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  • Microwave tubes play critical roles in our lives.
  • They are manufactured by highly skilled personnel at a small number of specialized companies.
  • They can be expensive - over $100,000 each for satellite and some military applications.
  • They are Klystrons, Traveling Wave Tubes, Magnetrons, Crossed-Field Amplifiers, and Gyrotrons. 
  • Applications of microwave tubes are: 
Megawatt klystrons
are used in particle accelerators.
Inexpensive magnetrons
are used by the millions  in microwave ovens.

Megawatt gyrotrons
are being developed​
for science applications.
Each DIRECTV satellite uses nearly 100 traveling wave tubes.
Thousands of crossed-field amplifiers are used in Navy AEGIS systems.
  • Microwave tubes are reliable. (A traveling wave tube on the Voyager 1
       satellite was still operating after 37 years in orbit. That tube was the backup for
       the solid state transmitter which failed shortly after launch). Traveling wave
       tubes are the amplifiers of choice for many satellite applications.
  • Microwave tubes are efficient. Industrial magnetron efficiencies exceed
       80%. Satellite traveling wave tube efficiencies exceed 70%.
  • Microwave tubes can operate at very high temperatures. This coupled
       with high efficiency means that tubes can be smaller and lighter than solid state
       devices and still eliminate waste heat.
  • Bandwidth can be very large. A factor of great importance in many
       applicaions of microwave tubes is bandwith. This can be over 2 octaves for
       helix traveling wave tubes.
I am Dr. A. S. Gilmour, Jr., known by many as Scott.
I am using this website to tell you about books, slides and videos on microwave tubes that I have prepared.
First, what are microwave tubes and what are they used for?
​Microwave tubes are vacuum electron devices that generate or amplify microwave radio frequencies.
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