Faraday Consultancy Limited
Faraday Consultancy Limited (FCL) is a private limited company registered in England and Wales, Company Registration Number 2938426, VAT Registration Number GB 623 4028 72 and owned by Chris Angove.
The resulting plasma discharges like this from lightning can contain energies in the order of gigajoules and have durations of microseconds. The electrical impulse noise generated creates RF noise with a spectra across many megahertz, typically causing significant interference to communications equipment over a wide area. For digital communications, this would cause burst errors to degrade the bit error rate (BER). Some BER mitigation might be possible with error correction algorithms. Communications equipment close to such discharges may be damaged or destroyed.

Skills, Experience and Capabilities

The following paragraphs summarise some of the assignments successfully completed and experience gained by FCL to date. Every assignment has received at least two weeks' uninterrupted effort. Over 50% of the work was undertaken whilst supporting clients, the remainder privately funded by FCL. More information is available from Chris Angove's own site.

1. RF Design, Development and Test

  • Hands-on fault finding and debugging of multi-layer FR4 and Rogers® PCBs, surface mount to 0402.
  • VCOs (negative resistance Colpitts types): development, improving performance across temperature.
  • Basic oscillator circuits designed around both bipolar transistors and JFETs: Colpitts, Clapp and Hartley architectures.
  • S-parameter measurements: design and conversion to/from T-parameters, including: gain, return loss, VSWR, isolation, Rollet stability factor, matching and de-embedding cable effects.
  • Smith chart measurements: (Z, Y and YZ), analyses, interpretation and matching, distributed and lumped elements.
  • Vector network analyzer Q-factor and tan delta measurements: reactive component selection.
  • Low noise amplifiers: bipolar and FET: GaAs MESFET, HEMT and PHEMT (NF circles and optimum source noise match).
  • Power amplifiers (few 10s of watts, class A linear, B and AB push-pull) at HF and VHF.
  • PIN diode attenuators, absorptive (bridged-T, pi, single and dual device packages) and reflective (λ/4 spaced).
  • Frequency hopping synthesizer (E-GSM): reduced parts count, improved grounding, rationalised PCB layers, reduced cost and improved performance.
  • PIN diode switches (high isolation) and phase shifters: performed detailed evaluation.
  • Microstrip, CPS, CPW and stripline/triplate controlled impedance lines (FR4 and Rogers® substrates): simulated (ADS®) and built.
  • Wideband transformers/baluns: developed twisted wire and transmission line types on high frequency (NiZn) ferrite formers.
  • Space equipment hardware: development, evaluation, results analyses and processing (multi-port S-parameters).
  • Satellite ground station equipment, design and development: intermediate data rate (QPSK) over C-band and Ku-band.
  • GPS receiver development (ECCM application), including bandpass sampling (undersampling).
  • Power combining/splitting: developed Wilkinson, branch line, Lange and rat race / ring architectures on FR4 microstrip.
  • IP3, P1dB, SFDR measurements, their interpretation and calculations (Excel®, ADS® and MATLAB® RF Toolbox®).
  • High speed ADC specification: Analog Devices®, for bandpass and baseband sampling.
  • Dual modulus synthesizers: development, loop filter calculations, programming (Texas Instruments® LM2306).
  • Fractional N synthesizers: new (reduced size) die evaluation (GSM 900 MHz basestations).
  • Dual loop synthesizers: upgrade from switched crystal oscillators (reduced power, weight, space; airborne application, VHF/UHF).
  • Legacy (navigational) receiver upgrade: improved and rationalised RF layout, reduced parts count (upgraded a module supplied 20 years earlier).
  • Passive (LC) sampling bandpass filter design from scratch at HF/VHF using filter tables (Williams - Taylor).
  • Characterisation of 'soft' ferrite materials for VHF (Siemens/EPCOS®), Fair-rite: various geometries).
  • Designed directional couplers for VSWR monitoring at VHF and UHF (portable transceiver application).
  • Design of high isolation double balanced mixers: ferrite torroids, VHF LO (large HF OTH radar system).
  • Design of a high Q absorptive notch filter (near-to-carrier transmitter spurious measurements at HF).
  • Developed a Schottky diode envelope detector circuit and high slew-rate video stages for a radar receiver.
  • Designed a constant delay slope video low pass filter (for high percentage bandwidth IF detection).
  • Evaluated successive detection logarithmic video amplifiers (SDLVAs) and specified improved versions at half the original cost.
  • 2.4 GHz ISM band wireless networks: developed IEEE 802.15.4 control and monitoring solutions.
  • Performed pre-compliance DO-160 (19/20/21) design and test (LED lighting product).
  • Analyses on-air PHY and MAC level wireless packets using Wireshark 2.2.0® (IEEE 802.15.4).
  • Developed an active load for CCD readout electronics (space hardware).

2. Microwave and Millimetre Wave Design and Development

  • Alumina and Rogers® based microstrip development of GaAs FET LNAs (K/Ku-band space equipment).
  • SSPA and TWTA specifications: their interpretation (power handling and efficiency, space platform system).
  • Space hardware receivers: evaluation and development (TV broadcast satellite).
  • Lange couplers, branchline couplers (design and evaluation), Ku-band mixers.
  • Designed Cassegrain and front-fed parabolic reflector antennas and evaluated them (far field Q-band).
  • Designed a range of dual mode (smooth conical) Potter horn antennas (for Q-band two dimensional Gaussian illumination).
  • Designed and developed various passive millimetre wave waveguide structures using electro-formation techniques.
  • Beam waveguides: via refractive (polyethylene lenses) and ellipsoid reflective transmission.
  • Designed quasi-optic (Gaussian and Gaussian-Laguerre) antenna feed structures for transmission of 2D and 3D monopulse tracking.
  • Developed a precision VNA phase/amplitude interface (lens antenna measurements using the HP 8510® network analyzer).
  • Developed a set of absorptive antenna isolators for an ECM product that improved the receiver threshold by a at least 20 dB across X-band and K-band.

