Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Who are you and what do you do?
  2. How can you help my project/company?
  3. Which clients/companies have you supported in the past?
  4. Who is this guy Chris Angove?
  5. Can I have a copy of Chris's CV?
  6. Why should I use your services instead of company X?
  7. What sort of work has FCL done for previous clients?
  8. What about note keeping and documentation?
  9. How can you ensure we retain the skills learnt whilst you are with us?
  10. How can I be sure of confidentiality?
  11. What is your company philosophy?
  12. Do you provide services directly or through an agency?
  13. How much will you charge?
  14. Why can't you give me more details on your work with client X?
  15. What facilities do you have?
  16. What policies do you have in place for protection of the environment?

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  1. Who are you and what do you do?

    Chris Angove is represented to clients by Faraday Consultancy Limited (FCL), which was formed in 1994, and is also owned and managed by Chris Angove (telephone +44 (0) 20 8249 0957 or +44 (0) 7989-305995). The company is registered in England and Wales (registration number 2938426) and is registered for Value Added Tax (VAT registration number GB 623 4028 72). FCL provides high calibre professional engineering support to client companies across many electronics disciplines including RF and microwave design and development, broadcast and communications engineering, telecommunications, radar and defence systems engineering. FCL has supported clients' projects for both commercial and defence equipment at many levels from hands-on circuit design through to major systems implementation. If required, Chris either already has, or is qualified to get, security clearance from the appropriate authorities.

  2. How can you help my project/company?

    In today's competitive environment, project managers are faced with challenging project milestones. Promises made to the customer must be met. Personal commitments, the company's reputation and ultimately peoples' jobs are at risk. FCL can help strengthen such teams at short notice and make these goals realistically achievable. FCL has already supported many clients like these and has successfully achieved similar objectives. FCL can bring a set of core skills built up over many years working in similar industries. Just as important, FCL's representative, Chris Angove, is a very approachable engineer and enjoys working with his peers in these environments.

  3. Which Clients/Companies have you supported in the past?

    FCL has supported the following clients:
    Motorola (GSM Products Division), Arqiva (Terrestrial Media Solutions), ERA Technology, Thales (Land and Joint Systems), Safran Power, Plextek, C-MAC Micro Technology, Cubic Transportation Systems, Cable and Wireless, Marconi Radar Systems, Astrium Systems, Marconi Space and Defence Systems, Thorn EMI Electronics, Marconi Communication Systems, Nokia Telecommunications, GEC Marconi Communications, Redifon-MEL, GEC Marconi Electro-Optics, Avanti Communications, Allen Vanguard UK, ITT Defence, Thales Defence (Airborne Systems), Alcatel Submarine Networks, Raytheon Systems, BAE Systems, EADS-Astrium.

  4. Tell me about this guy Chris Angove?

    Chris has had a passion for all aspects of electrical and electronics engineering from his childhood. He was brought up in Cornwall and went to The Humphry Davy Grammar School at Penzance, after which he completed a telecommunications course with Cable and Wireless followed by secondment for 2 years to the Emirates Telecommunications Corporation at the Dubai Satellite Ground Station, United Arab Emirates. There he was on the 24-hour duty engineering team and performed regular maintenance and installation duties on the live international telecommunications equipment. The hardware included C-band cooled microwave low noise amplifiers, satellite receivers, modulators, upconverters, high power amplifiers , uninterruptable power supplies, control/monitoring hardware and the antenna tracking equipment. His tasks included maintenance of the station right down to the three phase solid-state inverters, diesel generator sets, air-conditioning plants, ambient temperature and humidity recording. He also supported the maintenance at the nearby terrestrial site, whose services included VHF terrestrial, tropospheric scatter, microwave line-of-sight and cable terminal equipment. During the quiet periods on night duty he chose to study and to further advance his understanding of electrical engineering and communications.

    When he returned to the UK he left Cable and Wireless and joined Marconi Space and Defence Systems (MSDS) as a sponsored student on an honours degree (thin sandwich) course in Electrical and Electronics Engineering. He specialised in space hardware development at C and Ku bands and completed his honours degree with an upper second. After a few years at MSDS he moved to Thorn EMI Electronics where he joined the radiation laboratory and worked on the design and development of various millimetre wave components, at the same time successfully completing an MSc in Microwaves and Modern Optical Engineering at University College London. Over the next few years he held various senior engineering positions with several leading corporates. Because of his particularly broad experience he decided to market himself independently as a freelance professional engineer in 1994. Since then he has supported many clients in a number of roles from strengthening existing project teams specifically targeting and solving known design and production issues.

