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Dennis Derickson

Portrait of Dennis Derickson

Dennis Derickson

Phone: 805-756-7584
Office: 20A-207
Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Spring 2024 Schedule

Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
8:10-8:30 AM  




8:40-9:00 AM          
9:10-9:30 AM






9:40-10:00 AM          
10:10-10:30 AM

EE 418-01



EE 418-01



EE 418-01


10:40-11:00 AM    
11:10-11:30 AM   department      
11:40 AM-12:00 PM   department      
12:10-12:30 PM

EE 425-01



EE 425-01



EE 425-01


12:40-1:00 PM    
1:10-1:30 PM curriculum C        
1:40-2:00 PM curriculum C        
2:10-2:30 PM       office hour  
2:40-3:00 PM       office hour  
3:10-3:30 PM




office hour


3:40-4:00 PM       office hour  
4:10-4:30 PM office hour   office hour office hour  
4:40-5:00 PM office hour   office hour office hour  
5:10-5:30 PM          
5:40-6:00 PM          
6:10-6:30 PM

EE 455-01

(20-113) 6-9



EE 458-01

(20-134) 6-9

6:40-7:00 PM      
7:10-7:30 PM      
7:40-8:00 PM      
8:10-8:30 PM      
8:40-9:00 PM      
9:10-9:30 PM          
9:40-10:00 PM          

Teaching and Research Interests

  • Radio frequency/microwave/mm-wave electronics design
  • Test and Measurement techniques for high speed digital communications
  • High speed data access for underserved rural markets
  • Photonic test and measurement techniques for biomedical,industrial & scientific markets.  Lidar and OCT measurements.   Frequency Agile Tunable Lasers.
  • Licensed Professional Electrical Engineer activities
  • Promoting Amateur Radio as part of EE education
  • Summer Engineering camp outreach
  • Next Generation smart sensor systems


Dennis Derickson received his BS, MS and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from South Dakota State University (1981),  the University of Wisconsin- Madison (1982) and the University of California – Santa Barbara in 1992.  His farming background and youth ham radio hobby heavily influenced his career in engineering.  He earned his State Farmer degree (Minnesota) with the FFA organization. In the world of radio he received the extra class amateur license (AC0P) and a first-class radiotelephone commercial license.  He joined the research and development laboratories of Hewlett Packard (HP) in Santa Rosa, CA in 1982.  1980‘s project development activities included spectrum analyzer and vector network analyzer electronic measurement instrumentation.    His Ph.D. work (1988-1992) involved design, fabrication and test of single-chip pulsed semiconductor lasers for data communication applications.   Dr. Derickson managed multiple project teams at HP for high-speed communication test systems in the 1990s.    He moved into the director of product marketing role at a start-up company called Cierra Photonics in Santa Rosa, CA in 2000. After 21 years in industry, he joined the Electrical Engineering Department at California Polytechnic State University in 2005.  He served as department chair from 2010 to 2020. Research activities have focused on applications of semiconductor lasers, wireless communication systems, and rf/microwave/mm-wave electronics. He is the editor of two books; Fiber Optics Test and Measurement (1997) and Digital Communication Test and Measurement (2008). With many collaborators he has created 90 publications and 7 patents. He is a founding member of the company Insight Photonics Solutions that is commercializing research initiated at Cal Poly (  His outreach activities have focused on creating and running summer science camps for Jr. High and Sr. High groups at Cal Poly and through the California 4H Youth Development Program. His current activities include Industry/Alumni research partnerships, entrepreneurship, enabling a project-rich hands-on environment for diverse students, and supporting a strong graduate research program.   Dr. Derickson is a Professional Engineer in the State of California and enjoys helping others with his expertise.


Here is an example project that students created in my communication systems lab:

This is an IQ modulator designed by students in my EE456 Class (Digital Communications).  With this modulator, one can generate a wide range of digital communication signals by designing the input waveform to the I and Q ports of the modulator.


This is an IQ modulator students built in EE456

Synopsys Hilbert Optical Design Competition winners (June 2022 and June 2023)

I am so proud of the Cal Poly EE students who were winners of the Hilbert Optical Design Competition for June 2022 and June 2023 .   Here is a link to the winning entries;


IEEE International Microwave Symposium 2025- San Francisco.   

I am part of the technical committee for the International Microwave Symposium in San Francisco in June 2025.   I will be helping with judging the student paper contest.   I will also be organizing the Amateur Radio Reception at the Conference.    If you want to help with the Amateur Radio reception, please send me an email at


Project OWL Collaboration 2023-2024;

I have been collaborating with the company project owl in 2022-2024.   Here is a link to their web site.   I have an STTR grant with Professor Dunton that runs from Sept 2023 to March 2024.  We are creating an open source mesh sensor network.   Activities including new hardware/software design and and a space sensor program.   Here is a link to last years project highlights.  We will be doing balloon launches again in June 2024 of our latest prototypes.

