Take a course in Communications and SDR this Summer

Over at Stanford University, John Gill and Nicholas Broad have uploaded their foundation course on Analog and Digital Communication systems. This course covers the fundamental principles underlying the analysis, design, and optimization of analog and digital communication systems. Pretty cool stuff- especially since the the labs for this course are based on software-defined radio. Specifically the amazing RTL-SDR.

They provide an overview of how to get started with the RTL-SDR on Windows and Mac to process FM signals.

Tuning into an FM station with RTL-SDR

You can load the data captured from RTL-SDR into MATLAB, and then write your own scripts or m-files to extract the signals you are interested in. If you don’t have MATLAB, the same can be done for free with Scilab – an open source equivalent.

They also prescribe a text book on digital and analog communication systems to go with the course

The course covers the fundamentals of signal processing, analog and digital modulation and ends with error correction codes. All in all a very interesting course and with the RTL-SDR you get practical insight into all of the above concepts.

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