Antennas and Propagation

The short course course is designed to provide an overview of the fundamental principles associated with microwave and RF antennas and propagation.


University of Surrey


Mon 9 - Fri 13 November 2020

Number of days

Five weekdays

Hours of study

9am - 5pm

Course overview

The course will present the underlying theory in an accessible manner, together with techniques for application of the theory to satellite and mobile communications scenarios as well as broadcasting and indoor wireless applications.

The course is usually very popular so early booking is advised.

Gaining a masters degree

This course can also form part of the MSc Electronic Engineering via short courses. The purpose of the course is to encourage those working in industry to continue with their professional development without necessitating an expensive career break.

The modular approach means that you can choose your own pace of study to fit in with your work commitments. You can elect to undertake assessment for this course should you so wish, these assessments are mainly by examination

15 credits towards the MSc in Electronic Engineering can be awarded once you have successfully completed this short course.

Course details

Please note that we reserve the right to alter the syllabus. Any major changes will be notified to delegates before the course starts.

  • Antenna principles and calculations from electromagnetic theory
  • Radio propagation modelling
  • Overcoming channel impairments
  • Antenna design with the inclusion of laboratory demonstrations.

Introduction and Antenna Fundamentals I and II – Dr Tim Brown

An introduction to the whole course and its structure. What is an antenna? Why does antenna design and propagation modelling matter? Examples of applications in this regard. Overview of relevant textbooks in the field.

Brief introduction to Maxwell’s equations, Poynting Vector, Plane waves, Hertzian Dipole. Isotropic radiator. Definitions of gain, radiation resistance, effective area, link budget and far field criteria, impedance and reflection coefficient. Polarisation, Basic wire antennas: dipole, loop. Helix antennas.

Antenna Characterisation Design Lab – Dr Tim Brown
Brief introduction to how antennas are designed characterised. To have a hands on experience in the laboratory with building and testing a linear wire antenna.

Types of Antennas and Introduction to Arrays – Dr Tim Brown
Following the introduction to antennas, this session will cover a brief introduction to the different types of antennas such as a Uda-Yagi antenna, Horn Antenna, helical antennas, microstrip antenna, slot antenna, Reflector Antennas and others. It will give particular attention to the concept of array antennas where multiple antenna elements can be combined. This will include 1-D and 2-D array antennas.

Propagation Fundamentals – Dr Tim Brown
Free space propagation, Scales of Variation in Mobile Systems, Path loss, Shadowing, Fast Fading. Reflection - Specular reflection. Fresnel coefficients, polarisation effects. Rough and random surfaces. Refraction - Refractive index. Snell’s Law. Fresnel Transmission Coefficients. Multipath Effects. Introduction to stochastic, deterministic and empirical channel models.

Fixed Link Propagation Models – Dr Tim Brown
Plane earth loss, spherical earth effects. Diffraction and Huygen’s Principle. Knife-Edge Diffraction. Fresnel Zones. Tropospheric Refraction. Path profiles - Line of sight versus non-line of sight. Tropospheric refraction - N-units. Effective earth radius. Ducting.

Slant Path Propagation for Fixed Satellite Links – Dr Tim Brown
This session provides an appreciation of propagation impairments relating to satellite links and focuses on fixed satellite links. The various impairments introduced in the troposphere and ionosphere are presented along with a description of the methods for assessing the impact of these effects. Reference will be made to the course book and appropriate ITU-R Recommendations. Some examples of calculations as well as measurement results will be presented.

Diffraction Models – Dr Tim Brown
Multiple knife edge diffraction. Approaches to modelling diffraction including Deygout method, Causebrook Correction and Giovanelli method.

Propagation in the Troposphere – Dr Richard Rudd – Aegis Systems Ltd
The impact of the troposphere on terrestrial propagation paths. Temporal variability and radio-meteorology. Tidal fading and other challenges. The work of ITU-R Study Group 3.

Wire Antennas Old and New, Small Antennas – Prof Mike Underhill
Hertzian dipole. Half wave dipole. Folded dipole. Baluns. Resonant and non-resonant antennas. Antenna matching. Arrays, Yagi-Uda, broadside. Rhombic, helical. Mobile Station Antennas: - Monopole. Loading with capacitance and inductance. Loops, Helicals. Planar inverted F antennas. Base Station Antennas: - Vertical gain. Collinear. Sector antennas. Corner reflectors. Printed arrays.

