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A Signal Analyzer For Teaching Signals And Systems

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.97.1 - 6.97.6



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Paper Authors

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Christopher T. Field

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Thad Welch

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2793

A Signal Analyzer for Teaching Signals and Systems

Thad B. Welch and Christopher. T. Field U.S. Naval Academy

Cameron H.G. Wright U.S. Air Force Academy


Music and computers continue to fascinate today’s students. This powerful and sometimes addicting combination can also provide for a tremendous opportunity to enhance the understanding of the time and frequency domain relationships routinely discussed in a Signals and Systems course. This paper discusses a MATLAB -based program that allows for simultaneous signal analysis in the time and frequency domains. The program is menu-driven and very easy to learn and use.

1 Introduction

The curriculum for most electrical engineering (EE) programs contains at least one course on Signals and Systems. While the majority of the concepts taught in a traditional first course on Signals and Systems date back more than a hundred years, today’s students still struggle with the relationship between the time and frequency domains. Any teaching technique that permits increased student insight into this complex relationship is of great value to both the professor and the student alike. Several tools exist to display signals in the time or frequency domain, but few offer the capability to rapidly, simultaneously, and accurately display the signal information in both domains.

2 Discussion

Solving this problem with hardware would require, at a minimum, an oscilloscope and a dynamic signal analyzer. It can easily cost several thousand dollars just to equip a single lab station. System cost may only allow for a single demonstration system with which a professor or teaching assistant would demonstrate the time and frequency domain relationships between selected signals. These signals may be pre-recorded or generated in real-time.

But what is the level of student involvement in such a demonstration? Do we really expect our students to understand such a complex relationship without the opportunity to spend time exploring other signals on their own? We want our students to explore these relationships in depth and at their

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Field, C. T., & Wright, C., & Welch, T. (2001, June), A Signal Analyzer For Teaching Signals And Systems Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9773

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