Amplitude modulation

Amplitude modulation (AM) is a modulation technique used in electronic communication, most commonly for transmitting information via a radio carrier wave. In amplitude modulation, the amplitude (signal strength) of the carrier wave is varied in proportion to that of the message signal being transmitted. The message signal is, for example, a function of the sound to be reproduced by a loudspeaker, or the light intensity of pixels of a television screen. This technique contrasts with frequency modulation, in which the frequency of the carrier signal is varied, and phase modulation, in which its phase is varied.

AM was the earliest modulation method used to transmit voice by radio. It was developed during the first quarter of the 20th century beginning with Landell de Moura and Reginald Fessenden's radiotelephone experiments in 1900.[1] It remains in use today in many forms of communication; for example it is used in portable two-way radios, VHF aircraft radio, citizens band radio, and in computer modems in the form of QAM. AM is often used to refer to mediumwave AM radio broadcasting.

Fig 1: An audio signal (top) may be carried by a carrier signal using AM or FM methods.


In electronics and telecommunications, modulation means varying some aspect of a continuous wave carrier signal with an information-bearing modulation waveform, such as an audio signal which represents sound, or a video signal which represents images. In this sense, the carrier wave, which has a much higher frequency than the message signal, carries the information. At the receiving station, the message signal is extracted from the modulated carrier by demodulation.

In amplitude modulation, the amplitude or strength of the carrier oscillations is varied. For example, in AM radio communication, a continuous wave radio-frequency signal (a sinusoidal carrier wave) has its amplitude modulated by an audio waveform before transmission. The audio waveform modifies the amplitude of the carrier wave and determines the envelope of the waveform. In the frequency domain, amplitude modulation produces a signal with power concentrated at the carrier frequency and two adjacent sidebands. Each sideband is equal in bandwidth to that of the modulating signal, and is a mirror image of the other. Standard AM is thus sometimes called "double-sideband amplitude modulation" (DSB-AM) to distinguish it from more sophisticated modulation methods also based on AM.

One disadvantage of all amplitude modulation techniques (not only standard AM) is that the receiver amplifies and detects noise and electromagnetic interference in equal proportion to the signal. Increasing the received signal-to-noise ratio, say, by a factor of 10 (a 10 decibel improvement), thus would require increasing the transmitter power by a factor of 10. This is in contrast to frequency modulation (FM) and digital radio where the effect of such noise following demodulation is strongly reduced so long as the received signal is well above the threshold for reception. For this reason AM broadcast is not favored for music and high fidelity broadcasting, but rather for voice communications and broadcasts (sports, news, talk radio etc.).

Another disadvantage of AM is that it is inefficient in power usage; at least two-thirds of the power is concentrated in the carrier signal. The carrier signal contains none of the original information being transmitted (voice, video, data, etc.). However its presence provides a simple means of demodulation using envelope detection, providing a frequency and phase reference to extract the modulation from the sidebands. In some modulation systems based on AM, a lower transmitter power is required through partial or total elimination of the carrier component, however receivers for these signals are more complex and costly. The receiver may regenerate a copy of the carrier frequency (usually as shifted to the intermediate frequency) from a greatly reduced "pilot" carrier (in reduced-carrier transmission or DSB-RC) to use in the demodulation process. Even with the carrier totally eliminated in double-sideband suppressed-carrier transmission, carrier regeneration is possible using a Costas phase-locked loop. This doesn't work however for single-sideband suppressed-carrier transmission (SSB-SC), leading to the characteristic "Donald Duck" sound from such receivers when slightly detuned. Single sideband is nevertheless used widely in amateur radio and other voice communications both due to its power efficiency and bandwidth efficiency (cutting the RF bandwidth in half compared to standard AM). On the other hand, in medium wave and short wave broadcasting, standard AM with the full carrier allows for reception using inexpensive receivers. The broadcaster absorbs the extra power cost to greatly increase potential audience.

An additional function provided by the carrier in standard AM, but which is lost in either single or double-sideband suppressed-carrier transmission, is that it provides an amplitude reference. In the receiver, the automatic gain control (AGC) responds to the carrier so that the reproduced audio level stays in a fixed proportion to the original modulation. On the other hand, with suppressed-carrier transmissions there is no transmitted power during pauses in the modulation, so the AGC must respond to peaks of the transmitted power during peaks in the modulation. This typically involves a so-called fast attack, slow decay circuit which holds the AGC level for a second or more following such peaks, in between syllables or short pauses in the program. This is very acceptable for communications radios, where compression of the audio aids intelligibility. However it is absolutely undesired for music or normal broadcast programming, where a faithful reproduction of the original program, including its varying modulation levels, is expected.

