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The effects of multipath fading and additive white Gaussian noise (AWGN) on the bit error rate (BER) performance of direct-sequence code-division multiple-access (DS-CDMA) systems is studied in this paper. The expression for the conditional BER, conditioned on a given level of fading is derived and then the unconditional BER is evaluated. The BER performance results of the system are evaluated in a fading channel for different magnitude of fading. The proposed approach is also extended to estimate the BER performance of the CDMA system having multiple receiving antennas. The effectiveness of the selection method and maximal ratio combining (MRC) method as diversity combining schemes are investigated and compared. To enhance the system performance channel coding is also applied to the system.