heterodyne(redirected from heterodynes)
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a low-power tube-type or semiconductor generator of electrical oscillations used for frequency conversion in superheterodyne radio receivers, wavemeters, and other devices. The heterodyne generates oscillations of the subcarrier frequency, which are mixed with incoming high-frequency oscillations, resulting in the formation of a constant difference frequency (intermediate frequency). The heterodyne must possess a high stability of frequency and insignificant harmonic oscillation amplitudes. A frequency-tunable laser may serve as the heterodyne in optical-frequency receivers.