A trivial form of AM which can be used for transmitting binary data is on-off keying, the simplest form of amplitude-shift keying, in which ones and zeros are represented by the presence or absence of a carrier. On-off keying is likewise used by radio amateurs to transmit Morse code where it is known as continuous wave (CW) operation, even though the transmission is not strictly "continuous." A more complex form of AM, quadrature amplitude modulation is now more commonly used with digital data, while making more efficient use of the available bandwidth.

ITU designations

In 1982, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) designated the types of amplitude modulation:

Designation Description
A3E double-sideband a full-carrier - the basic amplitude modulation scheme
R3E single-sideband reduced-carrier
H3E single-sideband full-carrier
J3E single-sideband suppressed-carrier
B8E independent-sideband emission
C3F vestigial-sideband
Lincompex linked compressor and expander (a submode of any of the above ITU Emission Modes)


Telefunken arc radiotelephone
One of the crude pre-vacuum tube AM transmitters, a Telefunken arc transmitter from 1906. The carrier wave is generated by 6 electric arcs in the vertical tubes, connected to a tuned circuit. Modulation is done by the large carbon microphone (cone shape) in the antenna lead.
Meissner radiotelephone transmitter
One of the first vacuum tube AM radio transmitters, built by Meissner in 1913 with an early triode tube by Robert von Lieben. He used it in a historic 36 km (24 mi) voice transmission from Berlin to Nauen, Germany. Compare its small size with above transmitter.

Although AM was used in a few crude experiments in multiplex telegraph and telephone transmission in the late 1800s,[2] the practical development of amplitude modulation is synonymous with the development between 1900 and 1920 of "radiotelephone" transmission, that is, the effort to send sound (audio) by radio waves. The first radio transmitters, called spark gap transmitters, transmitted information by wireless telegraphy, using different length pulses of carrier wave to spell out text messages in Morse code. They couldn't transmit audio because the carrier consisted of strings of damped waves, pulses of radio waves that declined to zero, that sounded like a buzz in receivers. In effect they were already amplitude modulated.

Continuous waves

The first AM transmission was made by Canadian researcher Reginald Fessenden on 23 December 1900 using a spark gap transmitter with a specially designed high frequency 10 kHz interrupter, over a distance of 1 mile (1.6 km) at Cobb Island, Maryland, USA. His first transmitted words were, "Hello. One, two, three, four. Is it snowing where you are, Mr. Thiessen?". The words were barely intelligible above the background buzz of the spark.

Fessenden was a significant figure in the development of AM radio. He was one of the first researchers to realize, from experiments like the above, that the existing technology for producing radio waves, the spark transmitter, was not usable for amplitude modulation, and that a new kind of transmitter, one that produced sinusoidal continuous waves, was needed. This was a radical idea at the time, because experts believed the impulsive spark was necessary to produce radio frequency waves, and Fessenden was ridiculed. He invented and helped develop one of the first continuous wave transmitters - the Alexanderson alternator, with which he made what is considered the first AM public entertainment broadcast on Christmas Eve, 1906. He also discovered the principle on which AM is based, heterodyning, and invented one of the first detectors able to rectify and receive AM, the electrolytic detector or "liquid baretter", in 1902. Other radio detectors invented for wireless telegraphy, such as the Fleming valve (1904) and the crystal detector (1906) also proved able to rectify AM signals, so the technological hurdle was generating AM waves; receiving them was not a problem.

Early technologies

Early experiments in AM radio transmission, conducted by Fessenden, Valdemar Poulsen, Ernst Ruhmer, Quirino Majorana, Charles Harrold, and Lee De Forest, were hampered by the lack of a technology for amplification. The first practical continuous wave AM transmitters were based on either the huge, expensive Alexanderson alternator, developed 1906-1910, or versions of the Poulsen arc transmitter (arc converter), invented in 1903. The modifications necessary to transmit AM were clumsy and resulted in very low quality audio. Modulation was usually accomplished by a carbon microphone inserted directly in the antenna or ground wire; its varying resistance varied the current to the antenna. The limited power handling ability of the microphone severely limited the power of the first radiotelephones; many of the microphones were water-cooled.

