Course Title: EE 174: Communication Systems
4 credits
Class Information: Spring 2018
Lecture time (location): T R 0830-0945 (Perkins 101) & W 1420-1510 (Kalkin 002)
Lab time (location): TBD (Votey 328 - MARCONI)
Instructor Information: Dr. Jeff Frolik
315 Votey
Phone: 802.656.0732
Office Hours: I have an open door policy and am around most the time; otherwise email for an appointment
Background Material: EE 171: Signals & Systems (prerequisite)
STAT 151: Applied Probability (corequisite)
Text: B. P. Lathi, Modern Digital and Analog Communication Systems, Fourth Edition, Oxford University Press, 2009.
Course Goal: To provide the theoretical foundation necessary to understand modern communication systems and to introduce several modes of communications.
Topics and Tentative Schedule: Introduction to Communication Systems (CH 1 & Instructor notes - ~ 2 weeks )
Amplitude Modulation (CH 4 - ~ 2 weeks)
Exponential Modulation (CH 5 - ~ 2 weeks)
Antennas and Link Budgets (Instructor Notes- ~ 1 week)
Sampling, Quantization and PCM (CH 6 - ~ 3 weeks)
Error Correction Codes (CH 15 - ~ 2 weeks)
Digital Data Transmission (CH 7 - ~ 2 weeks)
Emerging Technologies (Instructor Notes- ~ 1 week)
Course Objectives: 1. Students will be able to quantify key characteristics of baseband signals including power and bandwidth.
2. Students will be able to understand the constraints to be considered when sampling signals and reconstructing sampled signals.
3. Students will be able to analyze the quantization error in PCM systems (requires use of probability).
4. Students will be able to determine bandwidth, power and spectral characteristics for linear and exponential modulation techniques.
5. Students will be able to determine the expected performance of parabolic antennas and will use these results to create basic link budgets for wireless systems.
6. Students will be able to implement block channel coding.
7. Students will be able to determine the bit error rates for different line codes employed in an additive white Gaussian noise (AWGN) environment (requires use of probability).
8. Students will be able to construct and analyze eye diagram and constellation representations for M-ary signaling methods.
9. Students will demonstrate competency in using analog and digital communication test equipment as related to concepts covered in the course.

Grading: Exam I: 17.5%
Exam II: 17.5%
Exam III: 25%
Quizzes: 15%
Laboratory Assignments: 25%
Grade Scale: A [90, 100]
B [80, 90]
C [70, 80]
D [60, 70]
F [0, 60]
breaks within above ranges are used to set +/-

General: The instructor posts all assignments, solutions, and additional material on the BlackBoard site for this class. This can be found at:

Homework problems will either be assigned from the text or provided by the instructor. Homework will not be collected or graded but the solutions will be available on Bb. Each week there will be a short quiz covering the previous week's materials. Students are encourage to work the homework problems in preparation for these quizzes.

Expect the first two exams to be given around the end of February and March. At least one weeks notice will be given. Should the exam be a 'take home', students will sign an honor pledge indicating that they 'neither gave nor received assistance during the exam'. Failure to follow this statement will be considered an act of plagiarism and will be dealt with accordingly (see Academic Integrity below). All exams will have a comprehensive component. On all quizzes and exams you will be allowed to use one sheet of notes. You may use both sides of the paper and you may put anything you want on it. No additional notes or text may be used unless specifically noted.

Throughout the semester, the instructor will give students feedback on how they are progressing the course.

During the semester, classes may be cancelled due to scheduled travel by the instructor. These classes WILL be made up with online content provided by the instructor. Students are responsible for viewing this material in a timely fashion. The instructor will contact the students through their UVM email account in advance of the relevant dates.
Lab Assignments: Working in teams of two or three, students will perform approximately five (5) labs throughout the semester to complement the material covered in class. These assignments will familiarize students with communication test equipment such as RF signal generators and spectrum analyzers. Students will investigate both analog and digital communication techniques. Assignments may require the use of MATLAB.
Calculators: There is no restriction on the type of calculator one may use. Note, however, that the instructor will emphasize concepts and techniques on the exams. Therefore, just having the correct answer will not guarantee you full credit if no work has been shown. Calculators may not be allowed on some exams. Phones may not be used during quizzes or exams as calculators. Presence of phones during exams or quizzes will result in a zero score.
Attendance: Class attendance will not be checked; however, attendance is expected and students will be responsible for all assignments and materials covered in class.

University Policy on Religious Holidays: Students have the right to practice the religion of their choice. Each semester students should submit in writing to their instructors by the end of the second full week of classes their documented religious holiday schedule for the semester. Faculty must permit students who miss work for the purpose of religious observance to make up this work.

Course Grades: All graded work should be reviewed promptly by students. Any questions in regards to potential grading errors should be brought to the attention of the instructor within one week’s time after the assignment is reviewed in class or solutions are posted. Please clearly document in writing what you believe the error to be and attach that to the original work. After one week’s time, no score adjustments will be made.

While final exams will not be returned to the students, students are welcome to review their work against a solution. Other than in the case of grading errors on the final exam, no final course grades assigned will be altered. Throughout the semester, the course instructor will endeavor to keep you abreast of your standing in the class. Students requiring more feedback should review their performance through by contacting the instructor.

Academic Integrity: Any students found giving and/or receiving assistance on Exams or Quizzes will receive a zero score on that assignment. That being said, students are encouraged to work together and to exchange ideas when working on their labs. Students must be sure to reference their work properly, including all web sources. UVM's policy on academic integrity is clearly defined and can be found at
ADA: Students with disabilities should contact the instructor as soon as possible regarding necessary accommodations.
ABET Matrix:

0 - little or no contribution
1 - moderate contribution
2 - high level of contribution

  • Outcome (a): an ability to apply knowledge of mathmematics, science, and engineering to the analysis of electrical engineering problems.
    Contribution: 2
  • Outcome (b): an ability to design and conduct scientific and engineering experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data.
    Contribution: 1
  • Outcome (c): an ability to plan, specify, design, implement, and operate a system, component, or process to meet desired needs.
    Contribution: 0
  • Outcome (d): an ability to function on multidisciplinary teams.
    Contribution: 0
  • Outcome (e): an ability to identify, formulate, and solve electrical engineering problems.
    Contribution: 2
  • Outcome (f): an understanding of professional, legal, and ethical responsibility.
    Contribution: 0
  • Outcome (g): an ability to communicate effectively (orally and written).
    Contribution: 0
  • Outcome (h): the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context.
    Contribution: 0
  • Outcome (i): a recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning.
    Contribution: 0
  • Outcome (j): a knowledge of contemporary issues.
    Contribution: 0
  • Outcome (k): an ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.
    Contribution: 2