Frontend - Input Band Pass Filters - 160M

160M Band Pass Filter

Series-Trap, Shunt-C filter topology is used. Just 3 sections are enough to obtain more than sufficient image rejection. The filter design is based on a 0.1dB ripple Chebyshev response. The schematic is shown in the following drawing:

Because of design constraints, especially regarding IMD, the following theoretical and practical component values are chosen:

160M BPF, Fc=1900KHz, BW=403KHz, Ql = 4.7
Dipole Design Implementation Inductor
R (ohm) L (uH) C (pF) R (ohm) L (uH) C (pF) C (pF) ATC Core # turns wire (mm)
1 50 50
2 530 470 470
3 25.9 332 25.6 330 330 T94-6 58 0.45
4 1943 1800 + 150 1000 + 1000
5 25.9 375 25.6 330 + 47 330 + 47 T94-6 58 0.45
6 1943 1800 + 150 1000 + 1000
7 25.9 332 25.9 330 330 T94-6 58 0.45
8 530 470 470
10 50 50

Dipole 1 and 10 represent the filters input and output impedance in the simulation and are not physically present in the real circuit. The practical capacitors are made up from combinations of standard values. The first column shows the values I used with Polystyrene capacitors. The other column shows values when ATC100-B chip capacitors are used. The inductors are fine tuned by changing the distribution of turns around the toroid.

Dipole 2 and 8, that match the filter to 50 ohms, have been reduced by about 50pF in order to compensate for the parasitic capacitance of the complete motherboard system.

In simulation when the coils are modeled with a Q=200 the filter has the following key characteristics:

  • Insertion loss: 0.50dB
  • Image rejection at 19.8MHz: 167dB (!)
  • IF rejection at 9MHz: 120dB
  • -3dB bandwidth: 400KHz
  • Center frequency: 1880KHz
  • Loaded Q: 4.75

The 167dB image rejection at 19.8MHz is purely theoretical and will not be realized in real life. The IF rejection at 9MHz is already sufficient by itself! The H-Mode mixer's symmetry and the 9MHz notch filter will only add more.

IMD comparison

Because of the IMD requirement a number of Micrometals toroids have been tested: T80-6, T94-6 and T106-6. The resulting inductors have been tested with the same filter assembly utilizing Suflex 2.5% polystyrene capacitors.

The table below summarizes the filter measurement data. The 2-tones have 20KHz separation. IMD is measured at 0dBm and 5dBm input levels to detect non 3rd order law behavior. MDS is measured within 2.2KHz bandwidth:

160M BPF IMD comparison, FSA3157 + T1-6T mixer, QT roofing filter
Core IIP3 2-tone level 0dBm IIP3 2-tone level 5dBm
(-dB) (-dB) (dBm) (dBm) (dBm) (dB) (dBm) (dBm) (dBm) (dB)
T106-6 0.68 133 47.9 49.2 45.7 119.1 48.7 48.4 46.7 119.8
T94-6 0.64 133 46.7 48.7 45.5 118.8 47.2 48.2 46.2 119.0
T80-6 0.72 133 45.4 49.2 44.7 118.4 47.2 48.4 45.2 118.8

The table requires some explanation. For each core the insertion loss of the resulting BPF and the MDS figure for the complete frontend with that BPF is given. Next, IMD results at 0dBm input tones and 5 dBm input tones are given. The columns marked 'BPF' show the IIP3 of the BPF only. The columns marked '-BPF' show the IIP3 of the frontend without the BPF in front and the columns marked '+BPF' show the IIP3 of the complete frontend including the BPF. Also the IMD3 dynamic range is computed and shown.

A number of additional remarks to the measurements:

  • All measurements are done with the complete BPF motherboard with 10 BPF filters, notch filter and the attenuator board mounted. So the IL and MDS figures include the small but measurable additional losses (about 0.2dB) introduced by the attenuator board (4 relays), the 9MHz notch and the 2 relays on the measured BPF board.

  • On 160M the additional loss in the IF notch filter can be neglected.

  • All tested toroids give good results on 160M, but not such that they match the performance of the mixer completely. 160M is one of the more difficult bands to obtain a really high IP3 BPF with. The lower frequency causes more flux and hence IMD.