  5. Can I have a copy of Chris's CV?

    Certainly. Please contact Chris directly. His mobile on +44 (0) 7989 305995 would be easiest. He will delighted to send you one and to explain how he believes he (represented by FCL) can help you. To elaborate on his skills and answer any questions you may have, he will be very pleased to meet you face to face at a time and place convenient to you. Evidence of all the qualifications shown on the CV can of course be supplied.

  6. Why should I use your services instead of those from company X?

    Every contract has been a success: objectives met and exceeded, specifications met and exceeded, documentation delivered and a comprehensive set of engineering records and documents left with the client. All contracts to date have started at either 3 months or more and many were subsequently extended. But eventually of course all contracts have to end and Chris is delighted to have worked with all clients and has made many friends. RF and microwave engineering is a relatively small sector in the UK so names and reputations are remembered. In the case of FCL they are remembered for their hard work, reliability, high calibre and the consistently high level of professionalism delivered throughout the duration of the contract. FCL is also delighted to have supported several clients on more than one occasion, having been invited back to work on new projects, sometimes even to the same team as previously.

  7. What sort of work has FCL done for previous clients?

    This is a summary of the various types of work encountered to support clients:

    RF (HF/VHF/UHF) Design and Development, Tasks and Familiarity

    • Hands-on fault finding and debugging on multi-layer and mixed dielectric PCBs, surface mount down to 0402.
    • Evaluation of millimetre wave sources (phase noise, discrete spurii and output power) over temperature.
    • VCOs (negative resistance and Colpitts): development, improving performance, especially phase noise at low temperatures.
    • Basic oscillator circuits designed around bipolar transistors and JFETs: Colpitts, Clapp and Hartley architectures. [1], [2]
    • S-parameter measurements and applications including: Rollet stability factor, simultaneous conjugate match, narrowband and wideband matching. [3], [4], [5], [6], [7], [8], [9], [10].
    • Smith chart (Z, Y and YZ planes) analyses, interpretation and matching, distributed and lumped element.[11], [12], [13], [14], [15].
    • EMC compliance: emissions and susceptibility measurements. Development and test of mitigation measures.
    • High frequency Q-factor measurements and lumped reactive component selection.
    • Low noise amplifiers: bipolar and FET: GaAs MESFET, HEMT and PHEMT (NF circles and optimum source noise match).[19], [20].
    • Intermediate power amplifiers (few 10s of watts, class A linear, B and AB push-pull) at HF and VHF.
    • PIN diode attenuators (bridged-T, pi, single and dual device packages).
    • Frequency hopping synthesizer (E-GSM): reduced parts count, rationalised PCB layers, reduced cost and improved jitter performance.
    • PIN diode switches (high isolation) and phase shifters: performed detailed evaluation.
    • Microstrip, CPS, CPW and stripline/triplate controlled impedance lines (FR4 and Rogers/Duroid substrates): simulated and built.
    • Wideband transformers and baluns (HF/VHF): developed twisted wire and transmission line types on soft-ferrite formers (Sevick)
    • Space equipment hardware: development, evaluation and results analyses and processing (multi-port S-parameters).
    • Satellite ground station equipment: design and development (intermediate data rate C and Ku-band).
    • GPS receiver development (agile airborne application), bandpass sampling / undersampling.
    • Power combining/splitting: developed Wilkinson, branch line, Lange and rat race  / ring architectures.
    • IP3, P1dB, SFDR measurements, their interpretation and calculations when cascaded (Excel, ADS systems environment).
    • High speed ADC specification (Analog Devices, for bandpass and baseband sampling).
    • Dual modulus synthesizers: development, loop filters calculations, programming (Texas Instruments, formerly National Semiconductor, chipsets).
    • 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 (upgrade 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 and materials).
    • 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 (critical transmitter spurious measurements at HF).
    • Developed a Schottky diode envelope detector circuit and high slew-rate video stages for a radar receiver (Avago 282X).
    • 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.
    • EMC (BS EN 50121) and Low Voltage Directive (BS EN 60950) pre-compliance tests (railways environment).
    • Solar radiation performance testing of contactless card reader terminals (railway environment).

