In communications and electronic engineering, an intermediate frequency (IF) is a frequency to which a carrier wave is shifted as an intermediate step in transmission or reception. The intermediate frequency is created by mixing the carrier signal with a local oscillator signal in a process called heterodyning, resulting in a signal at the difference or beat frequency. Intermediate frequencies are used in superheterodyne radio receivers, in which an incoming signal is shifted to an IF for amplification before final detection is done.
Conversion to an intermediate frequency is useful for several reasons. When several stages of filters are used, they can all be set to a fixed frequency, which makes them easier to build and to tune. Lower frequency transistors generally have higher gains so fewer stages are required. It's easier to make sharply selective filters at lower fixed frequencies.
There may be several such stages of intermediate frequency in a superheterodyne receiver; two or three stages are called double (alternatively, dual) or triple conversion, respectively.
Usage examples of "intermediate frequency".
At the moment, he was using Murdock's grid-dip meter to check the alignment of an Intermediate Frequency stage in the receiver he had just repaired.