Single-sideband modulation

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Illustration of the spectrum of AM and SSB signals. The lower side band (LSB) spectrum is inverted compared to the baseband. As an example, a 2 kHz audio baseband signal modulated onto a 5 MHz carrier will produce a frequency of 5.002 MHz if upper side band (USB) is used or 4.998 MHz if LSB is used. SSB bandform.svg
Illustration of the spectrum of AM and SSB signals. The lower side band (LSB) spectrum is inverted compared to the baseband. As an example, a 2 kHz audio baseband signal modulated onto a 5 MHz carrier will produce a frequency of 5.002 MHz if upper side band (USB) is used or 4.998 MHz if LSB is used.

In radio communications, single-sideband modulation (SSB) or single-sideband suppressed-carrier modulation (SSB-SC) is a type of modulation used to transmit information, such as an audio signal, by radio waves. A refinement of amplitude modulation, it uses transmitter power and bandwidth more efficiently. Amplitude modulation produces an output signal the bandwidth of which is twice the maximum frequency of the original baseband signal. Single-sideband modulation avoids this bandwidth increase, and the power wasted on a carrier, at the cost of increased device complexity and more difficult tuning at the receiver.

Radio Technology of using radio waves to carry information

Radio is the technology of signaling and communicating using radio waves. Radio waves are electromagnetic waves of frequency between 30 hertz (Hz) and 300 gigahertz (GHz). They are generated by an electronic device called a transmitter connected to an antenna which radiates the waves, and received by a radio receiver connected to another antenna. Radio is very widely used in modern technology, in radio communication, radar, radio navigation, remote control, remote sensing and other applications. In radio communication, used in radio and television broadcasting, cell phones, two-way radios, wireless networking and satellite communication among numerous other uses, radio waves are used to carry information across space from a transmitter to a receiver, by modulating the radio signal in the transmitter. In radar, used to locate and track objects like aircraft, ships, spacecraft and missiles, a beam of radio waves emitted by a radar transmitter reflects off the target object, and the reflected waves reveal the object's location. In radio navigation systems such as GPS and VOR, a mobile receiver receives radio signals from navigational radio beacons whose position is known, and by precisely measuring the arrival time of the radio waves the receiver can calculate its position on Earth. In wireless radio remote control devices like drones, garage door openers, and keyless entry systems, radio signals transmitted from a controller device control the actions of a remote device.

In electronics and telecommunications, modulation is the process of varying one or more properties of a periodic waveform, called the carrier signal, with a modulating signal that typically contains information to be transmitted. Most radio systems in the 20th century used frequency modulation (FM) or amplitude modulation (AM) for radio broadcast.

An audio signal is a representation of sound, typically using a level of electrical voltage for analog signals, and a series of binary numbers for digital signals. Audio signals have frequencies in the audio frequency range of roughly 20 to 20,000 Hz, which corresponds to the lower and upper limits of human hearing. Audio signals may be synthesized directly, or may originate at a transducer such as a microphone, musical instrument pickup, phonograph cartridge, or tape head. Loudspeakers or headphones convert an electrical audio signal back into sound.


Basic concept

Radio transmitters work by mixing a radio frequency (RF) signal of a specific frequency, the carrier wave, with the audio signal to be broadcast. In AM transmitters this mixing usually takes place in the final RF amplifier (high level modulation). It is less common and much less efficient to do the mixing at low power and then amplify it in a linear amplifier. Either method produces a set of frequencies with a strong signal at the carrier frequency and with weaker signals at frequencies extending above and below the carrier frequency by the maximum frequency of the input signal. Thus the resulting signal has a spectrum whose bandwidth is twice the maximum frequency of the original input audio signal.

Radio frequency (RF) is the oscillation rate of an alternating electric current or voltage or of a magnetic, electric or electromagnetic field or mechanical system in the frequency range from around 20 kHz to around 300 GHz. This is roughly between the upper limit of audio frequencies and the lower limit of infrared frequencies; these are the frequencies at which energy from an oscillating current can radiate off a conductor into space as radio waves. Different sources specify different upper and lower bounds for the frequency range.

Carrier wave waveform (usually sinusoidal) that is modulated (modified) with an input signal for the purpose of conveying information

In telecommunications, a carrier wave, carrier signal, or just carrier, is a waveform that is modulated (modified) with an input signal for the purpose of conveying information. This carrier wave usually has a much higher frequency than the input signal does. The purpose of the carrier is usually either to transmit the information through space as an electromagnetic wave, or to allow several carriers at different frequencies to share a common physical transmission medium by frequency division multiplexing. The term originated in radio communication, where the carrier wave is the radio wave which carries the information (modulation) through the air from the transmitter to the receiver. The term is also used for an unmodulated emission in the absence of any modulating signal.