  • On 160M bigger toroids mean less IMD. T94-6 is the best choice. T106-6 although slightly better does not seem to be justified.

  • Further widening-up the filter to 800KHz to reduce the loaded Q and hence the IMD has been considered. It has not been pursued however, because the potential improvement in measurable IP3 does not seem to justify the much less attenuated strong broadcast band below 1500KHz in that case.

  • The obtained inductor Q with the tested toroids seems to be around 200. Standard 0,45mm enameled wire is used. There is no need at all to use litze wire to reduce skin effect losses with the tested toroids.

160M BPF with T94-6

All tested toroids perform almost equally well. My favorite however is the BPF build-up with the T94-6, marked with cyan in the table. A picture of the assembled filter PCB is shown below. It measures 160x50mm, a half height eurocard. The assembly is meant to be plugged onto a motherboard with 9 other similar BPF's and a 9MHz notch filter board:

Measurement overview

The following table summarizes most measurements made to the T94-6 160M BPF:

160M BPF results, FSA3157 + T1-6T mixer, QT roofing filter
BPF Filter Center 1900 KHz
BPF -3dB Band Width 403 KHz
BPF Loaded Q 4.7
BPF Insertion loss -0.64 dB
MDS level without BPF -134 dBm
MDS level with BPF -133 dBm
IP3 frontend without BPF @ 0dBm +48.7 dBm
IP3 of BPF only @ 0dBm +46.7 dBm
IP3 of frontend with BPF @ 0dBm +45.5 dBm
IMD3 dynamic range @ 0dBm 119.0 dB
Image rejection @ 19.8MHz -93 dB
BPF box IF rejection @ 9MHz @ 0dBm -119 dB

Single tone spurious responses

The following table shows the relevant single tone spurious responses of the H-Mode mixer frontend with the 160M BPF. Spurious signals are determined by the following equation: | n * Fo m * Fs | = Fif, where n = 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and m = 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. The number of possible spurs up to 5'th order is 55, but only those that fall within the -40dB pass band of the BPF are investigated. Higher order spurs and spurs outside the -40dB pass band are considered insignificant and have not been measured. The spur test signal is a very strong 0dBm (S9+73dB!) signal.

160M BPF + frontend single-tone spurious responses at 1.900.000Hz, @ 0dBm input level
Description Order: (n,m) F-spur (Hz) level (dBm)
IF (0,1) 9.000.000 < -127
(0,4) 2.250.000 < -127
(0,5) 1.800.000 < -116
Image (1,1) 19.900.000 -93
(2,5) 2.560.000 < -127

The cyan colored measurements are limited due to the phase noise levels of the signal generator and / or LO. The given values are the best that could be done.

The (0,4) and (0,5) spurs are below the noise floor which is important as these spurs are independent of the tuning frequency! The (0,5) spur actually falls inside the pass band of the BPF and this shows the how much the H-Mode mixer can really swallow!


The next analyzer plot shows the pass band characteristics of the T94-6 160M filter. IL is around 0.64dB over the entire 160M band at a -3dB bandwidth of 403KHz. The value of the IL indicates that the Q's of the inductors are close to about 200:

The following analyzer plot shows the wideband insertion loss up to the image frequency at 19.8MHz. The stop band quickly reaches levels better than -90dB, but this is less than expected from simulation. It turns out that the 160M BPF slot is a more difficult slot in the BPF box with regard to stop band performance. This filter is next to the attenuator board. The un-attenuated signal on the attenuator board is lightly coupling in to the ground plane area of the 160M BPF reducing its stop band with rising frequency beyond 10MHz.

The 9MHz IF rejection is measured at < -130dB (not measurable), with the 9MHz notch in place. The image rejection is measured at -93dB which is a bit less good than the target of -100dB we had in mind but still acceptable.

The following analyzer picture is a wideband plot up to 100MHz. Stop band reduces abruptly beyond 50MHz. Probable causes are self resonance of the big toroid inductors and / or resonance of the entire filter slot as a cavity resonator. With a pure enough LO signal this reduced stop band performance at those frequencies should not be of much concern.


Finally the impedance of the filter is measured with N2PK-VNA and Exiter software:

The measured curve almost overlaps the curve when simulating the theoretical filter and shows a good match to a 50 ohm system.

PCB artwork and schematic for the 3-pole filter board in PDF format.










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