Getting Started with Communications Engineering - The Approach

I want my book to be a bit different.  In my years as a teacher, I've noticed that some students struggle to understand the textbooks.  Sometimes the standard of maths assumed in the textbooks is too high for them, and in an effort to put all the interesting material in a book of limited length, the subjects are treated very quickly, with some of the intermediate steps in the mathematical derivations left out.  While the strongest students can cope with this, the more typical students struggle.  The other problem with most other textbooks is that they can be a bit dry and dull.  This makes the books good references, but as tutorial books to learn from, it is not ideal.  On the other hand, write a simpler textbook, and the stronger students can get bored.

I'd like to write a book that caters for the whole spectrum of students, from the most able to those that have to struggle to understand these topics; and a book that is accessible to intelligent ambitious sixth-form students as well.  A book that's fun to read, and easy to follow.

I'll set myself some rules:
  1. As far as possible, all chapters are self-contained (this means I'll repeat myself a bit).
  2. No chapter is more than twelve fifteen pages long, so they can all be read at one sitting (although there will be a few exceptions).
  3. It's written in a light, informal style, so it's easy to read.
  4. Use simple, plain language, so non-native English speakers can read it.
  5. I'm going to explain every step of the maths, and do the maths in the simplest possible way, so students without a very strong maths background can still follow the ideas (a lot of the queries I get from students reading other textbooks comes from their difficulties in filling in the missing steps in the derivations).
  6. The chapters will all be introductions to the topics - I won't attempt a comprehensive treatment of anything.  This is an undergraduate teaching book, not a graduate-level textbook or a reference book.
  7. More advanced topics, and further discussions of interesting points will be included in a section of problems, rather than in the main text.  Stronger students wanting more of a challenge can read the chapters themselves, then work through a series of problems leading them to a more complete understanding.  Other students can just read the chapters and attempt the simpler problems.
  8. The solutions to the example problems will be available to everyone.  Not just the numeric answers, but the full working out and derivations.  This means there will be rather less problems than in some other books, but everyone will be able to do them.  These worked solutions are almost certainly going to be longer than the book, but that's OK, since they'll only be available on the web.  (Personally, I found books that taught by introducing real problems first, and then the new techniques required to solve them very engaging.)
Working title is "Getting Started with Communications Engineering".  (A bit dry perhaps, but I thought I might get into trouble with  "Janet and John go Communications Engineering" or "Communications Engineering for the Average Student".)

Some first versions of chapters I'll put up on this site as I finish them.  All comments (especially mistakes and typos) please let me know.

Requests to write chapters earlier rather than later - please send to me at  Otherwise I'll choose a random order based on whatever I happen to be teaching or preparing at the time, or what students ask me about in class.