Spectrum Continuous range of values, such as wavelengths in physics

A spectrum is a condition that is not limited to a specific set of values but can vary, without steps, across a continuum. The word was first used scientifically in optics to describe the rainbow of colors in visible light after passing through a prism. As scientific understanding of light advanced, it came to apply to the entire electromagnetic spectrum.

SSB takes advantage of the fact that the entire original signal is encoded in each of these "sidebands". It is not necessary to transmit both sidebands plus the carrier, as a suitable receiver can extract the entire original signal from either the upper or lower sideband. There are several methods for eliminating the carrier and one sideband from the transmitted signal. Producing this single sideband signal is too complicated to be done in the final amplifier stage as with AM. SSB Modulation must be done at a low level and amplified in a linear amplifier where lower efficiency partially offsets the power advantage gained by eliminating the carrier and one sideband. Nevertheless, SSB transmissions use the available amplifier energy considerably more efficiently, providing longer-range transmission for the same power output. In addition, the occupied spectrum is less than half that of a full carrier AM signal.

SSB reception requires frequency stability and selectivity well beyond that of inexpensive AM receivers which is why broadcasters have seldom used it. In point to point communications where expensive receivers are in common use already they can successfully be adjusted to receive whichever sideband is being transmitted.


The first U.S. patent application for SSB modulation was filed on December 1, 1915 by John Renshaw Carson. [1] The U.S. Navy experimented with SSB over its radio circuits before World War I. [2] [3] SSB first entered commercial service on January 7, 1927, on the longwave transatlantic public radiotelephone circuit between New York and London. The high power SSB transmitters were located at Rocky Point, New York, and Rugby, England. The receivers were in very quiet locations in Houlton, Maine, and Cupar Scotland. [4]

John Renshaw Carson American telecommunications engineer

John Renshaw Carson was a noted transmission theorist for early communications systems. He invented single-sideband modulation and developed the Carson bandwidth rule for estimating frequency modulation (FM) bandwidth. In 2013 Carson was inducted into the Electronic Design Hall of Fame for his contributions to communications.

World War I 1914–1918 global war starting in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War, the Great War, the Seminal Catastrophe, and initially in North America as the European War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the resulting 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

Longwave radio broadcast band

In radio, longwave, long wave or long-wave, and commonly abbreviated LW, refers to parts of the radio spectrum with wavelengths longer than what was originally called the medium-wave broadcasting band. The term is historic, dating from the early 20th century, when the radio spectrum was considered to consist of longwave (LW), medium-wave (MW), and short-wave (SW) radio bands. Most modern radio systems and devices use wavelengths which would then have been considered 'ultra-short'.

SSB was also used over long distance telephone lines, as part of a technique known as frequency-division multiplexing (FDM). FDM was pioneered by telephone companies in the 1930s. With this technology, many simultaneous voice channels could be transmitted on a single physical circuit, for example in L-carrier. With SSB, channels could to be spaced (usually) only 4,000  Hz apart, while offering a speech bandwidth of nominally 300 Hz to 3,400 Hz.

Telephone line single-user circuit on a telephone communication system

A telephone line or telephone circuit is a single-user circuit on a telephone communication system. This is the physical wire or other signaling medium connecting the user's telephone apparatus to the telecommunications network, and usually also implies a single telephone number for billing purposes reserved for that user. Telephone lines are used to deliver landline telephone service and Digital subscriber line (DSL) phone cable service to the premises. Telephone overhead lines are connected to the public switched telephone network.

Frequency-division multiplexing multiplexing dividing a comm medium into non-overlapping frequency bands, each carrying a separate signal

In telecommunications, frequency-division multiplexing (FDM) is a technique by which the total bandwidth available in a communication medium is divided into a series of non-overlapping frequency bands, each of which is used to carry a separate signal. This allows a single transmission medium such as a cable or optical fiber to be shared by multiple independent signals. Another use is to carry separate serial bits or segments of a higher rate signal in parallel.

The L-carrier system was one of a series of carrier systems developed by AT&T for high-capacity transmission for long-distance communications. Over a period from the late 1930s to the 1970s, the system evolved in six significant phases of development, designated by Bell System engineers as L-1 through L-5, and L-5E. Coaxial cable was the principle transmission medium in all stages, initially lending the system another descriptions as the coaxial system. It was the successor to a series of previous carrier systems, typically identified by capital letters. In the 1960s the system was hardened against the dangers of the cold war using complete placement of all terminal and repeater equipment in hardened underground vaults.

