Books on Microwave Engineering

Here we will provide reviews on some of the available books that can help you with microwaves. There are hundreds of titles out there, so this is going to take some time to come up with the best.

Got a favorite book on this topic? Send us a book review, and win a pocket knife!

We've sorted the books into a couple of categories. Let's translate the phase "a couple" for anyone who was hoping for higher writing standards.  It means 2, 3 or maybe 4. A few.

Free books

Technical Books

History Books

Free books

  • New  for August 2021: this is a little off-topic, but DTIC released "The Infrared and Electro-Optical Systems Handbook" to the public. We posted all eight volumes on this page. Download them all!

  • New for May 2020!  Kildal Antenna AB has a downloadable PDF text book on antenna design called Foundations of Antenna Engineering.  You do have to give them your name and email address before downloading, but MW101 reader Jack tells us it's worth it.  He tells us: "This textbook follows the integral equation approach to solving radiation problems related to antennas instead of using auxiliary vector potential functions to solve for the fields. The book starts with developing the theory of integral equations, followed by developing an idea of how incremental current sources (electric, magnetic and Huygens) can be used to construct a complex current distribution. The book includes chapters about thin wire and loop antennas, aperture antennas, microstrip patch antennas, horn antennas and arrays of antennas. A bit of a warning about this book is that it is quite math intensive so reader discretion is advised, but in my opinion the math leads to an interesting insight about the antennas and radiation in general."   Thanks for the pointers, Jack! 
  • Two different loyal readers pointed us to Microwave and RF Design  by  Michael Steer.  This is a five-volume set that covers the fundamentals of Radio Systems, Transmission Lines, Networks, Modules, and Amplifiers and Oscillators.  It's hosted over at the Repository of the North Carolina State University Libraries. Thanks for the heads up, Terry and Michal!
  • Also from our new friend Michal, we have a link to a repository of free, open source books at These books tend to be compilations of papers on similar topics, and are often fairly academic.
  • Our friends over at AWR will let you download a copy of RF Electronics - Design and Simulation by Professor Keith Kikkert of James Cook University in Australia.  You will have to give them your email address, but let's be honest; they probably have it already.
  • We have a page dedicated to  Brainwaves and Death, a novel about early encephalography by Willard Rich. You can buy a print copy if you want, or grab a digitized version for free over at Google Books.
  • Go to our page on Danmarks Tekniske Universitet (DTU) and follow the link to download Dr. Vitaliy Zhurbenko's two new books, "Passive Microwave Components and Antennas" and "Advanced Microwave Circuits and Systems".
  • "Electromagnetic Waves and Antennas" by Sophocles J. Orfanidis can be downloaded from the Rutgers site here.
  • MYJ's filter book is available for free as a scanned pdf in our download area. It is in the public domain so there is no harm in grabbing a copy!
  • Microwaves101 now offers a free book, Microwave Engineering by Roger Kaul and Edward Wolff. 

Books for which the author gets paid...Technical

If anyone wants to add to the reviews below, or recommend additional books, please let us know.

RF Circuits and Applications for Practicing Engineers (2021)

by Mouqun Dong

This book is about the theory of RF circuits and systems and the practice of designing them. It is primarily intended for practicing RF engineers who are involved in PCB-based circuit designs and system integrations. This book is aimed at amplifier designers that use printed circuit boards but would be useful in other efforts.  The author provides rigorous stability analyses, shows you how to develop matching network designs on the Smith Chart, including Q considerations, and discusses noise in RF systems.  All of this is followed up with practical examples of amplifier designs. There is discussion of many of the metrics of wireless system design (topics which are mostly missing on Microwaves101!) such as modulation schemes, peak-to-average ratio in transmitters, phase noise, error vector magnitude (EVM), spectral regrowth, and intermodulation from external signals.  There is some good discussion of passive components and how to model them. There's related material on switch designs, including power handling considerations. If you want to upgrade your library of books on practical microwave design, consider picking up a copy today!


RF & μWave Measurements: For Design, Verification and Quality Control (2019)

by Shiv Prasad Tripathy, Candlestick Consulting LLP

Here's a brand new book on measurements, specifically intended as a single source of desktop ready-reference on most-often-used used RF/ microwave measurement parameters. Take a look, and let us know what you think!