    Microwave, High Speed Digital and Millimetre Wave Design and Development

    • Alumina based microstrip development of GaAs FET LNAs (K/Ku-band space equipment).
    • High speed differentially excited balanced lines: design, measurements and analysis (Hall & Heck).
    • High speed low voltage differential signalling (LVDS) and current mode logic (CML) lines: design for minimised differential delay.
    • 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 at W-band).
    • Designed a range of dual mode (smooth conical) Potter horn antennas (for W-band 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 (MSc project).
    • Designed quasi-optic (Gaussian and Gauss-Laguere) structures for 2D and 3D monopulse tracking feeds (antenna feeds).
    • Developed probe based VNA interface (calibration and measurement) solutions.
    • Evaluated LNAs and downconverters using multi-chip modules.
    • Developed a precision VNA phase/amplitude interface (lens antenna measurements using the HP 8510).
    • Developed a set of antenna isolators for an ECM product that improved the receiver threshold by a minimum 20 dB wideband across SHF (X and K band).

    Supporting Skills and Experience

    • Switched mode power supplies (SMPS) buck/boost: specification, heat dissipation and mechanical (seaborne product, unusual voltages).
    • High current 28V aeronautical power generation and distribution (reliability and EMC mitigation).
    • ADC interfacing: anti-alias filtering, offset/gain setting (audio application and 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: (GP-IB/IEEE-488, RS232/422/485), PIO cards (National Instruments and Bluechip Technology).
    • Microchip Technology PIC24F PIC (16 bit) micro-controllers and DSP ICs: IDE and programming.

    Systems Level Development, Implementation and Operations

    • Improved terrestrial broadcast quality of service (QoS) figures for MF and VHF radio, UHF TV and DAB.
    • RF over optical fibre system development and implementation (DWDM, lambda = 1550 nm, seaborne application).
    • 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 seaborne demonstrator).
    • Proposed high level satellite payload DSP architectures to replace analogue ones (design study, presentation).
    • 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, 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 harmonic products (wide range of products).
    • Interfacing to SDH/SONET data rates (ECL, CML, LVDS on FEC modules with Reed Solomon 15/14 coding).
    • Specified a high stability, high reliability local oscillator distribution system (HF OTH calibration receiver).
    • Developed Fortran-77 program suite for digital LOS link performance predictions (from Smith ).
    • Authored worst case analysis (WCA) reports and failure mode, effects and criticality analyses (FMECA), (deliverable documentation).
    • Systems analysis support for performance improvement of an ELINT radar receiver (to zero-IF complex baseband).
    • Fading channel modelling under heavy LOS/NLOS multipath, multi-carrier OFDM WiMAX-like access.
    • Rayleigh and Rician fading models using Matlab-like environments (Octave and Freemat).
    • Co-site interference cancellation techniques.
    • Analysis of production test data, associated investigations and presentation of recommendations to improve the reliability of future test results.

    CAD Packages, Applications and Languages Experience

    • Microsoft Office: Word , Access, PowerPoint (2010)
    • Microsoft Excel 2010 with Analysis ToolPak and VBA
    • Visual Basic 6 and 2010
    • FrontPage 2003
    • Mathcad 15
    • Matlab R2015a
    • Visual Basic for Applications (VBA)
    • Agilent Advanced Design System (ADS) 2009
    • Microwave Office
    • Visio Professional 2010, Turbo-CAD 9
    • Microsoft Access 2002 database management system
    • Altium Designer (Viewer)
    • Ansoft Designer 2.2.0 and HFSS
    • Mentor Graphics (Unix)
    • Eagleware/Genesys 2005
    • ANSI-C (David Himmel)
    • Microsoft Visual C++ (2010)
    • Ubuntu 14.04 (Linux)
    • Lubunu 13.04 (Linux)
    • Easy PC 5.0, ViewDraw 7.5.3, CircuitCAM, Cadstar Viewer
    • Aplac 6.10
    • Microsoft PowerPoint 2002

    Project Management, Documentation and Presentations

    • Product lifecycle management.
    • Authorship of customer deliverable and formally configured design proving specifications, test plans, test specifications and requirements definitions.
    • Writing application notes, user manuals, datasheets.
    • Presentations: technical to specialists, critical peer groups and senior management. Engineering support 'point of contact'.
    • Day to day technical notes, formal and informal progress reports (registered engineering logbooks).