Amateur radio operators began serious experimentation with SSB after World War II. The Strategic Air Command established SSB as the radio standard for its aircraft in 1957. [5] It has become a de facto standard for long-distance voice radio transmissions since then.

Amateur radio operator

An amateur radio operator is someone who uses equipment at an amateur radio station to engage in two-way personal communications with other amateur operators on radio frequencies assigned to the amateur radio service. Amateur radio operators have been granted an amateur radio license by a governmental regulatory authority after passing an examination on applicable regulations, electronics, radio theory, and radio operation. As a component of their license, amateur radio operators are assigned a call sign that they use to identify themselves during communication. There are about three million amateur radio operators worldwide.

World War II 1939–1945, between Axis and Allies

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from more than 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 70 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Strategic Air Command 1946-1992 United States Air Force major command; predecessor of Air Force Global Strike Command

Strategic Air Command (SAC) was both a United States Department of Defense (DoD) Specified Command and a United States Air Force (USAF) Major Command (MAJCOM), responsible for Cold War command and control of two of the three components of the U.S. military's strategic nuclear strike forces, the so-called "nuclear triad," with SAC having control of land-based strategic bomber aircraft and intercontinental ballistic missiles or ICBMs.

Mathematical formulation

Frequency-domain depiction of the mathematical steps that convert a baseband function into a single-sideband radio signal. Single-sideband derivation.svg
Frequency-domain depiction of the mathematical steps that convert a baseband function into a single-sideband radio signal.

Single-sideband has the mathematical form of quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) in the special case where one of the baseband waveforms is derived from the other, instead of being independent messages:

Baseband signal that has a very narrow frequency range near zero

Baseband is a signal that has a near-zero frequency range, i.e. a spectral magnitude that is nonzero only for frequencies in the vicinity of the origin and negligible elsewhere. In telecommunications and signal processing, baseband signals are transmitted without modulation, that is, without any shift in the range of frequencies of the signal. Baseband has a low-frequency—contained within the bandwidth frequency close to 0 hertz up to a higher cut-off frequency. Baseband can be synonymous with lowpass or non-modulated, and is differentiated from passband, bandpass, carrier-modulated, intermediate frequency, or radio frequency (RF).






where is the message (real-valued), is its Hilbert transform, and is the radio carrier frequency. [6]

To understand this formula, we may express as the real part of a complex-valued function, with no loss of information:

where represents the imaginary unit.  is the analytic representation of   which means that it comprises only the positive-frequency components of :

where and are the respective Fourier transforms of and   Therefore, the frequency-translated function contains only one side of   Since it also has only positive-frequency components, its inverse Fourier transform is the analytic representation of

and again the real part of this expression causes no loss of information.  With Euler's formula to expand    we obtain Eq.1 :

Coherent demodulation of to recover is the same as AM: multiply by   and lowpass to remove the "double-frequency" components around frequency . If the demodulating carrier is not in the correct phase (cosine phase here), then the demodulated signal will be some linear combination of and , which is usually acceptable in voice communications (if the demodulation carrier frequency is not quite right, the phase will be drifting cyclically, which again is usually acceptable in voice communications if the frequency error is small enough, and amateur radio operators are sometimes tolerant of even larger frequency errors that cause unnatural-sounding pitch shifting effects).

Lower sideband

can also be recovered as the real part of the complex-conjugate, which represents the negative frequency portion of When is large enough that has no negative frequencies, the product is another analytic signal, whose real part is the actual lower-sideband transmission:

The sum of the two sideband signals is:

which is the classic model of suppressed-carrier double sideband AM.

Practical implementations

A Collins KWM-1, an early Amateur Radio transceiver that featured SSB voice capability Collins KWM-1.jpg
A Collins KWM-1, an early Amateur Radio transceiver that featured SSB voice capability

Bandpass filtering

One method of producing an SSB signal is to remove one of the sidebands via filtering, leaving only either the upper sideband (USB), the sideband with the higher frequency, or less commonly the lower sideband (LSB), the sideband with the lower frequency. Most often, the carrier is reduced or removed entirely (suppressed), being referred to in full as single sideband suppressed carrier (SSBSC). Assuming both sidebands are symmetric, which is the case for a normal AM signal, no information is lost in the process. Since the final RF amplification is now concentrated in a single sideband, the effective power output is greater than in normal AM (the carrier and redundant sideband account for well over half of the power output of an AM transmitter). Though SSB uses substantially less bandwidth and power, it cannot be demodulated by a simple envelope detector like standard AM.

