Range Extension using NuWaves’ NuPower Xtender Bidirectional Power Amplifiers

This application note covers the basics of RF propagation, the effects of fading, multipath, and other phenomena on communication range, modulation types, and how to improve digital link distances using NuWaves’ NuPower Xtender line of bidirectional PA’s. While the first method considered by most systems engineers to improve link range is to use high gain directional antennas, many situations preclude their use. For unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and other airborne platforms, the use of large or complex high gain antenna systems can be impractical. Omni-directional antennas are often the best antenna solution, but these antennas have low gain figures. In these situations, more RF output power from the radio is necessary to extend the link distance. This application note explores the use of bidirectional PAs for communications range extension.