Can a FMCW radar PA operate in saturation? If so, what are the associated limitations?
Yes, for sure. In 77G Automotive Radar, saturated PAs are heavily used. The design is much simpler and offers higher efficiency. As no amplitude modulation is required, a nonlinear class of operation can be used.
The main disadvantage of saturated PAs is their reduced Power Supply Rejection Rate. Spurs and noise is not suppressed as much as with linear PAs. This could lead to higher far-off noise and undesired spectrum emission.
The other disadvantage is possibly a higher harmonic emission, due to the nonlinearity of the PAs. This should be in any case be suppressed by proper output matching networks.
The third disadvantage is that output power control and output power calibration is more complicated, as the output does not follow the input level in a linear way.
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