525.684.81 - Microwave Systems & Receiver Design

Electrical and Computer Engineering
Spring 2024


This course deals with the practical aspects of RF and microwave systems and components. An overview of radar systems is followed by an introduction to communication systems. The majority of the course treats the linear and nonlinear characteristics of individual components and their relation to receiver system performance. Amplifiers, mixers, antennas, filters, and frequency sources are studied, as well as their impact on receiver performance. Top-level receiver designs for a radar system, a wide-band surveillance system, or a communication system application may be studied. Assignments reinforce the course material and may require use of design software. Prerequisite(s): An undergraduate degree in electrical engineering or equivalent.

Expanded Course Description


For three decades, Robbin Roddewig has taught Microwave and Signal Processing courses in a face-to-face as well as an on-line environment. There are a few things that are important to understand up-front.

  1. This is a graduate RF/Microwave Systems class equivalent in content, effort, and value to that of a face-to-face (in class) version of an advanced class available at any top university. You will be learning the same material in an Internet distance learning environment. It will be helpful if you are comfortable in communicating via the Internet, downloading and posting of files, plus creating MS Word (or equivalent) and PDF technical documents containing equations and figures. Students should have an equation editor that permits the creation and insertion of equations into a word processing Some students find it helpful to have some capability to scan and paste printed pages into digital documents.
  2. Students have a degree of convenience and flexibility afforded by the online environment and asynchronous nature where they can choose the time and schedule when to work on the class material. Although students have this flexibility, it is important that it be matched with a high level of commitment, planning and discipline to study the course modules regularly, and to be active in the discussion forums making meaningful contributions, completing and submitting by the end of the module the required homework assignments. These contribute to the learning process, take time, and are a significant input to your final Therefore, this courseis not appropriate for students with very limited time.
  3. This class is fast paced. You will learn about RF/Microwave systems, Filters, Mixers, Oscillators,Amplifiers, Noise, Linearity, Gain Distribution and Understanding derived from theoretical analysis will be reinforced and facilitated by software tools. You will start immediately building a library of real-world models in the form of MATLAB m-file and Simulink model files. Additionally, you will learn to use Simulink to design and analyze your own RF/Microwave system.
  4. This class is worth the effort. Although this class may take considerable effort, it is expected that all students who, having paid the price to succeed, will find that they have learned an incredible amount and will feel that it was well worth the investment of their time.


Course Structure

The course materials are divided into modules which can be accessed by clicking Course Modules on the left menu. A module will have several sections including the overview, content, readings, discussions, and assignments. You are encouraged to preview all sections of the module before starting. More details on the course structure can be found in the Course Outline, the Student Requirements Section of this Syllabus, and in the Calendar. The course consists of 14 modules.

Due dates for readings and other assignments are listed in the Course Outline. Please refer to the Calendar for the specific start and end dates for each module in this course. The Final and Midterm exam will be due as detailed in e-mail communication from the instructor.

Course Topics

Course Goals

The overall objective is to give students a working knowledge of key components of Microwave and Millimeter systems. At the conclusion of the course students should be able to understand designs and conduct analysis and simulations of systems to determine realistic performance.

Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs)


Pozar, M. David, Microwave and RF Design of Wireless Systems, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., ISBN 978-0-471-32282-5, 2001

Textbook information for this course is available online through the appropriate bookstore website: For online courses, search the MBS website at http://ep.jhu.edu/bookstore.

Required Software

To document your work, you are expected to have word processing capability equivalent to Microsoft Word thatincludes the ability to insert/edit equations and to insert graphic figures. Also, you will need to be able to convert your word processing output to an Adobe PDF document. Having an equation editor and familiarity with it is an asset in the class.

MATLAB and Simulink

You will need access to the most recent version of MATLAB and Simulink. This license is provided at no cost to you. To acquire the software follow the steps of logging into myJHU>Technology>mySoftware>Servicenowsoftware catalog link which should take you to: https://johnshopkins.service-now.com/serviceportal?id=sc_category&catalog_id=f70f46fa0fec6300416246ace1050e2e.  Then search for matlab. Follow the instructions listed to download and activate the software from the Mathworks web site.

Student Coursework Requirements

It is expected that the class will take approximately 10–20 hours per week: reading the assigned sections of the texts (approximately 5–10 hours per week) as well as some outside reading, listening to the audio annotated slide presentations (approximately 1–2 hours per week), and homework assignments (approximately 4–8 hoursper week).

This course requires:

Preparation and Participation (Class Discussions, 10% of Final Grade Calculation)

You are responsible for carefully reading all assigned material and being prepared for discussion. The course will cover most of the topics in the text.

The discussion forum is intended to enrich the class experience and in some sense to duplicate the free form learning that takes place in the class room as instructor- student and student-student interaction occur.

