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Radio Frequency (RF) basics

Radio Receive characterization

This is a simple tutorial to present fundamentals to characterize radio receiver performance.

Following characteristics of a receiver are discussed in detail in this section:

Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR).

Noise Factor (F). & Cascaded F

Noise Figure (NF).

Minimum Detectable Signal.

Intermodulation (IM) distortion.

Second order IM products.

Third order IM products.

IP3 (Third Order Intercept) point.

Dynamic Range (DR)



Spurious outputs

Gain control


SNR:- Signal to Noise Ratio

It is the ratio of Signal power to Noise power.

Noise Factor:

Noise Factor is ratio of input SNR to the output SNR of a receiver.

Noise Figure:

Noise Figure is a measure of degradation of SNR when a signal passes through a system.

If there is no noise (ideal) in a system then we will have following:-

F = 1

NF = 0

So, NF is always greater than or equal to 1

SNR = Signal Power / Noise
F = SNRin / SNRout
NF = 10 log10 F
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