3. Non-RF

  • Implemented a AES-CCM-128 (NIST) encryption algorithm for a demonstrator using MATLAB 2016b®.
  • DC-DC converters (SMPS): specification, heat dissipation and mechanical (seaborne product, unusual voltages).
  • ADC interfacing: anti-alias filtering, offset/gain setting (spectrum analyzer interface).
  • Linear low power regulators: general specification and use.
  • Design of audio amplifiers, buffer circuits and general purpose operational amplifier circuits.
  • DC power reduction techniques for battery operation, component selection for variety reduction (low-cost portable transceiver application).
  • Interfacing to PC architecture: (GPIB/IEEE-488, RS232/422/485), PIO cards (National Instruments® and Bluechip Technology®).
  • Microchip Technology® PIC 24F and 32MX (16/32 bit) micro-controllers and DSP ICs: MPLAB XIDE IDE® programming/debug.

4. System Level Hardware

  • Improved terrestrial broadcast quality of service figures for MF and VHF radio, UHF TV and DAB.
  • RF over optical fibre (indirect modulation) system development and implementation (DWDM, λ = 1550 nm, submarine optical).
  • RF over optical fibre (direct modulation) debugging and evaluation (full duplex, λ = 1550 nm and 1310 nm): coverage extension solutions for digital cellular 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE services.
  • Specification and evaluation of fibre optic components: EDFAs, Mach Zehnder optical intensity modulators, circulators, WDM filters (add-drop multiplexers), laser diode sources and control ICs (RF over optical fibre demonstrator).
  • Proposed high level satellite payload DSP architectures to replace analogue ones (design study, presentation).
  • Investigated multiple port amplifiers, as an alternative to switched redundancy on satellite payloads (design study and presentation).
  • Proposed high level active transmit and receive antenna arrays to replace passive antennas (X/Ku bands study and presentation).
  • HF over-the-horizon radar systems: receiver and LO distribution, provided design support and implementation.
  • Provided engineering support for communication equipment proposals: transportable digital tropospheric scatter equipment, microwave LOS links, HF broadcast stations, satellite receivers and IF group delay equalisers.
  • Propagation studies and performance predictions for HF channels, VHF (Bullington), tropospheric scatter and microwave LOS/diffraction links.
  • Frequency planning to manage intermodulation distortion and wide range harmonic products.
  • Interfacing to SDH/SONET data rates: ECL, CML, LVDS on FEC modules with Reed Solomon 15/14 coding (submarine optical fiber terminals).
  • Specified a high stability, high reliability local oscillator distribution system (HF OTH calibration receiver).
  • Developed program suite for digital LOS link performance predictions.
  • Authored deliverable worst case analysis (WCA) reports and failure mode, effects and criticality analyses (FMECA).
  • Systems analysis support for performance improvement of an electronics intelligence (ELINT) radar receiver (to zero-IF complex baseband).
  • Developed Rayleigh and Rician multipath fading models using Matlab®.
  • Co-site interference cancellation techniques.

5. ADCs, DSP, other Hardware and Software

  • Developed analog signal conditioning operational amplifier circuits to interface Burr Brown ADS7805 16 bit ADC® (100 ksps).
  • Specified wideband balun ADC interfacing for bandpass sampling (undersampling) ADC (Minicircuits®, Analog Devices®).
  • Developed Excel® tools to convert between jitter and phase noise (VCO).
  • ADC parameters (investigation, Analog Devices®): resolution, quantisation noise, sampling, phase noise, dithering, integrated non-linearity, differential non-linearity, coding, multiple carry, windowing, spectral leakage, coding, FFT.

6. CAD Packages, Applications and Programming Languages

(The registered trademarks of all of the products listed below are respected).

  • Microsoft Office Professional 2019: Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Windows 10 Professional 64-bit
  • Mathcad 15
  • Visual Basic 2015 Express
  • Agilent Advanced Design System (ADS) 2009
  • Microwave Office 2012
  • Ansoft Designer 2.2.0
  • Visio Professional 2019
  • Mentor Graphics (Unix)
  • Eagleware/Genesys 2005
  • ANSI-C (David Himmel)
  • Visual C++ 2015 Express
  • Visual Basic 2015 Express
  • Altium 2012 Viewer
  • Simetrix 7.10
  • MathCad 15
  • MATLAB 2019b
  • MATLAB Toolboxes and Applications:
    • Antenna Toolbox Version 4.1
    • Communications Toolbox Version 7.2
    • Simulink Version 10.0
    • Control System Toolbox Version 10.7
    • DSP System Toolbox Version 9.9
    • Data Acquisition Toolbox Version 4.0.1
    • Instrument Control Toolbox Version 4.1
    • Parallel Computing Toolbox Version 7.1
    • Phased Array System Toolbox Version 4.2
    • RF Blockset Version 7.3
    • RF Toolbox Version 3.7
    • Signal Processing Toolbox Version 8.3
    • Simscape Version 4.7
    • Simscape Electrical Version 7.2
    • Simulink Control Design Version 5.4
    • Spreadsheet Link Version 3.4.2
    • Symbolic Math Toolbox Version 8.4