Hartley modulator

An alternate method of generation known as a Hartley modulator, named after R. V. L. Hartley, uses phasing to suppress the unwanted sideband. To generate an SSB signal with this method, two versions of the original signal are generated, mutually 90° out of phase for any single frequency within the operating bandwidth. Each one of these signals then modulates carrier waves (of one frequency) that are also 90° out of phase with each other. By either adding or subtracting the resulting signals, a lower or upper sideband signal results. A benefit of this approach is to allow an analytical expression for SSB signals, which can be used to understand effects such as synchronous detection of SSB.

Shifting the baseband signal 90° out of phase cannot be done simply by delaying it, as it contains a large range of frequencies. In analog circuits, a wideband 90-degree phase-difference network [7] is used. The method was popular in the days of vacuum tube radios, but later gained a bad reputation due to poorly adjusted commercial implementations. Modulation using this method is again gaining popularity in the homebrew and DSP fields. This method, utilizing the Hilbert transform to phase shift the baseband audio, can be done at low cost with digital circuitry.

Weaver modulator

Another variation, the Weaver modulator, [8] uses only lowpass filters and quadrature mixers, and is a favored method in digital implementations.

In Weaver's method, the band of interest is first translated to be centered at zero, conceptually by modulating a complex exponential with frequency in the middle of the voiceband, but implemented by a quadrature pair of sine and cosine modulators at that frequency (e.g. 2 kHz). This complex signal or pair of real signals is then lowpass filtered to remove the undesired sideband that is not centered at zero. Then, the single-sideband complex signal centered at zero is upconverted to a real signal, by another pair of quadrature mixers, to the desired center frequency.

Full, reduced, and suppressed-carrier SSB

Conventional amplitude-modulated signals can be considered wasteful of power and bandwidth because they contain a carrier signal and two identical sidebands. Therefore, SSB transmitters are generally designed to minimize the amplitude of the carrier signal. When the carrier is removed from the transmitted signal, it is called suppressed-carrier SSB.

However, in order for a receiver to reproduce the transmitted audio without distortion, it must be tuned to exactly the same frequency as the transmitter. Since this is difficult to achieve in practice, SSB transmissions can sound unnatural, and if the error in frequency is great enough, it can cause poor intelligibility. In order to correct this, a small amount of the original carrier signal can be transmitted so that receivers with the necessary circuitry to synchronize with the transmitted carrier can correctly demodulate the audio. This mode of transmission is called reduced-carrier single-sideband.

In other cases, it may be desirable to maintain some degree of compatibility with simple AM receivers, while still reducing the signal's bandwidth. This can be accomplished by transmitting single-sideband with a normal or slightly reduced carrier. This mode is called compatible (or full-carrier) SSB or amplitude modulation equivalent (AME). In typical AME systems, harmonic distortion can reach 25%, and intermodulation distortion can be much higher than normal, but minimizing distortion in receivers with envelope detectors is generally considered less important than allowing them to produce intelligible audio.

A second, and perhaps more correct, definition of "compatible single sideband" (CSSB) refers to a form of amplitude and phase modulation in which the carrier is transmitted along with a series of sidebands that are predominantly above or below the carrier term. Since phase modulation is present in the generation of the signal, energy is removed from the carrier term and redistributed into the sideband structure similar to that which occurs in analog frequency modulation. The signals feeding the phase modulator and the envelope modulator are further phase-shifted by 90° with respect to each other. This places the information terms in quadrature with each other; the Hilbert transform of information to be transmitted is utilized to cause constructive addition of one sideband and cancellation of the opposite primary sideband. Since phase modulation is employed, higher-order terms are also generated. Several methods have been employed to reduce the impact (amplitude) of most of these higher-order terms. In one system, the phase-modulated term is actually the log of the value of the carrier level plus the phase-shifted audio/information term. This produces an ideal CSSB signal, where at low modulation levels only a first-order term on one side of the carrier is predominant. As the modulation level is increased, the carrier level is reduced while a second-order term increases substantially in amplitude. At the point of 100% envelope modulation, 6 dB of power is removed from the carrier term, and the second-order term is identical in amplitude to carrier term. The first-order sideband has increased in level until it is now at the same level as the formerly unmodulated carrier. At the point of 100% modulation, the spectrum appears identical to a normal double-sideband AM transmission, with the center term (now the primary audio term) at a 0 dB reference level, and both terms on either side of the primary sideband at −6 dB. The difference is that what appears to be the carrier has shifted by the audio-frequency term towards the "sideband in use". At levels below 100% modulation, the sideband structure appears quite asymmetric. When voice is conveyed by a CSSB source of this type, low-frequency components are dominant, while higher-frequency terms are lower by as much as 20 dB at 3 kHz. The result is that the signal occupies approximately 1/2 the normal bandwidth of a full-carrier, DSB signal. There is one catch: the audio term utilized to phase-modulate the carrier is generated based on a log function that is biased by the carrier level. At negative 100% modulation, the term is driven to zero (0), and the modulator becomes undefined. Strict modulation control must be employed to maintain stability of the system and avoid splatter. This system is of Russian origin and was described in the late 1950s. It is uncertain whether it was ever deployed.