Satellite Communications System Engineering (Wiley 2017)

The first edition of Satellite Communications Systems Engineering (Wiley 2008) was written for those concerned with the design and performance of satellite communications systems employed in fixed point to point, broadcasting, mobile, radio navigation, data relay, computer communications, and related satellite based applications. This welcome Second Edition continues the basic premise and enhances the publication with the latest updated information and new technologies developed since the publication of the first edition. 


Phased Arrays for Radio Astronomy, Remote Sensing, and Satellite Communications by 
Karl Warnick, Rob Maaskant, Marianna Ivashina, David Davidson, and Brian Jeffs

This book just came out in 2018 published by Cambridge University Press, and includes some of the latest advances in phased array analysis methods, including many examples of analysis using modern computational electromagnetic tools. It's primarily focused on pulling together the wide range of disciplines that have invested in radio astronomy research over the years, and forming a single approach to phased array research. As the authors say in their Preface: "Our goal is to gather in one place recent advances in the mathematical framework for phased array analysis and create a book for which the theorteical treatment reflects the state-of-the-art in the academic literature and is equal to the task of designing antenna arrays for applications with demanding performance requirements". There are plenty of references for those who want to investigate the topics further, and even some problems at the end of each chapter for those who want to use it as a textbook. 

From the Unknown Editor: If you are looking for a deep-dive into phased array theory, the math behind it, and how to use computational elecromagnetics to model response, this book gives a thorough treatment to all of that. It is a well-organized textbook providing hundreds of references, as opposed to some books that are merely a collection of published papers.  You won't find cartoons or vacation pictures here, like you might from other authors.  As the title suggests it focuses mainly on receiving arrays for astronomy and remote sensing, so don't expect a lengthy treatment of transmitters, radar or military equipment.  Hardware is treated as black boxes, this is not an instruction manual on how to build a phased array. It is a great textbook for antenna systems designers.

Reflectionless Filters by Matt Morgan

Matt is the inventor of a new class of filter, where the energy outside the pass-band is absorbed instead of reflected back.  This solves the age-old receiver design problem... remember when you tried to cascade two filters and get twice the rejection, and ended up with a big mess?  You can get a taste of reflectionless filters on this Microwaves101 page.  

Microwave Spectroscopy by Charles Townes and Arthur Schawlow

Here's a book from Charles Townes, our latest Hall of Fame inductee, and another Nobel Prize winner, Arthur Schawlow.  Need more info?  Check out our new page on masers over in the MW101 Encyclopedia.  

Essentials of RF and Microwave Grounding by Eric Holzman

There is perhaps no subject that seems so simple but is so fraught with perils than RF grounding. Here's a great resource on the topic by Eric Holzman. Just for fun, you can also read Ode to Greentape,  an engineer's words of warning for LTCC packaging.

RF and Microwave Coupled-Line Circuits by R.K. Mongia, I.J. Bahl, P Bharta and J. Hong

First published in 1999 and updated in 2007, this book provides essentially everything you need to design coupled structures and coupled-line filters.  Topics include forward- and backward-wave couplers, non-uniform couplers, improving microstrip couplers, tandem couplers, interdigital capacitors, spiral inductors, baluns and much, much more. We have used it on Microwaves101 to create three-section symmetric couplers.

Microwave Circulator Design, Second Edition by Douglas K. Linkhart

Ferrite circulators are a stone-age technology that has no replacement in today's solid-state world: you still need them! An isolator does for RF, what a diode does for DC...

This book presents theory, information and design procedures to enable engineers and technicians to build circulators successfully.  Even managers can learn how to specify a circulator; in chapter 2 you will learn about their different types and what is possible and what is not.

Modern Antenna Design (2nd ed.) by Thomas A. Milligan

Here's a review that won Jari, from the Finnish Defence Forces Research Centre the coveted Microwaves101 knife. Give us some time to link it to Amazon before you buy it!! We've heard from other people that Milligan's book is a good one.

An exceptional book on antenna design. It is very design oriented, easy to read and does not contain long derivations of anything - the stuff we antenna designers would skip anyway. The book deals with basic theory (of course), basics of numerical methods, arrays and array synthesis, all the basic radiator types, and phased arrays. In my opinion, only relevant information for practical design work is included in the book, no more to confuse you or make your reading experience tedious. That is why I like it. I have used that book a lot and found it exceptionally useful.

Another excellent reference, by the way, for practical antenna engineer is "Antenna Engineering Handbook" (R. C. Johnson), which is a new version of legendary book from Henry Jasik.

Thanks, Jari!


