Electronics, Radio & antennas

Cheap single-component RF filters.

Low, Band and High – pass filters are one of the major components when working with RF.
Depending on the application, filters can reduse out noise and unwanted signals, or to limit a transmit signal to a pre-specified frequency band in order to prevent interfering with other signals around.

Here I want to describe how to build simple and cheap single-component (ceramic) filters for you DIY projects.

To build required filter we can use capacitors and inductors for lower frequencies. This is classic construction.

Such filter can be built using both through-hole and SMD components.

Both filters is really easy to build but requires some calculations. Typically components is wide available. Also such filters can be fine-tuned. This is a plus and minus in the same time.
Without proper measuring tools it might be not easy to tune and check such filter. On higher frequencies all mistakes begin to play a bigger roles and might be fatal.

Another well-known type of the filters is strip-line filters which is used on a higher frequencies (dozens of gigahertz).

Such type of the filter may look simple but requires more precise calculations (using special software like Microwave Studio) and more precise production process. On high frequencies even small extra extra copper may acts like a inductor which can ruin your schematic.

Thanks to the modern technologies it’s possible to build very compact high-order filters which can work very nice on frequencies up to 10 GHz (and even higher). You can find such type of the filters in a compact devices, like mobile phones. Devices are built using LTCC technology.

One of the most popular vendor is Mini-circuits. You can find in their catalog all type of the filters for all popular bands. I’m used such devices as band-pass and as low-pass filters for L-band. It’s perfect for DIY projects without special requirements.

In this article I will use low-pass filter (0-2400 MHz) as an example.
This type of the filter requires only board and a case with two SMA connectors.

Here is my board. Silkscreen is for 0-2400 filter but this is only one thing that requires to change for different filter types. All devices is in the same package and requires almost the same outline.

Here is Eagle (7.2.0) project files: lcfn-2400_eagle

And here is Gerber files if you want to order such board on a factory: lcfn-2400_gerber

This board requires EMI shielding. Milled aluminium case is a perfect solution.
I decided that the best source of such aluminium cases is Bias-T circuits from the Ebay/Aliexpress:

You can find a dozens of such devices for reasonable price. Keep in mind that this is really nice milled aluminum case with two SMA connectors. As bonus you will get pass-through capacitor and actual Bias-T circuit board which can be used in other projects.

Completed filter:

Here I’m used low-pass filter LFCN-2400

According to documentation this filter inserts noticeable loss starting at 2800 MHz. And after 5000 MHz performance is dropping.

In my lab I can measure only up to 4GHz, at this moment. Here is my measurements.
Looks nice, not sure about this spike at 3000 MHz, probably some interference on my measuring device. You can see that this device really inserts nice loss after 2800 MHz, up to 7dBm. Of course there is still some fluctuations, but it’s not issue in this case.
Marker 1 is at 3880 MHz, insertion loss is 66 dBm.

Thanks for the reading! 🙂

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