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If you work with RF, microwave or wireless technology, you are probably familiar with both combiners and dividers. They are useful in either splitting signal or combining to amplify a signal. Combiners can link radio signals together or separate them depending on what you want to accomplish.

Power Combiners

1: Most Combiners Are Also Dividers

The first thing that you have to remember when working with high power combiners is that they are the same thing as high power dividers, reversed. A combiner becomes a divider when they are hooked when the input is used as an output. Most are universal.

2: Consider Your Bandwidth

In most cases, a narrow bandwidth does not matter. You can use combiners to increase your bandwidth if necessary, but unless it is done properly, you can cause the signal to degrade in a way that makes a wider bandwidth useless. You should note that some combiner configurations can extend bandwidth, but it may not be necessary for your application.

3: Pay Attention to Efficiency

It doesn’t do any good to combine or divide power inputs and output if you have signal or power degradation. Too many links often equal a loss of power. If you are losing too much power, your signal may not be strong enough once it reaches its destination.

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4: Consider Size

It might seem obvious, but you have to consider the size of the unit you are working with. If the size does not matter, you can use a combiner with stripline instead of the much smaller radial design. 

5: Noise Isolation 

This is not the kind of noise most people worry about. Isolation is extremely important because it can also cause a signal to degrade no matter how your combine it. You do not want signal crossover from each component.

To combine or divide a signal, you have to consider each of these five things. If you don’t, you subject the system to what is at best a degraded signal and at worst complete signal loss.

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