Broadband Microstrip Antennas by Girish Kumar and K.P. Ray

Here's a book on microstrip antennas and the many ways to increase bandwidth. We found it easy to understand even for non-antenna types.


Advanced Electronic Packaging by Richard Ulrich and William Brown

This book is by a team of professors from University of Arkansas. It's crammed with useful info on materials properties, and even though it is not specifically about microwave packaging it has a lot of good microwave stuff in it!


Microwave Tubes by A.S. Gilmour

This is our new favorite book. Microwave Tubes by A.S. Gilmour was published in 1986, so it isn't really new, but it is one of the best written microwave books we have come across. It includes some great microwave history, including tidbits about the Varian brothers, Kompfner, Pierce, Boot and Randall. It also describes the math behind why 50 ohms was chosen way back when. This is a must-have book if you want to learn about tubes.


Microwave Filters, Impedance-Matching Networks, and Coupling Structures by Matthaei, Young, and Jones

If you are at all serious about designing microwave filters, you'll need to pick up a copy of Microwave Filters, Impedance-Matching Networks, and Coupling Structures, which is still in print more than four decades after it was first published. We like the book so much we put MY&J in the Microwave Hall of Fame! Remember, Matthaei rhymes with paté. Update September 2012: this book is available for free as a scanned pdf in our download area. It is in the public domain so there is no harm in grabbing a copy! On the other hand, if you prefer paper to pixels, you can still find copies on sites like Amazon:


The RF and Microwave Circuit Design Cookbook by Steven Maas

Steven Maas' book on microwave mixers is a great resource on this topic, and his Cookbook will really get you cookin'.


Radar books

If you are interested in radar, we have two recommendations. Merrill Skolnik's Introduction to Radar Systems is a good reference, and George Stimson has made radar understandable even to non-technical people in Introduction to Airborne Radar.


Microwave Engineering

The most-required book for microwave students is David M. Pozar's Microwave Engineering, published in 1996, but he's got two others as well. Warning, these books actually derive formulas using calculus, which has been known to induce sleep in baby-boomers! Pozar is now in the Microwaves101 Hall of Fame!


Practical RF Circuit Design for Modern Wireless Systems by Less Besser

Les Besser's two-book series is titled Practical RF RF Circuit Design for Modern Wireless Systems. You can even get volume one as a digital download, though here at Microwaves101, we prefer the hard copy. Great books, both.


Stripline Circuit Design by Harlan Howe

Harlan Howe's book on stripline circuit design, first published in 1974, is a little long in the tooth, but belongs on every stripline engineer's bookshelf.


Coplanar Waveguide Circuits Components & Systems by Rainee N. Simons

A great coplanar waveguide book is Coplanar Waveguide Circuits Components & Systems by Rainee N. Simons.


Communications Receivers: Principles and Design by Ulrich L. Rohde and T.T.N. Bucher

Communications Receivers: Principles and Design by Ulrich L. Rohde and T.T.N. Bucher is a good reference on receivers.


Microwave Theory and Applications by Stephen F. Adam

Stephen F. Adam wrote this book, sponsored by Hewlett Packard, in 1969. It has historic value in that it explains slotted lines and wavemeters, but it also is a great book for hands-on microwave experimenters.


Computer-Aided Design of Microwave Circuits by Gupta, Garg, and Chadha

Here's another oldie but goodie: Computer-Aided Design of Microwave Circuits is full of useful formulas on all manner of transmission line structures.


Microwave Engineering: Passive Circuits by Peter Rizzi

We recently started referring to this book by Peter Rizzi, and we really like it for basic theory. Buy it and place it next to Pozar's book. Often if you don't find what your looking for in one, it's in the other. Those Massachusetts professors know how to write!


Books about Finlines

Professor Bharathi Bhat was one of the principal researchers in establishing the theory and application of finline. She's also a recent addition to our Hall of Fame!

Books for which the author gets paid...History

New for November 2016: We've just added Charles Townes to our Hall of Fame, but we couldn't possibly do him justice in so few words. Luckily, you can read more about the man and his work in these books!

Man of High Fidelity: Edwin Howard Armstrong, a Biography by Lawrence Lessing

First published in 1956, this is the definitive work on Edwin Howard Armstrong's life. Out of print, but available used in paperback. Armstrong invented the feedback amplifier, the superhet receiver and FM radio. For these accomplishments, RCA pretty much tried to destroy his life.


