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A comprehensive analysis of reflex klystrons is developed by considering the electrons as particles acted upon by forces which modify their motion. The analysis is similar to earlier explanations of electron bunching in a field-free drift space and predicts a similar current distribution when bunching takes place in a reflecting field. The effect of the bunched electron beam is treated qualitatively by considering the effect of the beam admittance upon a simple equivalent circuit. A quantitative mathematical analysis based upon oscillator theory is also derived and the results are presented in a series of universal curves which are used to explain the operating characteristics of these tubes. Power output, efficiency, starting current, electronic tuning, and modulation properties are discussed. Some general remarks on reflex-oscillator design considerations are also included.