Vacuum tubes

The discovery in 1912 of the amplifying ability of the Audion vacuum tube, invented in 1906 by Lee De Forest, solved these problems. The vacuum tube feedback oscillator, invented in 1912 by Edwin Armstrong and Alexander Meissner, was a cheap source of continuous waves and could be easily modulated to make an AM transmitter. Modulation did not have to be done at the output but could be applied to the signal before the final amplifier tube, so the microphone or other audio source didn't have to handle high power. Wartime research greatly advanced the art of AM modulation, and after the war the availability of cheap tubes sparked a great increase in the number of radio stations experimenting with AM transmission of news or music. The vacuum tube was responsible for the rise of AM radio broadcasting around 1920, the first electronic mass entertainment medium. Amplitude modulation was virtually the only type used for radio broadcasting until FM broadcasting began after World War 2.

At the same time as AM radio began, telephone companies such as AT&T were developing the other large application for AM: sending multiple telephone calls through a single wire by modulating them on separate carrier frequencies, called frequency division multiplexing.[2]


John Renshaw Carson in 1915 did the first mathematical analysis of amplitude modulation, showing that a signal and carrier frequency combined in a nonlinear device would create two sidebands on either side of the carrier frequency, and passing the modulated signal through another nonlinear device would extract the original baseband signal.[2] His analysis also showed only one sideband was necessary to transmit the audio signal, and Carson patented single-sideband modulation (SSB) on 1 December 1915.[2] This more advanced variant of amplitude modulation was adopted by AT&T for longwave transatlantic telephone service beginning 7 January 1927. After WW2 it was developed by the military for aircraft communication.

Simplified analysis of standard AM

Illustration of Amplitude Modulation
Illustration of amplitude modulation

Consider a carrier wave (sine wave) of frequency fc and amplitude A given by:


Let m(t) represent the modulation waveform. For this example we shall take the modulation to be simply a sine wave of a frequency fm, a much lower frequency (such as an audio frequency) than fc:


where m is the amplitude sensitivity, M is the amplitude of modulation. If m < 1, (1 + m(t)/A) is always positive for undermodulation. If m > 1 then overmodulation occurs and reconstruction of message signal from the transmitted signal would lead in loss of original signal. Amplitude modulation results when the carrier c(t) is multiplied by the positive quantity (1 + m(t)/A):

In this simple case m is identical to the modulation index, discussed below. With m = 0.5 the amplitude modulated signal y(t) thus corresponds to the top graph (labelled "50% Modulation") in figure 4.

Using prosthaphaeresis identities, y(t) can be shown to be the sum of three sine waves:

Therefore, the modulated signal has three components: the carrier wave c(t) which is unchanged, and two pure sine waves (known as sidebands) with frequencies slightly above and below the carrier frequency fc.


AM spectrum
Fig 2: Double-sided spectra of baseband and AM signals.

Of course a useful modulation signal m(t) will generally not consist of a single sine wave, as treated above. However, by the principle of Fourier decomposition, m(t) can be expressed as the sum of a number of sine waves of various frequencies, amplitudes, and phases. Carrying out the multiplication of 1 + m(t) with c(t) as above then yields a result consisting of a sum of sine waves. Again the carrier c(t) is present unchanged, but for each frequency component of m at fi there are two sidebands at frequencies fc + fi and fc - fi. The collection of the former frequencies above the carrier frequency is known as the upper sideband, and those below constitute the lower sideband. In a slightly different way of looking at it, we can consider the modulation m(t) to consist of an equal mix of positive and negative frequency components (as results from a formal Fourier transform of a real valued quantity) as shown in the top of Fig. 2. Then one can view the sidebands as that modulation m(t) having simply been shifted in frequency by fc as depicted at the bottom right of Fig. 2 (formally, the modulated signal also contains identical components at negative frequencies, shown at the bottom left of Fig. 2 for completeness).

AM signal
Fig 3: The spectrogram of an AM voice broadcast shows the two sidebands (green) on either side of the carrier (red) with time proceeding in the vertical direction.

If we just look at the short-term spectrum of modulation, changing as it would for a human voice for instance, then we can plot the frequency content (horizontal axis) as a function of time (vertical axis) as in Fig. 3. It can again be seen that as the modulation frequency content varies, at any point in time there is an upper sideband generated according to those frequencies shifted above the carrier frequency, and the same content mirror-imaged in the lower sideband below the carrier frequency. At all times, the carrier itself remains constant, and of greater power than the total sideband power.

Power and spectrum efficiency

The RF bandwidth of an AM transmission (refer to Figure 2, but only considering positive frequencies) is twice the bandwidth of the modulating (or "baseband") signal, since the upper and lower sidebands around the carrier frequency each have a bandwidth as wide as the highest modulating frequency. Although the bandwidth of an AM signal is narrower than one using frequency modulation (FM), it is twice as wide as single-sideband techniques; it thus may be viewed as spectrally inefficient. Within a frequency band, only half as many transmissions (or "channels") can thus be accommodated. For this reason analog television employs a variant of single-sideband (known as vestigial sideband, somewhat of a compromise in terms of bandwidth) in order to reduce the required channel spacing.

