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   1. Course Synopsis
   2. Major Topics

   3. Approach

   4. Schedule
   5. Grading
6. Industrial Sponsors

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Course Materials




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Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering


  Fall 2016 - Section 101

Welcome to ELEC 411!

ELEC 411 students visit the CBC Transmitting Site on Mt. Seymour

Basic antenna concepts; antennas for low, medium and high frequencies; terrestrial and satellite propagation links; environmental effects on electromagnetic radiation. [3-0-0]
Prerequisite: 1 of EECE 364, ELEC 311, PHYS 301, PHYS 354 or permission of instructor.



MCLD 441

MCLD 132/442/500

Teaching Assistant: 
Nueri Nuzhat

Email:  nueri.nuzhat@gmail.com



Lecture Times:  
Mon, Wed, Fri 14:00-14:50

DMP 201

Lab Facilities:  
MCLD Rooftop Antenna Facilities
MCLD 500 - Antennas and Propagation Lab
MCLD 132
- Electromagnetic Compatibility Lab

Course Mailing List: 

Student Services Listing: 

Course Duration:  
13 Weeks  -  36 lecture hours

ELEC 411 will be delivered using Workshop-Based Learning.

A standard
two-week cycle will include:

1) a reading assignment
2) three problem-based lectures
3) a problem set with solutions
4) workshops involving two problem-based exercises
5) an in-class quiz

      Course Text: 
Course Notes and Handouts

Course Introduction

Lecture Notes - Course Introduction

Problem Set - Fundamentals Review

Module 1 - RF Test and Measurement

Performance Objectives
Lecture Notes - 1A - Vector Network Analyzers
Lecture Notes - 1B - Spectrum Analyzers

Review Questions

Problem Set - VNAs
Problem Set Solutions
In Class Quiz
In Class Quiz Solutions

Supplementary Reading

"RF Connector Application Guide," Johnson Components and Cambridge Products, Waseca, MN, 1999.

Rick Nelson, "How does a Smith chart work?" Test & Measurement World, Nov. 2001.

Agilent AN 1287-1 -- Understanding the Fundamental Principles of Network Analyzers
Agilent AN 1287-3 -- Applying Error Correction to Network Analyzer Measurements
Agilent AN 1287-4 -- Network Analyzer Measurements: Filter and Amplifiers
Agilent AN 154 -- S-Parameter Design
Agilent AN-1364-1 -- De-embedding and Embedding S-Parameter Networks Using a Vector Network Analyzer

Agilent Multimedia VNA Tutorial (Zip file) (runs under MS Windows)
Agilent Multimedia Spectrum Analyzer Tutorial (Zip file) (runs under MS Windows)
Agilent Multimedia RF Sources Tutorial (Zip file) (runs under MS Windows)


MATLAB Tutorials

ELEC 411 students should review and perfect their MATLAB skills during the first two weeks of the course.

Video Tutorial
Getting Started with MATLAB
05:10 How to get started with MATLAB and where to go next for more information

Working in the Development Environment
04:03  How to work in the MATLAB desktop development environment

Writing a MATLAB Program
05:42 How to write a MATLAB program, including creating a script and a function

Video Tutorial
Analyzing Data
04:44 This video demonstrates the different types of data analysis available in MATLAB

Visualizing Data
04:07 This video demonstrates the different types of data visualization available in MATLAB

Working with Arrays
07:52  How to create and manipulate MATLAB arrays, including accessing elements using indexing
Web-based Tutorial
MATLAB Basics Tutorial

A short web-based tutorial from Carnegie-Mellon University and the University of Michigan
Practice Problems
MATLAB Exercises

A set of web-based exercises from Bucknell University.   Answers included.
Web-based Tutorial
MATLAB Getting Started 
An in-depth set of web-based tutorials from the MathWorks
Supplementary Material
A tutorial by Jeffrey Donnell, The Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Tech.

  1. Course Synopsis

ELEC 411 - Antennas and Propagation focuses on the design and implementation of the airlink portion of wireless communications systems at both the systems and device levels.

