Heritage College’s Electronics program offers two summer co-op terms, which are recognized on the diploma received at graduation.
Last summer, I was employed at the very same college, officially preparing equipment for next year’s classes, making an inventory of electronics components and materials, and making a database with search and checkout functionality to keep track of components. Unofficially, I also assisted the computer services guys, setting up computers for the Jeux du Quebec 2010, then quickly dismantling and putting them back in classrooms and offices.
This year, I’m working at the Canadian Space Agency.
I work at the David Florida Laboratories (DFL), which is a branch of the CSA. I work in the RFQF (Radio Frequency Qualification Facilities), where I perform various types of testing on sometimes space-related (though not always) devices. To date I’ve performed radiated emissions and susceptibility testing, as well as current injection, antenna testing (to a limited extent: measuring reflected signal). The DFL is divided into several sections; I’ve been working in RFQF, but there is also PIM, TVAC, and a couple others I haven’t been in yet.
I spend much of my time in a lab with a room like this: an anechoic chamber. The foam on the walls is designed to absorb RF signal, serving to simulate a free-space environment. The EUT (equipment under test) is placed in this room, along with a probe, and possibly another antenna to introduce RF signals for susceptibility testing.
In two weeks I’ve learnt so much procedure, learning about different types of tests (which many were written in-house), as well as how to use different standards as a way of defining limits for our testing.
This is a spectrum analyzer, one of
the tools I use in the RF labs.
There is no better way to learn than to follow someone else, and by the end of the summer, I expect my mind will be filled with new knowledge. This is going to be an awesome summer!