RF/Wireless Non-technical Courses

                Suitable for non technical and technical audience alike, these courses provide in depth understanding of wireless technologies and terminology without getting bogged down in complex mathematics.

These seminars provide nontechnical professionals with a firm grounding in the language and meaning of technical RF and wireless concepts. They also convey a conceptual understanding of the operation of various wireless systems. All explanations use simple physical descriptions without complex mathematics.

RF and Wireless Made Simple – On Demand

Course 22


Learn how to speak engineer…or at least understand them!

…and learn at your own pace.…

RF & Wireless Made Simple online course can teach a basic understanding of RF and wireless technology in as little as 8 hours, or up to six months whenever you need a “refresher”. 
Frequently used terms will be explained, as well as how to calculate dB. The names and functions of RF system components are discussed and a description of how they interact to generate and process signals is provided. The course explains the basic principles of signal processing and multiple access techniques in wireless telecommunications. A variety of relevant topics will be covered including a comparison of the specifications of commercial wireless systems. The course concludes with a discussion on the future of wireless technology and its applications.

Learning objectives

Upon completing the course you will be able to:

  • Describe the integral relationship of the EM spectrum, basic wave theory, and power calculations with RF and wireless technology.
  • Define and elaborate on impedance, resistance, reactance, and mismatch.
  • List the names and functions of RF system components and describe how they interact to generate and process signals.
  • Explain the basic principles of signal processing.
  • Identify and describe the basic principles of multiple access techniques in wireless telecommunications.
  • Explain the process underlying propagation of electromagnetic waves.
  • List and compare the specifications of commercial wireless systems.
  • Discuss the future of wireless technology and its applications.

Target Audience

Marketing, sales, instructors, and all other nontechnical personnel working with the RF and wireless industry will benefit from this course. No prior technical knowledge is required to learn from this online course.




Module 1: Key Concepts

 • Electromagnetic spectrum and waves • Multiple and fractional units of measure • Bandwidth • RF power • dB calculation

Module 2: Factors Affecting RF System Design

 • Wires and PCBs in RF • Intra-system transmission of RF signals • Waveguide, coaxial cable, and microstrip circuit and their applications • Impedance matching • Percent reflected power • Return Loss • Standing wave ratio • The Smith Chart • Mismatch elimination

Module 3: Elements of the RF System

 • Signal flow through an RF system • Oscillator • Attenuator • Modulator • Upconverter • Power amplifier • Directional coupler • Detector • Duplexer • RF antenna • Filter • Low noise amplifier • Mixer • Demodulator • RF and microwave integrated circuits

Module 4: Signal Processing

 • Analog and digital signals • Analog to digital conversion • Nyquist’s Theorem • Sampling rate • Quantization error and noise • Bit error rate • Error detection • Speech coders • Modulation techniques

Module 5: Access Methods

 • Cellular mobile phone architecture • System capacity • Mobility • Cell sectoring • FDMA, TDMA, CDMA

Module 6: Signal Propagation

 • Antenna types and properties • Transmission line impedances and free space • EIRP • Propagation • Free space path loss • Reflection loss • Multipath fading • Calculating path loss

Module 7: Wireless Communication Systems

 • Cellular phone system design considerations • Voice quality and channel capacity • Mobile size • Battery life • Existing cellular systems – AMPS, DAMPS, GSM, PCS • Multi-mode mobile units • Mobile satellite communication systems • Wireless LANS • Paging systems • Global Positioning System (GPS)



Subject Areas:

  • Wireless Technology “Made Simple

These programs provide anyone working in the RF industry with the opportunity to efficiently increase their understanding of RF terminology, components, and systems.

RF Technology Certification

Course 23


This online program has been designed for applications, production, manufacturing engineers and technicians as well as other professionals who need to have a solid background in the fundamentals of working with RF and wireless products. This four part program provides a thorough understanding of RF analytical tools, communications signals, RF devices and test instruments. Starting with basic analytical tools such as the decibel scale, S-parameters and the Smith Chart, this program covers test instrumentation, RF components, and modulation. A basic block diagram of a transmitter/receiver chain forms the backbone of the course outline. Each component is described, and the relative performance parameters defined. Key impairments are introduced as they become relevant to the operation of the system. Basic system calculations are covered, as well as modulation formats and multiple access techniques.