Another improvement over standard AM is obtained through reduction or suppression of the carrier component of the modulated spectrum. In Figure 2 this is the spike in between the sidebands; even with full (100%) sine wave modulation, the power in the carrier component is twice that in the sidebands, yet it carries no unique information. Thus there is a great advantage in efficiency in reducing or totally suppressing the carrier, either in conjunction with elimination of one sideband (single-sideband suppressed-carrier transmission) or with both sidebands remaining (double sideband suppressed carrier). While these suppressed carrier transmissions are efficient in terms of transmitter power, they require more sophisticated receivers employing synchronous detection and regeneration of the carrier frequency. For that reason, standard AM continues to be widely used, especially in broadcast transmission, to allow for the use of inexpensive receivers using envelope detection. Even (analog) television, with a (largely) suppressed lower sideband, includes sufficient carrier power for use of envelope detection. But for communications systems where both transmitters and receivers can be optimized, suppression of both one sideband and the carrier represent a net advantage and are frequently employed.

A technique used widely in broadcast AM transmitters is an application of the Hapburg carrier, first proposed in the 1930s but impractical with the technology then available. During periods of low modulation the carrier power would be reduced and would return to full power during periods of high modulation levels. This has the effect of reducing the overall power demand of the transmitter and is most effective on speech type programmes. Various trade names are used for its implementation by the transmitter manufacturers from the late 80's onwards.

Modulation index

The AM modulation index is a measure based on the ratio of the modulation excursions of the RF signal to the level of the unmodulated carrier. It is thus defined as:

where and are the modulation amplitude and carrier amplitude, respectively; the modulation amplitude is the peak (positive or negative) change in the RF amplitude from its unmodulated value. Modulation index is normally expressed as a percentage, and may be displayed on a meter connected to an AM transmitter.

So if , carrier amplitude varies by 50% above (and below) its unmodulated level, as is shown in the first waveform, below. For , it varies by 100% as shown in the illustration below it. With 100% modulation the wave amplitude sometimes reaches zero, and this represents full modulation using standard AM and is often a target (in order to obtain the highest possible signal-to-noise ratio) but mustn't be exceeded. Increasing the modulating signal beyond that point, known as overmodulation, causes a standard AM modulator (see below) to fail, as the negative excursions of the wave envelope cannot become less than zero, resulting in distortion ("clipping") of the received modulation. Transmitters typically incorporate a limiter circuit to avoid overmodulation, and/or a compressor circuit (especially for voice communications) in order to still approach 100% modulation for maximum intelligibility above the noise. Such circuits are sometimes referred to as a vogad.

However it is possible to talk about a modulation index exceeding 100%, without introducing distortion, in the case of double-sideband reduced-carrier transmission. In that case, negative excursions beyond zero entail a reversal of the carrier phase, as shown in the third waveform below. This cannot be produced using the efficient high-level (output stage) modulation techniques (see below) which are widely used especially in high power broadcast transmitters. Rather, a special modulator produces such a waveform at a low level followed by a linear amplifier. What's more, a standard AM receiver using an envelope detector is incapable of properly demodulating such a signal. Rather, synchronous detection is required. Thus double-sideband transmission is generally not referred to as "AM" even though it generates an identical RF waveform as standard AM as long as the modulation index is below 100%. Such systems more often attempt a radical reduction of the carrier level compared to the sidebands (where the useful information is present) to the point of double-sideband suppressed-carrier transmission where the carrier is (ideally) reduced to zero. In all such cases the term "modulation index" loses its value as it refers to the ratio of the modulation amplitude to a rather small (or zero) remaining carrier amplitude.

Amplitude Modulated Wave-hm-64
Fig 4: Modulation depth. In the diagram, the unmodulated carrier has an amplitude of 1.

Modulation methods

Anode (plate) modulation. A tetrode's plate and screen grid voltage is modulated via an audio transformer. The resistor R1 sets the grid bias; both the input and output are tuned circuits with inductive coupling.

Modulation circuit designs may be classified as low- or high-level (depending on whether they modulate in a low-power domain—followed by amplification for transmission—or in the high-power domain of the transmitted signal).[3]

Low-level generation

In modern radio systems, modulated signals are generated via digital signal processing (DSP). With DSP many types of AM are possible with software control (including DSB with carrier, SSB suppressed-carrier and independent sideband, or ISB). Calculated digital samples are converted to voltages with a digital-to-analog converter, typically at a frequency less than the desired RF-output frequency. The analog signal must then be shifted in frequency and linearly amplified to the desired frequency and power level (linear amplification must be used to prevent modulation distortion).[4] This low-level method for AM is used in many Amateur Radio transceivers.[5]

AM may also be generated at a low level, using analog methods described in the next section.

