Power Vacuum Tubes Handbook: 3rd Edition (Paperback) book cover

Power Vacuum Tubes Handbook

3rd Edition

By Jerry Whitaker

CRC Press

707 pages | 447 B/W Illus.

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Providing examples of applications, Power Vacuum Tubes Handbook, Third Edition examines the underlying technology of each type of power vacuum tube device in common use today. The author presents basic principles, reports on new development efforts, and discusses implementation and maintenance considerations. Supporting mathematical equations and extensive technical illustrations and schematic diagrams help readers understand the material.

Translate Principles into Specific Applications

This one-stop reference is a hands-on guide for engineering personnel involved in the design, specification, installation, and maintenance of high-power equipment utilizing vacuum tubes. It offers a comprehensive look at the important area of high-frequency/high-power applications of microwave power devices, making it possible for general principles to be translated into specific applications. Coverage includes power grid tubes—triodes, tetrodes, and pentodes—as well as microwave power tubes such as klystrons, traveling wave tubes, gyrotrons, and other high-frequency devices. These vacuum tubes are used in applications from radio broadcasting to television, radar, satellite communications, and more.

Explore a Wide Variety of Methods in Power Vacuum Tube Design

This third edition includes updates on vacuum tube technology, devices, applications, design methods, and modulation methods. It also expands its scope to cover properties of materials and RF system maintenance and troubleshooting. Explaining difficult concepts and processes clearly, this handbook guides readers in the design and selection of a power vacuum tube-based system.

What’s New in This Edition

  • Includes two new chapters on properties of materials and RF system maintenance and troubleshooting
  • Contains updates and additions in most chapters
  • Identifies key applications for commercial and scientific research
  • Examines the frontiers of materials science directly impacting construction, reliability, and performance
  • Reviews methods of power tube design for more efficient, longer-lasting tubes
  • Features updated illustrations throughout to clarify and explain fundamental principles and implementation considerations


"This handbook provides outstanding coverage of the present art in high-power vacuum-tube design and operation. After reading this book the reader will be intimately familiar with modern vacuum tubes. Engineers involved with the design, installation, specification, and maintenance of high-power vacuum tubes will find this handbook an invaluable resource in their work. There are certainly very few books on vacuum tubes, and this one provides a wealth of current information on all the common vacuum tubes in use today."

—John J. Shea, IEEE Electrical Insulation Magazine, May/June 2013, Vol. 29, No. 3

Praise for Previous Editions

"…a valuable resource for practicing electrical engineers and others involved with vacuum tubes and related equipment."

—E.M. Aupperle, Choice, December 1999

Table of Contents

Power Vacuum Tube Applications

Vacuum Tube Development

Vacuum Tube Applications

Electromagnetic Radiation Spectrum

Modulation Systems and Characteristics

Modulation Systems

Operating Class

Thermal and Circuit Noise

Amplitude Modulation

Frequency Modulation

Pulse Modulation

Spread Spectrum Systems

Vacuum Tube Principles

Characteristics of Electrons

Types of Vacuum Tubes

High-Frequency Operating Limits

Vacuum Tube Design

Tube Construction


Electron Tube Characteristics

Designing Vacuum Tube Circuits

Principles of RF Power Amplification

High-Voltage Power Supplies

Applying Vacuum Tube Devices

AM Power Amplification Systems

Linear Amplification

High-Efficiency Linear Amplification

Television Power Amplifier Systems

FM Power Amplifier Systems

Special-Application Amplifiers

Microwave Power Tubes

Grid Vacuum Tubes


Klystrode/lnductive Output Tube

Constant Efficiency Amplifier

Traveling Wave Tube

Crossed-Field Tubes

Other Microwave Devices

Microwave Tube Life

RF Interconnection and Switching

Coaxial Transmission Line


RF Combiner and Diplexer Systems

High-Power Isolators

Properties of Materials



Tabular Data

Cooling Considerations

Application of Cooling Principles

Operating Environment

Reliability Considerations

Quality Assurance

Reliability Analysis

Vacuum Tube Reliability

Klystron Reliability

Device Performance Criteria

Measurement Parameters

Vacuum Tube Operating Parameters

Voltage Standing Wave Ratio

Radio Frequency System Performance

RF System Maintenance and Troubleshooting

Routine Maintenance

Transmission Line and Antenna

High-Voltage Power Supply

Troubleshooting Procedure

Safe Handling of Vacuum Tube Devices

Electric Shock

Operating Hazards

Nonionizing Radiation

Appendix: Mathematics, Symbols, and Physical Constants


Most chapters include an introduction, references, and a bibliography.

About the Author

Jerry C. Whitaker is the vice president of Standards Development at the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC). He has been involved in various aspects of the electronics industry for more than 30 years, with specialization in communications. His CRC Press books include the following:

About the Series

Electronics Handbook Series

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Electronics / General