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The University of Southampton

ELEC6217 Radio Communications Engineering

Module Overview

This course introduces the principles and techniques needed to design a wireless transceiver. We will cover the process needed to take the main principles of digital communications such as digital modulation and detection in noise. Through lectures and coursework, we cover the engineering tradeoffs needed to design a transceiver starting from a detailed performance specification. The module uses Matlab, comprehensively introduced in ELEC6238 Research Skills and Practice, as a specialist computation/simulation tool.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Appreciate the practical challenges of digital transmission by using software defined radio.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Specify active and passive components required for a wireless transceiver.
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Simulate communication systems using computational baseband models.
  • Design a transceiver system architecture against a comprehensive performance specification.
  • Design and present a simulation of a communication system using computational baseband models.


Noise and Noise figure - Sources of noise - Noise models - Noise figure - Cascaded noise figure - Measurement of noise figure Link budgets - Sources of loss - Link loss equations - Maximum noise figure - Maximum range The superhet - Filter selectivity - Adjacent channels - Image frequencies - Multiple stage superhets - The frequency mixer - Intermodulation products Transceiver Design - Components used in transceiver designs - Typical transceiver design examples - Specifying amplifiers, mixers Synchronisation - The timing and carrier synchronisation problem - Timing sync methods - delay locked loop and dsp equivalent - Data randomisation (scrambling) - Open-loop timing sync - Zero Crossing detection - Carrier sync methods - Carrier regeneration - Costas loop introduction - Decision directed - Pilot tone aided synchronisation Review of Passive Filters - Synthesis of doubly terminated filters - Low-Pass to Band-Pass transformation - Filter implementations - ceramic, SAW - Fractional bandwitdh - Software-assisted specification and design Review of Matching - Maximum power transfer - RLC Matching networks Power amplifiers - Class A, B, AB, C - Power efficiency - Linearisation techniques - Suitability of PA classes to modulation types Antennas - Fundamental model - Types of omnidirectional antennas- - Physical limits - volume vs bandwidth and efficiency Low-cost PCB trace antennas - Ceramic antennas - Simulation

Learning and Teaching

Preparation for scheduled sessions10
Wider reading or practice44
Follow-up work10
Completion of assessment task50
Total study time150


Assessment Strategy

Laboratory sessions are scheduled in the labs on level 2 of the Zepler building Length of each session: 3 hours Number of sessions completed by each student: 1 Max number of students per session: 12 (constrained by number of USRPs) Demonstrator:student ratio: 1:12 Preferred teaching weeks: 8 to 11


MethodPercentage contribution
Design 50%
Examination  (1 hours) 30%
Exercise 5%
Simulation 15%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisites: ELEC3203 OR ELEC3204 OR COMP6238

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