High-level generation

High-power AM transmitters (such as those used for AM broadcasting) are based on high-efficiency class-D and class-E power amplifier stages, modulated by varying the supply voltage.[6]

Older designs (for broadcast and amateur radio) also generate AM by controlling the gain of the transmitter's final amplifier (generally class-C, for efficiency). The following types are for vacuum tube transmitters (but similar options are available with transistors):[7][8]

Plate modulation
In plate modulation, the plate voltage of the RF amplifier is modulated with the audio signal. The audio power requirement is 50 percent of the RF-carrier power.
Heising (constant-current) modulation
RF amplifier plate voltage is fed through a choke (high-value inductor). The AM modulation tube plate is fed through the same inductor, so the modulator tube diverts current from the RF amplifier. The choke acts as a constant current source in the audio range. This system has a low power efficiency.
Control grid modulation
The operating bias and gain of the final RF amplifier can be controlled by varying the voltage of the control grid. This method requires little audio power, but care must be taken to reduce distortion.
Clamp tube (screen grid) modulation
The screen-grid bias may be controlled through a clamp tube, which reduces voltage according to the modulation signal. It is difficult to approach 100-percent modulation while maintaining low distortion with this system.
Doherty modulation
One tube provides the power under carrier conditions and another operates only for positive modulation peaks. Overall efficiency is good, and distortion is low.
Outphasing modulation
Two tubes are operated in parallel, but partially out of phase with each other. As they are differentially phase modulated their combined amplitude is greater or smaller. Efficiency is good and distortion low when properly adjusted.
Pulse-width modulation (PWM) or pulse-duration modulation (PDM)
A highly efficient high voltage power supply is applied to the tube plate. The output voltage of this supply is varied at an audio rate to follow the program. This system was pioneered by Hilmer Swanson and has a number of variations, all of which achieve high efficiency and sound quality.

Demodulation methods

The simplest form of AM demodulator consists of a diode which is configured to act as envelope detector. Another type of demodulator, the product detector, can provide better-quality demodulation with additional circuit complexity.

See also


  1. ^ "Father Landell de Moura : Radio Broadcasting Pioneer : FABIO S. FLOSI : UNICAMP – University of Campinas, State of São Paulo" (PDF). Retrieved 15 July 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d Bray, John (2002). Innovation and the Communications Revolution: From the Victorian Pioneers to Broadband Internet. Inst. of Electrical Engineers. pp. 59, 61–62. ISBN 0852962185.
  3. ^ A.P.Godse and U.A.Bakshi (2009). Communication Engineering. Technical Publications. p. 36. ISBN 978-81-8431-089-4.
  4. ^ Silver, Ward, ed. (2011). "Ch. 15 DSP and Software Radio Design". The ARRL Handbook for Radio Communications (Eighty-eighth ed.). American Radio Relay League. ISBN 978-0-87259-096-0.
  5. ^ Silver, Ward, ed. (2011). "Ch. 14 Transceivers". The ARRL Handbook for Radio Communications (Eighty-eighth ed.). American Radio Relay League. ISBN 978-0-87259-096-0.
  6. ^ Frederick H. Raab; et al. (May 2003). "RF and Microwave Power Amplifier and Transmitter Technologies - Part 2". High Frequency Design: 22ff.
  7. ^ Laurence Gray and Richard Graham (1961). Radio Transmitters. McGraw-Hill. pp. 141ff.
  8. ^ Cavell, Garrison C. Ed. (2018). National Association of Broadcasters Engineering Handbook, 11th Ed. Routledge. pp. 1099ff.
  • Newkirk, David and Karlquist, Rick (2004). Mixers, modulators and demodulators. In D. G. Reed (ed.), The ARRL Handbook for Radio Communications (81st ed.), pp. 15.1–15.36. Newington: ARRL. ISBN 0-87259-196-4.

External links

AM broadcasting

AM broadcasting is a radio broadcasting technology, which employs amplitude modulation (AM) transmissions. It was the first method developed for making audio radio transmissions, and is still used worldwide, primarily for medium wave (also known as "AM band") transmissions, but also on the longwave and shortwave radio bands.