    Test, Evaluation and Results Processing 

    • Multiport S-parameter (full complex) measurement processing using VBA: gain, return loss / VSWR, microwave test results processing and analysis.
    • Assessing Rollet stability, group delay (Excel with analysis Toolpak 2002, complex functions).
    • AM noise, phase noise and jitter measurements (HP/Agilent 3048) [16], [17], [18].
    • Electrical performance evaluation over temperature and vacuum.
    • Conducted emissions and susceptibility, performance correction measures (MIL-STD-462D).
    • Radiated emissions and susceptibility, with debugging (MIL-STD-462D).
    • PLL lock time measurements (synthesizer phase lock and frequency lock).

    Test Equipment Familiarity

    • Vector and scalar network analyzers: HP/Agilent (many), Rohde & Schwarz (ZVB 8).
    • S-parameter test sets including coupling for high power characterisations.
    • Power meters including slow and fast sensors.
    • Spectrum analyzers (conventional and real time) HP/Agilent 4402B, Tektronix 6106A.
    • Signal (modulation) sources (personality types).
    • High speed digital storage oscilloscopes: LeCroy SDA 3010,
    • Noise figure meters and analysers (SSB, DSB, with and without frequency conversion).
    • Precision reflectometers and test jigs.
    • Automatic test equipment control (GP-IB/HP-IB, National Instruments PCI and USB interfaces).

    Ongoing Research

    • High speed baseband transmission.
    • Embedded C and assembly language (Microchip ,microcontrollers)
    • Digital signal processing (key techniques including fast Fourier transforms).
    • Coded orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (COFDM).
    • Wi-Fi(IEEE 802.11)and WiMAX(IEEE 802.16).
    • Software defined radio.
    • Newer semiconductor technologies: HEMT, PHEMT, LDMOS, GaN.
    • High efficiency power amplifier classes (D, G, H, S) and architectures (Doherty).
  8. What about note keeping and documentation?

    FCL strictly follows the day to day notes recording and documentation requirements of the client. Usually the engineer will keep a registered engineering log book in which are detailed notes on the day to day work: equipment setups and serial numbers; contact details of suppliers, sources of information (references to websites, textbooks, papers, equations etc.); test results summaries and calculations. These will be left with the client when FCL's engineer leaves. FCL's policy on note keeping is to record sufficiently detailed notes in such a way that tests, investigations etc. can be repeated reliably at a later date after FCL has left. FCL has received many positive comments about the detail and high quality of both its routine note keeping and the formal reports that it has produced.

    FCL regards the production of quality documentation a critical part of all contracts. FCL's documents are relevant, concise, free from waffle, repetition and unnecessary words. Perhaps with the exception of Ohm's Law, no formula is stated without references to reputable text books and/or recognised papers. High skill levels of the common word processing, spreadsheet and graphics applications are maintained to generate these. Quite often a client's milestone payments are conditional upon the delivery of well written and correctly configured documents, acceptable to the customer. FCL has experience in writing most types of deliverable specifications (requirements, design proving, test, acceptance) for many types of equipment. It is also skilled in writing in the styles normally required for application notes and user manuals.

  9. How can we be sure that we will retain the skills and knowledge gained whilst you are with us?

    The client will benefit both from the skills that FCL has built up over years working in similar industries and from the privately funded R&D work FCL engages in to prepare for future contracts. Furthermore, unless the client requires otherwise, FCL will leave a set of very comprehensive documents with the client. On most contracts one of the client's senior engineers or project managers works directly with FCL's representative to ensure that the best possible support is given. Quite often FCL's support covers a period whilst the client is searching to fill a permanent staff position covering similar responsibilities. Once the new employee is found, FCL can work with him/her to ensure everything required is transferred, hardware demonstrated, questioned answered etc.. To increase the handover time another option might be to extend the duration of the contract and at the same time to benefit from the reduced rate that FCL can offer for a longer engagement.

  10. How can I be sure of confidentiality?

    FCL respects the clients' proprietary work and assumes the highest level of confidentiality. Always. FCL is happy to sign any reasonably worded confidentiality agreement with the client.

  11. What is your company philosophy?

    To provide a consistently delivered and highly professional service.

  12. Do you provide services directly or through an agency?

    Either. If either the client contacts FCL directly or vice versa, and this results in FCL providing the client with services, FCL will normally invoice the client directly. An exception might be in the unlikely event that FCL has a current exclusivity agreement with a particular agent relating to that client. If that is not the case, then no agency will be involved. The client would therefore save any fees that it might have had to pay to an agency. However FCL recognises that many clients have already outsourced all or part of their human resources and may have a list of appointed agencies to handle their recruitment requirements. In these cases FCL will work through the third party nominated.