A second series of approaches was designed and patented by Leonard R. Kahn. The various Kahn systems removed the hard limit imposed by the use of the strict log function in the generation of the signal. Earlier Kahn systems utilized various methods to reduce the second-order term through the insertion of a predistortion component. One example of this method was also used to generate one of the Kahn independent-sideband (ISB) AM stereo signals. It was known as the STR-77 exciter method, having been introduced in 1977. Later, the system was further improved by use of an arcsine-based modulator that included a 1-0.52E term in the denominator of the arcsin generator equation. E represents the envelope term; roughly half the modulation term applied to the envelope modulator is utilized to reduce the second-order term of the arcsin "phase"-modulated path; thus reducing the second-order term in the undesired sideband. A multi-loop modulator/demodulator feedback approach was used to generate an accurate arcsin signal. This approach was introduced in 1984 and became known as the STR-84 method. It was sold by Kahn Research Laboratories; later, Kahn Communications, Inc. of NY. An additional audio processing device further improved the sideband structure by selectively applying pre-emphasis to the modulating signals. Since the envelope of all the signals described remains an exact copy of the information applied to the modulator, it can be demodulated without distortion by an envelope detector such as a simple diode. In a practical receiver, some distortion may be present, usually at a low level (in AM broadcast, always below 5%), due to sharp filtering and nonlinear group delay in the IF filters of the receiver, which act to truncate the compatibility sideband – those terms that are not the result of a linear process of simply envelope modulating the signal as would be the case in full-carrier DSB-AM – and rotation of phase of these compatibility terms such that they no longer cancel the quadrature distortion term caused by a first-order SSB term along with the carrier. The small amount of distortion caused by this effect is generally quite low and acceptable.

The Kahn CSSB method was also briefly used by Airphone as the modulation method employed for early consumer telephone calls that could be placed from an aircraft to ground. This was quickly supplanted by digital modulation methods to achieve even greater spectral efficiency.

While CSSB is seldom used today in the AM/MW broadcast bands worldwide, some amateur radio operators still experiment with it.


The front end of an SSB receiver is similar to that of an AM or FM receiver, consisting of a superheterodyne RF front end that produces a frequency-shifted version of the radio frequency (RF) signal within a standard intermediate frequency (IF) band.

To recover the original signal from the IF SSB signal, the single sideband must be frequency-shifted down to its original range of baseband frequencies, by using a product detector which mixes it with the output of a beat frequency oscillator (BFO). In other words, it is just another stage of heterodyning. For this to work, the BFO frequency must be exactly adjusted. If the BFO frequency is off, the output signal will be frequency-shifted (up or down), making speech sound strange and "Donald Duck"-like, or unintelligible.

For audio communications, there is a common agreement about the BFO oscillator shift of 1.7 kHz. A voice signal is sensitive to about 50 Hz shift, with up to 100 Hz still bearable. Some receivers use a carrier recovery system, which attempts to automatically lock on to the exact IF frequency. The carrier recovery doesn't solve the frequency shift. It gives better S/N ratio on the detector output.

As an example, consider an IF SSB signal centered at frequency = 45000 Hz. The baseband frequency it needs to be shifted to is = 2000 Hz. The BFO output waveform is . When the signal is multiplied by (aka heterodyned with) the BFO waveform, it shifts the signal to  , and to , which is known as the beat frequency or image frequency. The objective is to choose an that results in   = 2000 Hz. (The unwanted components at can be removed by a lowpass filter; for which an output transducer or the human ear may serve).

There are two choices for : 43000 Hz and 47000 Hz, called low-side and high-side injection. With high-side injection, the spectral components that were distributed around 45000 Hz will be distributed around 2000 Hz in the reverse order, also known as an inverted spectrum. That is in fact desirable when the IF spectrum is also inverted, because the BFO inversion restores the proper relationships. One reason for that is when the IF spectrum is the output of an inverting stage in the receiver. Another reason is when the SSB signal is actually a lower sideband, instead of an upper sideband. But if both reasons are true, then the IF spectrum is not inverted, and the non-inverting BFO (43000 Hz) should be used.