Students should consider taking ELEC 411 if, at some point in their career, they anticipate:
  • working in aerospace, defence, telecommunications, or broadcasting
  • working for a wireless equipment manufacturer
  • working for a wireless communications consulting firm
  • working for a wireless service provider
  • designing or testing wireless systems
  • specifying or procuring antennas
  • designing or testing antennas

ITU-R Wireless Propagation Zones

ITU-R Wireless Propagation Zones

Focus on the Air Interface

Wireless Design and the Professional Engineer

- Where public safety or legal liability are issues, it is generally necessary to have a Professional Engineer assume responsibility for the correctness of a design or results by signing or sealing a design document or report.

- For example, professional engineers are often required to seal the results of tests and measurements conducted on communications and control systems, especially where deficiencies in such systems could affect public safety. 

- Industry Canada currently requires Professional Engineers to sign or seal most licence applications concerning broadcasting or microwave systems that operate in licenced bands.

- Many clients now require that their consultants carry errors and omissions insurance.  This is very difficult to obtain if one isn't registered as a Professional Engineer.

- RFP's (Requests for Proposal) and RFQ's (Requests for Quotations) for consulting services often stipulate that bidders be registered as Professional Engineers to be eligible for consideration.  This is especially common for work done on behalf of a provincial government or another consulting firm.

- Because the Professional Engineer designation is awarded to those with documented experience in designng engineering solutions based upon established and accepted principles, many consultants feel that it gives them instant credibility with prospective clients. 

- If you aren't certain whether you need to register, your manager or director will not hesitate to advise you!

- For more information, please contact the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC


  2. Major Topics

    Course Introduction
1. RF Test & MeasurementTheory, calibration and operation of vector network analyzers, applications of VNAs in antenna and propagation studies, antenna range design and operation.
2. RF Systems Engineering – Receiver architectures, noise in systems, intermodulation distortion, system link budgets, cables and connectors.
3. Electromagnetic Wave Propagation – Maxwell’s equations, constitutive relations, Helmholtz’s theorem, wave propagation in materials and across material boundaries, formulation of cylindrical and spherical waves, Rayleigh criterion, scattering and diffraction of electromagnetic waves.
3. Wireless Systems Engineering – System level properties of antennas (radiation pattern, gain, polarization, input impedance, directivity, efficiency, beamwidth, sidelobe level), reciprocity theorem, energy flow, equivalent circuits, Friis transmission formula, and system link budgets for short-range, terrestrial, Earth-space and radar applications, wireless system planning.
5. Wire Antennas – Prediction of radiation from a current element, radiation and terminal properties of infinitesimal dipole antennas, resolution of practical wire antennas into the superposition of infinitesimal dipoles, determination of the current distribution on common wire antennas, properties of common wire antennas, effect of ground planes and duality between loops and dipoles.
6. Antenna Arrays - Comparison to physically large single antennas, array factor, visible region, effect of changes in element spacing or the amplitude and phase progression of the excitation on the array factor. Broadside, endfire and Hansen-Woodyard arrays, antenna feeds and mutual effects.
    Course Review


During each module, we will follow the following progression in-class and @home:

Preview (15 min. in class) – The lecturer will prepare the class to complete the reading assignment by presenting a summary of the key points in the next module and their significance.

        Reading Assignment (3 hours @home) The class will become acquainted with key concepts and terminology by completing a reading assignment.

Readiness Assurance Test (RAT) (15 min. in class) – The class will demonstrate their mastery of the concepts and terminology associated with the module by completing a short multiple-choice quiz.

Lectures (1-2.5 hours in class) – The lecturer will review problems that are representative of those that the class will be expected to master with emphasis on key insights and useful techniques. .

        Problem Set (3 hours @home) – The class will practice solving problems that are representative of those that they will be expected to solve during the in-class quiz and final exam.

