Book Review

Cellular Radio Principles and Design, ISBN 0-07-044301-7, by Raymond C. V. Macario, Copyright 1993, McGraw-Hill, Inc., 1221 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020. Tel: 800 262-4729.

Reviewed by Bob Schetgen, KU7G, ARRL Assistant Technical Editor

This book's coverage of cellular radio is text-bookish, and the math is a good insomnia remedy for me. Nonetheless, it taught me a little about how cellular systems function.

While reading I found myself imagining Amateur Radio applications of cellular technology. At some point, will enterprising amateurs make the jump from linked repeaters to amateur cellular systems? Perhaps one day we will see retired 800-MHz cellular systems functioning as amateur 902-MHz multichannel repeaters.

As I perused the chapters (mostly about European cellular systems), there were several familiar ham topics: propagation and antennas, basestation design (similar to repeater design) and packet protocols.

European systems are prominent in this book because the author is with the Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering at the University of Wales, Swansea, UK. This means that metric units are used throughout, and the Queen's English may occasionally confuse us "colonials." Nonetheless, the book has a wide range. It describes cellular systems and techniques used in the US, UK, Scandinavia and Japan. A two-page appendix briefly describes systems in many countries. Contributors include Hewlett-Packard Company, Marconi Instruments Ltd and Rohde & Schwartz UK Ltd.

The book opens with a list of cellular

32 QEX

acronyms and abbreviations. While hams will recognize ARQ, BER, DTE and DTMF, I was surprised to learn that in cellular radio, a DB is a dummy burst; FB is a frequency (correction) burst, and FCC is the Forward Control Channel!

The first chapter gives an overview of the book. That chapter is all that most hams would read. It begins by describing older mobile telephone systems and then builds to modern cellular systems. QEX readers may be interested in the following chapters, which take the concepts introduced to much deeper levels. Let's take a brief look at each chapter:

"Radio Coverage Prediction" begins with some basic electromagnetic and antenna theory. It then proceeds to terrestrial propagation models that consider roughness of the earth around a mobile station. I did find one "gotcha": The book claims that vertically polarized antennas do not receive horizontally polarized signals at all! The maps of computer predicted cell coverage are interesting.

"Cellular Radio Design Principles" covers frequency assignments, basestation engineering, channel sharing, cell plans and networks.

"Analog Cellular Radio Signaling" covers channel trunking, equipment identification numbers and details of link signaling, mobile calling procedures, handover and signaling tones.

"The Multipath Propagation Problem" analyzes and specifies this common mobile communication problem. The chapter presents a scattering model and discusses diversity reception as a cure.

"Modulation Techniques" discusses several analog and digital schemes with their strengths and weaknesses. The FM coverage compares the perfor mance of various modulation indexes. Digital modes are examined in detail, especially in terms of interference to adjacent channels.

"Speech Coding" begins with a short description of the pulse-code modulation used in fixed telephone networks and the requirements for speech coding systems. The chapter breaks speech coders into three classes: waveform coders, vocoders and hybrid coders, which use both waveform and vocoder techniques. The discussion ends with two styles of codebook vocoders.

"Digital Cellular Designs" looks at second-generation cellular techniques. Third-generation systems are briefly mentioned, but not covered in any depth. Time-division-multiple-access frame arrangements dominate second-generation systems, so TDMA is discussed in detail. The second-generation pan-European cellular system has been named Global System for Mobile telecommunications (GSM). Several pages are devoted to GSM, while the American system receives much less and the Japanese system gets only passing mention.

"Spectral Efficiency Considerations" digs more deeply into the issues around network population, ie bandwidth limit to subscribers. Measures of spectral efficiency and quality of service are considered.

McGraw-Hill offers Cellular Radio Principles and Design for $40. It looks useful as an "Introduction to Cellular Radio" college text, but it does not contain enough detailed information for equipment installation or repair. I learned a little about cellular systems from the book, but what I learned would not be worth the price for most hams. Those who want to delve into the theory behind the subject may find it more useful. □□

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