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This article discusses the practical application of RF digital-to-analog converters to communication systems such as cable distribution, wireless communications infrastructure base stations, wireless backhaul, and other such systems. The key specifications driving the development of RF DAC technology are reviewed, as are some common radio architectures used to implement those systems. Challenges associated with the design of RF DACs are described, and some trade-offs and possible solutions are discussed. Design considerations of the package and the printed circuit board design are reviewed. Measured results of an RF DAC suitable for cable head-end transmitters are presented. The features and performance of RF DACs provide an enabling solution for software defined radio systems targeted toward multicarrier, multiband, multistandard radio transmitters.