Quantcast Basic Modulator

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As we pointed out earlier, phase modulation cannot occur without an incidental change in frequency, nor can frequency modulation occur without an incidental change in phase. The term fm is loosely used when referring to any type of angle modulation, and phase modulation is sometimes incorrectly referred to as "indirect fm." This is a definition that you should disregard to avoid confusion. Phase modulation is just what the words imply - phase modulation of a carrier by an af modulating signal. You will develop a better understanding of these points as you advance in your study of modulation.

Basic Modulator

In phase modulation you learned that varying the phase of a carrier at an intelligence rate caused that carrier to contain variations which could be converted back into intelligence. One circuit that can cause this phase variation is shown in figure 2-22.

Figure 2-22. - Phase shifting a sine wave.

The capacitor in series with the resistor forms a phase-shift circuit. With a constant frequency rf carrier applied at the input, the output across the resistor would be 45 degrees out of phase with the input if XC = R.

Now, let's vary the resistance and observe how the output is affected in figure 2-23. As the resistance reaches a value greater than 10 times XC, the phase difference between input and output is nearly 0 degrees. For all practical purposes, the circuit is resistive. As the resistance is decreased to 1/10 the value of XC, the phase difference approaches 90 degrees. The circuit is now almost completely capacitive. By replacing the resistor with a vacuum tube, as shown in view (A) of figure 2-24, we can vary the resistance (vacuum-tube impedance) by varying the voltage applied to the grid of the tube. The frequency applied to the circuit (from a crystal-controlled master oscillator) will be shifted in phase by 45 degrees with no audio input [view (B)]. With the application of an audio signal, the phase will shift as the impedance of the tube is varied.

Figure 2-23. - Control over the amount of phase shift.

Figure 2-24A. - Phase modulator.

Figure 2-24B. - Phase modulator.

In practice, a circuit like this could not provide enough phase shift to produce the desired results in the output. Several of these circuits are arranged in cascade to provide the desired amount of phase shift. Also, since the output of this circuit will vary in amplitude, the signal is fed to a limiter to remove amplitude variations.

The major advantage of this type modulation circuit over frequency modulation is that this circuit uses a crystal-controlled oscillator to maintain a stable carrier frequency. In fm the oscillator cannot be crystal controlled because it is actually required to vary in frequency. That means that an fm oscillator will require a complex automatic frequency control (afc) system. An afc system ensures that the oscillator stays on the same carrier frequency and achieves a high degree of stability. The afc circuit will be covered in a later module.

Phase-Shift Keying

Phase-shift keying (psk) is similar to ON-OFF cw keying in AM systems and frequency-shift keying in fm systems. Psk is most useful when the code elements are all of equal length; that is, all marks and spaces, whether message elements or synchronizing signals, occupy identical elements of time. It is not fully suitable for use on start-stop teletypewriter circuits where the stop pulse is 1.42 times longer than the other pulses. Neither is it applicable to those pulsed systems in which the duration or position of the pulses are varied by the modulation frequency. In its simplest form, psk operates on the principle of phase reversal of the carrier. Each time a mark is received, the phase is reversed. No phase reversal takes place when a space is received. In binary systems, marks and spaces are called ONES and ZEROS, respectively, so that a ONE causes a 180-degree phase shift, and a ZERO has no effect on the incoming signal. Figure 2-25 shows the application of phase-shift keying to an unmodulated carrier [view (A)] in the af range. For transmission over other than a conductive path, the wave shown in view (D) must be used as the modulating signal for some other system of modulating an rf carrier.

Figure 2-25A. - Phase-shift keying. UNMODULATED CARRIER

Figure 2-25B. - Phase-shift keying. MODULATION SIGNAL - DATA ELEMENTS

Figure 2-25C. - Phase-shift keying. MODULATED CARRIER

Figure 2-25D. - Phase-shift keying. MODULATED CARRIER AFTER FILTERING

The modulating signal in view (B) consists of a bit stream of ZEROS and ONES. A ZERO does not affect the carrier frequency which is usually set to equal the bit rate. For example, a data stream of 1,200 bits per second would have a carrier of 1,200 hertz. When a data bit ONE occurs, the phase of the carrier frequency is shifted 180 degrees. In view (C) we find that the third, fifth, and sixth cycles (all ONE) have been reversed in phase. This phase reversal produces CUSPS (sharp phase reversals) which are usually removed by filtering before transmission or further modulation. This filtering action limits the bandwidth of the output signal frequencies. The resulting wave is shown in view (D).

The exact waveform of figure 2-25, view (D), can be obtained by logic operations of timing and data. This is illustrated in figure 2-26, where a timing signal [view (A)] is used rather than a carrier frequency. The data (intelligence) is shown in view (B) and is combined with the timing signal to produce a combination digital modulation signal, as shown in view (C). The square-wave pattern of the digital modulation is filtered to limit the bandwidth of the signal frequencies, as shown in view (D). This system has been used in some high-speed data equipment, but it offers no particular advantage over other systems of modulation, particularly the pulse-modulated systems for high-speed data transmission.

Q.11 What type of modulation depends on the carrier-wave phase shift? answer.gif (214 bytes)
Q.12 What components may be used to build a basic phase modulator? answer.gif (214 bytes)
Q.13 Phase-shift keying is similar to what other two types of modulation? answer.gif (214 bytes)

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