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A Doherty system combines the outputs of two or more linear RF power amplifiers (PAs) through an impedance-inverting coupler such as a quarter-wave transmission line. At low output levels, the first PA operates linearly, reaching saturation (and maximum efficiency) at some transition voltage below the system peak-output voltage. At higher output levels, the first PA remains saturated and the second PA operates linearly. The instantaneous efficiency and power characteristics of a Doherty system are derived using ideal class-B RF PAs so that the results can easily be scaled for use with real-world PAs. The average efficiency and maximum-efficiency transition points are then determined for a variety of amplitude-modulated signals. The Doherty amplifier can be considerably more efficient than a conventional class-B linear PA. For example, the 28-and 8.9-percent average efficiencies of a class-B PA with Rayleigh-distri buted envelopes with 10-and 20-dB peak-to-average ratios are improved to 60 and 48 percent, respectively, by a two-stage Doherty system. The addition of a third stage further improves the efficiencies to 70 and 66 percent, respectively.