RF Circuit and Systems Design

The course has been specifically designed to cover the major elements relevant to engineers working or starting out in the radio frequency (RF) field and should provide them with the expertise required to excel in this chosen field.

Monday 9 - Friday 13 July 2018

Course overview

By joining some of the foremost experts in the field of RF engineering, delegates will quickly be given the tools to get to grips with the major aspects of RF circuit and system design.

Who is this course for?

This course is intended for delegates wishing to consolidate and upgrade their RF knowledge to improve their effectiveness in implementing and using RF systems in the radio industry.

Delegates will obtain an understanding of the technologies behind transmitter and receiver design including small signal RF amplifiers, synthesisers and PA design. The format of the course is such that even those with only a rudimentary understanding of the topic will quickly be brought up to speed.

The course material progresses to an advanced level equivalent to that required to an MSc module. This course can also form part of the Modular MSc in Electronic Engineering. Please contact the CE office for further details. Numbers on this course are limited in order to give ample time to students in the CAD sessions and practical laboratories while also gaining the necessary support from tutors.

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

Course syllabus

Please note that this syllabus can be changed at the University of Surrey's discretion.

RF Transmission Lines – Dr Charles Free

An introduction to the properties and characteristics of transmission lines for use at RF will be given.  Included in the presentation will be an introduction to the Smith Chart, and its uses in RF circuit design.

Planar Circuit Design – Dr Charles Free

The presentation will focus on microstrip, and the application of this technology for the design of RF circuits.  The theory and design of some common matching circuits will be included, and the treatment extended to consider the design of planar lumped components.

The Smith Chart and Lumped Element Circuit Matching – Dr Tim Brown

Smith chart principles and trajectories. Designing of lumped element L-matching networks using a Smith chart. Wideband PI- and T-networks.  

CAD Laboratory: Smith Chart and Matching – Dr Tim Brown

Experimentation with the Smith chart and lumped elements using computer aided design software.

Transistor Circuits and Automatic Gain Control – Dr Tim Brown

Understanding bipolar junction transistors and field effect transistors and their usage in RF circuits. The long tail pair. Use of long tail pair in an automatic gain control. Applications of automatic gain control.

RF Antennas and Propagation – Dr Tim Brown

Introduction to the key concepts of antennas: radiation patterns, gain, directivity, efficiency, polarisation, impedance. Simple free space propagation, multipath. Snell’s laws and ionospheric refraction. Fade margin.

RF Receivers – Dr Tim Brown

Regenerative, tuned radio and superheterodyne receivers. Mixer products. Noise and noise figure. Noise matching.

CAD Amplifier Design Laboratory – Dr Tim Brown

This laboratory covers a number of aspects of RF amplifier design, in particular matching, stability, gain and noise figure.

RF Power Amplifiers – Dr Peter King

Overview of power amplifiers (PAs). Which Technology? PA Non-linearity and effect on Waveform. PA Efficiency and Class. Introduction to Class AB. Introduction to Doherty. Highly Efficient PA Techniques. PA Architectures. Reliability and Thermal Considerations.

PA Linearisation – Dr Peter King

Why Linearise? Modelling Device Non-linearity. Linearisation Choices. Introduction to Polar Loop Transmitter. Introduction to Feed-Forward Linearisation. Introduction to Digital Pre-Distortion. Practical Considerations.

RF Noise and Measurement Laboratory – Dr Tim Brown

Measurement and tuning of simple lumped element RF band pass filters. Measurement of RF noise and low noise amplifiers.

Vector Network Analyser Measurements – Nick Ridler

Network Analyser Basics; Coaxial Cables & Connectors; Calibration Methods; Calibration in Coaxial line; On-wafer Measurements Overview; On-wafer calibration

Mixers and Modulation – Prof Mike Underhill

Intermediate Frequency Filters. Mixers, intermodulation, phase noise effects in mixers.

