AD ADL5387

Circuit Note
Devices Connected/Referenced
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30 MHz Dual Programmable Filters and
Variable Gain Amplifiers
50 MHz to 2 GHz Quadrature
LF to 1 GHz VGA with 48 dB Gain Control
Range and Programmable RMS Detectors
An IQ Demodulator-Based IF-to-Baseband Receiver with IF and Baseband Variable
Gain and Programmable Baseband Filtering
The bandwidth of this filter can be dynamically adjusted as the
bandwidth of the input signal changes. This ensures that the available
dynamic range of the ADC that this circuit drives is fully used.
Circuit Evaluation Boards
ADRF6510 Evaluation Board (ADRF6510-EVALZ)
ADL5387 Evaluation Board (ADL5387-EVALZ)
ADL5336 Evaluation Board (ADL5336-EVALZ)
AD8130 Evaluation Board (AD8130-EBZ) two required
Design and Integration Files
Schematics, Layout Files, Bill of Materials
The core of the circuit is an IQ demodulator. The 2×LO based
phase-splitting architecture of the ADL5387 allows for operation
over a wide frequency range. Precise quadrature balance and
low output dc offsets ensure that there is minimal degradation
of the error vector magnitude (EVM).
The interfaces between all of the components in this circuit are
fully differential. Where dc coupling is required between stages,
the bias levels of the adjacent stages are compatible with each other.
This circuit is a flexible, frequency agile IF-to-baseband receiver.
Variable gain at both IF and baseband is used to adjust the signal
level. The ADRF6510 baseband ADC driver also includes a
programmable low-pass filter that eliminates out-of-channel
blockers and noise.
Figure 1. Direct Conversion Receiver Simplified Schematic (All Connections and Decoupling Not Shown)
Rev. 0
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Circuit Note
Each ADL5336 VGA has an allowable range of input power over
which the AGC will level to a particular setpoint. Outside that
range, the VGA output either increases or decreases dB-for-dB
with the input (assuming the VGA is not in compression or that
the signal is not in the noise floor).
Receiver Architecture
A direct conversion (also known as a homodyne or zero IF)
architecture for a receiver is presented in this circuit note. Direct
conversion radios perform just one frequency translation
compared to a superheterodyne receiver that can perform
several frequency translations. One frequency translation is
advantageous because it
IQ Demodulator
Reduces receiver complexity and the number of stages needed;
increasing performance and reducing power consumption
Avoids image rejection issues and unwanted mixing
products; one LPF at baseband is all that is needed
Has high selectivity (adjacent-channel rejection ratio [ACRR])
Figure 1 shows the basic simplified schematic of the system that
consists of cascaded IF variable gain amplifiers (VGAs) with
integrated automatic gain control (AGC) loops, followed by a
quadrature demodulator and by programmable low-pass filters
with variable baseband gain. The grayed out components shown in
Figure 1 (ADF4350 and AD9248) are included for clarity but were
not included during system-level measurements (see the Common
Variations section for more information on these devices).
Ideally, the input of the first stage and the output of the last stage
should set the dynamic range (signal-to-noise ratio) of the
system. Practically, this may not be the case. Having a cascaded
VGA before the quadrature demodulator not only adds more
gain to the system, but it also helps with overall system noise
performance if the noise figure of the VGA is less than that of
the quadrature demodulator, and if the VGA still has gain, and
it is not attenuating. The noise figures of the subsequent stages
are divided by the gain of the initial VGA. Another benefit of
having a VGA (vs. just having a fixed gain amplifier) is that an
AGC loop can be designed to level the incoming signal to the
quadrature demodulator. It is important to have this ability to
limit the signal levels applied to the quadrature demodulator
and any subsequent stages.
IF VGAs and AGC Loops
The IF VGA and AGC loop functions are accomplished with
the ADL5336. It has two cascadable VGAs, each with 24 dB of
analog dynamic range and the ability to digitally change the
maximum gain on each VGA via a SPI port.
