system quickly discharges the beam supply in the
event of an internal klystron arc or other high-voltage
fault condition. For high-power systems, it is normal
to have some value of series resistance between the
beam supply and the klystron cathode. This limits
tube current to a finite value if the tube should arc
from cathode to ground.
Some klystrons have a grid or a modulating anode
to control the number of electrons in the electron
beam. Such grids are often used in pulse systems to
turn the tube full-on or full-off. A few systems use
grid modulation to transmit intelligence.
In most gridded klystron tubes, the grid is never
allowed to go positive with respect to the cathode, as
it might cause undue grid interception of the beam
and result in the burnout of the grid element. A grid
power supply is required in those tubes that have
grids. These power supplies and pulsers may take
many forms, depending on the system application,
and, therefore, are not discussed in this chapter.
Some klystrons are made with the electromagnets
physically part of the tube itself. However, in most
systems, the electromagnets are separate from the
tube, and the klystron is inserted into the electro-
Many modern klystrons have only one electro-
magnet, and, therefore, require only one power sup-
ply. Others may have as many as six separate coils,
requiring one power supply for each coil. Voltage and
current metering is usually supplied for each of the
electromagnet power supplies.
If an electromagnet power supply should fail, the
electron beam would almost certainly spread, and
most of the beam current would be intercepted on a
small section of the drift tube. In most cases, this
would cause the drift tube to melt and permanently
destroy the tube. Therefore, klystron amplifier equip-
ment normally has undercurrent protection in each of
the electromagnet circuits.
When the electromagnet current falls below a pre-
determined level, the beam supply is automatically
turned off to prevent damage to the klystron. Redun-
dant protection is provided by the body-current over-
load circuits, which also turn off the beam supply in
the event of magnet current failure or misadjustment.
Figure 2-9 (on page 17) is a simplified diagram
showing some of the power supplies, monitoring de-
vices, and protective devices used in a typical power
klystron amplifier. It also shows three electromagnets
wrapped around the body of the klystron. In addition,
figure 2-9 shows a method used to monitor body cur-
rent, collector current, and beam current separately.
(In many systems, separate monitoring of collector
current is not done, since the collector current and the
total beam current are almost equal.)
It is quite unusual in a relatively high-power kly-
stron amplifier system to allow the body current to
exceed 10 percent of the beam current. High body
current usually means low efficiency, and it increases
the danger of burning out drift tubes. In very-high-
power klystrons, the body current is often limited
from 1 to 2 percent of the total beam current.
If a klystron arcs internally, the arc will always
occur between the cathode and the anode. When this
occurs, the body current immediately becomes exces-
sive, tripping out the body-current overload relay. An
arc also causes beam current to be much higher than
normal, and the beam-current overload will also trip
out. In fact, almost any high-voltage system fault
(such as an insulation breakdown) will cause exce-
ssive current through the body-current meter and the
Because of the possibility of extremely high cur-
rents flowing under fault conditions, the protection of
body-current and beam-current meters presents a
somewhat difficult problem. This problem is usually
solved by using very-high-current, solid-state recti-
fiers, back to back, across the meters.
In some cases, it is necessary to add a small
resistance or inductance in series with the meter.
Surge capacitors are normally placed across the
combination. It is necessary to connect the rectifiers
back to back because fault conditions often cause
oscillating currents to flow through the meters.