An ECE student team under the supervision of Dr. Jeffery Nanzer, Dennis P. Nyquist Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, won the first place in the Student Design Contest at the 2018 IEEE International Antennas and Propagation Symposium (IEEE AP-S), which was held in Boston, Massachusetts, USA July 8-13, 2018. The MSU team consisted of two undergraduate students, Anton Schlegel and Justin Opperman, as well as two graduate students, Pratik Chatterjee and William Stevens, from the ECE department. Congratulations!
This year’s annual IEEE Antennas and Propagation Symposium Student Design contest had students design and build a radio system that could locate a 5 GHz radio transmitter and sound a radio channel in real time. Six finalist teams were selected from around the world and given funds to build their proposed design. A presentation and competitive “foxhunt” occurred at the AP-S conference in Boston, allowing each team to showcase the various aspects of their design. The system designed by the MSU team is based on the theory of an additive interferometer and has a custom interferometric antenna configuration with a single low-cost software-defined radio (SDR) serving as the receiver. The system can tune to the frequencies within the 5GHz ISM band (5.725 - 5.875 GHz) and can switch between two baselines or a single antenna. The narrow baseline used a shared patch antenna with each antenna separated by λ/2 (at 5.875 GHz), and enable coarse estimates of the transmitter location. The wide baseline consists of two patch antennas separated by about 4.77λ (at 5.875 GHz), which allowed for high-accuracy location following the coarse estimation. By using a standard omnidirectional antenna and the narrow baseline, the team could sound the channel and get close to the transmitter by monitoring the power density spectrum using a real-time waterfall plot. The system can also be used to detect any multipathing from the transmitter by generating a delay spread profile of the transmitted bit sequence. At the competition, the MSU team was able to successfully sound the channel and was the first team to locate the transmitter. They earned first place in the competition. Their work will be published in a future edition of the IEEE Antennas and Propagation Magazine.