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What is characteristic impedance?

RF like to travel within a circuit with a consistent characteristic impedance.  Any changes in characteristic impedance will produce signal loss.  Characteristic impedance Z is essentially a measure of resistance.  It has three components that are added vectorially. The components are: the pure DC resistance in the x- axis, the inductive reactance in the y-axis, and the capacitive reactance in the z-axis.  The characteristic resistance is calculatd all along a given signal path and any change in any one of the 3 above resistances at any point will alter the resistance.  50 ohms (Ω) is the most generally accepted resistance in most RF circuits.

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