
Introduction to Microwave Circuits: Radio Frequency and Design Applications
by R. J. Weber (431 pages, 2001)
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This book contains
extensive discussion of Sparameters, stability, filters, oscillators, amplifiers,
and components. Useful appendices contain formulas for calculating microstrip
impedances and measurement and modeling of components. Extensively uses
matrix algebra and Smith charts. Although the treatment is mostly mathematical,
the book also contains a number of circuit diagrams and graphs.
Compared to Ishii's book (below), there are relatively few diagrams of the physical
layout of the devices. In the last chapter, the author walks the reader through
the design of a 1.25 GHz amplifier, oscillator, and filter. In this chapter the
treatment of parasitics, which are extremely important at microwave frequencies,
finally becomes clear. [Disclaimer: I have not finished reading this book.]
Microwave Engineering, 2nd ed.
by T. K. Ishii (564 pages, 1989)
This is an excellent introductory book on microwave engineering. It begins
with a detailed explanation of waveguides, treating microstrips as a special
case. Although its emphasis is on theory, Ishii takes great pains to ensure
that the reader also acquires an intuitive understanding of each topic. The
treatment of microstrips, described in the chapter on solidstate MMIC waveguide
components, is a particularly welldone example. The treatment is more concrete
than Weber; for example, Weber mentions circulators only in the context of their
Sparameters, while Ishii, in addition to describing their Sparameters, also
describes how circulators actually work and what they're good for. There are also
chapters on MMICs, microwave antennas, and impedance matching. Despite their
importance, however, parasitics are barely mentioned. A brief discussion of noise
measurement is hidden in the chapter on thermionic devices. Later chapters
discuss power devices, including masers, klystrons, magnetrons, and
travelingwave tubes. Contains about equal numbers of diagrams and equations,
along with many circuit diagrams.
The ARRL UHF/Microwave Experimenter's Manual
by ARRL (446 pages, 2000)
This book, which consists of short articles by various authors, covers propagation,
design techniques, antennas, and EME communications. Since it's written primarily
for ham radio operators, it concentrates primarily on 144 and 432 MHz. The coverage
is far more concrete than the other books, and discusses the various connectors,
cables, components, and practical design techniques, including microstrips,
for making oscillators, amplifiers, and transmission lines. Unlike the other
books, this one has photos of the finished product; surprisingly, the authors
use mostly discrete leaded components, which gives their finished devices an
unnatural and amateurish appearance. Presumably, the rationale is that readers
would have difficulty with surface mount construction. This, along with the
absence of microchips, makes the book seem a bit oldfashioned. However, it
contains a lot of useful introductory information, including a very good
explanation of Sparameters, without bogging the reader down in math.
Planar Microwave Engineering: A Practical Guide to Theory, Measurements
and Circuits
by Thomas H. Lee (862 pages + CD, 2004)
If you consider the degree of rigor or "impedance" of a book as the ratio of
the number of equations to the number of words, you will find
that Planar Microwave Engineering has a much lower impedance than
the textbooks by Ishii and Weber. Although all the important equations are
there, the author's more folksy narrative style, not the presence of more
information or detailed derivations, is the main reason why this book is so
much bigger than its competitors. This approach has a solid rationale:
to do their actual design, most engineers today would not calculate things by
hand, but would use Microwave Office or AppCAD (which is included on the CD,
along with LTSpice and some other very useful software). This book gives you
the background you need to understand whether the results provided by the
software actually make sense.
Throughout the book, the author also emphasizes the importance of making estimations of parameters such as reactance that may not be accounted for by the software. For example, he gives useful formulas for estimating the parasitic inductance of surfacemount components of different sizes. In fact, the role of parasitics is emphasized throughout the book. On some topics, though, the author's love of talking and his reluctance to make the material too technical gets in the way of providing a clear explanation. For example, even and oddmode excitation are explained much less clearly than in Günter Kompa's book on microstrips. The description of Smith charts is somewhat lacking in details. However, while the book glosses over some topics, it makes up for it by including hundreds of practical details derived from the author's vast experience that are not found elsewhere.