We are always looking for new members to help work on the RF communications team. There is a mixture of areas that relate to the RF communications team - analog electronics, digital electronics, software development/coding, antenna propagation, software simulation, and systems engineering. Therefore, members of the RF communications team have the opportunity to learn a wide array of skills and theory. Due to the fact that high frequency electronics is not taught until the fourth year, this subsystem requires plenty of self-learning and determination in order for undergraduate members to succeed. Despite this, we have many members who have become knowledgeable on the topic through their hard work. Additionally, the team maintains excellent relationships with senior faculty members and alumni who advise us and provide the resources necessary for us to succeed.
We recommend that those interesting in joining or learning more about the RF team attend one of our meetings. You will be able to see what we do, and meet our members. You can also join our Slack, and add the "RF" channel to see what we're up to.
The RF subteam has collected a collection of resources (PDFs, websites, spreadsheets, books, etc.) for RF/Microwave theory and applications. A list of these is located in the RF resources page. However, not all of these will be useful for someone who is just being introduced to RF systems. Therefore, a list of introductory material is provided below which new members can take a look at. It is recommended to look at the overview documents, and then go through the topic-specific documents as needed at your own pace. In practice, not everyone on the RF team is an expert at every topic, so don't feel pressured to learn every single topic at once.
Below are some starting materials to give an introductory to the world of RF systems:
- RF Basics, RF for Non-Engineers (by Dag Grini, Texas Instruments)
- This gives a comprehensive overview, and should be looked at first
- Introduction Document (by Tobi Shires, former RF lead)
Below is some introductory information on specific topics. Note that it is not expected that a new member learn this material overnight, as it will take time to learn and become familiar with these topics.
- Software Defined Radio (SDR): See "Getting Started with GNU Radio" on the RF/Microwave Software page
- Antennas (Source: IIT Bombay Student Satellite Team)
- RF Polarization Comparison, Faraday Rotation (source: IntelSat)
- Amplifiers (Source: IIT Bombay Student Satellite Team)
- Friis Equation Basics
- From "Space Mission Analysis and Design" (by Wiley J. Larson and James R. Wertz), there is great information on:
- Modulation and Coding (pages 558 - 563)
- From "Antenna Systems for NUTS" (by Sigvald Marholm) there is great information on:
- Antenna Theory (section 2.3)
- Link Budgets (chapter 3)
- Microwave Theory (section 2.2) - note: this is more advanced
- Reliable Data Transmission: Error detection (How CRC works)
- Network Framing
A specific video based series (with practice tests) is available here which discusses various space related topics. Note that it requires registration of a free account in order to access the tutorials. There are tutorials on RF topics such as antennas, software defined radio, mission control, EM wave propagation, link budgets, etc. where some of these are geared specifically for space applications.
Getting Involved With the Team
Interested in joining the RF team? The easiest thing you can do is join our Slack and post in the RF channel. We're currently looking for new members!