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

Jun 4, 2017
Event location: 
Honolulu, HI

In this fun and interactive short course, participants will learn the basic theory of modern digital radios, as well as the RF circuits and systems 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 filter, low noise amplifier, power amplifier, balun, patch antenna, and more. The radios will operate in the ISM 920 MHz band. After the mini-classes, participants will design their own RF component using NI AWR software, including full layout and EM simulation. In the afternoon, the designs will be transferred to a PCB via a simple “PCB in a bag” method and each circuit will be built and tested using a simple VNA. The workshop will conclude with a full radio test of a 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, from students to the most advanced RF designers, can build a successful RF component. You only need to bring your laptop - all materials and equipment will be provided. Due to the practical nature of this short course, your attendance for the entire day is required. Course notes can be found at

Course Equipment/Hardware:

  • Bringing your own laptop is preferred. If necessary, a laptop will be provided. Just let the instructor/organizer know prior to the course
  • Special note: 64-bit PCs are required to run NI AWR Design Environment
  • Software, licenses, and required training materials will be provided

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.