To achieve the signal leveling AGC function, each ADL5336
VGA has a square law detector connected to its output through
a programmable attenuator. The detector compares the output
of the attenuator to an internal reference of 63 mV rms. If there
is a difference between the output of the attenuator and the
63 mV rms reference, an error current is produced and is
integrated onto a CAGC capacitor. The AGC loop is closed by
connecting the DTO1/DTO2 pin to the GAIN1/GAIN2 pin. For
the AGC loop to function properly, pull the MODE pin low,
causing a negative VGA gain slope.
From the ADL5336, the signal is routed to the ADL5387, where
it is demodulated and the frequency is translated to a zero IF. The
ADF4350 synthesizer can provide the required 2×LO signal to the
ADL5387 (see the Common Variations section); however, a signal
generator was used instead of the ADF4350 for actual testing.
The ADL5387 uses two double-balanced mixers, one for the I
channel and one for the Q channel. The LO provided to the
mixers is generated using a divide-by-two quadrature phase
splitter. This provides the 0° and 90° signals for the I and Q
channels. There is about 4.5 dB of conversion gain provided by
the ADL5387 from the RF input to the baseband I and Q outputs.
Low-Pass Filter, Baseband VGA, and ADC Driver
The low-pass filtering, baseband gain, and ADC driver functions
are all achieved using the ADRF6510. The signal, now in its
separate I and Q paths, is applied to the ADRF6510 where the
signal is first amplified by the preamplifier, then low-pass
filtered to suppress any unwanted out-of-band signals and/or
noise, and finally amplified by the VGA.
Each channel of the ADRF6510 can be broken up into three stages:
Programmable low-pass filter
VGA and output driver
The preamplifier has a user-selectable gain, via the GNSW pin,
of either 6 dB or 12 dB. The low-pass filter can be programmed
for a corner frequency of 1 MHz to 30 MHz in 1 MHz steps via
the SPI port. The VGA has a 50 dB gain range with a gain slope
of 30 mV/dB. The gain of the VGA is controlled via the GAIN
pin, and it can range from −5 dB to +45 dB when the GNSW
pin is pulled low to +1 dB to +51 dB when the GNSW pin is
pulled high. The output driver has the ability to drive 1.5 V p-p
differential into a 1 kΩ load while maintaining a HD2 and a
HD3 of better than 60 dBc.
The maximum CW signal that can be applied to the low-pass
filters, while still maintaining acceptable HD levels in the
ADRF6510, is 2 V p-p. In applications where a large out-of-band
interferer is present that could overload the input of either the
ADL5387 and/or the ADRF6510, the out-of-band interferer
(and the in-band desired signal) can be attenuated by the
ADL5336 VGA. Once the out of-band interferer is rejected by
the low-pass filter of the ADRF6510, the wanted signal can then
be amplified with the X-AMP VGAs that follow the filters of the
From the ADRF6510, the IQ signal can be applied to an
appropriate analog-to-digital converter (ADC), such as the
Rev. 0 | Page 2 of 6
Circuit Note
Measurement Results
A 4-QAM, 5 MSPS modulated signal was applied to the input of
the ADL5336. For more information on the test setup, see the
Circuit Evaluation and Test section.
EVM (dB)
EVM is a measure of the quality of the performance of a digital
transmitter or receiver and is a measure of the deviation of the
actual constellation points from their ideal locations, due to
both magnitude and phase errors. This is shown in Figure 2.
VGA1 = 88mV rms, VGA2 = 88mV rms
VGA1 = 88mV rms, VGA2 = 707mV rms
VGA1 = 250mV rms, VGA2 = 250mV rms
VGA1 = 707mV rms, VGA2 = 88mV rms
VGA1 = 707mV rms, VGA2 = 707mV rms
VGA1 = 88mV rms, VGA2 = 250mV rms
VGA1 = 250mV rms, VGA2 = 88mV rms
VGA1 = 250mV rms, VGA2 = 707mV rms
VGA1 = 707mV rms, VGA2 = 250mV rms
–95 –85 –75 –65 –55 –45 –35 –25 –15 –5
Figure 2. EVM Plot
Figure 3 shows the system EVM vs. the input power to the
ADL5336 while the maximum gains on the VGAs are set to
15.2 dB and 19.5 dB for VGA1 and VGA2, respectively. Several
AGC setpoint combinations were tested. Figure 4 is also system
EVM vs. the input power to the ADL5336; however, the gain of
the VGA’s was set 9.7 dB and 13.4 dB, respectively. The same
AGC setpoint combinations were tested.