If is off by a small amount, then the beat frequency is not exactly , which can lead to the speech distortion mentioned earlier.

SSB as a speech-scrambling technique

SSB techniques can also be adapted to frequency-shift and frequency-invert baseband waveforms (voice inversion). This voice scrambling method was made by running the audio of one side band modulated audio sample though its opposite (e.g. running an LSB modulated audio sample through a radio running USB modulation). These effects were used, in conjunction with other filtering techniques, during World War II as a simple method for speech encryption. Radiotelephone conversations between the US and Britain were intercepted and "decrypted" by the Germans; they included some early conversations between Franklin D. Roosevelt and Churchill.[ citation needed ] In fact, the signals could be understood directly by trained operators. Largely to allow secure communications between Roosevelt and Churchill, the SIGSALY system of digital encryption was devised.

Today, such simple inversion-based speech encryption techniques are easily decrypted using simple techniques and are no longer regarded as secure.

Vestigial sideband (VSB)

VSB modulation VSB bandform.svg
VSB modulation

Limitation of single-sideband modulation being used for voice signals and not available for video/TV signals leads to the usage of vestigial sideband. A vestigial sideband (in radio communication) is a sideband that has been only partly cut off or suppressed. Television broadcasts (in analog video formats) use this method if the video is transmitted in AM, due to the large bandwidth used. It may also be used in digital transmission, such as the ATSC standardized 8VSB.

The broadcast or transport channel for TV in countries that use NTSC or ATSC has a bandwidth of 6 MHz. To conserve bandwidth, SSB would be desirable, but the video signal has significant low-frequency content (average brightness) and has rectangular synchronising pulses. The engineering compromise is vestigial-sideband transmission. In vestigial sideband, the full upper sideband of bandwidth W2 = 4.75 MHz is transmitted, but only W1 = 1.25 MHz of the lower sideband is transmitted, along with a carrier. This effectively makes the system AM at low modulation frequencies and SSB at high modulation frequencies. The absence of the lower sideband components at high frequencies must be compensated for, and this is done in the IF amplifier.

Frequencies for LSB and USB in amateur radio voice communication

When single-sideband is used in amateur radio voice communications, it is common practice that for frequencies below 10 MHz, lower sideband (LSB) is used and for frequencies of 10 MHz and above, upper sideband (USB) is used. [9] For example, on the 40 m band, voice communications often take place around 7.100 MHz using LSB mode. On the 20 m band at 14.200 MHz, USB mode would be used.

An exception to this rule applies to the five discrete amateur channels on the 60-meter band (near 5.3 MHz) where FCC rules specifically require USB. [10]

Extended single sideband (eSSB)

Extended single sideband is any J3E (SSB-SC) mode that exceeds the audio bandwidth of standard or traditional 2.9 kHz SSB J3E modes (ITU 2K90J3E) to support higher-quality sound.

Extended SSB modesBandwidthFrequency responseITU Designator
eSSB (Narrow-1a)3 kHz100 Hz ~ 3.10 kHz3K00J3E
eSSB (Narrow-1b)3 kHz50 Hz ~ 3.05 kHz3K00J3E
eSSB (Narrow-2)3.5 kHz50 Hz ~ 3.55 kHz3K50J3E
eSSB (Medium-1)4 kHz50 Hz ~ 4.05 kHz4K00J3E
eSSB (Medium-2)4.5 kHz50 Hz ~ 4.55 kHz4K50J3E
eSSB (Wide-1)5 kHz50 Hz ~ 5.05 kHz5K00J3E
eSSB (Wide-2)6 kHz50 Hz ~ 6.05 kHz6K00J3E

Amplitude-companded single-sideband modulation (ACSSB)

Amplitude-companded single sideband (ACSSB) is a narrowband modulation method using a single sideband with a pilot tone, allowing an expander in the receiver to restore the amplitude that was severely compressed by the transmitter. It offers improved effective range over standard SSB modulation while simultaneously retaining backwards compatibility with standard SSB radios. ACSSB also offers reduced bandwidth and improved range for a given power level compared with narrow band FM modulation.