The self-paced program is divided into four parts, each consisting of pre-recorded self-paced lectures followed by custom online “workbooks” that contain a summary of formulas learned and practice exercise questions or measurement procedures. A bonus on-demand tutorial webcast in each part offers an additional perspective on a related topic of interest. Each part has a brief test as well. The program is equivalent to approximately 40 hours of training and students are given six months to complete the material. After finishing the program students will receive a signed certificate of completion.

This course is intended for registered individual students only. Please contact us for group rates at info@besserassociates.com or 650-949-3300. Recording, copying, or re-transmission of classroom material is prohibited.

Learning objectives

Upon completing the course you will be able to:

  • work natively with dB values (without using a calculator)
  • understand basic wave parameters and propagation
  • appreciate the effects of parasitics on component behavior
  • understand the effects of mismatches at RF
  • create basic matching networks using the Smith Chart
  • describe basic transmission line structures and input impedance
  • interpret S-parameters from measurements and datasheets
  • describe the basic function of spectrum analyzers, vector network analyzers, and power meters
  • know the limitations on accuracy/uncertainty that affect all RF and high frequency measurements
  • describe the operation of the main components of an RF transceiver system
  • interpret key performance parameters such as P1dB, IP3, noise figure, etc.
  • describe the modulation formats used to impress information onto the RF carrier
  • understand the basic principles of multiple access techniques such as TDMA, CDMA, OFDMA

Target Audience

This program is ideally suited for applications, manufacturing and production engineers or technicians who are new to the RF/wireless field. It is also suitable for those who have been working in the field but who have not had a formal introduction to the key concepts that form the basis of understanding and troubleshooting wireless systems. A knowledge of basic circuit theory/operation (resistors, inductors, capacitors) is assumed.




Part 1

Analytical tools

 • wave parameters • dB & dBm • mismatches and reflection • impedance matching and the Smith Chart • transmission lines • device parasitics and their effects • S-parameters

Part 2 – Signals and Modulation


 • Analog – AM, FM • IQ Modulation – PSK – QAM

Multiple Access Techniques


Performance of RF Components with Digital Signals

 • digital modulation fundamentals • adjacent channel power ACP • error vector magnitude EVM • EVM due to power amplifier compression and AM to PM • EVM due to group delay • EVM due to phase noise • IQ modulator troubleshooting with the VSA

Description of Bit Error Rate

Part 3 – Test Equipment

Cables and Connectors

 • cable and connector care • connector types

Vector Network Analyzer

 • directional couplers • basic block diagram • calibration • basic measurement setup

Spectrum Analyzer

 • time domain vs. frequency domain • basic block diagram • typical measurements

Signal Generator

 • basic block diagram

Power Meters

 • power detection

Noise Figure Meter
Vector Signal Analyzer

 • basic introduction

Measurement Uncertainties

 • mismatch uncertainty • systematic errors in VNA measurements • VNA calibration • instrument-generated distortion products

Measurements of Non-connectorized devices

 • de-embedding • alternate calibration types: TRL • fixturing

Part 4 – System Components

Phase Locked Oscillator

 • principles of operation • phase noise – measurement techniques – impacts of phase noise on sytem performance


 • modulation basics • principles of operation • 1 dB compression point for active devices • output spectrum of upconverter

Power Amplifier

 • principles of operation • 1 dB compression point, saturation • AM to PM distortion • harmonics


 • description of antenna types • dBi, dBd gain parameters


 • common filter types – Butterworth, Chebychev, Gaussian • transfer function • inband loss • match • bandwidth • group delay

Noise and Noise Figure

 • definition of thermal noise • definition of noise figure • techniques for measuring noise figure – Y-factor technique – cold-source

Low Noise Amplifiers

 • principles of operation • noise figure • intermodulation products • S-parameters – input vs. output match • 1 dB compression point


 • principles of operation • image noise from LNA

Intermodulation products

 • how intermodulation products are produced • definition of IP3 • definition of IP2

Overall Receiver Performance

 • typical overall receiver performance • cascaded noise figure, IP3 • SFDR Spur Free Dynamic Range

The contents shown are subject to change.