EVM (dB)
–95 –85 –75 –65 –55 –45 –35 –25 –15 –5
PIN (dBm)
–95 –85 –75 –65 –55 –45 –35 –25 –15 –5
PIN (dBm)
Figure 3. System EVM, Digital VGA Gains = 11
GAIN = 11
GAIN = 00
VGA1 = 88mV rms, VGA2 = 88mV rms
VGA1 = 88mV rms, VGA2 = 707mV rms
VGA1 = 250mV rms, VGA2 = 250mV rms
VGA1 = 707mV rms, VGA2 = 88mV rms
VGA1 = 707mV rms, VGA2 = 707mV rms
VGA1 = 88mV rms, VGA2 = 250mV rms
VGA1 = 250mV rms, VGA2 = 88mV rms
VGA1 = 250mV rms, VGA2 = 707mV rms
VGA1 = 707mV rms, VGA2 = 250mV rms
EVM (dB)
Figure 5 compares the EVM between the minimum and the
maximum digital gain settings (both VGAs were set to either a
gain code of 11 or a gain code of 00) on the ADL5336 VGAs when
VGA1 and VGA2 setpoints are 250 mV rms and 88 mV rms,
Figure 3 and Figure 4 illustrate the importance of keeping the
signal levels applied to the ADRF6510 low enough not to
compress the input stage and/or filter. At the highest of AGC
setpoints (500 mV rms and 707 mV rms), the input of the
ADL5387 IQ demodulator is starting to compress and adds
additional degradation to the EVM. The best EVM is achieved
when the AGC setpoints are at their lowest (88 mV rms). EVM is
already beginning to degrade when the setpoints are 250 mV rms.
Figure 4. System EVM, Digital VGA Gains = 00
PIN (dBm)
Figure 5. System EVM with VGA1 Setpoint = 250 mV rms and
VGA2 Setpoint = 88 mV rms
For the given AGC setpoints, when the maximum gain code
was 11, the handoff from VGA2 to VGA1 occurs after VGA2
runs out of the gain range; therefore, the signal level being applied
to the ADRF6510 continues to increase (and degrade EVM) until
VGA1 reaches its setpoint. Once VGA1 reaches its own setpoint,
the EVM levels off again; therefore, the signal level being applied to
the ADRF6510 does not change until VGA1 runs out of the gain
range at about 5 dBm of input power. When the maximum gain
code was set to 00, both VGAs have more attenuation available,
thus allowing VGA2 to shift its dynamic range such that it does not
Rev. 0 | Page 3 of 6
Circuit Note
reach its setpoint at as low an input power as when the maximum
gain code was 11. This allows VGA2 to keep its setpoint at
higher input powers, thus allowing the handoff from VGA2 to
VGA1 to take place before VGA2 runs out of gain. This ensures
that the signal level applied to the ADRF6510 is maintained at a
constant level until the uppermost of the input power range.
Figure 6 compares the EVM between the minimum and the
maximum digital gain settings (both VGAs were set to either
a gain code of 11 or a gain code of 00) on the ADL5336 VGAs;
however, the VGA1 and VGA2 setpoints were 707 mV rms and
88 mV rms, respectively.
GAIN = 11
GAIN = 00
EVM (dB)
System and ADC
Adding an ADC to the system to sample the I and Q signals of
the ADRF6510 is a natural progression to complete the analog
signal chain. A dual ADC, such as the AD9248, provides 14 bits
of resolution and is offered in 20 MSPS, 40 MSPS, or 65 MSPS
sampling rates. An antialiasing filter is recommended between
the output of the ADRF6510 and the AD9248. Refer to the
ADRF6510 data sheet for the antialiasing filter design example.