Controlled-envelope single-sideband modulation (CESSB)

The generation of standard SSB modulation results in large envelope overshoots well above the average envelope level for a sinusoidal tone (even when the audio signal is peak-limited). The standard SSB envelope peaks are due to truncation of the spectrum and nonlinear phase distortion from the approximation errors of the practical implementation of the required Hilbert transform. It was recently shown that suitable overshoot compensation (so-called controlled-envelope single-sideband modulation or CESSB) achieves about 3.8 dB of peak reduction for speech transmission. This results in an effective average power increase of about 140%. [11] Although the generation of the CESSB signal can be integrated into the SSB modulator, it is feasible to separate the generation of the CESSB signal (e.g. in form of an external speech preprocessor) from a standard SSB radio. This requires that the standard SSB radio's modulator be linear-phase and have a sufficient bandwidth to pass the CESSB signal. If a standard SSB modulator meets these requirements, then the envelope control by the CESSB process is preserved. [12]

ITU designations

In 1982, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) designated the types of amplitude modulation:

A3E Double-sideband full-carrier – the basic amplitude-modulation scheme
R3ESingle-sideband reduced-carrier
H3ESingle-sideband full-carrier
J3E Single-sideband suppressed-carrier
B8E Independent-sideband emission
C3F Vestigial-sideband
LincompexLinked compressor and expander

See also

Related Research Articles

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Amplitude modulation (AM) is a modulation technique used in electronic communication, most commonly for transmitting information via a radio carrier wave. In amplitude modulation, the amplitude of the carrier wave is varied in proportion to that of the message signal being transmitted. The message signal is, for example, a function of the sound to be reproduced by a loudspeaker, or the light intensity of pixels of a television screen. This technique contrasts with frequency modulation, in which the frequency of the carrier signal is varied, and phase modulation, in which its phase is varied.

Frequency modulation encoding of information in a carrier wave by varying the instantaneous frequency of the wave

In telecommunications and signal processing, frequency modulation (FM) is the encoding of information in a carrier wave by varying the instantaneous frequency of the wave.

In telecommunications, orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) is a method of encoding digital data on multiple carrier frequencies. OFDM has developed into a popular scheme for wideband digital communication, used in applications such as digital television and audio broadcasting, DSL internet access, wireless networks, power line networks, and 4G mobile communications.

Phase modulation (PM) is a modulation pattern for conditioning communication signals for transmission. It encodes a message signal as variations in the instantaneous phase of a carrier wave. Phase modulation is one of the two principal forms of angle modulation, together with frequency modulation.

Quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) is the name of a family of digital modulation methods and a related family of analog modulation methods widely used in modern telecommunications to transmit information. It conveys two analog message signals, or two digital bit streams, by changing (modulating) the amplitudes of two carrier waves, using the amplitude-shift keying (ASK) digital modulation scheme or amplitude modulation (AM) analog modulation scheme. The two carrier waves of the same frequency are out of phase with each other by 90°, a condition known as orthogonality or quadrature. The transmitted signal is created by adding the two carrier waves together. At the receiver, the two waves can be coherently separated (demodulated) because of their orthogonality property. Another key property is that the modulations are low-frequency/low-bandwidth waveforms compared to the carrier frequency, which is known as the narrowband assumption.

In telecommunication, Carson's bandwidth rule defines the approximate bandwidth requirements of communications system components for a carrier signal that is frequency modulated by a continuous or broad spectrum of frequencies rather than a single frequency. Carson's rule does not apply well when the modulating signal contains discontinuities, such as a square wave. Carson's rule originates from John Renshaw Carson's 1922 paper.

Double-sideband suppressed-carrier transmission (DSB-SC) is transmission in which frequencies produced by amplitude modulation (AM) are symmetrically spaced above and below the carrier frequency and the carrier level is reduced to the lowest practical level, ideally being completely suppressed.

Electro-optic modulator

An electro-optic modulator (EOM) is an optical device in which a signal-controlled element exhibiting an electro-optic effect is used to modulate a beam of light. The modulation may be imposed on the phase, frequency, amplitude, or polarization of the beam. Modulation bandwidths extending into the gigahertz range are possible with the use of laser-controlled modulators.


In radio communications, a sideband is a band of frequencies higher than or lower than the carrier frequency, that are the result of the modulation process. The sidebands carry the information transmitted by the radio signal. The sidebands consist of all the spectral components of the modulated signal except the carrier. All forms of modulation produce sidebands.

Pulse-width modulation modulation technique

Pulse width modulation (PWM), or pulse-duration modulation (PDM), is a method of reducing the average power delivered by an electrical signal, by effectively chopping it up into discrete parts. The average value of voltage fed to the load is controlled by turning the switch between supply and load on and off at a fast rate. The longer the switch is on compared to the off periods, the higher the total power supplied to the load. Along with MPPT maximum power point tracking, it is one of the primary methods of reducing the output of solar panels to that which can be utilized by a battery. PWM is particularly suited for running inertial loads such as motors, which are not as easily affected by this discrete switching, because they have inertia to react slow. The PWM switching frequency has to be high enough not to affect the load, which is to say that the resultant waveform perceived by the load must be as smooth as possible.

