Antenna - Common name for a Satellite dish. SatCom antenna come in various sizes,configurations and materials. Ranging from 0.9 meters to 33 meters the antenna is themost conspicuous and often the most impressive sub-system of an earth station. The mainfunction of an antenna is a passive amplifier; be it transmitting or receiving, the gain of anantenna is calculated as a relative function of its size [aperture] and the wavelength of thesignal to be amplified. The figure is expressed indBi. Many factors govern the quality ofan antenna, not least being the surface accuracy and rigidity of the main reflector and theplacement of the feed. A SatCom antenna must remain pointed at the satellite under allenvironmental operational conditions and irrespective of the residual movements of thesatellite. The larger the antenna the smaller the main transmit lobe [beamwidth] whichrequires KU Band antenna over 4.5m to be fitted with an automatic tracking system. Thesmaller antenna used inVSat systemshave a beamwidth greater than the movement of ageostationary satellite and consequently, do not need tracking. An antenna systemcomprises the following parts;The mechanical system which encompasses the reflector, back structure and pedastle.The primary source, comprising the illumination horn, the associated reflectorsub-assemblies and the non radiating components.The most frequently used types of antenna are parabolic [axisymmetric or offset] which
include: Cassegrain. Gregorian, Offset front fed or Prime focus. Cassegrain and Gregorianmake use of a dual reflector system fed by a primary radiator located at the focus, this dualreflector configuration is now being seen in a parabolic offset configuration. Typicallyantenna subsystems can achieve 66% efficiency, with the newer design, ellipsoidalGregorian [dual-shaped] offset reflector antenna, attaining 82% or more.Availability - In SatCom terms the link availability is expressed as a percentage of a yearwhen the link will perform as per the requiredBER. ie. 99% availability states that the linkwill be unavailable for 87.6 Hours or put another way; if the link was running @ 64kbpsmore than 2.018 Million bits of data would be lost.
Baseband RF - ARadio Frequencysignal generated by theModemis either 70 [mostcommon] or 140MHz and from -5dBm to -25dBm in power. ThisModulated carrieris fed tothe outdoor unit and is also known as theIF.A common name for the IDU or In-Door Units is the Baseband equipment. This genericterm often encompasses the uplink and downlink sub-systems and the data processingequipment in a large earth station orHub.Bandwidth allocation - A transponder on a satellite can be/is divided, and sold, in smallerunits to accommodate different users link requirements. The users data rate +FEC+modulationcharacteristics are calculated to indicate the carriers occupied bandwidth. TheBandwidth of a carrier is therefore directly proportional to itsdata rate[see the tablebelow]. The satellite operator then increases this figure by a factor of 1.2 to 1.4 [to allow forseparation of the carriers in the transponder] and "allocates bandwidth". This figure is thenrelated to the power requirements [as calculated against the users BER request] and theuser is charged for the greater of the two. Some satellite operators will increase thebandwidth, until the links power requirements are met. In this form of calculation a 64kBpscarrier at R1/2 FEC, usingQPSK modulationwould have a bandwidth of 64kHz but wouldbe allocated anywhere from 76.8kHz up. It should also be noted thatQPSKmodulatedcarriers suffer performance degradation if the carrier spacing is less than 1.3 times thesymbol ratedue to an effect known as, adjacent channel interference.The following table shows actual bandwidth allocations applied by Eutelsat [as defined inESOG Module:220 Vol II] for QPSKmodulationschemes.InformationBit rateTransmissionrateTransmittedSymbol rateAllocatedBandwidth
Clickhere to downloadan On-line copy of the document.Bps - Bits per second. The users data rate of a satellite channel is expressed in Bits persecond; Bps, Kilo[Thousand]bits per second; kBps, or Mega[Million]bits per second; Mbps.The rate of a satellite delivered data channel is measured inspsor symbols per second,see thetableabove for a comparison of Bps-to-Sps. AnMCPCor Digital Video link wouldtypically run at several Mbps, Video conferencing @ 384kBps, Audio @ 192 - 256 kBpsand Data and Voice circuits @ 64kBps [or multiples thereof].BER - Bit Error Rate. The figure of merit for a digital link is its BER, also called bit errorprobability. Mathematically this is the probability that a bit sent over the link will be receivedincorrectly [that a 1 will be read as a 0, for example] or alternatively, the fraction of a largenumber of transmitted bits that will be received incorrectly. This is expressed as a singlenumber ie. 10 * 10E-4 or 0.0001 . Physically a bit error occurs because a symbol error hasoccurred, ie. at some point in the link noise has corrupted the transmitted symbol and thedecision circuitry at the receiver cannot identify it correctly. Symbol errors arise fromthermal noise, from external interference and from intersymbol interference.Baseball switch - So called because when graphically identified it looks like the seam on anAmerican `Baseball'. This device employs a high speed, DC powered electric motor, toalter the path of RF flowing through it, by rotating a specially shaped deflector. TwoRFsources are shunted, simultaneously, from one port to another. In 1+1redundantsystemthe output of the secondaryHPAis switched from a "dummy load" to the transmit port ofthe antenna at the same time as the primary source is switched away from the antennainto the load.BPSK - Bi-Polar or Bi-Phase Shift Keying is a method ofmodulatingor impressing a datastream onto anRFcarrier used in satellite transmission systems. SeePSKfor moredetails.3dB Beamwidth - or 'half-power beamwidth' is the term (measured in degrees) appliedacross an antenna's peak gain envelope where the carrier power drops by 3dB. Thesmaller the antenna and the lower the frequency the larger the 3dB beamwidth becomes.For example if an antenna has a 3dB beamwidth of 1° (or ± 0.5°) then if the antenna is de-pointed by 0.5 degrees the received signal level will fall by 3dB. The 3dB point can also beused to calculate the antenna gain [Ga (see alsodBi)] using the formula ;Ga = 10log [31000 / (3dB Bw
)]A 60cm KU antenna with an RX gain of 36.12dBi will have a 3dB beamwidth of 2.75degrees (ie easy to find the satellite) however an 11M KU bamnd antenna which has anRX gain of 60.45dBi has a very narrow 0.167deg 3dB beamwidth which consequentlyneeds an accurate tracking system to keep the reflector pointed within the peak gain