From Finesse simulation (and also analytic calcs), the expected PRCL optical gain is ~1 MW/m (there is a large uncertainty, let's say a factor of 5, because of unknown losses e.g. PRC, Faraday, steering mirrors, splitting fractions on the AP table between the REFL photodiodes). From the same simulation, the MICH optical gain in the Q-phase signal is expected to be a factor of ~10 smaller. I measured the REFL55 RF transimpedance to be ~400 ohms in June last year, which was already a little lower than the previous number I found on the wiki (Koji's?) of 615 ohms. So we expect, across the ~3nm PRCL linewidth, a PDH horn-to-horn voltage of ~1 V (equivalently, the optical gain in units of V/m for PRCL is ~0.3 GV/m).
In the measurement, the MICH gain is indeed ~x10 smaller than the PRCL gain. However, the measured optical gain (~0.1GV/m, but this is after the x10 gain of the daughter board) is ~10 times smaller than what is expected (after accounting for the various splitting fractions on the AS table between REFL photodiodes). We've established that the modulation depth isn't to blame I think. I will check (i) REFL55 transimpedance, (ii) cable loss between AP table and 1Y2 and (iii) is the beam well centered on the REFL55 photodiode.
Basically, with the 400ohm transimpedance gain, we should be running with a whitening gain of 0dB before digitization as we expect a signal of O(1V). We are currently running at +18dB.
Then I put the RF signal directly into the scope and saw that the 55 MHz signal is ~30 mVpp into 50 Ohms. I waited a few minutes with triggering to make sure I was getting the largest flashes. Why is the optical/RF signal so puny? This is ~100x smaller than I think we want...its OK to saturate the RF stuff a little during lock acquisition as long as the loop can suppress it so that the RMS is < 3 dBm in the steady state.