Discussion questions m be found as part of the course content including a request for concepts you are finding more difficult to grasp. You are to post your comments in first half of that module week. Such a posting in the discussion forum is part one of your grade for class discussions.

Part two of your grade for class discussion is your interaction (i.e., responding to classmate postings with thoughtful responses) with at least two classmates. We are encouraging you to interact with your classmates. Be detailed in your postings. You can agree, disagree, or amplify, but please ensure that your postings are civiland constructive. Please post your responses to your fellow students prior to the end of the module week.

Evaluation of preparation and participation is based on contribution to discussions. Preparation and participation is evaluated by the following grading elements:

  1. Timeliness (50%)
  2. Critical Thinking (50%) 

Preparation and participation is graded as follows:

100–90 = A—Timeliness [regularly participates; all required postings; early in discussion; throughout the discussion]; Critical Thinking [rich in content; full of thoughts, insight, and analysis].

89–80 = B—Timeliness [frequently participates; all required postings; some not in time for others to read and respond]; Critical Thinking [substantial information; thought, insight, and analysis has taken place].

79–70 = C—Timeliness [infrequently participates; all required postings; most at the last minute without allowing for response time]; Critical Thinking [generally competent; information is thin and commonplace].

Regular Homework (30% of Final Grade Calculation)

Homework is assigned for modules 1 through 6 and modules 8 through 13. Exam weeks are 7 and 14.  Homework is expected to be submitted by the last day of each module.
Grading of Homework: The student will be required to grade his or her own homework.  This will be required to be done by midnight of the Friday following the submission of the homework assignment.  This is a bit awkward in Canvas.  What will be done is that there will be two submissions allowed by the student for each assignment.  The ungraded assignment will be submitted by the due date as the first submission.  Then by the following Friday at midnight the students self graded assignment will be submitted.  The graded assignment will then be reviewed by the instructor or grader and the grade entered in the Canvas grades utility.  The solutions for the assignment will be available immediately after the assignment due date.  If you have pre-approved permission to turn in the assignment after the due date you will be asked to be on your honor not to access the solution set. 
Grading rules:  If you have submitted the correct solution (and there are usually many methods that can be used so it needs to be a correct method and answer) then full credit.  If you have made a conceptual mistake deduct 3 points for each mistake.  If you have made a math error deduct 1 point for each match error.  If you have not submitted any work for the problem deduct full credit for the problem as no. submission is worth nothing.

You are to submit your homework as a single PDF file. Do not submit MATLAB m-files or Simulink files unless specifically asked to do so as follow-up to the homework. If such files are used to solve homework problems then the MATLAB code or Simulink models should be included in the PDF documentation.Homework is expected to be documented with sufficient clarity and completeness that a reader could reproduce the solution. Most students find it convenient to first prepare their homework using a word processor similar to Microsoft Word. This can includes cutting and pasting results from MATLAB and Simulink simulations. Also, it is important to be able insert and edit equations in the word processor document. Finally, after you are happy with your documentation you can then convert it to an Adobe PDF file and submit it in Canvas.

Please use the following naming convention when submitting homework assignments in PDF format: If a student’s last name is "Jones" and is submitting homework assignment 1, the submitted PDF file should be named: JONES_HW1.pdf. When student Jones submits his/her midterm and final exams they, respectively, will be named JONES_MIDTERM.pdf and JONES_FINAL.pdf. Note that only the last name is used and all letters are upper case.Include your full name inside the homework document.

Please let the instructors know if you have questions about this. A modest, but progressively increasing amountof points will be subtracted from assignments that don't follow this convention.

Reading assignments as well as readings from the texts and other outside sources will be important sourcesof material for your twelve homework assignments.

The purpose of the homework is to give you the opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of the course concepts. .Understanding of the theory is reinforced by having to simulate principles in careful detail.

All homework assignments are due according to the dates in the Schedule and Assignments tools.

Late submissions will be reduced by one letter grade (10 points) for each week late (no exceptions without prior coordination with the instructor).

Homework will receive a numerical grade which will be incorporated into the final grade as detailed in the Grading Policy section of this Syllabus.

Midterm & Final Examination (Each 30% of Final Grade Calculation)

The midterm exam will occur in the middle of the semester as part of module 7 and the final exam will be taken at the end of the semester as part of module 14. The exam will be due as specified in e-mail communication. The exam will be time-limited but available on Canvas for you to download over a number of days. You will have six hours to download, complete and upload your exam solutions to Canvas. The mid-term and final exam submission will consist of a single PDF file AND any and all calculations done (this would be in Excel, Matlab, Simulink etc). You may use any available resource including the course text and presentation note/slides to complete the exam as well as MATLAB and Simulink.

