Electrical Engineering 142 — Integrated Circuits for Communications (4 Units)

Course Overview


EE142 is an introduction on designing circuits pertaining to communication and wireless systems. It aims to provide a fundamental and practical understanding of the factors which must be considered when meeting specifications for such circuits, as well as design experience. The format of this class is comparable to that of EE141 and EECS150, though the content differs.

From the course catalog: Analysis and design of electronic circuits for communication systems, with an emphasis on integrated circuits for wireless communication systems, and noise and distortion in amplifiers with application to radio receiver design. Power amplifier design with application to wireless radio transmitters.


  • EE120
  • EE140

Topics Covered

  • High frequency amplifiers
  • Distortion in amplifiers and its reduction
  • Power amplifiers (Class A, B, and C)
  • Mixers (frequency converters), Bipolar, FET and IC realizations
  • Oscillator analysis
  • Analog multipliers and phase-locked loops
  • AM and FM detectors


Course Work

  • Midterms and final exam
  • Labs
  • Weekly problem sets
  • Final project

Time Commitment

There are 3 hours of lecture, 3 hours of lab, and 1 hour of discussion per week. The problem sets may take anywhere between 5 and 15 hours per week and the lab reports (usually 3 or 4) will take up an entire weekend at least to write-up. With the addition of the final project, expect to dedicate a vast majority of the entire semester on this course.

Choosing the Course

When to take

As mentioned before, this is a very time-consuming, lab-based design course with heavy emphasis on the project. As such, this class would best be taken during junior or senior year, concurrently with relatively lighter classes. Based solely on the pre-requisites for this course, EE140 and EE120 require EE20, EE40, and EE105, which is a strong indicator of exactly how high of a level this course is.

What next?

  • EE242A: Integrated Circuits for Communication (graduate level version EE142)
  • EECS151: Components and Design Techniques for Digital Systems

Usefulness for Research or Internships

“For every 100 Electrical Engineers who know how to design digital circuits, there are 10 who know how to design analog circuits, and at most 1 who knows how to design RF circuits.” -Professor Kristofer Pister

Additional Comments/Tips

While the course overall is not a light load, the latter half of the class - when the final project is usually introduced - is especially time consuming and rigorous (much like EECS150, for reference). It is highly recommended that this be the only project-based or design class in anyone’s schedule for reasons pertaining to sanity and well-being. As with any circuits design class, sufficient knowledge of knowing how to run simulations and use lab equipment is imperative.

As there is limited information about this course, it is highly recommended (as with all courses that are tailored to a specific field) to talk to the professor who is scheduled to teach the course and directly discuss with him or her what the course will entail. Although we provide course guides, these only scratch the surface of what the course can really offer, and the professor can give you a better idea of what to expect.