The earliest experimental AM transmissions began in the early 1900s. However, widespread AM broadcasting was not established until the 1920s, following the development of vacuum tube receivers and transmitters. AM radio remained the dominant method of broadcasting for the next 30 years, a period called the "Golden Age of Radio", until television broadcasting became widespread in the 1950s and received most of the programming previously carried by radio. Subsequently, AM radio's audiences have also greatly shrunk due to competition from FM (frequency modulation) radio, Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB), satellite radio, HD (digital) radio and Internet streaming.

AM transmissions are much more susceptible than FM or digital signals are to interference, and often have lower audio fidelity. Thus, AM broadcasters tend to specialise in spoken-word formats, such as talk radio, all news and sports, leaving the broadcasting of music mainly to FM and digital stations.

Amplitude modulation signalling system

The amplitude modulation signalling system (AMSS or the AM signalling system) is a digital system for adding low bit rate information to an analogue amplitude modulated broadcast signal in the same manner as the Radio Data System (RDS) for frequency modulated (FM) broadcast signals.

This system has been standardized in March 2006 by ETSI (TS 102 386) as an extension to the Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) system.

Analog transmission

Analog transmission is a transmission method of conveying information using a continuous signal which varies in amplitude, phase, or some other property in proportion to that information. It could be the transfer of an analog source signal, using an analog modulation method such as frequency modulation (FM) or amplitude modulation (AM), or no modulation at all.

Some textbooks also consider passband data transmission using a digital modulation method such as ASK, PSK and QAM, i.e. a sinewave modulated by a digital bit-stream, as analog transmission and as an analog signal. Others define that as digital transmission and as a digital signal. Baseband data transmission using line codes, resulting in a pulse train, are always considered as digital transmission, although the source signal may be a digitized analog signal.

Angle modulation

Angle modulation is a class of carrier modulation that is used in telecommunications transmission systems. The class comprises frequency modulation (FM) and phase modulation (PM), and is based on altering the frequency or the phase, respectively, of a carrier signal to encode the message signal. This contrasts with varying the amplitude of the carrier, practiced in amplitude modulation (AM) transmission, the earliest of the major modulation methods used widely in early radio broadcasting.


C-QUAM is the method of AM stereo broadcasting used in Canada, the United States and most other countries. It was invented in 1977 by Norman Parker, Francis Hilbert, and Yoshio Sakaie, and published in an IEEE journal.

Using circuitry developed by Motorola, C-QUAM uses quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) to encode the stereo separation signal. This extra signal is then stripped down in such a way that it is compatible with the envelope detector of older receivers (hence the name C-QUAM, i.e. Compatible QUadrature Amplitude Modulation). A 25 Hz pilot tone is added to trigger receivers; it is not necessary for the reconstruction of the original audio sources.


Compatible Amplitude Modulation - Digital or CAM-D is a hybrid digital radio format for AM broadcasting, proposed by broadcast engineer Leonard R. Kahn.

The system is an in-band on-channel technology that uses the sidebands of any AM radio station. Analog information is still used up to a bandpass of about 7.5kHz, with standard amplitude modulation. The missing treble information that AM normally lacks is then transmitted digitally beyond this. Audio mixing in the receiver then blends them back together.

Unlike other IBOC technologies like iBiquity's HD Radio, Kahn's apparently does not provide a direct path to all-digital transmissions, nor any multichannel capability. Its advantage, however, is that it takes up far less of the sidebands, thereby causing far less interference to adjacent channels, hence the "Compatible" in the name. Interference has affected HD Radio on AM, along with its (like CAM-D) proprietary nature.

Digital Radio Mondiale, commonly used in shortwave broadcasting, can use less, the same, or more bandwidth as AM, to provide high quality audio. Digital Radio Mondiale requires digital detection circuitry not present in conventional AM radios to decode programming.

Special CAM-D receivers provide the benefit of better frequency response and a slow auxiliary data channel for display of station ID, programming titles, etc.

Compatible sideband transmission

A Compatible sideband transmission, also known as amplitude modulation equivalent (AME) or Single sideband-reduced carrier (SSB-RC), is a type of single sideband RF modulation in which the carrier is deliberately reinserted at a lower level after its normal suppression to permit reception by conventional AM receivers.

The benefits of AME over conventional AM are increased spectral efficiency due to a reduction in bandwidth of 50% as well as an increase in signal efficiency. Conventional AM transmitters waste 66% of the transmitter RF power due to AM's carrier and redundant sideband. By using AME, less RF power is required at the transmitter to transmit the same quality of signal the same distance. AME is currently most popular in high frequency military communications.

