From Bits to Waves: Building a Modern Digital Radio in 1 Day

In this fun and interactive workshop, participants will learn the basic theory of modern digital radios as well as the RF circuits and system used to build them. After an introductory session on digital radios, participants will select an RF building block to design and build. There will be short mini-classes (run in parallel) on each component: double balanced mixer, microstrip filters, low noise amplifiers, power amplifiers, baluns, etc. The radios will operate in the ISM 920 Mhz band. After the mini-classes, each participant will design their RF component using NI AWR software. In the afternoon, the designs will be transferred to PCB via a simple “PCB in a bag” method and each component built and tested using a simple VNA. The workshop will conclude with a full radio test of at transmitter and receiver.

Participants need only a basic background in RF circuits, such as S-parameters and basic transmission line theory. Example designs will be available to ensure that everyone, form the most advanced RF designer, to the student can build a successful RF component. The workshop will be taught by Prof. David S. Ricketts, who has taught this hands on Radio System Design course at Carnegie Mellon University and NCSU as part of a senior design course. Radio System Design is an open, online course that teaches students the basics of digital communication, RF system design, RF circuit design and finally fabrication and testing.

Additional details can be found at

Here is the registration link…

About the Instructor Dr. David Ricketts

Ricketts received his PhD in engineering and applied sciences from Harvard University and his BS and MS degrees in electrical engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Prior to joining academia, he spent eight years in industry developing more than 40 integrated circuits in mixed-signal, RF and power management applications. Ricketts’ research crosses the fields of physics, materials science and circuit design, investigating the ultimate capabilities of microelectronic devices and how these devices are harnessed by differing circuit topologies to produce the highest performing systems.


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