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A Concise Antennas Course Based on a Single Semester of Electromagnetics Preparation

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Innovations in Communications and Wireless Systems Education

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.26.1 - 26.26.15



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Paper Authors


Steven S. Holland Milwaukee School of Engineering

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Steven S. Holland (M ’13) was born in Chicago, IL, in 1984. He received the B.S. degree in electrical engineering from the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE), Milwaukee, WI, in 2006, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, in 2008 and 2011 respectively. From 2006 to 2011, he was a Research Assistant working in the Antennas and Propagation Laboratory (APLab), Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Massachusetts Amherst. He was then a Senior Sensors Engineer with the MITRE Corporation, Bedford, MA from 2011 to 2013. Since 2013 he has been an Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Milwaukee School of Engineering.

His research interests include ultrawideband antenna arrays, electrically small antennas, Radar systems, digital and analog circuits, and engineering education.

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Robert A. Strangeway Milwaukee School of Engineering

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Dr. Robert A. Strangeway is a Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE). He was the Program Director of the BS Electrical Engineering Technology program at MSOE from 1997-2003 and is currently the AAS-EET to BS-EE Transfer Track Coordinator. He earned his Ph.D. from Marquette University in 1996. He has 35 years of experience in microwave/millimeter-wave technology and is currently performing research on millimeter-wave components and systems at Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI. He is a member of the IEEE and teaches courses in circuits, signals, electromagnetic fields, and RF/microwaves.

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A Concise Antennas Course based on a Single Semester of Electromagnetics PreparationA new undergraduate elective course that develops a background in antennas for senior electricalengineering students is presented. The course is only three quarter-credits long, that is, twosemester-credits. An innovative aspect of this course is the modest prerequisite of only a Junior-level, four semester-credit lecture hours electromagnetics course or equivalent. In our quarter-based system, four semester-credit lecture hours translates into two courses of three quarter-credit lecture hours each. The prerequisite courses, required in our undergraduate electricalengineering curriculum, modulate the depth and breadth of topics, starting with vector algebraand coordinate systems and progressing through static fields, dynamic fields, transmission lines,plane waves, links, and electromagnetic interference principles. The integral forms of thefundamental electromagnetic relations are emphasized in these required courses. As a result, thisantennas elective must incorporate pedagogically-selected background material such asdifferential operators and the differential forms of Maxwell’s equations, skin depth, andreflection and transmission of plane waves at material interfaces. The course builds a solidfoundation in antenna principles that serves students continuing into advanced studies ingraduate school as well as those entering industry after graduation. This foundation isaccomplished by strategically selecting topics in a pedagogic progression that focus ondeveloping insights into the fundamental concepts underlying antennas. Consequently, thecourse is not a survey course nor is it overstuffed. The course utilizes a thorough study of thedipole antenna as the vehicle for developing these fundamentals. The magnetic vector potentialis used to derive the radiated dipole fields, which are then used to develop the concepts ofradiation resistance, radiation efficiency, bandwidth, directivity, gain, and polarization. Imagetheory is used to develop the monopole antenna and analyze the effects of a ground plane on anantenna. These concepts are then extended to general linear arrays of antennas. Basicpropagation and system link analysis are then used to examine the impact of antennas on theperformance of practical real-world systems. In this paper, the structure of the electromagneticscourses is examined initially to establish the prerequisite context. Details of the antennas courseapproach, structure, and implementation are presented, including the learning objectives, coursetopical and pedagogic flow, and a practical antenna design project utilizing the NEC2computational electromagnetics software. The paper concludes with assessment resultsaddressing the effectiveness of the approach in the elective, lessons learned and plannedimprovements for future offerings of the course.

Holland, S. S., & Strangeway, R. A. (2015, June), A Concise Antennas Course Based on a Single Semester of Electromagnetics Preparation Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23367

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