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Radio Design: On Time, Under Budget

Teamwork, quality, cost control, defensible documentation, straight-forward design...These requirements of industry's most successful engineering teams are the basis of the ECE Radio Engineering project.

For almost four decades, students who have successfully completed this popular senior elective (Radio Engineering Laboratory) have been valuable recruits to industry.

The laboratory is a two-course sequence. In the first course, students build an oscillator and an amplifier, as well as become familiar with RF measurement and design.

The second course challenges students to build a high-frequency radio receiver, using modern components and an engineering team approach. The class team is divided into groups of two. Each group designs and builds a segment of the overall project and the whole class is responsible for total integration and design.

The emphasis is placed on team interaction and communication and on obaining a working receiver on schedule and under budget.

Students quickly learns the importance of keeping lab notebooks that meet current industry standards. many graduates have remarked that this discipline often puts them ahead of other new employees.

The class meets once a week for three hours. Four weeks after the project introduction, the whole team critiques group designs in a formal Critical Design Review. Five sessions later, total product integration begins, followed by two weeks of testing.

"This is not a canned lab. We give them the specs and they determine the tools, processes and design," explained Dr. William A. Davis, course supervisor. "We wanted to develop a lab that was oriented to the job market. We wanted it to challenge students to think the way they would be required to in their jobs three months hence."

     
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    Last updated: Thu, Oct 23, 2003