2023 International Microwave Symposium Student Design Competition - Third Place in power amplifier category.  Electrical Engineering MS Students Shreyesh Suman and Kyle Chang demonstrated their high power amplifier designs.

2023 Amateur Radio Digital Communication Grants Advisory Committee

I joined the grants advisor committee for the Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) group.   Here is their web site.    This group provides $6M in annual funding to empower the future of amateur radio and digital communications.   Here is a listing of the "who we are" page for ARDC.

Eta Kappa Nu "The Bridge" Article on Amateur Radio and the Electrical Engineering Curriculum.

EE faculty members Dennis Derickson and Chuck Bland along with Alumni Marcel Steiber just published an article in "The Bridge" magazine for IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu.  Eta Kappa Nu is the Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering world-wide academic honor society.  The title of the article is " GREAT IMPEDANCE MATCH FOR KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER: Amateur Radio as Part of Electrical and Computer Engineering Education". Here is a link to the entire 2019 "The Bridge" article.

Electrical Engineering Professional Engineering License in the State of California.

I am a Licensed Electrical Engineering Professional Engineering.  

2018-2019 pictures:

Here is a compilation of a few photos I took in 2018-2019 showing what I have been doing at Cal Poly.  2018-2019 in pictures

Other Files of Interest

Recent Publications: 

85 Albert Cureg Cruz, Dennis Derickson, Amin Malek “Supporting Student Internships with the NSF HIS Program at a Medium-sized Hispanic Serving Institution” 2023 American Society of Engineering Education annual meeting.  This is a collaboration with California State University Bakersfield under NSF grant 2122442

84 Kevin Nottberg, Abagail Outcalt, Daniel Xu, John Gharib, Daniel Montgomery, Lucas Lucia, Dennis Derickson and Steve Dunton “Ducks in Space; Update on Improved Performance, Characterization and Path to Space for Project OWL’s Duck Radios”  2023 Cube Sat Developers workshop,  California Polytechnic State University location.

83  Daniel Montgomery, Lucas Lucia, Daniel Xu, Steve Dunton and Dennis Derickson “ Impact of Undergraduate Research in a Wide-Area Network Satellite-Terrestrial Communications Link on Student Learning and Opportuities”   ASEE Pacific Southwest Conference, April 2023, University of Southern California location.

82 Marcel Steiber, Kevin Shin Wheeler, and Dennis Derickson, “Amateur Radio and the Electrical and Computer Engineering Laboratory Curriculum: Federal Communication Commission (FCC) Amateur Radio Licenses are now available completely online for students with no cost”  ASEE Zone 4 Conference, April 2022, Vancouver B.C.

81 Michael Ghallager and Dennis Derickson ASEE Annual meeting (accepted Dec 21)  in Minneapolis “New Radio Frequency Microwave and Communication Technical Area Laboratory Activities Inspired by Our COVID-19 Year of Remote Teaching That Are Now Becoming Permanent”  2022 ASEE annual meeting in Minneapolis, MN, June 202

80. Maria Manzano, Emma Della, Gerome Cacho, Drew Miller and Dennis Derickson, “Evaluation on a new virtual program format, does an engineering summer camp program evolve and adapt to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student population during a pandemic? 2021 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition July 26-29, 2021. (Virtual this year)

79.  Chuck Bland, Xiaomin Jin and Dennis Derickson “The nanoVNA as an Inexpensive tool for a Microwave System laboratory” ASEE PSW April  2020  (Online Conference that was organized by UC Davis) 

78 .Dennis Derickson, Marcel Steiber, Chuck Bland, Jack Galegos, “Great Impedance Match for Knowledge Transfer; Amateur Radio as Part of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Curriculum”, Eta Kappa Nu – The Bridge Magazine, May 2019 Issue 2, Volume 115

77.Dennis Derickson, “Simple Student-Built IQ Modulators/Demodulators for Wireless Communication Laboratory Digital Communication Link Demonstrations”, 2018 ASEE Pacific Zone 4 conference – University of Colorado-Boulder


Books I put together with a host of collaborators



1.  Dennis Derickson and Marcus Mueller (editors),  Digital Communications Test and Measurement; High Speed Physical Layer Characterization” , Prentice- Hall  2008.   ISBN-13: 978-0-13-220910-6 . 

2. Dennis Derickson (editor), Fiber Optic Test and Measurement, Prentice- Hall 1998.  ISBN0-13-534330-5.  This is a book that has sold over 14,000 copies to date.

3.  P.A. Morton, D. J. Derickson, R. J. Helkey, A. Mar, and J.E. Bowers ,  Book Chapter 2  ” Mode-locked semiconductor lasers” in Laser Optics of Condensed Matter vol. 2, E. Garmire, A.A. Maradudin and K.K. Rebane (editors), Plenum Press, New York, 1991

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