Project Description

Course Overview

This short online certificate course introduces a range of basic concepts in radio frequency (RF) and microwave engineering. It has been designed to provide a solid foundation for follow-on courses covering more specific topics. Review quizzes are included throughout the course to test knowledge and understanding.

The course begins by introducing the concept of RF waves and how they propagate in free space. This includes a description of the electromagnetic spectrum and how it is divided into frequency bands including RF and microwave frequency bands.

It then discusses RF wave effects and the idea of distributed circuit theory, which is widely used to analyse high-frequency electronic circuits. This is followed by simple explanations of electric and magnetic fields and how they combine to produce electromagnetic fields and RF radiation. An overview is given of Maxwell’s famous equations and their significance.

The next module defines key characteristics of RF waves such as amplitude, wavelength, phase etc. and units of RF power including decibels (dB), dBm and dBW and their mathematical relationships.

The course then provides a brief history of RF and wireless communications, from Marconi’s early transatlantic transmissions through to present day smart phones. This gives a useful perspective on the current state of RF technology and demonstrates how much progress has been made in a short time span.

Finally, the course provides a brief overview of RF safety, including explanations of RF exposure and specific absorption rate (SAR) limits. It’s important for those working with RF to have an understanding of the potential dangers of exposure and why safety limits are in place.

What you will learn
  • Understand basic concepts of radio waves
  • Define RF and microwave frequency bands
  • Describe the difference between distributed and lumped circuits

  • Define the electromagnetic frequency spectrum

  • List a range of RF and microwave frequency bands

  • Understand distributed and lumped element concepts

  • Know the basics of electric and magnetic fields

  • Appreciate the significance of Maxwell’s equations

  • Describe RF wave characteristics such as amplitude, frequency and phase

  • Define relative and absolute power units – dB, dBm and dBW

  • Know how to convert from dBm to dBW and vice versa

  • Learn about Marconi’s early radio system

  • Describe the timeline of wireless communications development

  • Understand RF exposure and SAR limits

  • Gain an appreciation of the FCC regulations

Technical Level


Time to Complete

Approx. 1 hr 30 mins

Course Code


Course Curriculum

8 modules – 19 video lessons – 67 mins total
– video lesson   – pdf download   – app download   – quiz

1.1 Course Overview  

2.1 RF Propagation – Ripples on a Pond  
2.2 Definition of RF and Microwaves  
2.3 Supporting Notes  
2.4 Module Quiz  

3.1 Electromagnetic Frequency Spectrum  
3.2 Attenuation of EM Waves by the Atmosphere  
3.3 Frequency Allocations  
3.4 Microwave Frequency Bands  
3.5 USA Frequency Allocations Wallchart  
3.6 Supporting Notes  
3.7 Module Quiz  

4.1 Distributed Not Lumped  
4.2 Electric Fields  
4.3 Magnetic Fields  
4.4 Electromagnetic Radiation  
4.5 Maxwell’s Equations for Harmonic Time Dependence  
4.6 Plane Wave Fields  
4.7 Supporting Notes  
4.8 Module Quiz  

5.1 RF Wave Characteristics  
5.2 Units of RF Power, dB and dBm  
5.3 Application Note – dB or not dB?  
5.4 Supporting Notes  
5.5 Module Quiz  

6.1 Marconi’s Early Radio System  
6.2 Timeline of Wireless Communications Development  
6.3 Supporting Notes  
6.4 Module Quiz  

7.1 Exposure Limits  
7.2 SAR Limits  
7.3 Supporting Notes  
7.4 Module Quiz  

8.1 Recommended Reading  
8.2 Poster – Microwaves and Beyond  
8.3 Mobile App – dBm Calculation and Unit Conversion  
8.4 Mobile App – Wireless Communications Calculator  

Includes 1-year unlimited individual access to all course content

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Buy Now – USD $145
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