The midterm exam is evaluated by the following grading elements: 

  1. Each part of question is answered clearly and correctly and any and all work is clearly documented in the pdf file. (100%) 

Exam preparation and grading

The discussion forum during the mid-term and final exam module is used to prepare for the examination. You will post practice question/problems and monitor the response of your fellow students providing counseling and guidance as necessary.

Grading Policy

Timely feedback on your performance is an established learning tool, so we will endeavor to grade and return toyou, as quickly as possible, all material that you submit.

Exams and homework will receive numerical grades based on a 100 point scale

A course numerical grade is determined using the numerical grades for the homework, mid-term-exam, final exam, and discussion participation according weighting shown. The letter grade is related to the course numerical grade as follows:

Score RangeLetter Grade
100-90= A
89-80= B
79-70= C
<70= F 

When you submit your homework and exams it is treated as your best and final submission. In this sense it is similar to a professional work environment like producing a report. Canvas will only accept one submission. If you need to submit and amended homework you must attach it to an email sent to the instructors explaining the need for a multi-submission. If the second submission precedes the due date there will be a five point penalty. Consequently, make sure any such cases are worth more than the penalty.

Final grades will be determined by the following weighting:




% of Grade


Assignments (modules 1-6 & 8-13)




Mid-term Exam (Module 6)




Final Exam (Module 14)




Class Participation (Discussion Forum)



Academic Policies

Deadlines for Adding, Dropping and Withdrawing from Courses

Students may add a course up to one week after the start of the term for that particular course. Students may drop courses according to the drop deadlines outlined in the EP academic calendar (https://ep.jhu.edu/student-services/academic-calendar/). Between the 6th week of the class and prior to the final withdrawal deadline, a student may withdraw from a course with a W on their academic record. A record of the course will remain on the academic record with a W appearing in the grade column to indicate that the student registered and withdrew from the course.

Academic Misconduct Policy

All students are required to read, know, and comply with the Johns Hopkins University Krieger School of Arts and Sciences (KSAS) / Whiting School of Engineering (WSE) Procedures for Handling Allegations of Misconduct by Full-Time and Part-Time Graduate Students.

This policy prohibits academic misconduct, including but not limited to the following: cheating or facilitating cheating; plagiarism; reuse of assignments; unauthorized collaboration; alteration of graded assignments; and unfair competition. Course materials (old assignments, texts, or examinations, etc.) should not be shared unless authorized by the course instructor. Any questions related to this policy should be directed to EP’s academic integrity officer at ep-academic-integrity@jhu.edu.

Students with Disabilities - Accommodations and Accessibility

Johns Hopkins University values diversity and inclusion. We are committed to providing welcoming, equitable, and accessible educational experiences for all students. Students with disabilities (including those with psychological conditions, medical conditions and temporary disabilities) can request accommodations for this course by providing an Accommodation Letter issued by Student Disability Services (SDS). Please request accommodations for this course as early as possible to provide time for effective communication and arrangements.

For further information or to start the process of requesting accommodations, please contact Student Disability Services at Engineering for Professionals, ep-disability-svcs@jhu.edu.

Student Conduct Code

The fundamental purpose of the JHU regulation of student conduct is to promote and to protect the health, safety, welfare, property, and rights of all members of the University community as well as to promote the orderly operation of the University and to safeguard its property and facilities. As members of the University community, students accept certain responsibilities which support the educational mission and create an environment in which all students are afforded the same opportunity to succeed academically. 

For a full description of the code please visit the following website: https://studentaffairs.jhu.edu/policies-guidelines/student-code/

Classroom Climate

JHU is committed to creating a classroom environment that values the diversity of experiences and perspectives that all students bring. Everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect. Fostering an inclusive climate is important. Research and experience show that students who interact with peers who are different from themselves learn new things and experience tangible educational outcomes. At no time in this learning process should someone be singled out or treated unequally on the basis of any seen or unseen part of their identity. 
If you have concerns in this course about harassment, discrimination, or any unequal treatment, or if you seek accommodations or resources, please reach out to the course instructor directly. Reporting will never impact your course grade. You may also share concerns with your program chair, the Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, or the Office of Institutional Equity. In handling reports, people will protect your privacy as much as possible, but faculty and staff are required to officially report information for some cases (e.g. sexual harassment).

Course Auditing

When a student enrolls in an EP course with “audit” status, the student must reach an understanding with the instructor as to what is required to earn the “audit.” If the student does not meet those expectations, the instructor must notify the EP Registration Team [EP-Registration@exchange.johnshopkins.edu] in order for the student to be retroactively dropped or withdrawn from the course (depending on when the "audit" was requested and in accordance with EP registration deadlines). All lecture content will remain accessible to auditing students, but access to all other course material is left to the discretion of the instructor.