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RF Technology Certification - Online

Course 009

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 Sep 22-Feb 28, 2018 -  Live Web Conference, RF Mentor e-Learning / Rex Frobenius


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This online program has been designed for applications, production, manufacturing engineers and technicians as well as other professionals who need to have a solid background in the fundamentals of working with RF and wireless products. This four part program provides a thorough understanding of RF analytical tools, communications signals, RF devices and test instruments. Starting with basic analytical tools such as the decibel scale, S-parameters and the Smith Chart, this program covers test instrumentation, RF components, and modulation. A basic block diagram of a transmitter/receiver chain forms the backbone of the course outline. Each component is described, and the relative performance parameters defined. Key impairments are introduced as they become relevant to the operation of the system. Basic system calculations are covered, as well as modulation formats and multiple access techniques.

The self-paced program is divided into four parts, each consisting of pre-recorded self-paced lectures followed by custom online "workbooks" that contain a summary of formulas learned and practice exercise questions or measurement procedures. A bonus on-demand tutorial webcast in each part offers an additional perspective on a related topic of interest. Each part has a brief test as well. The program is equivalent to approximately 40 hours of training and students are given six months to complete the material. After finishing the program students will receive a signed certificate of completion.

This course is intended for registered individual students only. Please contact us for group rates at or 650-949-3300. Recording, copying, or re-transmission of classroom material is prohibited.

Learning objectives

Upon completing the course you will be able to:

  • work natively with dB values (without using a calculator)
  • understand basic wave parameters and propagation
  • appreciate the effects of parasitics on component behavior
  • understand the effects of mismatches at RF
  • create basic matching networks using the Smith Chart
  • describe basic transmission line structures and input impedance
  • interpret S-parameters from measurements and datasheets
  • describe the basic function of spectrum analyzers, vector network analyzers, and power meters
  • know the limitations on accuracy/uncertainty that affect all RF and high frequency measurements
  • describe the operation of the main components of an RF transceiver system
  • interpret key performance parameters such as P1dB, IP3, noise figure, etc.
  • describe the modulation formats used to impress information onto the RF carrier
  • understand the basic principles of multiple access techniques such as TDMA, CDMA, OFDMA

Target Audience

This program is ideally suited for applications, manufacturing and production engineers or technicians who are new to the RF/wireless field. It is also suitable for those who have been working in the field but who have not had a formal introduction to the key concepts that form the basis of understanding and troubleshooting wireless systems.


Part 1

Analytical tools
 • wave parameters • dB & dBm • mismatches and reflection • impedance matching and the Smith Chart • transmission lines • device parasitics and their effects • S-parameters

Part 2 - Signals and Modulation

 • Analog - AM, FM • IQ Modulation - PSK - QAM
Multiple Access Techniques
Performance of RF Components with Digital Signals
 • digital modulation fundamentals • adjacent channel power ACP • error vector magnitude EVM • EVM due to power amplifier compression and AM to PM • EVM due to group delay • EVM due to phase noise • IQ modulator troubleshooting with the VSA
Description of Bit Error Rate

Part 3 - Test Equipment

Cables and Connectors
 • cable and connector care • connector types
Vector Network Analyzer
 • directional couplers • basic block diagram • calibration • basic measurement setup
Spectrum Analyzer
 • time domain vs. frequency domain • basic block diagram • typical measurements
Signal Generator
 • basic block diagram
Power Meters
 • power detection
Noise Figure Meter
Vector Signal Analyzer
 • basic introduction
Measurement Uncertainties
 • mismatch uncertainty • systematic errors in VNA measurements • VNA calibration • instrument-generated distortion products
Measurements of Non-connectorized devices
 • de-embedding • alternate calibration types: TRL • fixturing

Part 4 - System Components

Phase Locked Oscillator
 • principles of operation • phase noise - measurement techniques - impacts of phase noise on sytem performance
 • modulation basics • principles of operation • 1 dB compression point for active devices • output spectrum of upconverter
Power Amplifier
 • principles of operation • 1 dB compression point, saturation • AM to PM distortion • harmonics
 • description of antenna types • dBi, dBd gain parameters
 • common filter types - Butterworth, Chebychev, Gaussian • transfer function • inband loss • match • bandwidth • group delay
Noise and Noise Figure
 • definition of thermal noise • definition of noise figure • techniques for measuring noise figure - Y-factor technique - cold-source
Low Noise Amplifiers
 • principles of operation • noise figure • intermodulation products • S-parameters - input vs. output match • 1 dB compression point
 • principles of operation • image noise from LNA
Intermodulation products
 • how intermodulation products are produced • definition of IP3 • definition of IP2
Overall Receiver Performance
 • typical overall receiver performance • cascaded noise figure, IP3 • SFDR Spur Free Dynamic Range