An RF coupler is a passive device that is used to sample high frequency signals. The coupler is a device that takes one signal as the input and provides two outputs - One being the regular output and the other the coupled output. Based on the required application the power level of the coupled signal can be varied when designing the coupler.
An RF coupler has many applications and is used for sampling signals, signal injection, used in signal generators, used to measure incident/reflected power to determine VSWR and for many other applications.
There are a number of manufacturers that make RF couplers. To find a coupler that meets your requirement you need to know certain key parameters before you begin your search:
Type of Couplers: There a number of types of RF and microwave couplers:
Frequency: This is the frequency range over which the coupler can operate while providing a constant level of coupling
with minimal loss and reflection.
Coupling: This is the ratio of incident power fed to the main port to the power at the output of the coupled port. It is measured in decibel (dB).
Coupling Variation: The maximum peak-to-peak variation in coupling expected over the specified frequency range.
Insertion Loss: The reduction in output power due to the power transferred to the coupled line. This is measured in decibel (dB).
Directivity: The difference between the power level of the coupled and isolated ports. The directivity is a measure of independence of the coupled and isolated ports.
Average Power: The level of power that a coupler can handle while maintaining minimal reflections i.e with a matched load.
Impedance: The impedance of a coupler must match the circuit/system it is connected to; this will minimize any reflection within the circuit/system. Usually the impedance is 50 Ohms or 75 Ohms.
Package Type: RF Couplers are 4 port devices available with various connector options - SMA, N Type, BNC etc.
There are a many manufacturers that make directional couplers and dual-directional couplers, each maintaining a catalog or website where users can access their list of couplers. However, going through multiple catalogs or websites to find a coupler that meets your requirement is a tedious and time-consuming task. There are some online resources that compile the catalogs from all the manufacturers and make them searchable to users by specification. Using these online resources can save you time and the hassle of looking through individual catalogs/websites to find the coupler you need.
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