RF power splitter

Are you an electronics enthusiast? Do you have a keen interest in how circuits, devices and other pieces of equipment are put together? Perhaps you’re fascinated by pulling things apart to gain an understanding of how they work.

If it’s becoming a hobby of yours, you’ll need to familiarise yourself with a range of components, including RF splitters. Luckily for you, we’ve put together this handy guide on what they are, how they work, and where they can be used.

What is a power splitter?

An RF (radio frequency) power splitter is a component that divides or merges the signals between two or more ports. Power splitters are sometimes known as power dividers or power combiners, depending on their respective functions.

Power dividers and power combiners

A balanced power divider will split the signal that is applied to its input port. This will be done equally, with the signal then appearing at the two output ports, each at half the power level that was seen at the input port.

Essentially, a power combiner works the same way as a power divider, albeit in reverse. So, the RF signal reaches the two input ports and then is merged before leaving the single output port at a power level equal to the sum of those seen at the two inputs.

Other types of power splitters

Most RF power splitters can be separated into two categories – resistive and hybrid.

Resistive power splitters use resistors and tend to be simpler and more cost-effective to make. They maintain the impedance of the system, but using resistors means the level of loss can be more than that, which is caused by splitting.

Hybrid power splitters, meanwhile, use transformers and reduce the levels of loss. There are some losses within the transformer, but the major loss arises from the splitting action.

What to think about when choosing your RF power splitter

Some of the things you may want to consider are:

  • The isolation and phase between output ports
  • The return loss of output and input ports
  • The power rating of the component
  • The operating frequency range

Where can RF power splitters be used?

These components are typically used to connect multiple devices to a single receiver, for example linking televisions to the same aerial. They can be used to connect wireless communication devices, while they are also suited for radio and testing applications and EMF measuring equipment.