Personal profile

Personal Statement

Telecommunications engineer working in software defined radio, cognitive radio, shared spectrum, community and privately owned 4G/5G. Built one of the UK's first 5G networks. In Orkney. Not London.

I am a researcher in the Software Defined Radio Laboratory at the University of Strathclyde. I received my BEng (Hons) degree from the University in 2014. My PhD research focused 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 cognitive radios I have developed are able to identify empty spectral bands, decide which are most suitable for use, and then use dynamic non-contiguous modulation in order to establish communications channels in them. I designed these transceivers from within MATLAB and Simulink, and deployed them onto realtime ZynqSDR devices (Xilinx Zynq based FPGA/ARM SoC dev board + Analog Devices SDR front end).

I played a key role in 5G RuralFirst; testbeds and trials for rural 5G mobile connectivity across sites in the Orkney Islands, Shropshire and Somerset. Myself and the team designed, developed and with the help of partners delivered an end to end mobile network for 5G RuralFirst in 5 months. From SIM cards to custom UEs, eNBs and ePCs, radio spectrum planning and network orchestration; we have proved that it is possible to make mobile coverage in rural areas affordable, using shared and licensed spectrum, neutral hosting and software defined radio.

In this project I worked as part of the small team that designed the mobile network, carrying out interoperability testing with third party ePCs, the programming of basestations, RF planning and network design, and developed bespoke security and management solutions for the basestation equipment. I was lead developer of the "PiFi" modem kits used on drones for agritech use cases and on tour buses in Orkney. I also took the lead on Orkney basestation installations, commissioning and subsequent drive testing campaigns, spending more than 3 months of 2019 with colleagues at CloudNet IT Solutions Ltd, a project partner and local wireless internet service provider, who deployed the equipment and backhaul solutions. I led on the development of a generator powered popup 5G network trailer mast; featuring a software defined remote radio head and sector antenna mounted on a pneumatic mast, and a baseband unit that is both performing R15 eNB/gNB PHY processing and running the core network. I used this (Ofcom licensed) popup 5G network to perform RF coverage trials and help refine RF propagation simulation parameters throughout summer 2019.

I am 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. Following this I studied for a PhD in the EEE Department at the University of Strathclyde. I successfully defended my thesis in December 2020, which presented a cognitive dynamic spectrum radio solution implemented on programmable ZynqSDR hardware, that enabled secondary user access to the FM Radio band.

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.


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

Education/Academic qualification

Bachelor of Engineering, Final Year Project: Development of Software Defined Radio Receivers in MATLAB and Simulink based on RTL-SDR, UNIVERSITY OF STRATHCLYDE

Award Date: 1 Jan 2014

External positions

Software Intern, MathWorks Inc

5 Oct 201526 Feb 2016


  • SDR
  • Software Defined Radio
  • DSP
  • Digital Signal Processing
  • 5G
  • 4G
  • USRP
  • Dynamic Spectrum Access
  • DSA
  • Simulink


Dive into the research topics where Kenny Barlee is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • 1 Similar Profiles

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or