was to design, build and test a stable RF amplifier to operate in the
1.93 to 1.99 GHz frequency band. The amplifier had to have an overall
gain greater or equal to 18dB, minimum noise figure less than or equal
to 2.3dB, and input and output return loss greater than or equal to
10dB. Source and load impedances were specified at 50Ω. We were able to
use software such as ADS to simulate the desired specifications then
build the actual amplifier on a PCB.
This project is very tricky. More often than not, the simulation software contradicts the real thing and real world factors such as coupled inductances on a PDB get in the way of producing gain. In my class, my group was the only one to successfully build an amplifier- other groups ended up with attenuators and oscillators instead.
In general, the amplifier performed nearly to our expectations. The fact that we were able to get an acceptable gain of 10dB, while still below spec, was very promising. The implementation could be tweaked further to improve the results somewhat beyond what we were able to achieve. Designing the amplifier was a rewarding and educational process that exposed us to the process of designing amplifiers in real life.