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Telemetry Project For An Introductory Communications Systems Course

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2018 ASEE Mid-Atlantic Section Spring Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

April 6, 2018

Start Date

April 6, 2018

End Date

April 7, 2018

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Harold R Underwood Messiah College

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Dr. Underwood is an IEEE Senior Member with an Amateur Radio Extra Class license (KB3OOM). He received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1989 and joined the faculty of the engineering Department at Messiah College in 1992. Besides teaching Communications Systems and other courses, he supervises undergraduate engineering students on credited work in the Integrated Projects Curriculum. His on-going project interests include improving flight tracking and messaging systems for small planes in remote locations and developing assistive communication technology for those with cognitive and behavioral challenges such as high-functioning autism or PTSD.

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Advances in electronic communications technology require corresponding innovations in the undergraduate electrical engineering curriculum. Recent trends include digital signals processed by code-controlled hardware, as in Software-Defined Radio (SDR) applications. Engineering educators often assign computer simulation exercises and/or lab work on communications topics preparing students for project-work later. However, sufficient background for a hands-on project with hardware and software elements in an introductory course remains a challenge. This paper addresses the challenge by reporting on a software-defined telemetry project recently deployed in a senior-level course for electrical engineering students. The project meets students at their level of preparation, requires an amount of work-time that fits within the limits of a one-semester course, and offers opportunities for creative extension. The paper identifies the project origin and motivation, including its structure and implementation in the course, and presents initial student feedback with lessons learned and ideas for future improvement.

Underwood, H. R. (2018, April), Telemetry Project For An Introductory Communications Systems Course Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Mid-Atlantic Section Spring Conference, Washington, District of Columbia.

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