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Reintroducing Amateur Radio In Ece Capstone Design Projects

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Electrical & Computer Engineering Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.1049.1 - 9.1049.7



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Paper Authors

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Dennis Silage

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

Session 1532

Reintroducing Amateur Radio In ECE Capstone Design Projects Dennis Silage Electrical and Computer Engineering College of Engineering, Temple University


Presented here from experience are the salient steps for the reintroduction of Amateur Radio into the capstone design project in Electrical and Computer Engineering and diverse examples of such projects. These steps include the involvement of the faculty supervisor, the establishment of an Amateur Radio station as a communications laboratory sponsored by the department, a survey of the technical resources available and immediate past, current and future areas for capstone design projects utilizing Amateur Radio.

It’s Not Just for Morse Code Anymore

Capstone design projects in Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) are an important component of the undergraduate educational process that synthesizes course material into a relevant experience. Many such projects utilize embedded software and hardware and wired, and now low power and low range wireless, data communication to produce a system. A plethora of process control robotics projects often seem to be the result.

What is not used routinely, though, is a concentration that, at one time, was quite significant in the technical development of electrical engineers in electronic communication: Amateur Radio. Significant past developments derived from amateur radio graduate student experimentation include the helix antenna by John Kraus while at Ohio University (W8PZS) and slow-scan television (SSTV) by Ralph Taggart while at the Michigan State University (W8SH).

The reasons for this void are perplexing, since the incorporation of Amateur Radio into the ECE capstone design project is without any major impediments to either the faculty supervisor, the department or the undergraduate students. The perceived impediments seem to be the requirement for an Amateur Radio license and what are the resources available and opportunities for design for the faculty supervisor and the ECE capstone design team.

Amateur Radio is a service administered by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC, and as such requires a license by written examination. However, the seemingly daunting component to copy and send Morse Code has now been removed entirely for the entry- level license required for experimentation in the frequency range for digital data and satellite communication projects. Even the maximum requirement in Morse Code proficiency for an advanced license is now only five words per minute. Although the technical and regulatory questions of the examination remain, they are quite reasonable for both the faculty supervisor

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Silage, D. (2004, June), Reintroducing Amateur Radio In Ece Capstone Design Projects Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13019

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