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Model an RF Mixer

This example shows how to:

  • Use a Sinusoid block to model the envelope of an amplitude-modulated (AM) waveform.

  • Use a Continuous Wave block to model the constant envelope of an ideal local oscillator (LO).

  • Use a Mixer block to downconvert the AM waveform to an intermediate frequency (IF).

The preceding figure illustrates frequency conversion. A signal modulated on the carrier fRF mixes with a local oscillator at fLO. The operation downconverts fRF to fIF = fRF – fLO. The upper mixing product fRF + fLO is not modeled.

Build RF System

This example shows how to build the following RF Blockset™ model from a blank canvas.

To skip this section and start with the completed model, at MATLAB® command line, enter:


This model specifies an AM waveform at the input port of the mixer, an LO at the LO port of the mixer, and a 50-Ω termination at the output of a mixer. To build this model, open the RF Blockset library by typing simrfV2libs in the MATLAB Command Window.

Double-click the block labeled Circuit Envelope to open the Circuit Envelope library.

From the Elements, Sources, and Utilities sublibraries, add the following blocks to your model.

  • From the Elements library, add a Resistor block.

  • From the Elements library, add a Mixer block.

  • From the Elements library, add a Ground block.

  • From the Sources library, add a Continuous Wave block.

  • From the Sources library, add a Sinusoid block.

  • From the Utilities library, add a Configuration block.

Connect the blocks in the same configuration as the ex_simrf_tut_mixer model.

Define Model Variables

For models with blocks that share parameter values, specifying parameters values using variables saves time and effort. Most models in the RF Blockset User's Guide use the InitFcn to define model variables.

Simulink® models run MATLAB code stored in the initialization function (InitFcn) each time the model starts. The MATLAB code runs in the base workspace. If the initialization function stores variables in the MATLAB workspace, the variables are overwritten every time the model executes the initialization function.

  1. Open the Model Properties dialog box by selecting File > Model Properties > Model Properties.

  2. In the Callbacks tab, within the Model callbacks pane, select the InitFcn node.

  3. In the Model initialization function pane, enter the following MATLAB code:

    modulationAmplitude = 1;
    modulationFrequency = 5e5;
    LOAmplitude = 1;
    LOFrequency = .95e9;
    RFCarrier = 1e9;

Specify Block Parameters for RF Simulation

In this section:

  • Configure the RF Blockset environment for multi-frequency circuit envelope simulation by specifying the Simulation frequencies parameter in the Configuration block dialog box.

  • Specify the attributes of the waveforms

  • Configure global simulation settings.

Using block dialog boxes to specify the parameters for simulation:

  1. Select Simulation > Model Configuration Parameters to open the Configuration Parameters dialog box. Specify the following parameters:

    • Set Stop time to 1e-5. You can also set the stop time directly on the Simulink canvas.

    • Set Solver to ode23t (mod. stiff/Trapezoidal). The RF Blockset environment does not use the ode23t solver. However, since oscillating signals can be stiff, the solver is a good choice for the Simulink environment when using RF Blockset blocks.

  2. Double-click the Sinusoid block to open the Sinusoid Block Parameters dialog box. Specify the following parameters:

    • Set Sinusoidal amplitude in-phase to modulationAmplitude.

    • Set Sinusoidal modulation frequency to modulationFrequency.

    • Set Carrier frequencies to RFCarrier.

  3. Double-click the Continuous Wave block to open the block dialog box. Specify the following parameters:

    • Set Constant in-phase value to LOAmplitude.

    • Set Carrier frequencies to LOFrequency.

  4. Double-click the Configuration block to open the block dialog box. Set Step size to 1e-7.

Probe Circuit Envelopes Waveforms

At the output of the mixer:

  • From the RF Blockset Utilities library, drag and drop an Outport block onto your model. In the block dialog:

    • Set Output to In-phase and quadrature.

    • Set Carrier frequencies to RFCarrier - LOFrequency.

  • From the Simulink Commonly Used Blocks library, drag and drop a Scope block and a Terminator block onto your model.

This configuration uses a RF Blockset Outport block as a voltage sensor at the output port of the mixer. The Simulink signal at the outport is the envelope of the carrier or carriers specified in the block. A scope attached to the outport plots the envelope. The Output parameter controls how signals are presented at the output ports. To change the appearance of the block, follow one of the workflows in the Specify Block Parameters for RF Simulation section of this tutorial.

Observe Downconverted Envelope Signal at Output Port

Select Simulation > Run to run the model.

To view the results of the simulation, double-click the scope, and click the Autoscale button.

The Sinusoid specifies a 1-V amplitude for the modulation on fRF, which the mixer downconverts to fIF. The RF Blockset Outport block probes the intermediate frequency and recovers the 1-V modulation amplitude. This value agrees with a specified conversion gain of 0 dB in the mixer.

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