Electronic Design

RF Measurements For Cellular Phones And Wireless Data Systems

By Allan W. Scott and Rex Frobenius, John Wiley and Sons

The title accurately tells what this book is about, but there is so much content here I do not know where to start. Essentially the book is about how to test and measure the wide range of wireless gear now being developed with an emphasis on cellular equipment. It is pretty rare to find a book on this subject and especially one that is reasonably up to date. Well, I’ve found one.

The book has a total of 36 chapters. To summarize, these chapter cover every aspect of RF and wireless technology in a concise format. Both circuits and the tests to be made on them are discussed. Then the test equipment is covered with guidelines on how to make the most important measurements.

An interesting feature is that the first chapter is used to summarize what is in subsequent chapters. This may be a bit off-putting at first glance, but it’s actually a good way to get you into the book. As an example of the coverage, I particularly liked the chapter on Mismatches, which reviews the Smith chart and Digital Modulation, which is a good basic tutorial. The chapters on test equipment cover signal generators, RF power meters, frequency counters, vector network analyzers, spectrum analyzers, vector signal analyzers, and noise figure meters. Do you know how these actually work? It helps to know. There are also a couple of good chapters on coax cable and connectors—something you rarely see but regularly encounter.

Other chapters cover modern circuits like mixers, upconverters, power amplifiers, LNAs, filters and some common specs and tests. Circuit testing is covered in detail is several chapters. The book has a good chapter on OFDM and OFDMA, which are at the heart of every new wireless standard like LTE and WiMAX.

You cannot design or build anything without testing it. The test equipment manufacturers do a great job of providing equipment, but this book helps explain what that equipment is, how it works, and how to use it. It’s a good addition to your wireless library.

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