ADRF6510 Output Common-Mode Voltage Considerations
The ADRF6510 output common-mode voltage is adjustable from
1.5 V to 3.0 V without loss of drive capability. Many modern ADCs
have input common-mode voltages of less than 1.5 V. Driving
the VOCM pin to an output common-mode voltage less than 1.5 V
starts to degrade the distortion performance of the ADRF6510;
however, it is still functional for less than 1.5 V common-mode
voltage levels. To maintain distortion performance, a dc level
shifting circuit may be required, or an integrated filter and
VGA device with a lower common-mode voltage, such as the
ADRF6516, can be used.
Equipment Needed/Used
–95 –85 –75 –65 –55 –45 –35 –25 –15 –5
PIN (dBm)
Signal generators include the following:
• Agilent E4438C vector signal generator
• Agilent E4438C signal generator
Figure 6. System EVM with VGA1 Setpoint = 707 mV rms and
VGA2 Setpoint = 88 mV rms
The same dynamics are occurring in Figure 6 as they were
in Figure 5, only they are much more exaggerated. When the
maximum gain code is 00, VGA2 reaches its setpoint at around
−40 dBm input power. It maintains its setpoint until about
−10 dBm, at which point, VGA1 has not reached its setpoint
of 707 mV rms. VGA1 does not reach its setpoint until about
0 dBm, and the EVM starts to level off somewhat. When the
maximum gain is set to 11, this same behavior happens again;
however, VGA2 maintains its setpoint only to about −20 dBm
because there is more gain available to attain the prescribed
The baseband signal capture device is the
• Agilent DSO90604A oscilloscope
The EVM computation device(s) include the following:
• Agilent 89600 VSA software
• PC running Windows XP connected to oscilloscope via a
USB cable
The power supply includes the following:
• ±5 V supply. All boards require +5 V with the exception
of the AD8130 boards that require ±5 V
The evaluation boards include the following:
• ADL5336-EVALZ (one required)
System and Synthesizer
The signal generator that provides the 2×LO for the ADL5387
can be replaced by a wideband synthesizer, such as the ADF4350,
which has an integrated VCO. The ADF4350 belongs to a family
of synthesizers that operate over a wide frequency range, from
135 MHz to 4350 MHz, and that has varying phase noise and
output power metrics, making it easy to find the device to
match the required specifications of the application.
Rev. 0 | Page 4 of 6
• ADL5387-EVALZ (one required)
• ADRF6510-EVALZ (one required)
• AD8130-EBZ (two required)
Circuit Note
To use the ADL5336 and ADRF6510, the evaluation software is
needed to control various aspects of each part. This software can
be found on the respective product web pages under the Tools,
Software, & Simulations Models link.
Once the software is downloaded and installed, plug in the USB
cables from the computer to the evaluation boards and then run
the software for the part that needs to be controlled.
Collect the evaluation boards and connect all the signal paths
together, as shown in Figure 7. Connect all boards to +5 V and
the two AD8130 boards to −5 V as well. Ensure that the power
supply current is consistent with what is expected.
As shown in Figure 7, make the following connections:
Connect the single-ended, 50 Ω output of the vector signal
generator to INPUT1 of the ADL5336 evaluation board.
Connect the I signal path output of the AD8130 to Input 1
on the oscilloscope, and connect the Q signal path output
of the AD8130 to Input 3 of the oscilloscope.
Connect the USB cable from the PC to the oscilloscope.
Connect the RF port of the signal generator to the LO
input of the ADL5387 evaluation board.
Functional Block Diagram
Figure 7 shows the functional block diagram of the test setup that
was used for testing the receive chain. The ADL5336 evaluation
board only allows for single-ended input and output. The same
is true for the RF input on the ADL5387 board. The RF output
port on the vector signal generator is only single ended; therefore, a
balun between the generator and the input of the ADL5336 is
necessary. As shown in Figure 7, the rest of the signal path is
differential until the AD8130 difference amplifiers. The differentialto-signal-ended conversion was needed because the oscilloscope
only allows for sampling of single-ended signals while being
controlled by the VSA software.
