Book Review

RF and Baseband Techniques for Software Defined Radio

Peter B. Kenington
Artech House, 2005 (338 pages)


In the past decade, handheld wireless devices such as cell phones have become phenomenally popular. The plethora of modulation schemes and bandplans for different systems has prompted interest in finding ways to implement some of a cell phone's functions in software. This book, written for RF electrical engineers, tries to address this issue.

Kenington is extremely knowledgeable and a skilled lecturer. However, the book is misleadingly titled. There is actually very little in this book that specifically pertains to software-defined radio. The emphasis is mostly on analog RF sections; there is no discussion of software or modulation techniques, and no information on detectors or modulation and demodulation by software. There is only a brief mention of digital components such as FPGAs and processors that would be needed for software-defined radios.

Throughout the book, the author stays tightly focused on the main theme: how to minimize interference and IF images with a minimum of expensive, bulky hardware, and how to deal with issues such as phase noise and nonlinearity. He describes the engineering considerations and design strategies for creating radios, concentrating on RF circuitry for receiving and transmitting. The book contains numerous block diagrams and graphs, as well as some important equations. Circuit diagram fragments are used occasionally to explain important concepts. An entire chapter is devoted to multi-band systems. The second half of the book focuses on transmitters.

This technology will undoubtedly become very important for the next several years, and will remain so until computer hardware becomes fast enough to handle RF signals directly. There are very few competing books on software radio. Although this book covers some important aspects of software radio design, a definitive work on the subject has yet to be written.

April 9, 2007 Back