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Point to point microwave links have many

1. Used as studio to transmitter links (STL)
for radio and television broadcasting.
2. Head ends for CATV installations
stations to their distribution systems.
3. Links communications network for
telephone, data or television signals.
Some microwave systems use only one link
or hop. While other use multihop systems
using repeaters to extend the system
beyond the line of sight range of a single

Microwave system:
- requires repeater but there are
1.Cost money
2.Increases the chances of an equipment
breakdown that can disable the link.
3.Additional links contribute to noise levels
in analog systems.
4.Increase jitter in digital.

Repeater requirements:
1.Line of sight propagation.
2.Site acquisition
3.Electrical power
4.Should be on high points of the terrain.
Terrestrial microwave systems use
relatively low power transmitter with high
gain antenna. Usually a parabolic or hoghorn antennas.

Parabolic or hog-horn antennas has a

narrow beam and increase the effective
power and reduces interference to and from
other systems.
However, there are limits to antenna gain,
45 dB should be avoided because these
antennas has narrow beamwidth (around
less than 1 degree).
The mounting requirements are severe,
slight motion of an antenna tower due to
wind can cause signal loss.

Path Calculations:
Terrestrial microwave links generally use
line of sight (LOS)propagation.
The maximum distance between the two
stations depends on:
1. The height of the transmitting and
receiving antennas.
2. The nature of the terrain between them.
Therefore, the distance over which the
line-of-sight propagation is given:

d = 17ht + 17hr
ht = the height of the transmitting
antenna in meters
hr = the height of the receiving antenna
in meters
d = the distance from the xmitter to the
receiver in kilometers

d = 2ht + 2hr
ht = the height of the transmitting
in feet
hr = the height of the receiving antenna in
d = the distance from the xmitter to
the receiver in miles

Example 1
Suppose that the transmitter and receiver
have equal height. How high would they
have to be to communicate over a distance
of 40 km?

For accurate calculations:

- it is necessary to obtain topographic maps
of the area and note any obstacles in the
path between transmitter and receiver and
the path is plotted on a graph paper.
Two common methods:
1. Use ordinary graph paper and by adjusting
the heights of the obstacles and terrain to
compensate for the curvature of the earth.
2. Use a special graph paper known as 4/3
earth paper, on which the horizontal lines are
curved to represent the earths curvature.

Note: For radio waves the earth looks about onethird larger than it really is, hence, it is 4/3.

It can cause a second signal to appear at the
receiver, and the two signals, depending on
the relative phase angles may cancel each
other, thus resulting to fading.
Effects of fading can be reduced by making
the path from transmitting to receiving
antenna clears by at least 60% of a distance
known as the first Fresnel zone.

Fresnel zones derive from Huygens Fresnel

wave theory, states:
an object that diffracts waves acts as if it is
were a second wave source of those waves.
The direct and refracted waves add, but due to
the difference in path length for the two rays,
the interference is sometimes constructive or
Constructive when the direct and diffracted
signals are in phase.
Destructive when the direct and diffracted
signals are out of phase.

The areas where the interference is

constructive are called Fresnel zones.
As the distance between the direct path and
refracting object increases, the strength of
the diffracted signal decreases and the
interference becomes less pronounced.

The distance from an obstacle to any

Fresnel zone, in the direction at right angles
to the propagation path, is given by:
n dd

Rn = 17.3

f (d + d)

R = distance to the Fresnel zone, in meters
n = number of Fresnel zone
f = frequency in gigahertz
d = distance to the antenna nearer the obstacle, in km
d = distance to the antenna farther from the obstacle,
in km.

General rule, it is sufficient to clear obstacles by a distance corresponding to 60% of the first
Fresnel zone.
The distance can be found by modifying R:

R = 10.4

f (d + d)

R = required clearance from the obstacle, in meters
f = frequency in gigahertz
d = distance to the antenna nearer the obstacle, in km
d = distance to the antenna farther from the obstacle,
in km.
Example 2

Example 2
A line-of-sight radio link operating at a frequency of 6 GHz has
a separation of 40km between antennas. An obstacle in the
path is located 10 km from the transmitting antenna. By how
much must the beam clear the obstacle?

To determine the path for a microwave link, it is

necessary to ensure that the the received signal
power is sufficient for the required signal-to-noise
The variables are:
a. the power of the transmitter
b. the receiver noise figure
c. the gain of the respective antennas.

Recall power density:


4 r

where: Pd
= power density in watts/m
EIRP = Effective isotropic radiated
= distance from the antenna, m

And the Path Loss equation:


(dB)= Gt (dBi) + Gr (dBi) (32.44 + 20 log d + 20 log of f)

Pr/Pt(dB)= ratio of received power, expressed in dB
Gt(dBi) = gain of transmitting antenna in dB
with respect to isotropic radiator
Gr(dBi) = gain of receiving antenna in dB
with respect to isotropic radiator
= distance between from the TX and RX
antenna, km
= frequency in MHz.

Example 3
A transmitter and receiver operating at 6
GHz are separated by 40 km. How much
power (in dBm) is delivered to the receiver
if the transmitter has an output of 2 W, the
transmitting antenna has a gain of 20 dBi,
and the receiving antenna has a gain of
25 dBi

Carrier-to-Noise Ratio:
To determine the system noise performance is
satisfactory, the received signal power should
be calculated.
For analog microwave systems:
Carrier-to-Noise ratio is defined a the signal-tonoise ratio measured before the signal is
demodulated, hence, there is still carrier.
for FM, the signal-to-noise ratio has a greater
value if it is measured after detection than
before detection.