VHF omnidirectional range Aviation nagivation system

Very High Frequency (VHF) Omni-Directional Range (VOR) is a type of short-range radio navigation system for aircraft, enabling aircraft with a receiving unit to determine its position and stay on course by receiving radio signals transmitted by a network of fixed ground radio beacons. It uses frequencies in the very high frequency (VHF) band from 108.00 to 117.95 MHz. Developed in the United States beginning in 1937 and deployed by 1946, VOR is the standard air navigational system in the world, used by both commercial and general aviation. In the year 2000 there were about 3,000 VOR stations operating around the world including 1,033 in the US, reduced to 967 by 2013.

Beat frequency oscillator device to convert Morse code radio signals into audible tones

In a radio receiver, a beat frequency oscillator or BFO is a dedicated oscillator used to create an audio frequency signal from Morse code radiotelegraphy (CW) transmissions to make them audible. The signal from the BFO is mixed with the received signal to create a heterodyne or beat frequency which is heard as a tone in the speaker. BFOs are also used to demodulate single-sideband (SSB) signals, making them intelligible, by essentially restoring the carrier that was suppressed at the transmitter. BFOs are sometimes included in communications receivers designed for short wave listeners; they are almost always found in communication receivers for amateur radio, which often receive CW and SSB signals.

Continuous phase modulation (CPM) is a method for modulation of data commonly used in wireless modems. In contrast to other coherent digital phase modulation techniques where the carrier phase abruptly resets to zero at the start of every symbol, with CPM the carrier phase is modulated in a continuous manner. For instance, with QPSK the carrier instantaneously jumps from a sine to a cosine whenever one of the two message bits of the current symbol differs from the two message bits of the previous symbol. This discontinuity requires a relatively large percentage of the power to occur outside of the intended band, leading to poor spectral efficiency. Furthermore, CPM is typically implemented as a constant-envelope waveform, i.e., the transmitted carrier power is constant. Therefore, CPM is attractive because the phase continuity yields high spectral efficiency, and the constant envelope yields excellent power efficiency. The primary drawback is the high implementation complexity required for an optimal receiver.

In mathematics and signal processing, an analytic signal is a complex-valued function that has no negative frequency components. The real and imaginary parts of an analytic signal are real-valued functions related to each other by the Hilbert transform.

In-phase and quadrature components

In electrical engineering, a sinusoid with angle modulation can be decomposed into, or synthesized from, two amplitude-modulated sinusoids that are offset in phase by one-quarter cycle. All three functions have the same center frequency. The amplitude modulated sinusoids are known as the in-phase and quadrature components.  In some contexts it is more convenient to refer to only the amplitude modulation (baseband) itself by those terms.

A radar system uses a radio frequency electromagnetic signal reflected from a target to determine information about that target. In any radar system, the signal transmitted and received will exhibit many of the characteristics described below.

In 1933, Edwin H. Armstrong patented a method for generating frequency modulation of radio signals. The Armstrong method generates a double sideband suppressed carrier signal, phase shifts this signal, and then reinserts the carrier to produce a frequency modulated signal.


  1. US 1449382 John Carson/AT&T: "Method and Means for Signaling with High Frequency Waves" filed on December 1, 1915; granted on March 27, 1923
  2. The History of Single Sideband Modulation Archived 2004-01-03 at the Wayback Machine , Ing. Peter Weber
  3. IEEE, Early History of Single-Sideband Transmission, Oswald, A.A.
  4. History Of Undersea Cables, (1927)
  5. "Amateur Radio and the Rise of SSB" (PDF). National Association for Amateur Radio.
  6. Tretter, Steven A. (1995). "Chapter 7, Eq 7.9". In Lucky, R.W. (ed.). Communication System Design Using DSP Algorithms. New York: Springer. p. 80. ISBN   0306450321.
  7., listing numerous articles.
  8. "A Third Method of Generation and Detection of Single-Sideband Signals" D K Weaver Jr. Proc. IRE, Dec. 1956
  9. "BRATS – Advanced Amateur Radio Tuition Course". Retrieved 2013-01-29.
  10. "FCC Part 97 - Amateur Service rules" (PDF).
  11. "Controlled Envelope Single Sideband" (PDF). 2014-11-01. Retrieved 2017-01-15. by David L. Hershberger, W9GR, QEX, issue Nov./Dec. 2014, pp. 3–13.
  12. "External Processing for Controlled Envelope Single Sideband" (PDF). 2016-01-01. Retrieved 2017-01-15. by David L. Hershberger, W9GR, QEX, issue Jan./Feb. 2016, pp. 9–12.


Further reading