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I'm designing a circuit which uses the RF6886 amplifier IC. What is the maximum reverse power that the amplifier can sustain? At what reverse power will the amplifier die?

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The datasheet has an interesting table on page 5, which lists VSWR 5:1 for most frequencies, and 3.5:1 for some frequencies.

You can calculate return power from VSWR.

  • VSWR 5:1 would 44.4444% of return power.
  • At a maximum of 34 dBm (which is about 2.5 watts), the maximum return power would be 1.1 watts (at VSWR 5:1).

However, it is stated as "survival", so you will have to be more careful then that. Either build a protection circuit, or simply match properly.

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  • $\begingroup$ Please don't add “signatures” to the ends of your posts. If you'd like to display your callsign, you can put it in your “display name” in your profile like I do, or in the “about me” section. (And thanks for writing a detailed answer with examples and links!) $\endgroup$ – Kevin Reid AG6YO Apr 19 '16 at 13:22
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You have, at least, 3 alternatives:

  • Read the datasheet. They mention SWR 5:1

  • Empirical research: Increase the SWR until smoke.

  • Avoid. Use a matchbox.

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