1 dB compression can refer to the property in a mixer, amplifier, balun, or other non-linear element that saturates with excessive input power. It is the point at which the loss increases by 1 dB.
Mixers are excellent linear frequency converters in the sense that every dB change in input power results in a dB change in the output and the actual power ratio is the conversion loss. When too much RF power enters the mixer, this dB for dB relationship will cease and the conversion loss will begin to increase. The 1 dB compression point is therefore defined as the RF input power required to cause the conversion loss to increase by 1 dB. This compression point is the maximum recommended RF input power to the mixer.
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