True RMS RF Detector with 95 dB Detection Range (CN0340)

Figure 1. 95 dB RMS Responding RF Detector

The circuit in Figure 1 is a true rms responding power detector using a variable gain amplifier (VGA) and an rms-responding power detector to provide an extremely wide detection range of approximately 95 dB. RMS detectors are useful in many applications such as receivers and transmitters where accurate measurement of signal power is required. Because the circuit measures rms power, it is suitable for use in systems with diverse or varying crest factors. Examples of such systems include GSM/EDGE, CDMA, WCDMA, TD-SCDMA and LTE based wireless base stations along with any system that uses QAM modulation.

The detection range of the ADL5902 rms detector is 65 dB and is extended to 95 dB by the addition of the linear-in-dB AD8368 VGA. The ADL5902 TADJ function is used to provide temperature stability for the complete circuit. A SAW filter is placed between the VGA to reduce noise and increase sensitivity. This also reduces the frequency range of the circuit to the pass-band range of the SAW filter.


  • Measures true rms power to 800MHz
  • 95dB detection range
  • Single supply