Successful RF PCB Design


Modern RF and wireless product design is a highly complex engineering task and the design and layout of the PCB is critical to success.

The PCB often contains circuits with conflicting requirements - for example extremely sensitive analogue stages such as RF receivers alongside extremely noisy blocks such as digital processors. The performance of RF components and the PCB substrate also set boundaries on what can be achieved in modern designs.

This intensive one-day course provides a thorough introduction to the principles of RF PCB design techniques in an intuitive and practical way.

This course is taught by one of the UK’s leading industry RF PCB specialists, who has many years of experience in this field.

Programme details


  • The challenges of modern RF PCB design

Analogue RF Systems

  • Overview of blocks and components found in analogue section of RF systems
  • A modern radio receiver: a very sensitive analogue application
    • Operation, sensitivity and susceptibility to degradation

Digital RF Systems

  • Overview of blocks and components found in digital section of RF systems
  • A modern radio receiver (continued):
    • Operation, sources and characteristics of digital noise
    • Impact of digital noise on radio performance
    • How impact of digital noise varies from system to system

How does interference transfer from one area to another?

  • Cross coupling by conduction and radiation
  • Minimising cross coupling, separation and screening techniques, cavity resonance

Minimising impact of digital noise

  • Origins of supply noise in digital CMOS circuits and its impact on circuit operation
  • Techniques to achieve optimum supply decoupling
  • Decoupling capacitor selection, use of ferrites
  • Power planes
  • High speed digital signal routing techniques

RF components and interconnections

  • Transmission lines on PCBs: microstrip, stripline, co-planar
  • Substrate height vs max frequency, metallisation, skin depth & surface roughness
  • Modelling passive surface mount components
  • Passive distributed components
  • Example of the impact of components and parasitics on a practical filter

PCB Technology

  • PCB substrates: FR4, RF laminates & RF PTFE based boards
  • PCB processing costs
  • PCB multilayer board processing example, blind, buried, through-hole and micro vias
  • Production design tolerances
  • PCB bow and twist
  • Solder resist and legends
  • PCB surface finishes
  • Controlled impedance lines and panel test structures

PCB layout and grounding

  • One common ground plane or separate analog and digital ground planes?
  • Impedance of ground plane, ground plane currents
  • Unintentional slot antennas
  • Directing ground return currents
  • RF Bends
  • Implementation
    • Labelling of schematics.
    • Design partitioning prior to layout.
  • Layout check list

*Attendees should note that there is a small overlap between parts of this course and the Practical RF/Microwave Design course. This is necessary to allow each course to run independently.


Participants who attend the full course will receive a University of Oxford certificate of attendance. This will be presented to you prior to the end of the course wherever possible.

The certificate will show your name, the course title and the dates of the course you attended.


Description Costs
Course fee, RF/Microwave Design already completed £395.00
Course fee, standard £495.00
Discount package fee (add Practical RF/Microwave Design) £2290.00


Fees include course materials, tuition, refreshments and lunches. The price does not include accommodation.

All courses are VAT exempt.

Register immediately online 

Click the “book now” button on this webpage. Payment by credit or debit card is required.

Request an invoice

If you require an invoice for your company or personal records, please complete an online application form. The Course Administrator will then email you an invoice. Payment is accepted online, by credit/debit card, or by bank transfer. Please do not send card or bank details via email.

Discounts Available

A reduced course fee is available to those who have previously attended the Practical RF/Microwave Design course.


Mr Tony Richards


Principal Consultant Engineer,
Plextek RF Integration, Plextek Limited

Tony Richards is a Principal Consultant Engineer at Plextek RFI Ltd, which is part of the Plextek Group. He was recruited for his experience in analogue and RF IC design and has since worked on several single chip radio system developments for multinational silicon vendors such as National Semiconductors, Sony Semiconductors and Frontier Silicon.

Tony has also worked on the development of wireless meter readings systems, X-band high power amplifiers for marine applications, broadband low phase noise synthesisers, Bluetooth hands-free car-kits, inductive tagging systems for livestock and GaAs logic circuitry. Most recently he has been supporting the development of satellite based transceiver systems.

Prior to joining Plextek Tony was technical project leader with Philips Consumer Communications, responsible for developing highly integrated digital receiver ICs. In 1989 he helped design Philips' first commercially available single chip direct conversion digital paging receiver. He also worked for Philips Research Labs in Eindhoven and for Philips Radio Communications Systems of Cambridge. Tony graduated from Loughborough University of Technology in 1977 with a BSc in Electrical & Electronic Engineering; he is a Fellow of the IET.


If you would like to discuss your application or any part of the application process before applying, please email us (our email address is  at the top of this page).

Level and demands

RF engineers requiring a system level view of PCB design. RF PCB designers. Design engineers and technical managers requiring an overview of the principles of PCB design for RF applications. Designers and those with some RF experience but little formal training who wish to broaden their design skill base. Baseband and signal processing designers who need to be aware of RF issues.


Although not included in the course fee, accommodation may be available at our on-site Rewley House Residential Centre. All bedrooms are en suite and decorated to a high standard, and come with tea- and coffee-making facilities, free Wi-Fi access and Freeview TV. Guests can take advantage of the excellent dining facilities and common room bar, where they may relax and network with others on the programme.

To check prices, availability and to book rooms please visit the Rewley House Residential Centre website.