June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
14.638.1 - 14.638.26
Frequency Response of RF Transceiver Filters Using Low-Cost Vector Network Analyzers
This paper focuses on the construction and testing of a 7 MHz Radio Frequency (RF) transceiver to provide a "Project Based Learning" RF capstone experience for students in Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology. The Transceiver Project is structured to support course goals and objectives of "Topics of RF Communications" offered as a technical elective at the beginning of the senior year. The paper presents the "project concept" together with the authors experience in introducing three low-cost (less than $650) Vector Network Analyzers (VNAs) to accelerate the testing of RF critical sections of the transceiver. Each student is required to build and test a complete transceiver system. Students may "team-up" in groups of no more than two students for the purpose of cost sharing, but each student must contribute equally to the building and testing phases of the project. An additional goal of the project is to introduce students to radio frequency transceiver concepts, and to prepare students for the upcoming Senior Design Capstone Experience required for a baccalaureate degree in engineering technology. Students are required to maintain a detailed project journal to record test results, and experiences throughout the project. To date, student feedback on this project has been very positive and a representative selection of student comments is included in the paper.
For the last ten years the author has been teaching a senior level course in Radio Frequency Communications. The course content has changed over the last five years based on revisions and improvements in accreditation standards. The course has changed from being mostly mathematical, to a course based on Project Based Learning which incorporates "problem based learning" via seventeen laboratory exercises. The author's life-long interest in amateur radio coupled with the discovery of a textbook entitled the "Electronics of Radio" by Rutledge , based on a transceiver designed by Burdick , made the course extremely practical with emphasis on construction techniques and subsystem testing. In addition, only a modest amount on non-calculus mathematics is required for the student to gain an adequate understanding of transceiver design concepts.
Professor Rutledge's textbook uses an off-the-shelf 7 MHz RF transceiver kit known as the NorCal 40A as a vehicle for teaching RF circuit analysis and design. The term NorCal is an abbreviation for Northern California amateur radio club which initially participated in the
Everly, J. (2009, June), Frequency Response Of Rf Transceiver Filters Using Low Cost Vector Network Analyzer Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/5146
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