Software Radio Basics and Demo – Prof Mike Underhill

Receiver architecture. Signal representation. Modulation spectra. Bandwidth and noise. Digital filtering. Software defined radio receiver demonstration.

Oscillators and Frequency Synthesisers – Prof Mike Underhill

Phase noise and time jitter. Phase lock loop principles, frequency synthesis. Phase comparator noise and noise sources in the phase lock loop. Types of phase comparator. Divider techniques. The anti jitter circuit.

RF Filters – Dr Charles Free

The essential theory pertaining to RF filters will be reviewed. The presentation will include the practical design of planar filters using microstrip technology, and the work extended to consider the application of recent multilayer planar techniques for RF and microwave filter design.

Tutorial/Lab Visit – Dr Charles Free and Dr Tim Brown

This session will be a continuation from the previous lectures covering useful tutorial problems. A laboratory visit will be conducted in the second half to the RF labs used in Surrey’s 5G Innovation Centre.

RF Amplifier Design – Prof Ian Robertson

This lecture introduces the classical principles behind small-signal RF amplifier design - matching, stability, DC biasing, gain and noise figure circles. The lecture then covers practical design in a range of technologies & applications.

RFICs and MMICs – Prof Ian Robertson

This lecture introduces the key active and passive components for GaAs and Silicon IC design. The most common circuit topologies are introduced for amplifiers, mixers, oscillators, switches, variable attenuators and phase shifters. Finally, recent 

developments in millimetre-wave silicon designs are introduced.

Transceivers and Handsets – Prof Ian Robertson

This lecture considers the different architectures used for modern transmitters and receivers in mobile handsets. A number of practical solutions and chipsets are studied and some of the key off-chip RF components are considered - filters, the PA and switches (including MEMS).

Further information


This is a week long course, from Monday 9 - Friday 13 July 2018.


Price per person, including lunch, refreshments and printed course notes:

Non IET members:

  • £1900 - Standard rate
  • £1750 - Early bird rate for payment received one month before the course start date.

For IET Members (proof of membership needed):

  • £1900 - Standard rate
  • £1650 - Early bird rate for payment received one month before the course start date.

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.

Provisional timetable

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
9:00-10:30 1. RF Transmission Lines 6. Transistor Circuits and Automatic Gain Control

11. Software Radio Basics and Demo


16. RF Antennas and Propagation 21. RF Amplifier Design
  Dr Charles Free Dr Tim Brown Professor Mike Underhill Dr Tim Brown Prof. Ian Robertson
11:00-12:30 2. Planar circuit design 7.  Receivers and Mixers I

12. Oscillators and Frequency Synthesisers


17. RF Power Amplifiers 22. RFICS and MMICS
  Dr Charles Free Prof. Mike Underhill Professor Mike Underhill Dr Peter King Prof. Ian Robertson
13:30-15:00 3.  The Smith Chart and lumped element circuit matching 8.  Receivers and Mixers II 13. Lab Groups * 18. Power Amplifier Linearisation 23. Transceivers and Handsets
  Dr Tim Brown Prof. Mike Underhill   Dr Peter King Prof. Ian Robertson
15:30-17:30 4. CAD Laboratory: Smith Chart and Matching 9. CAD Low Noise Amplifier Design Laboratory 14. Lab Groups * 19. RF Filters END
  Dr Tim Brown Dr Tim Brown   Dr Charles Free  
17:30-18:45 approx. 5. CAD Laboratory: Smith Chart and Matching (Contd.) 10. CAD Low Noise Amplifier Design Laboratory (cont) 15. Lab Groups/MSc Tutorial * 10. Tutorial/Lab Visit  
  Dr Tim Brown Dr Tim Brown   19:30 Course Dinner at the Rum Wong  

Terms and conditions

Cancellations notified in writing ten working days before the event; we charge a cancellation fee of 35% of the standard rate.  If we have already received payment we refund 65% 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.


Enquiries should be addressed to Barbara Steel in the faculties Professional Development Office:

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Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering
University of Surrey