Word of the Week: “VSWR”

Published: 12/06/2016

VSWR

VSWR

(n): Voltage Standing Wave Ratio

A ratio which helps define performance for a microwave transmission line, VSWR is a specification used to convey how well a device will transfer an incident signal. We use VSWR to show how well the impedance is matched along a cable assembly.

In a transmission line, coaxial or otherwise, the ratio of maximum voltage to minimum voltage in the standing wave pattern is referred to as VSWR. Low VSWR (1:1) correlates with a low reflection coefficient – this is a perfect match.

Conversely, infinite VSWR would denote an open circuit or short in the circuit. Standing waves are considered troublesome and avoided in many RF designs, but can be found in many modern day applications – for example, microwave ovens and guitars utilize standing waves and are beneficial in these instances.

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