Continuous phase modulation

Continuous phase modulation (CPM) is a method for modulation of data commonly used in wireless modems. In contrast to other coherent digital phase modulation techniques where the carrier phase

abruptly resets to zero at the start of every symbol (e.g. M-PSK), with CPM the carrier phase is modulated in a continuous manner. For instance, with QPSK the carrier instantaneously jumps from a sine to a cosine (i.e. a 90 degree phase shift) whenever one of the two message bits of the current symbol differs from the two message bits of the previous symbol. This discontinuity requires a relatively large percentage of the power to occur outside of the intended band (e.g., high fractional out-of-band power), leading to poor spectral efficiency. Furthermore, CPM is typically implemented as a constant-envelope waveform, i.e., the transmitted carrier power is constant.

Therefore, CPM is attractive because the phase continuity yields high spectral efficiency, and the constant envelope yields excellent power efficiency. The primary drawback is the high implementation complexity required for an optimal receiver.


DWIN is an AM radio station owned by the Eagle Broadcasting Corporation in Dagupan City. It broadcasts using the frequency of 1080 kHz. in the amplitude modulation band.

The station serves as the relay station of the Manila-based DZEC-AM 1062 kHz. It could be heard all over the province of Pangasinan, La Union, Zambales, Tarlac and some parts of Ilocos Region.

Figure of merit

A figure of merit is a quantity used to characterize the performance of a device, system or method, relative to its alternatives.

Frequency modulation

In telecommunications and signal processing, frequency modulation (FM) is the encoding of information in a carrier wave by varying the instantaneous frequency of the wave.

In analog frequency modulation, such as FM radio broadcasting of an audio signal representing voice or music, the instantaneous frequency deviation, the difference between the frequency of the carrier and its center frequency, is proportional to the modulating signal.

Digital data can be encoded and transmitted via FM by shifting the carrier's frequency among a predefined set of frequencies representing digits – for example one frequency can represent a binary 1 and a second can represent binary 0. This modulation technique is known as frequency-shift keying (FSK). FSK is widely used in modems such as fax modems, and can also be used to send Morse code. Radioteletype also uses FSK.Frequency modulation is widely used for FM radio broadcasting. It is also used in telemetry, radar, seismic prospecting, and monitoring newborns for seizures via EEG, two-way radio systems, music synthesis, magnetic tape-recording systems and some video-transmission systems. In radio transmission, an advantage of frequency modulation is that it has a larger signal-to-noise ratio and therefore rejects radio frequency interference better than an equal power amplitude modulation (AM) signal. For this reason, most music is broadcast over FM radio.

Frequency modulation and phase modulation are the two complementary principal methods of angle modulation; phase modulation is often used as an intermediate step to achieve frequency modulation. These methods contrast with amplitude modulation, in which the amplitude of the carrier wave varies, while the frequency and phase remain constant.

In-phase and quadrature components

In electrical engineering, a sinusoid with angle modulation can be decomposed into, or synthesized from, two amplitude-modulated sinusoids that are offset in phase by one-quarter cycle (π/2 radians). All three functions have the same frequency. The amplitude modulated sinusoids are known as in-phase and quadrature components.

In some contexts it is more convenient to refer to only the amplitude modulation (baseband) itself by those terms.


In electronics and telecommunications, modulation is the process of varying one or more properties of a periodic waveform, called the carrier signal, with a modulating signal that typically contains information to be transmitted. Most radio systems in the 20th century used frequency modulation (FM) or amplitude modulation (AM) for radio broadcast.

A modulator is a device that performs modulation. A demodulator (sometimes detector or demod) is a device that performs demodulation, the inverse of modulation. A modem (from modulator–demodulator) can perform both operations.

The aim of analog modulation is to transfer an analog baseband (or lowpass) signal, for example an audio signal or TV signal, over an analog bandpass channel at a different frequency, for example over a limited radio frequency band or a cable TV network channel. The aim of digital modulation is to transfer a digital bit stream over an analog communication channel, for example over the public switched telephone network (where a bandpass filter limits the frequency range to 300–3400 Hz) or over a limited radio frequency band. Analog and digital modulation facilitate frequency division multiplexing (FDM), where several low pass information signals are transferred simultaneously over the same shared physical medium, using separate passband channels (several different carrier frequencies).

The aim of digital baseband modulation methods, also known as line coding, is to transfer a digital bit stream over a baseband channel, typically a non-filtered copper wire such as a serial bus or a wired local area network.

The aim of pulse modulation methods is to transfer a narrowband analog signal, for example, a phone call over a wideband baseband channel or, in some of the schemes, as a bit stream over another digital transmission system.

In music synthesizers, modulation may be used to synthesize waveforms with an extensive overtone spectrum using a small number of oscillators. In this case, the carrier frequency is typically in the same order or much lower than the modulating waveform (see frequency modulation synthesis or ring modulation synthesis).