Tuxedo Park : A Wall Street Tycoon and the Secret Palace of Science That Changed the Course of World War II by Jennet Conant

This is the only book on Alfred Lee Loomis's life, first published in 2003. Fueled with Wall Street money that he held in cash during the 1929 crash, Loomis developed an incredible private laboratory for research into topics such as radar, ultrasonics, EEG and nuclear, and formed a close association with many of the top scientists of the day. He personally invented LORAN, which is still used today for keeping aircraft on course. He was the founder of Rad Lab, and often kicked in his own money when the government fell short. He was not in the science game for name recognition or money, just for the good of mankind.


The Tube Guys by Norman H. Pond

This book is about the history of vacuum tubes, with an emphasis on high-power microwave varieties, back in the day when companies were run by engineers who worked hard, took risks, and didn't suffer fools lightly. You'll learn about the origins of the magnetron, the traveling wave tube, the carcinotron, the ubitron, the klystron, the backward wave oscillator, and much more. There's plenty of discussion on the history of the microwave oven as well. There's company histories of Raytheon, Varian, Litton, Sperry, GE, RCA, Sylvania, AT&T, Federal Telegraph (ITT), Westinghouse, e2v, Eimac, Bomac, Hughes, Microwave Associates, Huggins, Watkins Johnson, Roger White Electron Devices, SFD, Teledyne, Northrop Grumman, MLI, Star Microwave, M-Square Microteck, and Asian and European tube companies, it almost puts our "where are they now page" to shame! You'll learn that the Varian brothers were practically communists, their original goal was to establish a commune with a working farm where engineers could live grow their own vegetables and chickens. A water leak at Varian once caused foam rubber "falsies" to float away from the company across the street... this book is Solid Gold for microwave nerds everywhere!


Thunderstruck by Erik Larson

Thunderstuck is a thoroughly entertaining tale that provides information on how Guglielmo Marconi went from tinkerer/dreamer (or maybe obsessed crackpot) to set up the Marconi Company that soon dominated wireless telegraphy. You'll learn about massive peak-bog-fueled steam-powered generators powering spark-gap transmitters, and coherer receivers, which are now in microwave engineering's fascinating compost heap. The book also tells how an infamous murderer was apprehended on a transatlantic ocean liner. The ship's wireless traffic to Scotland Yard was intercepted by newsmen who built up the story, while no one on the ship but the captain and the wireless operator knew what was going down.


Fire in the Belly: Building a World-leading High-tech Company from Scratch in Tumultuous Times by Jerry D. Neal with Jerry Bledsoe

The title of this book made us buy it just to make fun of it. The boyz at RF Micro (and the rest of us) look a little too well fed to have "fire in the belly" like the Oakies did picking crops in California during the Great Depression. Tumultuous times? Like the French Revolution? Didn't RF Micro just sprout up because they had the right idea at the right time?

The book didn't disappoint, but in the opposite sense of the reason that we bought it. It's a great read!

This is the story about how a chain-smoking visionary engineer (Bill Pratt), a hands-on fab and test guy (Powell Seymour) and a NASCAR fan and marketeer (Jerry Neal) found themselves laid off from Analog Devices after developing "RF stuff" that the company didn't see any market potential for. Founding RF Micro Devices in 1991, their original market play was to be a fabless source of amplifiers for the handset market, processing three-inch GaAs HBT wafers at TRW in California. Working 16 hour days for no pay the first year, the founders couldn't have been more enthused if they were Br'er Rabbitt in his briar patch. After some disastrous reliability problems were worked out, they went on to swamp the capacity of TRW's fab in a few short years and built the biggest GaAs fab campus in the world in their home town of Greensboro North Carolina. "Fire in the Belly" refers to Jerry's need for a roll of Tums while maintaining a stream of investor cash during the startup years. We bought a used copy of the book, and it came with his autograph!


Not very many businesses go from garage shop to $1B in ten years, but RFMD did. Their success reminds us of a rule of thumb:

thumbs up! When engineers decide to quit the comforts of their employment and start a new company, they should never attempt this without a really good marketing guy. Engineers often think that it's simply "build it and customers will come" but that is never the case!

Now let's have a look at essential North Carolina culture on Youtube (sorry, Jerry Neal, we couldn't resist!)


Empire of the Air by Tom Lewis

Empire of the Air is a great book if you are interested in the history of radio. Learn how De Forest, Sarnoff and Armstrong took radio from a mere curiosity to a consumer product. De Forest and Armstrong are in our Microwave Hall of Fame!

Author : Unknown Editor