Course Overview

Welcome to ECE 445! If you've looked at the course Calendar, you've probably already noticed that this class is quite different from most other classes in the department. The class only meets as a whole for the first few weeks of the semester. During these lectures you will meet the Course Staff, learn about specific assignments, requirements, and resources for the course, and have a chance to meet other students to share ideas and form teams. These are some of the most important weeks for the class since the decisions you make during this time will determine what you'll get out of this class and, in many ways, how much you'll enjoy it.

Outside of lecture, you are expected to be working on your own to develop ideas and form teams. You are also expected to actively participate on the Piazza discussion board to exchange ideas, receive feedback from course staff, and eventually get your project idea approved. Once your team has a project approved, you will be assigned a TA, with whom you will have weekly meetings. Think of your TA as a project manager. Keep in mind that they are not there to do the work for you. Rather, they are there to keep you on track, point you towards resources (both within and outside of the department), and evaluate the result of your efforts.

Expectations and Requirements

We have high expectations for students participating in ECE 445. You are soon to be alumni of one of the top ECE departments of the world. Our alumni hold themselves to high technical and professional standards of conduct. In general, projects are expected to be safe, ethical, and have a level of design complexity commensurate with the rigor of the ECE Illinois curriculum. Requirements for specific assignments due throughout the semester can be found by looking through the Grading Scheme for the course. Please read through this documentation well before each assignment is due. Specific due dates can be found on the course Calendar.

Below are a few words of wisdom to keep in mind throughout the semester to increase your enjoyment and success in the course:

RFI Detector

Jamie Brunskill, Tyler Shaw, Kyle Stevens

RFI Detector

Featured Project

Problem Statement:

Radio frequency interference from cell phones disrupts measurements at the radio observatory in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. Many visitors do not comply when asked to turn their phones off or put them in airplane mode.


We are planning to design a handheld device that will be able to detect radio frequency interference from cell phones from approximately one meter away. This will allow someone to determine if a phone has been turned off or is in airplane mode.

The device will feature an RF front end consisting of antennas, filters, and matching networks. Multiple receiver chains may be used for different bands if necessary. They will feed into a detection circuit that will determine if the power within a given band is above a certain threshold. This information will be sent to a microcontroller that will provide visual/audible user feedback.

Project Videos