Aerospace & Defence

Game changing technology for satellite communications

9th March 2016
Joe Bush

This week’s Satellite 2016 exhibition in Washington DC has seen AtlanTecRF launch its new Ka Band Satellite Simulator. Testing of mobile satellite communications systems has received a further boost with the launch of AtlanTecRF’s LSS range of ‘game-changing’ Satellite Simulators designed for operation in Ka band with optional use in other bands, including Ku and DBS.

Satellite simulation is derived from a microwave architecture which provides translation of uplink to downlink frequencies of a mobile satcom system without the need for cabling on either the test site or on location.

AtlanTecRF’s Ka Band Satellite Simulator is totally self-contained, being powered by internal rechargeable batteries with 24 hour duration, thereby permitting the unit to be set-up within transmit range for a fully functional RF test in both left and right hand circular polarisations.

Interface with the system under test is facilitated with a pair of 15dB gain horn antennae - one for reception of the uplink signal and one for transmission of the downlink signal, and the conversion gain within the satellite simulator is -35dB. Adjustment of the signal within both the transmit and the receive paths is achieved by manual 30dB continuously variable attenuators.

Speaking from Satellite 2016 in Washington DC Geoff Burling, AtlanTecRF’s CEO said “AtlanTecRF is making great strides in providing convenient, easy to use and technically innovative RF test solutions for the satellite communications industry and this new LSS series represents a breakthrough in cost effective evaluation of mobile satcom system performance.”

In addition to the base instrument there are a series of performance enhancing options such as synthesised LO frequencies for greater versatility, digitally controlled signal attenuators with LCD readout and 0.25dB resolution. All instruments, as part of the self-contained series, include a high stability OCXO reference oscillator with less than 0.002PPM variation in frequency over the operating temperature range of 0 to 40C.

Fixed frequency LO units have a choice of either 9.80 or 10.30GHz local oscillator while the synthesised option covers 8.80 to 10.95GHz in 25MHz steps or finer increments if required. The overall size of this very portable satellite simulator is just 260 x 150 x 420mm and it is fitted with a convenient carry handle which also serves to set the beam angle for optimum test conditions.

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