Insertion Loss:

Must be defined at a particular value of control-current. The minimum insertion loss for Mini-Circuits’ units is the difference in power from input to output with 20 mA at the control port.

In-out Isolation:

Defined as the insertion loss of the attenuator from input to output port when there is no current applied to the control port.

In-control Isolation:

The insertion loss of an electronic attenuator measured from the RF input to control port. This insertion loss is independent of the amount of control current and is dependent on the transformer used to provide coupling from RF input to the internal diodes.

Return Loss:

The amount of reflected power at the input relative to the amount of incident power at the input for a specified control current. At very high control current, return loss is very high; at low control current levels, return loss is very small.

Digital Attenuator/Electronic Step Attenuator

An attenuator whose attenuation can be varied by digital control signals. As digital signals have finite states, a digitally controlled attenuator has a corresponding number of finite attenuation states.

Thru Loss

Insertion loss of the step-attenuation in “000” state of the digital control signal.

Primary Attenuation Step

Mini-Circuits’ step attenuators have three digital control lines. When one of the signals is in the “high” state and the other two are in the “low” state, one step of the attenuator is activated, which is called a primary attenuation step.

Step Accuracy

The deviation of the actual attenuation step from the specified value over the specified frequency range.

Rise Time

The time required for the attenuator to change from 10% to 90% of its final value when one of the steps is switched on. The digital control signal should have a much lower rise time (approximately 1/10 of the attenuator) to make a good measurement.

Delay Time

The time difference between 50% of the TTL signal to 90% of the final attenuation step value when the attenuator is turned “ON” or 10% of the step value when it is turned “OFF.”

Maximum Attenuation

The sum total of the primary attenuation steps. It is the maximum achievable step attenuation.

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