Kenny Barlee

Research Assistant

Personal Statement

I am a PhD candidate student studying in the Software Defined Radio (SDR) Research Laboratory of the Electronic and Electrical Engineering Department at the University of Strathclyde. I previously graduated from the university in June 2014 with a First Class BEng EEE Degree. My current work is focusing on the development of HDL compatible Filter Bank Multicarrier (FBMC) based SDR radio transceivers for use in secondary user Dynamic Spectrum Access (DSA) applications.

Focusing on the PHY, the aim is that these radios will be able to identify empty spectral bands, cognitively decide which are most suitable for use, and then use dynamic non-contiguous modulation in order to establish communications channels in them. I am developing these transceivers from within MATLAB and Simulink, which means they can ultimately be deployed with the tools to ZynqSDR devices (Xilinx Zynq based FPGA/ARM SoC dev board + Analog Devices SDR front end) or used in conjunction with USRP radios.

I am also one of the authors of a free, 670 page 12 chapter SDR textbook, 'Software Defined Radio using MATLAB & Simulink and the RTL-SDR'. You can download a copy by checking out

LinkedIn Profile:

Academic / Professional qualifications

I studied Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Strathclyde, and graduated in June 2014 with a First Class (Hons) Bachelor's Degree. Currently I am studying for a PhD in the DSP Enabled Communications branch of the Institute for Sensors Signals and Communications (InstSCC) within the EEE Department at the University of Strathclyde.


Expertise & Capabilities

  • Software Defined Radio (SDR)
  • Dynamic Spectrum Access (DSA)
  • Digital Signal Processing (DSP)
  • MATLAB/ Simulink SDR Implementations
  • RTL-SDR and USRP SDR Hardware
  • FPGA and Zynq development

Industrial Relevance

SDR Development Intern: I completed an internship with the SDR Signal Processing and Communications (SPC) group in the MathWorks Glasgow office. My work was focusing on developing examples using the new ZynqSDR hardware/ software co-design workflow (part of the Xilinx Zynq-Based SDR support package for MATLAB and Simulink), external FPGA hardware, and radios from Analog Devices.


UCLA Short Course: FPGAs for DSP and Software-Defined Radio: In October 2016 I flew with colleagues to the USA to teach x2 three-day short courses on SDR I co-wrote with colleagues through the UCLA Extension Programme. Participants were taught how to, and then had the chance to implement real world SDR systems using laptops, RTL-SDRs, USRPs, Raspberry Pis, and ZynqSDR equipment. We latterly moved onto presenting hardware targeting techniques, and attendees were able to perform HDL code generation to target radio algorithms onto the Zynq’s FPGA.

802.11af WiFi White Space Trial in Glasgow: I was given the opportunity to become involved with the Glasgow branch of the Ofcom white space trial, thanks to my connection with the Center for White Space Communications research group at the University of Strathclyde. The innovative trial, which is one of the first of its type in the world, saw around 20 international organisations come together to test a variety of new white space technologies for a number of different applications. The focus in Glasgow was primarily on deploying 802.11af WiFi networks, in an effort to assist Ofcom in completing its TVWS regulations and to road-test equipment from partners 6Harmonics and MediaTek.


Internship: During the summer of 2013, I undertook a research internship at the university, sponsored by the Faculty of Engineering. My project investigated the implementation of re-programmable FIR filters on a Xilinx Zynq SoC. Utilising the Remez Exchange Algorithm, software was developed to calculate FIR weights for low, high, bandpass and notch filters, that were used for real-time filtering of an audio stream on a ZedBoard. This work lead to a position reviewing a book on Xilinx Zynq – the Zynq Book.


Final Year Undergraduate Project: In my final year project at the University of Strathclyde, I worked with a new type of Software Defined Radio called 'RTL-SDR'. The SDR community hacked $20 RTL2832U based DTV receivers to create these devices, and they are capable of sampling the RF spectrum in the range 25MHz - 1.75GHz. RTL-SDR is revolutionary, as it is the first SDR within the price range of hobbyists (as normally SDR hardware costs $1000s). After experimentation to confirm the operation of the device and to learn what it was capable of, a selection of receivers for different modulation schemes were constructed in MATLAB and Simulink that were able to perform real-time demodulation and decoding of received off-the-air RF signals. I also went on to develop a series of AM transmitters which I used to transmit signals for local reception, to enable practical implementations of more advanced concepts such as multiplexing.



    Research areas

  • SDR, Software Defined Radio, DSP, Digital Signal Processing, MATLAB, Simulink, RTL-SDR, USRP, Dynamic Spectrum Access, DSA
  1. Secondary User Access for IoT Applications in the FM Radio band using FS-FBMC

    Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation

  2. IEEE 5G Summit

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventOrganiser of special symposia

  3. UCLA Short Course – FPGAs for DSP and Software Defined Radio

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

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Kenny Barlee

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