Setup and Test
The first step of the setup of the receiver test is to turn on all test
equipment. While the test equipment is warming up, the boards
must be configured correctly for proper use in this signal chain.
On the ADL5336, ensure that the 0 Ω jumper resistors that connect
the VGA1 output to the VGA2 input are populated
On the ADL5387 board, bypass the output baluns for full differential,
dc-coupled signal paths between the ADL5387 and the ADRF6510.
On the ADRF6510 board, do the following:
Bypass the input and output baluns
Place 1 kΩ differential output loads on the output signal
lines (two 500 Ω resistors to ground will suffice on each
output path)
Replace the stock COFS capacitors with 1 µF capacitors
On the Agilent E4438C signal generator, do the following:
Set the frequency to 400 MHz
Set the amplitude to 0 dBm
Turn the RF port on
On the Agilent E4438C vector signal generator, do the following:
Set the RF carrier frequency to 200 MHz
Set the amplitude to −30 dBm
Turn the RF port on
Turn on the custom ARB inside the vector signal generator
Set the signal to 4-QAM, symbol rate to 5 MSPS, and pulse
shaping filter alpha to 0.35
On the PC, start the Agilent 89600 VSA software. In the VSA
software, do the following:
Turn the digital demodulator on
Set the input to the I+ jQ option
Set the frequency to 0 Hz, symbol rate to 5 MSPS, and
alpha to 0.35
Figure 7. Functional Block Diagram for Testing Direct Conversion Receiver
Rev. 0 | Page 5 of 6
DSO 90604
Getting Started
Circuit Note
The signal metrics on the vector signal generator must match
the metrics on the VSA software. When the software starts up, it
should display the IQ Constellation pane and the Spectrum
pane. Add the information window on the VSA software by
taking the following steps:
Click Display
Click Layout
Select Grid 2×2
CN-0248 Design Support Package:
Ardizzoni, John. A Practical Guide to High-Speed PrintedCircuit-Board Layout, Analog Dialogue 39-09, September 2005.
MT-031 Tutorial, Grounding Data Converters and Solving the
Mystery of "AGND" and "DGND." Analog Devices.
By default, the other two panes that have appeared should be an
Error Vector vs. Time and the information window, Syms/Errs. If
this is not the case, do the following:
MT-073 Tutorial, High Speed Variable Gain Amplifiers (VGAs).
Analog Devices.
MT-101 Tutorial, Decoupling Techniques, Analog Devices.
ADIsimPLL Design Tool
Double-click the title of any pane
Select Syms/Errs in the window that appears
ADIsimRF Design Tool
The Syms/Errs pane presents a number of results, including
EVM. The software should be locked onto the signal and
reporting an EVM number.
AN-0996 Application Note. The Advantages of Using a
Quadrature Digital Upconverter (QDUC) in Point-to-Point
Microwave Transmit Systems. Analog Devices.
The AGC setpoint, maximum gain, and filter bandwidth can all
be set with the respective control software of the individual devices.
Power control at the input of the ADL5336 can be done via a
power sweep on the vector signal analyzer. A −80 dBm to almost
+16 dBm sweep was performed to test the receiver in this test
setup. The gain on the ADRF6510 was always set to achieve a
1.5 V p-p differential output level, assuming there was sufficient
gain to achieve this. In some cases, for very small signal levels, the
ADRF6510 did not have enough gain to reach the 1.5 V p-p
differential level.
AN-1039 Application Note. Correcting Imperfections in IQ
Modulators to Improve RF Signal Fidelity. Analog Devices.
CN-0134 Circuit Note, Broadband Low Error Vector Magnitude
(EVM) Direct Conversion Transmitter, Analog Devices
Data Sheets and Evaluation Boards
ADRF6510 Data Sheet and Evaluation Board
ADL5387 Data Sheet and Evaluation Board
ADL5336 Data Sheet and Evaluation Board
ADF4350 Data Sheet and Evaluation Board
AD9248 Data Sheet and Evaluation Board
ADRF6516 Data Sheet and Evaluation Board
AD8130 Data Sheet and Evaluation Board
4/12—Revision 0: Initial Version
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