Single-Chip VHF RF Preamp

Here is a high performance RF amplifier for the entire VHF broadcast and PMR band (100-175 MHz) which can be successfully built without any special test equipment. The grounded-gate configuration is inherently stable without any neutralization if appropriate PCB layout techniques are employed. The performance of the amplifier is quite good. The noise figure is below 2 dB and the gain is over 13 dB. The low noise figure and good gain will help car radios or home stereo receivers pick up the lower-power local or campus radio stations, or distant amateur VHF stations in the 2-metres band. Due to the so-called threshold effect, FM receivers loose signals abruptly so if your favourite station fades in and out as you drive, this amplifier can cause a dramatic improvement. The MAX2633 is a low-voltage, low-noise amplifier for use from VHF to SHF frequencies.

Circuit diagram:
Single-Chip VHF RF Preamp circuit schematic
Single-Chip VHF RF Preamp Circuit Diagram

Operating from a single +2.7 V to +5.5V supply, it has a virtually flat gain response to 900 MHz. Its low noise figure and low supply current makes it ideal for RF receive, buffer and transmit applications. The MAX2633 is biased internally and has a user-selectable supply current, which can be adjusted by adding a single external resistor (here, R1). This circuit draws only 3 mA current. Besides a single bias resistor, the only external components needed for the MAX2630 family of RF amplifiers are input and output blocking capacitors, C1 and C3, and a VCC bypass capacitor, C2. The coupling capacitors must be large enough to contribute negligible reactance in a 50-? system at the lowest operating frequency. Use the following equation to calculate their minimum value: Cc = 53000/ flow [pF]. Further information: www.maxim-ic.com.
Author: D. Prabakaran - Copyright: Elektor July-August 2004