In memory of Roger Belcher
Written by: Sam Fenwick | Published:
Roger Belcher, technical director at RTT Programmes. Born October 1943, died August 2019

​Roger Belcher, technical director at RTT Programmes, one of the most experienced RF design engineers in the radio industry died on 1 August. He had had cancer for some time.

Roger joined the Marconi Group in 1959 as a 16-year-old apprentice and went on to design and develop antennae and radar processing equipment for Plessey Radar. This was followed by a spell in technical marketing at Texas Instruments, satellite antennae and RF modem design for Racal, and design of RF communications test equipment and hardware for Rohde & Schwarz and Messerschmitt MBB in Munich.

He joined RTT as a co-director in 1982 with a brief to redesign an all-in-one RF test set for the radio industry to compete with the Marconi 2950, integrating a sub 1GHz signal generator with a modulation meter, SINAD meter and power meter.

This became one of a range of test instruments sold mainly into the South East Asian production test market through a distributor network in Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand and Taiwan.

In 1986 Roger presented RTT’s first radio design and engineering workshop, which marked the start of 30 years of presenting RF design topics to audiences in the UK, Europe, the US, Africa and Asia, including the annual Oxford Programme, a five-day workshop attended over the years by delegates from every corner of the industry.

In 2005 he helped establish RTT’s consultancy business with a focus on the impact of radio handset and base station front-end performance on RF network economics. This work remains relevant today as the industry grapples with 5G and satellite business plans based on link budgets which fail to take implementation loss into account.

He co-authored three books: The Mobile Radio Servicing Handbook (Heinemann Newnes, 1989), Data over Radio (Quantum Publishing, 1992) and 3G Handset and Network Design (Wiley Publishing, 2003).

His co-director at RTT, Geoff Varrall, commented: “Roger had an encyclopaedic knowledge of radio design acquired across a career spanning 50 years starting in military short-wave radio, VHF and UHF two-way radio and five generations of cellular radio. He always kept up to date with design and device innovation and had a huge talent for resolving RF front-end design issues and an ability to communicate complex design principles to an engineering audience. He will be missed both for his technical knowledge and expertise but, more importantly, as a close friend and colleague for more than 30 years.”

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