Workshop*  (1 hour in class) – The class will be divided into two groups of 12-15 students each that will participate in two lab exercises that are inspired by the problem set. Each group will rotate through two activities during the hour.

Problem Set Review (1 hour in class) - The lecturer will review the problem set solutions.
In-class Quiz (ICQ) (45 min. in class) – The class will demonstrate their mastery of the insights and problem solving techniques associated with the module by completing a short problem-based quiz.

        Personal Review (1 hour @home) – Before proceeding to the next module, each student will spend about an hour reviewing the course materials associated with the module and identifying weaknesses or gaps that they need to be correct.

4. Schedule - FALL 2016

Labour Day 
University Closed
  7 Course Intro
  9 RF Test and Measurement

Lecture 1
12 RF Test and Measurement

Lecture 2

14 RF Test and Measurement

Problem Set Review
16 RF Test and Measurement

Hands-on Workshop
19 RF Test and Measurement

In Class Quiz
21 Course Project Briefing

23 Course Project Briefing 2

Hands-on Workshop
26 RF Systems Engineering

RAT + Lecture 1
28 RF Systems Engineering

Lecture 2
30 RF Systems Engineering

Problem Set Review
  3 RF Systems Engineering

Hands-on Workshop
  5 RF Systems Engineering

In-Class Quiz
  7 Electromagnetic Wave Propagation

RAT + Lecture 1
University Closed
12 Electromagnetic Wave Propagation

Lecture 2
14 Electromagnetic Wave Propagation
Problem Set Review
17 Electromagnetic Wave Propagation

In-Class Quiz
19 Wireless Systems Engineering
RAT + Lecture 1
21 Wireless Systems Engineering
Lecture 2
24 Wireless Systems Engineering
Lecture 3
26 Wireless Systems Engineering
Guest Lecture
28 Wireless Systems Engineering
Problem Set Review
31 Wireless Systems Engineering

In Class Quiz
  1 NOV
  2 Wire Antennas

RAT + Lecture 1
  4 Wire Antennas

Lecture 2
  7 Wire Antennas

Lecture 3
  9 Wire Antennas

Problem Set Review

Remembrance Day
University Closed

14 Wire Antennas

In-Class Quiz
16 Antenna Arrays

RAT + Lecture 1
18 Antenna Arrays

Lecture 2
21 Antenna Arrays

Lecture 3

23 Antenna Arrays

Hands-on Workshop
25 Antenna Arrays

Problem Set Review
28 Antenna Arrays

In-Class Quiz

30 Course Project Presentations   1 DEC

2 Course Review

Last Day of Classes - Term 1
Course Intro + Review - 3 hours
Readiness Assurance Tests - 6
Lectures - 16 hours
Workshops - 2 hours
Problem Set Reviews - 6 hours
In Class Quizzes - 6 hours
Course Project Updates and Presentations - 3 hours

Field Trip 1
Mt. Seymour
Sat, 17 Sep 2016: 09:00-10:30 am
Field Trip 2
CBC AM Tx Site
Sat,   1 Oct 2016: 09:00-10:30 am
Field Trip 3
TELUS Cell Site

  5. Grading

10% - five readiness assurance tests (RAT)

30% - six in-class quizzes (ICQ)
10% - course project report

50% - final exam (five problems)

100% - final course mark

If you score at least 60% on the RAT and ICQ  but score higher on the final exam, I will only count the final exam.


6. Industrial Sponsors

Course facilities provided by major equipment donations or teaching discounts from:


We gratefully acknowledge advice on course content provided by our industry advisory panel:

Rob Stirling, P.Eng.,
Protocol EMC (Abbotsford, BC)

Dr. Behrouz Pourseyed,
Sierra Wireless (Richmond, BC)

Rob Calis,
Inevitable Technologies (Surrey, BC)
Bruce Veidt,
Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory (Penticton, BC)

  Last updated:  10 Sep 2016
  Comments?  Suggestions?
  Please contact Prof. Dave Michelson, davem@ece.ubc.ca