Course Title: EE 186: Telecommunications Lab
2 credits
Class Information: Spring 2010
Lecture time: TBA
Lecture location: Votey 328
Lab time: TBA
Lab location: Votey 328
Instructor Information: Dr. Jeff Frolik
357 Votey
Phone: 802.656.0732
Office Hours: Open door policy or email for an appointment
Prerequisite: EE 174: Intro to Communication Systems
Course Objectives: To learn and apply communication measurement techniques for both analog and digital RF systems. To learn to characterize fundamental RF hardware components both as subsystems and as an integrated system.
Text: Class notes will be provided in Journal format.
C. Rauscher, Fundamentals of Spectrum Analysis, loaned to student
References: B. Lathi, Modern Digital and Analog Communication Systems, 3 ed., Oxford, 1998.
K. Chang, RF and Microwave Wireless Systems, Wiley Interscience, 2000.

Grading: Labs (9): 60%
Quizzes: 20%
Final Project: 20%
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 +/-

Tentative Experiment Topics and Schedule: Part 1: Communication Systems Measurements
1. Spectrum Analyzer Basics
2. Network Analyzer Basics
3. AM/FM Modulation
4. Digital Modulation
5. Mystery Signal
Part 2: RF Hardware
6. Attenuators, Filters and Couplers
7. Mixers and Amplifiers
8. Receiver System Integration
9. Antenna Characterization
General: The course consists of two components: a lecture and a lab. Online videos will be used to cover the upcoming lab. In class time will be used to review key concepts from previous labs and to administer quizzes. The instructor will post all lecture notes and videos, lab assignments, quiz solutions, and additional material at the Blackboard (Bb) site for this class. The Bb site can be found at: Labs will be performed in groups of 2 students at a time convenient to team members. All efforts will be made to ensure the instructor will be available for consultation during lab times.

Pre-lab: Experiments may includes a pre-lab assignment. Each group will be required to turn in one copy of the their pre-lab solutions to the instructor prior to performing the lab assignment. Groups should keep extra copies for reference.

Lab observations: The lab instructions are written in a form such that data and observations can be written within the procedure. A copy of these observations are to be submitted to the instructor for review. The purpose is (1) to ensure all data is taken and (2) to verify that results/observations seem reasonable. These observations will constitute a portion of the lab's grade and must be submitted by the end of the week for which the lab has been assigned. The instructor will return one copy to the students during the following class so that comments can be addressed or portions of the experiment repeated. If portions of the lab are repeated, a revised set of data is to be provided. It is recommended that each student make their own observations and record all data to ensure agreement on observations and to provide a backup of information.

Lab summary: Lab summaries will be due during the class time held the second week after the lab was assigned. The summary should focus on the following topics: (1) what were the key concepts demonstrated in the lab, (2) specifically addressing the discussion questions provided in the lab instructions, (3) comments on improving the lab. Figures and data required to answer the questions be provided, well-labeled and numbered. The discussion should reference these figures/tables by number where appropriate.

Quiz: Quizzes related to the experiments will be given on the day (i.e., during lecture time) the report is submitted. It is recommended that students keep an individual copy of both the pre-lab, lab observations and the lab reports by which to study by. Quizzes are not a group effort.

Final Project: Each student group will perform a project in which they design their own experiment. The project will consist of a proposal, a procedure, a demonstration, and a final 5-minute video (posted on YouTube). The tentative schedule and scoring for the project is given below. The project is worth 20% of the final grade.

Proposal (early-Apr): 10%
Draft Procedure (late-Apr): 15%
Final Procedure (last class period): 25%
Initial Demo (late-Apr): 10%
Final Demo (last week of class): 15%
YouTube video (last class period): 25%

Grading: All students in a group will be given the same base score for pre-labs, lab observations, lab summaries and project components. Students will evaluate the contribution of their group members for each experiment. Individual scores will be adjusted accordingly. Again, quizzes will be an individual effort. Throughout the semester, the instructor will give students feedback on how they are progressing the course.

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 quizzes. Therefore, just having the correct answer will not guarantee you full credit if no work has been shown.
Attendance: Class attendance will not be checked; however, attendance is expected and students will be responsible for all assignments and materials covered in class. Note also that a student's participation factors in to their laboratory grade.

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.

Academic Integrity: Any students found giving and/or receiving assistance on Exams or Quizzes will receive a XF grade for the course. 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 a disability requiring accommodations should contact the instructor at their earliest convenience.
ABET Matrix:

0 no contribution
1 very low level
5 - very high level

  • Outcome #1: an ability to apply knowledge of mathmematics, science, and engineering to the analysis of electrical engineering problems; Contribution: 2
  • Outcome #2: an ability to design and conduct scientific and engineering experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data; Contribution: 5
  • Outcome #3: an ability to plan, specify, design, implement, and operate a system, component, or process to meet desired needs; Contribution: 3
  • Outcome #4: an ability to function on multidisciplinary teams; Contribution: 3
  • Outcome #5: an ability to identify, formulate, and solve electrical engineering problems; Contribution: 5
  • Outcome #6: an understanding of professional, legal, and ethical responsibility; Contribution: 0
  • Outcome #7: an ability to convey technical material through formal written work products which satisfy accepted standards for writing style; Contribution: 5
  • Outcome #8: an ability to convey technical material through oral presentation and interaction with an audience; Contribution: 4
  • Outcome #9: broad education and knowledge of contemporary issues necessary to understand the impact of electrical engineering solutions in a global and societal context; Contribution: 1
  • Outcome #10: a recognition and appreciation of the need for, and ability to engage in life-long learning and critical thinking; Contribution: 2
  • Outcome #11: an ability to use modern engineering techniques, skills, and tools, including computer-based tools, necessary for analysis and design; Contribution: 5