Pulse-amplitude modulation

Pulse-amplitude modulation (PAM), is a form of signal modulation where the message information is encoded in the amplitude of a series of signal pulses. It is an analog pulse modulation scheme in which the amplitudes of a train of carrier pulses are varied according to the sample value of the message signal. Demodulation is performed by detecting the amplitude level of the carrier at every single period.

Quadrature amplitude modulation

Quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) is the name of a family of digital modulation methods and a related family of analog modulation methods widely used in modern telecommunications to transmit information. It conveys two analog message signals, or two digital bit streams, by changing (modulating) the amplitudes of two carrier waves, using the amplitude-shift keying (ASK) digital modulation scheme or amplitude modulation (AM) analog modulation scheme. The two carrier waves of the same frequency are out of phase with each other by 90°, a condition known as orthogonality and as quadrature. Being the same frequency, the modulated carriers add together, but can be coherently separated (demodulated) because of their orthogonality property. Another key property is that the modulations are low-frequency/low-bandwidth waveforms compared to the carrier frequency, which is known as the narrowband assumption.

Phase modulation (analog PM) and phase-shift keying (digital PSK) can be regarded as a special case of QAM, where the magnitude of the modulating signal is a constant, but its sign changes between positive and negative. This can also be extended to frequency modulation (FM) and frequency-shift keying (FSK), for these can be regarded as a special case of phase modulation.

QAM is used extensively as a modulation scheme for digital telecommunication systems, such as in 802.11 Wi-Fi standards. Arbitrarily high spectral efficiencies can be achieved with QAM by setting a suitable constellation size, limited only by the noise level and linearity of the communications channel. QAM is being used in optical fiber systems as bit rates increase; QAM16 and QAM64 can be optically emulated with a 3-path interferometer.

Quadruplex telegraph

The Quadruplex telegraph is a type of electrical telegraph which allows a total of four separate signals to be transmitted and received on a single wire at the same time (two signals in each direction). Quadruplex telegraphy thus implements a form of multiplexing.

The technology was invented by American inventor Thomas Edison, who sold the rights to Western Union in 1874 for the sum of $10,000.

The problem of sending two signals simultaneously in opposite directions on the same wire had been solved previously by Julius Wilhelm Gintl and improved to commercial viability by J. B. Stearns; Edison added the ability to double the number in each direction.

To send two signals in a single direction at the same time, the quadruplex telegraph used one signal to vary the absolute strength or voltage of the signal (amplitude modulation) and the other signal to vary the phase (polarity) of the line (phase modulation), i.e., the direction of current flow imposed upon the wire.Today this concept is known as polar modulation, considering amplitude and phase as radius and angle in polar coordinates.

Quantum noise

In physics, quantum noise refers to the uncertainty of a physical quantity that is due to its quantum origin. In certain situations, quantum noise appears as shot noise; for example, most optical communications use amplitude modulation, and thus, the quantum noise appears as shot noise only. For the case of uncertainty in the electric field in some lasers, the quantum noise is not just shot noise; uncertainties of both amplitude and phase contribute to the quantum noise. This issue becomes important in the case of noise of a quantum amplifier, which preserves the phase. The phase noise becomes important when the energy of the frequency modulation or phase modulation of waves is comparable to the energy of the signal (which is believed to be more robust with respect to additive noise than an amplitude modulation).

Single-sideband modulation

In radio communications, single-sideband modulation (SSB) or single-sideband suppressed-carrier modulation (SSB-SC) is a type of modulation, used to transmit information, such as an audio signal, by radio waves. A refinement of amplitude modulation, it uses transmitter power and bandwidth more efficiently. Amplitude modulation produces an output signal the bandwidth of which is twice the maximum frequency of the original baseband signal. Single-sideband modulation avoids this bandwidth increase, and the power wasted on a carrier, at the cost of increased device complexity and more difficult tuning at the receiver.


Trellis-coded pulse-amplitude modulation (TC-PAM) is the modulation format that is used in HDSL2 and G.SHDSL. It is a variant of trellis coded modulation (TCM) which uses a one-dimensional pulse-amplitude modulation (PAM) symbol space, as opposed to a two-dimensional quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) symbol space. Compared to the 2B1Q scheme used in the older HDSL and SDSL standards, TC-PAM improves range at a given bit-rate and provides enhanced spectral compatibility with ADSL.

TC-PAM is also known as 4B1H, because it uses 16 levels to represents a 4 digit binary, 4 Binary 1 Hexadecimal.

Network topology
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