Review by
Tamojeet Roychowdhury, 2025 (B.Tech)
Course Offered In
Autumn 2023
Instructors
Prof. Raghunath K. Shevgaonkar (For Section B.Tech)
Prerequisites
None, except other core courses (new batches do not have PH108 so will have to start from scratch with the Physics foundations)
Difficulty
4/5 (on a scale of 15 with 5 being very tough)
Course Content

Transmission Lines  Thinking of voltage and current as waves on parallel wires, characteristic impedance, impedance transformation, VSWR, relevant equations for reflection and transmission across wires of different materials (i.e. different media), Smith chart and its uses in impedance matching and other problems, transient behaviour in DC circuits

Maxwell’s Equations and Waves in Dielectrics  EM wave as a solution of Maxwell’s equations, polarization of EM waves and its different representations (Elliptical, Poincare and Stokes), Poynting theorem, weakly conducting media as complex permittivity, reflection and transmission across boundaries for different angles and polarizations

Waveguides  Derivation of propagating wave in a waveguide by multiple reflections, TE, TM and TEM modes for parallel plane and rectangular waveguides, phase and group velocity and dispersion, rectangular cavity and quality factor

Antennas  magnetic vector potential and Lorentz gauge condition, potential due to Hertz dipole (induction, field and radiation terms), E plane and H plane radiation patterns, directivity and FWHM, nulls and maxima for linear antenna, dipole antenna
Feedback on Lectures
The lectures were on the heavier side both in terms of mathematics and intuition. It is expected that you’ll be fully attentive for the entire duration, and math builds up through each lecture, so zoning out in a single class or skipping classes can prove very detrimental.
The professor does not enforce attendance saying it will dwindle over time. However, skipping lectures is definitely NOT recommended. The course content is impossible to cover in the last week before/during exams, and making notes during classes definitely helps in following through the math. It is also important to listen while the professor explains the physical inferences through diagrams or literal hand waving (both great tools when you have to deal with 3D waves) so that you can build your intuition of what is going on physically. Knowing just the equations, while definitely necessary, is not sufficient to make sure you understand everything.
The professor tries to keep classes interactive and encourages students to prompt him while deriving equations, and is always ready to answer any silly doubts (often giving more physical insights during answering).
Feedback on Evaluations
2 Quizzes (10% each), Midsem (30%), Endsem (30%)
The quizzes were closedbook, no formula sheet and short answers (one final number or two lines of calculation if you knew the correct formulae to apply)
Midsem and Endsem were open book with longer answers. Typically multiple formula out of different sections were needed along with correct calculations at every step.
The exams were on the difficult side for me, specially longer questions where you needed to have a physical picture of the entire situation and a stepbystep outline of the solution before you could begin solving. For this very reason, attending classes and having a physical grasp of all concepts is essential.
For a comparative picture, the cutoff for AA was somewhere around 60/100, and only five students made that cut.
Study Material and References
Book on the same topic by the same professor (RK Shevgaonkar)  covers the content in the exact same manner, depth and order in which he teaches it in class, and comes with solved examples and practice problems as a bonus. In my opinion, other books aren’t needed (and you will most likely not find time to do them)
There are also online lectures on CDEEP/NPTEL which you can refer to as a last resort if you miss lectures.
Followup Courses
EE606 (Fibre Optics Communications), EE609 (Radiating Systems), other courses on optical fibres or antennas
Final Takeaway The course is heavy but the lectures are interesting in the way they dissect the usual way in which we thought about current and voltages as travelling instantaneously across wires, to actual wave phenomena  and some resultant concepts were very fascinating. Concepts and math build from one lecture to the next in each of the 4 topics, so attendance is recommended. Exam marking can be very different from what you expect, but the professor is usually patient in explaining common mistakes and the actual solution.