Laboratory Demonstrations – Prof Mike Underhill
Demonstration of small tuned loops and log periodic antenna, and microwave can antenna.

Mobile Systems Overview, Microcells and Macrocells – Prof Simon Saunders
Overview of Mobile Systems - Cell Types.
Narrowband Fast Fading – Rayleigh and Rice fading. Outage probability, bit error rate effect. Doppler spread and channels with memory.
Macrocells - Empirical: power law, clutter factor, Okumura/Hata. Theoretical: Multiple Building Diffraction, COST-231 Walfisch-Ikegami, flat edge. Comparison of theoretical and empirical models.
Shadowing - Statistics. Availability at cell edge and over cell area.
Microcells - Empirical: Dual slope, attenuation factor.

Indoor Propagation – Prof Simon Saunders
Picocells – Propagation in buildings and other enclosed spaces.
Femtocells – Challenges in propagation over a small proximity.

Antenna Simulations – CST Ltd.
A lecture presented by Computing Simulation Technology (CST) Ltd. covering an introduction to the methods of antenna simulation followed by plus a hands on laboratory session experimenting with CST’s own design studio software.

Base Station Antennas – Prof Brian Collins – BSC Consulting
Antennas for mobile radio base stations. The relationship between network requirements and antenna design. Antennas for space and polarisation diversity, multi-band arrays and arrays with adjustable tilt. Practical considerations - weather resistance and power handling.

HF Antennas and Propagation – Prof Brian Collins – BSC Consulting
HF propagation: basics, effects of sunspot number, season, time of day and location, prediction methods.
HF antennas: matching the antenna to the medium, broadband antennas, broadcasting antennas, NVIS antennas, receiving antennas.

GPS Systems Antennas – Prof Brian Collins – BSC Consulting
The GPS satellite system and basic location concepts. Different types of antennas, measurement of antenna systems, antenna-radio modules. Integration of antennas into application devices, how to demonstrate application devices

Printed Mobile Antennas – Prof Brian Collins – BSC Consulting
Antennas for handsets and small wireless devices. Problems of size, efficiency and bandwidth, user interactions and SAR. The rapidly increasing pressures of complex device integration. Future directions.


Price per person includes lunch, refreshments and course notes which will be provided on USB sticks and on Dropbox:

Non IET members

  • £1,950 - Standard rate
  • £1,850 - Early bird rate for payment before 9 October 2020

IET members (proof of membership needed)

  • £1,950 - Standard rate
  • £1,750 - Early bird rate for payment before 9 October 2020

How to apply

Payment can be accepted by purchase order, credit card or bank transfer on our online store.

Please note that we do not charge VAT as we are an educational establishment.

Payments will be accepted subject to availability. If making payment by credit card, please forward the transaction receipt by email to Barbara Steel.

Mon 9 - Fri 13 November 2020

Terms and conditions

  • Cancellations notified in writing ten working days before the event; we charge a cancellation fee of 35 per cent of the standard rate. If we have already received payment we refund 65 per cent of the full fee.
  • Cancellations within 10 working days before the event; We charge these at the full rate and do not give refunds.
  • If no written notice of cancellation is received, no refund can be made.
  • The University of Surrey reserves the right to cancel any event. In this case, the full fee will be refunded unless a mutually convenient transfer can be arranged. Details of event changes or cancellations are available by phoning +44 (0)1483 686040.
  • Delegates can make a provisional registration for a course by telephone or email. However bookings are only acknowledged formally once payment has been received.
  • Substitutions from the same company may be made following consultation with the Continuing Education Manager.
  • The University reserves the right to cancel any course on the grounds of insufficient numbers or for other reasons beyond our control. In this case the full fee will be refunded unless a mutually convenient transfer can be arranged.
  • Registrations cannot be accepted without a valid purchase order, credit card payment or cheque.
  • Proof of payment.
  • Registrations must come with a valid purchase order, credit card payment or cheque.

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Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering
University of Surrey