What is Conversion Loss?

Mixers 
What is the conversion loss of a mixer? What does it mean and how is it calculated?
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Editorial Team - everything RF

Aug 1, 2018

Conversion loss in a mixer is the difference in the power level of the input signal and the output signal. It is usually expressed as a positive number in decibels.

In a mixer used for upconversion, 

Conversion Loss in dB = Power at input IF frequency in dBm - Power at output RF frequency in dBm

In a mixer used for downconversion, 

Conversion Loss in dB = Power at output RF frequency in dBm - Power at input IF frequency in dBm 

Typical values of conversion loss range between about 2 to 9 dB, depending on the mixer.