Book/video (MIT courseware, whatever) recommendations?

Is there one or two books that give a pretty comprehensive, yet low base
communications/DSP knowledge requirement that would be a guided
walkthrough of waves and fields, various forms of modulation, carriers,
filters, sidebands, etc? I’m really looking for something that’s either
not a textbook, or not written like one- most textbooks are very dry and
hard to understand without someone guiding the experience and asking the
right questions. I realize the material is fairly dry, so I understand
that it’s not going to be a crichton novel, but the less crazy math and
algorithm intensive it is, the better.

Long story short, what’s a good way to get a more solid grasp of how
driving a DAC can create electromagnetic waves, and what can one do with
those waves. I’d really really like to walk away understanding how
complex numbers turn into constellations are really formed as an
electromagnetic wave, etc, and the real guts of some basic things like
FM and DSSS.

-Brett

I would suggest Telecommunication Breakdown by Johnson, Sethares, and
Klein.

It starts simple and builds up a complete modem, although it doesn’t
have much on the electromagnetic stuff.

Scott

Kunal K. wrote:

Is there one or two books that give a pretty comprehensive, yet
right questions. I realize the material is fairly dry, so I understand
FM and DSSS.

-Brett

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Scott Johnston
MIT Lincoln Laboratory
244 Wood Street, Lexington, MA 02420-9108
(781) 981-8196
[email protected]

It would be useful to know the background of whoever this would be for.
EE?
Computer Science? Familiarity with trigonometric functions and some
basic
calculus would be helpful for getting up to speed.

I would advise against the MIT courseware link… I found it overly
theoretical, and pretty much the exact thing you don’t want (crazy math
and
algorithms). Personally, I found the tutorials at this link from
SuggestedReading helpful, although I had studied some of the basics in
undergrad courses 10 years ago, so I had some background:
http://www.complextoreal.com/tutorial.htm

They’re not the most polished write-ups (some typos, formatting errors),
but
I found it easy to follow and the diagrams are very helpful, and may
meet
your criteria of not being too textbook-ish.

Kunal

On 02/22/2011 07:04 PM, Brett L. Trotter wrote:

Long story short, what’s a good way to get a more solid grasp of how
driving a DAC can create electromagnetic waves, and what can one do with
those waves. I’d really really like to walk away understanding how
complex numbers turn into constellations are really formed as an
electromagnetic wave, etc, and the real guts of some basic things like
FM and DSSS.

-Brett

The first few chapters of the ARRL handbook actually make a fairly good
introduction to
radio in general. Once you realize that an electronic circuit
oscillating at some frequency
can “launch” an EM wave into a suitably matched “antenna like thing”,
it’s not hard to see
how you can make that oscillation happen digitally, etc.

DSP/SDR uses digital representations of the underlying mathematics of
creating signals.
In the analog world, we use analog components to approximate (to
varying degrees of
fidelity) the mathematical transformations of radio communications.

Consider, very briefly, amplitude modulation:

You have a “carrier” frequency, at some Mhz, that is modulated in
amplitude by a much-lower-frequency audio wave.
In the analog world, you use a mixer to do this (with suitable
futzing-about that is nearly-always necessary in the
analog world). But once you realize that amplitude modulation is
nothing more than multiplication of two waveforms
(or, the digital representation of those waveforms), then AM becomes
quite trivial to generate.

Here’s a quick experiment you can try at home. Assuming you have
GnuPlot:

gnuplot> plot (sin(x*1000000)sin(x100))

You just plotted what amounts to a simple amplitude modulated signal,
where the “audio” frequency is a fraction of the carrier
frequency. It’s not that realistic, but it’s illustrative.


Marcus L.
Principal Investigator
Shirleys Bay Radio Astronomy Consortium
http://www.sbrac.org

I recently came across this, although I have not read it yet. They
happen to
have a mostly-complete version of their book for free download as well:
http://sethares.engr.wisc.edu/telebreak.html

Kunal

On Wed, Feb 23, 2011 at 8:28 AM, Scott Johnston

National Instruments also has some nice RF tutorials on their web site.

In particular, I found this one very helpful in understanding I/Q data:

http://zone.ni.com/devzone/cda/tut/p/id/4805

Warm regards,
James S. Blachly, MD

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