Choosing a Mixer

I’m designing a RF receiver which will take 88-108MHz frequencies. I’m currently in the process of choosing the mixer that I’m going to use : I’m deciding between the LT5560 and the HFA3101. I chose the HFA3101 primarily because it has a low noise figure compared to others. I’m doing this project to learn, which is why I like the HFA3101 because the data sheet shows what’s inside (Gilbert Cell). But it does cost more and the LT5560.

Which mixer is better for my application?

Unfortunately that’s the sort of question that you must answer for yourself, since you’re the one defining the application and assigning weights to the various tradeoffs involved.

There are also a host of other possible variables at play which might influence a choice one way or another. It’s not uncommon for those early in their educational journey to focus in on a particular parameter, making assumptions about its meaning and relative significance in a given context. While “noise figure” is indeed a parameter applicable to these two devices, it is not necessarily the parameter on which one would make a choice.

Chances are good that when you read the datasheet for either device, there are lines in the spec table that you don’t quite understand. That’s your signal that there’s a consideration at hand that may (or may not) be relevant to your interests.

I have found manufacturers’ application notes to be the most valuable resource for addressing knowledge gaps of the sort. Links to a few that might be of interest in this case follow. Yes, they can be hard to process at first, but overcoming such challenges is largely what this whole “learning” thing is about.

Good luck, eh.

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