In this interview, we discuss to Ian Graham, author of the book, Designing RF Combining Systems for Shared Radio Sites. We discuss the motivation behind writing the book, the target audience, the most useful aspects of the book, the challenges of writing the book, and advice for other engineers who are considering writing a book.
Ian Graham is a seasoned RF (Radio Frequency) design professional with a wealth of experience spanning over 35 years in the field. His expertise covers a diverse range of industries, including Avionics, Military, Mission Critical (Public Safety & Utilities), and Commercial markets. Ian holds a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Electronics & Telecommunications with Distinction Grades from Basildon College of Further Education. With a lifelong dedication to advancing radio technology and a passion for sharing knowledge, Ian Graham continues to make a significant impact in the world of RF engineering. His contributions have shaped the way we communicate and connect in today’s interconnected world.
1. What was your main motivation behind writing your book?
To preserve the knowledge gained through decades of experience as this subject is becoming more and more critical in today’s crowded RF spectrum.
2. Who is the main target audience for your book and what will they appreciate the most about the book?
Professional Engineers and Technicians in Land Mobile Radio (LMR) companies, e.g. Tait Communications, Motorola, EF Johnson etc. Also, design consultants and LMR equipment dealers. The technical level of the material reviewed is at a level that can be grasped by engineers and technicians. It is at a level that can bring an intuitive understanding of the subject as well as its application to actual design work without getting bogged down in a lot of abstract mathematics. The education system teaching engineers and technicians is primarily focused on IT networks. There is little education focused on RF subjects such as this, which, added to the fact that the engineers and technicians designing the RF aspects of LMR systems are aging, is going to create a void in this area.
3. What do you see your book being most useful for?
Avoiding the pitfalls of interference at crowded radio sites and the design re-work that results. In other words, if you design your site RF systems without the knowledge of the other radio systems operating at the site, interference will occur which leads to loss of coverage (coverage is what a customer is paying for when they buy an LMR system), or worse still your system being shut down. The consequences of this are many hours of painstaking field testing and analysis to find the causes of interference at the affected sites, and then costly design rework to fix the problems. The design process in this book shows how to evaluate and consider the other radio systems operating at the site so that your finished design doesn’t cause or suffer from interference and so achieves maximum coverage at minimum cost. This aspect of LMR system design has become even more important as the pressure to co-locate more RF systems at sought after high radio repeater sites increases and the available radio spectrum gets more crowded.
4. How did you find the writing of the book? Do you have a specific process or are you quite methodical in your writing approach?
I have never written a book before. The idea came from some RF design training I used to do for the design engineers in the Tait Communications offices throughout the world. Many people who attended that training said to me “you should write a book on all this”!
5. What challenges did you face when writing the book and how did you overcome them?
Time was the biggest challenge, combining writing a book with a full-time job and a family. Writing little and often was the key, the book took nearly 3 years to write.
6. What advice would you give to other engineers who are considering writing a book?
Be disciplined. Decide what the point of your book is, determine the chapter headings that get you to that point, then write a short outline of each chapter. Once you have that, you can write little and often without losing track.
7. What are you working on next?
No plans yet, let’s see how this goes first.
Learn more about the book on our websites
More Mobile Communications content here Communications – Artech House Insider