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Jack Browne, Defense Electronics – April 2009

Fast-switching frequency synthesizers are vital to secure frequency-agile tactical communications systems as well as multiple-network systems such as the Link-16 network. Traditional phase-locked-loop (PLL)-based frequency synthesizers using a tunable oscillator, such as a voltage-controlled oscillator (VCO) locked to a stable frequency clock, haven been limited by the lock-up time and settling time of the VCO. Fortunately, work performed on superconducting technology at Hypres, Inc. ( has yielded direct-digital synthesizer (DDS) devices that can overcome the switching-speed limitations of room-temperature analog frequency synthesizers. Read more at: