RF testing - from the archives

Brought to you by The Wireless Heritage Group

The third in the Wireless Heritage SIG evening sessions, this engaging event will analyse 100 years of radio testing, its impact on network efficiency and the critical and evolving role of RF test in delivering efficiency improvements from 4G and 5G networks.

Registration for this event is now closed.

About the event

For over 100 years, RF test and measurement has been a critical component of radio network development. From the earliest days of the ‘dash for distance’, developing long wave and medium wave radio systems that could cover the globe through to modern day digital communication, delivery efficiency has been dependent on our ability to measure and manage radio waves and the information superimposed upon them. This evolution will be explored through examining the design of ‘classic’ test equipment produced by companies that now form part of Cobham Wireless, including examples from the Marconi Instruments archives.

This evening event will address the topic via a number of short presentations followed by an interactive panel session.


  • Signal generation from 1930 to 1990, the analogue years of transmitter and receiver testing -  Tony Rudkin, former Product Manager, Marconi Instruments
  • Signal analysis from 1930 to 1990, the analogue years of transmitter and receiver testing - Nigel Adams, Project Manager – Systems, Cobham Wireless
  • Paradigm shifts in RF testing beyond LTE: Lessons learnt and challenges ahead - Li-Ke Huang, Research & Technology Director, Cobham Wireless

You can follow @cambwireless on Twitter and tweet about this event using #CWHeritage.

Sponsored by VIAVI Solutions

Viavi Solutions helps network operators address their toughest network, application, and service performance challenges and successfully deploy the networks of tomorrow.

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The information supplied below may be subject to change before the event.


Registration and networking with refreshments


Introduction to Wireless Heritage SIG from Stirling Essex, Espansivo


Welcome from event sponsor, Speaker tbc, Cobham Wireless


Signal generation from 1930 to 1990, the analogue years of transmitter and receiver testing; Tony Rudkin, former Product Manager, Marconi Instruments

The talk will cover the developments in signal generators from the earliest commercial units of the 1930s through to the microprocessor controlled synthesizers of the 1990s. With the use of archive photographs it will trace the advances in design from the early reliance on mechanical engineering solutions based on vacuum tube technology, through the introduction of solid state components to the greater freedom afforded by programmable equipment. Engineering innovations in response to changing measurement and customer requirements will be highlighted and example equipment from the MI museum will be on display.




Signal analysis from 1930 to 1990, the analogue years of transmitter and receiver testing; Nigel Adams, Project Manager – Systems, Cobham Wireless

This presentation addresses the growing need for accuracy and capable measuring equipment that manufacturers found themselves requiring in the early years that led up to the Second World War. Prior to this, many of the equipment makers had their own in house department to provide their equipment needs. Around this time were the emergence of specialist makers of bespoke test equipment who could improve on the technical capability and compete with the internal cost of such activities. Similar to the talk on Signal Generators, this presentation will focus on standout designs of the time and the needs of the industry as technical challenges were overcome. Some example equipment from the MI museum will be on display.




Paradigm shifts in RF testing beyond LTE: Lessons learnt and challenges ahead; Li-Ke Huang, Research & Technology Director, Cobham Wireless

Cobham Wireless has been the market leading network infrastructure test solution provider since 3G, LTE to 4G. We are the thought-leader in enabling development tools and test technologies for wireless technology researches and advancements. We will share our experiences, observations and thoughts on the paradigm shifts and concept changes in the testing of the generation defining RF and wireless technologies beyond 4G towards 5G.




Panel session with all speakers chaired by SIG Champion, Geoff Varrall, RTT Online

Opportunity to view exhibits


Event Closes


Nigel Adams - Project Manager, VIAVI Solutions

Li-Ke Huang - Algorithms Group Leader, VIAVI Solutions

Tony Rudkin

SIG Champions

Stirling Essex - Director, Espansivo

Stirling Essex has over 25 years of product development, product management, strategic marketing and business development experience in many areas of wireless technology, and has been intimately involved in the development of test systems for GSM, CDMA (IS-95), 3G (W-CDMA) and LTE. He founded Espansivo, a technology consultancy specialising in helping organisations with their technology, product and business decisions, in 2005. Stirling was previously a co-champion of the CW Future Wide Area Wireless Special Interest Group and and was a member of the CW Board from 2004 to 2015.

Andy Sutton - BT Fellow & Principal Network Architect, BT

Andy Sutton is a BT Fellow and Principal Network Architect for Wireless Access. The wireless access domain includes 4G/5G RAN architecture and mobile backhaul/xhaul, along with microwave and millimetre wave radio systems, and satellite communications. Andy holds an MSc in Mobile Communications from the University of Salford and has over 35 years of experience within the telecommunications industry. Andy’s current research interests include advanced RAN coordination techniques, including C-RAN and OpenRAN, optical fibre and radio based backhaul/xhaul, along with LEO satellite communications and High-altitude Platform Systems (HAPS), all in the context of building resilient heterogeneous networks. Andy holds the post of Visiting Professor of Telecommunications at the University of Liverpool and the University of Salford, he is a Chartered Engineer and holds Fellowships from the IET, ITP and BCS. Andy sits on the editorial board of the ITP Journal and is a CW SIG Champion for eMBB and Wireless Heritage.

Geoff Varrall - Director, RTT Online

Geoff Varrall joined RTT in 1985 as an executive director and shareholder to develop RTT's international business as a provider of technology and business services to the wireless industry. He co-developed RTT's original series of design and facilitation workshops including 'RF Technology', 'Data Over Radio', 'Introduction to Mobile Radio', and 'Private Mobile Radio Systems and developed 'The Oxford programme', a five day strategic technology and market programme presented annually between 1991 and 2005. Geoff has been running in depth technology and market workshops for the industry for over 33 years, spanning five generations of mobile cellular technology. A co-author of the Mobile Radio Servicing Handbook (Heinemann Butterworth, UK), Data Over Radio, (Quantum Publishing, Mendocino, USA and 3G Handset and Network Design (John Wiley, New York). Geoff's fourth book, Making Telecoms Work – from technical innovation to commercial success (John Wiley) was published in early 2012 followed by 5G Spectrum and Standards published by Artech House in July 2016. His latest book 5G and Satellite Spectrum Standards and Scale is now available from Artech House and can be ordered from http://uk.artechhouse.com/5G-and-Satellite-Spectrum-Standards-and-Scale-P1935.aspx. As a past Director of Cambridge Wireless, Geoff is actively involved in a number of wireless heritage initiatives that aim to capture and record past technology and engineering experience and is a patron of the Science Museum In his spare time he plays Jazz trumpet semi-professionally and is a marathon and ultra-runner.

Nigel Wall - Director, Climate Associates Ltd

Nigel has been involved with connected vehicle research since 1992 when he led BT’s mobile data research team – initially using modems on first generation analogue TACS mobile phones! Since 2001 he has provided consultancy complex-systems, with a primary specialism in connected vehicles. He acted as the Monitoring Officer for twelve of the Connected and Autonomous Vehicle research projects supported by Innovate UK and the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles. Climate Associates provides consultancy on delivering pragmatic sustainable systems and services, based on life cycle assessments where wholesale replacement of current systems with lower footprint solutions may not be the most sustainable option.

Event Location

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Location info

Novotel Stevenage

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