frequency are mixed in the collector circuit. Again, this action is identical to that in the plate modulator.
Figure 1-49. - Base-injection modulator.
Because of the extremely low-level signals required to produce modulation, the base-injection modulator is well suited for use in small, portable equipment, such as "walkie-talkies," and test equipment.
Another low-level modulator, the CATHODE MODULATOR, is generally employed where the audio power is limited and distortion of the grid-modulated circuit cannot be allowed. The cathode modulator varies the voltage of the cathode to produce the modulation envelope. Since the cathode is in series with the grid and plate circuits, you should be able see that changing the cathode voltage will effectively change the voltage of the other tube elements. By properly controlling the voltages on the tube, you can cause the cathode modulator to operate in a form of plate modulation with high efficiency. Usually, the cathode modulator is designed to perform about midway between plate and grid modulator levels, using the advantages of each type. When operated between the two levels, the modulator provides a more linear output with moderate efficiency and a modest audio power requirement.
In figure 1-50, the rf carrier is applied to the grid of V1 and the modulating signal is applied in series with the cathode through T1. Since the modulating signal is effectively in series with the grid and plate voltage, the level of modulating voltage required will be determined by the relationships of the three voltages. The modulation takes place in the plate circuit with the plate tank developing the modulation envelope, just as it did in the plate modulator.
Figure 1-50. - Cathode modulator.
This is the transistor equivalent of the cathode modulator. The EMITTER-INJECTION MODULATOR has the same characteristics as the base-injection modulator discussed earlier. It is an extremely low-level modulator that is useful in portable equipment. In emitter-injection modulation, the gain of the rf amplifier is varied by the changing voltage on the emitter. The changing voltage is caused by the injection of the modulating signal into the emitter circuitry of Q1, as shown in figure 1-51. Here the modulating voltage adds to or subtracts from transistor biasing. The change in bias causes a change in collector current and results in a heterodyning action. The modulation envelope is developed across the collector-tank circuit.
Figure 1-51. - Emitter-injection modulator.
Q.44 When is a control-grid modulator used?
You have studied six methods of amplitude modulation. These are not the only methods available, but they are the most common. All methods of AM modulation use the same theory of heterodyning across a nonlinear device. AM modulation is one of the easiest and least expensive types of modulation to achieve. The primary disadvantages of AM modulation are susceptibility to noise interference and the inefficiency of the transmitter. Power is wasted in the transmission of the carrier frequency because it contains no AM intelligence. In the next chapter, you will study other forms of modulation that have been developed to overcome these disadvantages.