Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award

Spring 2019

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis

College or School



Electrical and Computer Engineering

Program or Major

Computer Engineering

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

First Advisor

Kent Chamberlin


Direction finding (DF) systems have been around for decades, preceding WWII. The main function of these systems is to calculate the direction of arrival of an electromagnetic wave. There are many real-world applications which utilize direction finders and direction-finding techniques, from recreational “fox hunts” to military geolocation systems. The following approach for implementing a direction finding system revolves around the phase and amplitude of a signal that is being radiated at an unlicensed frequency of 2.45Ghz by an RF source.

The system is comprised of an antenna array of 4 antennas which can be used receive the radiated signal. By comparing the amplitudes of the signal received by each antenna relative to each other, the quadrant from which the RF source is located in can be identified. By comparing the phase difference, 0° to +/- 180°, of the signal received by each antenna relative to each other, four possible directions can be calculated, one in each quadrant. Using the information discovered from comparing the phase and the amplitudes of the received signal at each antenna, the direction of the RF source can be found. The system runs the direction finding algorithm when the user commands it to from the graphical user interface (GUI), iterates it hundreds of times per second, and averages the found direction to reduce the effects of noise. The direction is then displayed on the GUI.