  13. How much will you charge?

    A competitive market rate. This may be per hour, per day or milestone based, whichever the client prefers. FCL can offer a discount for a longer engagement (the 6 months' rate will be cheaper than the 3 months'). The savings in time and travelling expenses for any off-site work will be passed on to the client by way of a reduced rate for the periods concerned. Of course, these will also contribute to reduced traffic congestion, emissions, less damage to the environment and extra available time to support the client which would otherwise have been spent travelling.

  14. Why can't you give me more details on your work with client X?
  15. The details of FCL's work with all clients are strictly confidential, even if no formal confidentiality agreement has been signed. If a prospective client wishes to get in contact with one of FCL's previous clients then FCL will contact the former client and, once permission is given, pass on their contact details.

  16. What facilities do you have?
  17. FCL runs a laboratory equipped for electronics design and development work currently up to about 6 GHz. For higher frequencies, test equipment is hired as required. Many clients prefer FCL's representative to work on their site but FCL can offer cost savings for any work that can be performed away from the clients site. Off-site arrangements would typically include agreed hours of work, full contact information and regular progress reports by teleconference or email and perhaps weekly face to face meetings. This of course results in saving the client's resources in additional to protection of the environment by avoiding unnecessary travelling.

  18. What policies do you have in place for protection of the environment?

    When on the clients' site, FCL will of course comply with the clients environmental policies.

    FCL's own environmental policy includes the following:

    • Using public and other energy efficient transport instead of car travel, wherever this is possible. (For two local contracts extending to more than 3 years, the transport for travelling to and from the client's site was a bicycle.)
    • Working with the client to allow, where possible, travelling during off-peak times.
    • Using wake-on-LAN (WOL) and virtual private network (VPN) technology to use the IT facilities of FCL whilst away from the office.
    • Retaining technical papers and articles in searchable electronic form.
    • Adopting an in-house repair policy for electronic equipment wherever possible.
    • Donating obsolete but serviceable equipment for educational purposes.
    • Recycling electronic components for development work.
    • Avoiding unnecessary travelling to meetings where the process can be undertaken by email, telephone or fax.
REFERENCES
  1. Gonzalez, Guillermo; Microwave Transistor Amplifiers - Second Edition, Prentice Hall, New Jersey, pp. 411-413.
  2. Malvino, Albert Paul Ph.D.; Electronic Principles, Tata McGraw-Hill Publishing, New Deli, pp. 544 - 546, (1982).
  3. Gonzalez (op. cit.)
  4. ; pp. 240 - 247.
  5. Pozar, David M.; Microwave Engineering - Third Edition, John Wiley & Sons Inc. pp. 543 - 548.
  6. Vendelin, George D.
  7. ; Design of Amplifiers and Oscillators by the S-Parameter Method, John Wiley & Sons, pp. 20 - 24 (1982).
  8. Gonzalez (op. cit.); pp 240 - 247.
  9. Pozar (op. cit.); pp 222 - 227.
  10. Vendelin (op. cit.); pp 24 - 26.
  11. Gonzalez (op. cit.); pp 112 - 141.
  12. Vendelin (op. cit.); pp 27 - 35.
  13. Kennedy, George; Electronic Communication Systems; McGraw-Hill Kogakusha Ltd.; pp 228 - 239.
  14. Pozar (op. cit.); pp 64 - 69.
  15. Gonzalez (op. cit.); pp 93 - 112.
  16. Vendelin (op. cit.)
  17. ; pp 71 - 91.
  18. Chipman, Robert A.; Transmission Lines, Schaum's Outline Series in Engineering, McGraw-Hill Book Company, pp 71 - 91.
  19. Robins, W. P.; Phase Noise in Signal Sources, Peter Peregrinus Ltd.
  20. Gardner, Floyd M.; Phaselock Techniques - Second Edition; John Wiley & Sons; pp 100 - 105.
  21. Carlson, A. Bruce et. al.; Communication Systems, An Introduction to Signals and Noise in Electrical Communication - International Edition; McGraw-Hill Higher Education; pp 425 - 426.
  22. Gonzalez (op. cit.); pp 299 - 321.
  23. Pozar (op. cit.); pp 557 - 561.

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Chris Angove
Telephone 020 8249 0957 / 07989-305995

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