In order to determine the carrier-to-noise ratio,

we need to know the following:
1. Signal power
2. Noise power
Signal power using the path loss calculations.
Noise consists of thermal noise:
Thermal noise:
1. Received by the antenna (space noise).
2. Generated in the antenna, transmission
line, or receiver

Noise temperature can be calculated in terms

of noise power from the equation:
Pn = kTB
Pn = noise power in watts
k = Boltzmanns constant, 1.38x10
joules/kelvin (J/K)
T = absolute temperature in kelvins (K)
B = noise power bandwidth in hertz

At the antenna:
Antenna receives noise from the sky as well
as from the earth (if the antenna beam of the
antenna towards the ground).
Noise temp. of the sky depends on the
1. the angle of elevation of the antenna
2. the frequency
3. the atmospheric conditions.

For terrestrial microwave link with an antenna

elevation of 0 and a frequency of 6GHz., a typical
sky noise temp. would be 120K.
Resistive losses in the antenna and its feedline
must also be taken into account to get an
equivalent noise temperature at the receiver input.
Assuming the feedline is at the reference temp.
of 290 K (17C), the equivalent noise temperature
at the receiver input is given by:

T =

(L-1) 290 + Tsky


T= effective noise temp. of antenna and
feedline ,in kelvins, reference to
receiver antenna input
L = loss in feedline and antenna as a
ratio of input to output power(not in dB)
Tsky = effective sky temp., in Kelvins
Example 4
In microwave system, the antenna sees a sky
temp. of 120 K, and the antenna feedline has a loss of 2
dB. Calculate the noise temp. of the antenna / feedline
system, reference to the receiver input.

Convert Noise figure to noise temp.:

Teq = 290(NF - 1)
where: Teq = equivalent noise temp. (K)
NF Noise Figure as ratio (not in dB)
Example 5
A receiver has a noise figure of 2 dB.
Calculate its equivalent noise temperature?

Example 6
The antenna and feedline combination from
example 4 is used with the receiver from Ex. 5.
Calculate the thermal noise power in dBm, referred
to the receiver input, if the receiver has a
bandwidth of 20 MHz.
Example 7
Calculate the carrier-to-noise ratio, in
deciberls, for the signal in Ex. 3, received by the
installation in Ex. 6.

Energy per Bit per Noise Density Ratio:

In digital communications system, the noise
performance of a system is specified as in decibels:
of the energy per received information bit to the
noise density;
Eb =
Eb = energy per bitfbin joules
Pr = received signal power in watts
fb = bit rate in bits per second

The Noise power density is given simply by:

No = k T
No = noise power density in watts per hz.
k = Boltzmanns constant, 1.38x10
joules/kelvin (J/K)
T = temperature in K
Example 8
The system in Ex. 7 operates at a bit rate of 40 Mb/s.
Calculate the energy per bit to noise density ratio, in decibels.

- is a reduction strength below its nominal level.
Causes of fading:
1.Multipath reception- in which a direct signal is
partially cancelled by reflections from ground or
2.Attenuation due to rain mainly at frequencies
above 10HGz.

3. Ducting in which signals are deflected

by layers of different temperature and
humidity in the atmosphere.
4. Aging or partial failure of transmitting or
receiving equipment.

Two basic methods in dealing with Fading:

1.To make sure that the system has sufficient gain to achieve
the desired signal-to-ratio or bit-error-rate.
Additional gain that is called fade margin, can be obtained
by increasing transmitter power, antenna gain, or receiver
Fading due to multipath reception can reduce the received
signal strength by 20 dB or more.
Obtaining a satisfactory fade margin could require
increasing the transmitter power by a factor of 100.

2. Diversity reduce fading without resorting

to extreme power levels.

Frequency Diversity:
is a type of fading due to multipath
propagation can be avoided by slightly
changing the frequency (and therefore the
wavelength) so that the phase difference
between the direct and reflected signals is no
longer 180.
To protect against fading on a moment to
moment basis, frequency diversity requires
two transmitters and two receivers and they
separated in frequency.

Ideally the separation should be at least

5%, although in practical situations a shortage
of spectrum space often limits to 2%.
Providing dual transmitters and receivers
is expensive, but it also allows hot standby
protection. If one transmitter or receiver
should fail, communication can continue
Sometimes spectrum requirements are
such that an extra channel cannot be
obtained to provide frequency diversity.

Another way to prevent multipath fading is
to change the path length by moving either the
transmitting or the receiving antenna.
Generally involves placing two antennas
one above the other on the same tower.

It should be separated by 200 wavelengths or more. At 6

GHz., a separation of 10 meters is required.
Since, the tower of the two antennas must be high enough
for reliable line-of-sight communication, space diversity
requires taller towers as well as more antennas.

Generally involves placing two antennas one above the other

on the same tower.
It should be separated by 200 wavelengths or more. At 6
GHz., a separation of 10 meters is required.

Fixed Microwave Links

Terrestrial microwave links can be either
analog or digital.
Analog systems use either frequency
modulation (FM) or single-sideband
suppressed carrier amplitude modulation
Digital system uses phase-shift keying or
quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM).