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Senior Design Project: Converting An Analog Transceiver Into A Digital One

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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

6.870.1 - 6.870.6

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Paper Authors

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George Edwards

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

Session 2793

Senior Design Project: Converting an Analog Transceiver into a Digital one George Edwards University of Denver


The Capstone Senior Design Project that is offered to graduating seniors in engineering programs in the United States is a critical part of the students’ development. A goal of this course is to give students a feel for the work environment outside, in terms of a critical analysis of a design problem, drawing on resources to arrive at alternative solutions; and, then deciding on a particular solution. In addition, project management is involved and the students decide on dates to reach different milestones in accomplishment of the overall task. A vital part in this process is to find the right project match such that the student can apply theory learnt in previous courses (along with other available resources) to design a product with practical implications. This is the ideal outcome for a Senior Design Project, because it provides the handshaking between the student’s theoretical knowledge and a practical world. Thus, it provides a strong demonstration showing how an engineering knowledge can be put to practical use in the society. This paper will describe a Senior Design Project that accomplishes this handshaking very effectively. A group of two students were given an existing FM analog transceiver radio set. The goal was to design and build the necessary subsystems to interface with the existing radio set such that digital information can be sent and received. The paper will examine some of the problems faced by these undergraduate students and show how they overcame them.

I. Introduction

The Department of Engineering at the University of Denver was donated a microwave transceiver set by the Natural Gas company, Kinder Morgan Inc. The transceiver set donated was previously used by Kinder Morgan to meet their communications needs to transmit and receive analog voice and telemetry information. Kinder Morgan was able to dispense with these microwave transceivers because of the company’s decision to upgrade their communication system from analog to digital, which offered them a tremendous increase in communication capability in transmitting data. Thus, the goal of this senior design project was to take the donated analog communication system and design around it the hardware interfaces that would allow the transmission of digital information across it. In a nutshell, we would like to send a digital bit stream on one side of the communication link and receive that bit stream on the other. Such a project presents a daunting task for undergraduate students with little or no practical design experience. They would have done theoretical course work in both communications and electronics, two courses that are very important to the completion of this project. But, alas, they lack the practical design applications know-how, which integrates theory and the real world. Of course, the experience that a student would gain by taking on and completing such a task would be tremendous in the development of professional self-confidence. It introduces the process whereby the engineer will use his knowledge and available resources to build a product for his

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

Edwards, G. (2001, June), Senior Design Project: Converting An Analog Transceiver Into A Digital One Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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