Application Technology Strategy, LLC, (ATS), is the satellite consulting firm founded by Bruce Elbert, leading satellite expert and consultant, technologist, educator and author of standard industry books. We emphasize the how of developing satellite systems.

Satellite Link Budget Training Using SatMaster Software

Presented by Bruce Elbert, President, Application Technology Strategy, LLC

Satellite Link Budget Training using SatMaster Pro Mk8.x software for the personal computer, (Including coverage of SatMaster 8.1) - Dec. 2 - 3, 2013, Columbia, MD with ATI

This is a course to explain more about the characteristics of the satellite link as well as software tools like Excel and SatMaster.

Link budgets are the standard tool for designing and assessing the radio frequency (RF) and other physical layer aspects of fixed and mobile satellite systems, and must be understood by many engineers and managers with design and operation responsibilities. In the past, link budgets were very personalized as to style and content; however, they remain the primary format for presenting results of such analyses. More recently, commercial software tools have appeared on the market to structure and automate the process of creating link budgets, although some are extremely costly and are only practical for corporate users. Other similar tools are provided for free, but must be employed to design links for a particular satellite system as directed by the operator.

 SatMaster is a highly-recognized yet low-cost PC-based software tool offered through the web by Arrowe Technical Services of the UK. This course provides hands-on training in the application and use of SatMaster for a range of satellite communications applications, including one- and two-way transmission of digital television; two-way interactive services using very small aperture terminals (VSATs); point-to-point transmission at a wide range of data rates; and interactive communications with mobile terminals. Services at L, S, C, X, Ku, and Ka bands to fixed and mobile terminals are considered.

 The course begins with a brief review of the underlying theory of link budgets and moves quickly to the user interface, estimating features, and file formats of SatMaster. The course then concentrates on examples that demonstrate both the principles and use of the software. SatMaster+, the latest version of the program, also is reviewed as it contains new features, such as batch analyses of multiple sites, ionospheric scintillation, and the use of interference densities as opposed to C/I estimates.

 The course concludes with several computer workshop examples to enhance participants’ confidence in using SatMaster, and to improve their understanding of the link budgeting process. Participants should gain confidence in their ability to prepare link budgets and their facility with SatMaster. Examples from the class are employed as time allows.

 Course Materials
A demonstration copy of the latest version of SatMaster is distributed and used during this computer lab course. Lecture notes also are distributed on the first day of the course. The notes are for participants only and are not for sale.

 Coordinator and Lecturer
Bruce R. Elbert
, MSEE, MBA, President, Application Technology Strategy, LLC, Georgetown, TX; and Adjunct Professor, College of Engineering, University of Wisconsin, Madison. Mr. Elbert is a recognized satellite communications expert and has been involved in the satellite and telecommunications industries for over 30 years. He founded ATSI to assist major private and public sector organizations that develop and operate cutting-edge networks using satellite and other wireless technologies and services. During 25 years with Hughes Space and Communications (now Boeing Satellite Systems), he directed communications engineering of several major satellite projects, including Palapa A, Indonesia’s original satellite system; the Galaxy follow-on system (the largest and most successful satellite TV system in the world); and the development of the first GEO mobile satellite system capable of serving handheld user terminals. Mr. Elbert also worked as a communications engineer for the INTELSAT system, and developed link analysis tools while a radio officer in the U.S. Army. He has written seven books on telecommunications and IT, including The Satellite Communication Applications Handbook, Second Edition (Artech House, 2004); The Satellite Communication Ground Segment and Earth Station Handbook (Artech House, 2001); and Introduction to Satellite Communication, Second Edition (Artech House, 1999).

 Two Day Daily Schedule - Three day Schedule TBA
Day One
Principles of Satellite Links and Applicability of SatMaster

. Standard ground rules for satellite link budgets
— Frequency band selection: L, S, C, X, Ku, and Ka
— Satellite footprints (EIRP, G/T, and SFD) and transponder plans
— Propagation considerations: the isotropic source, line of sight, antenna principles
— Atmospheric effects: troposphere (clear air and rain) and ionosphere (Faraday and scintillation)
— Rain effects and rainfall regions; use of the DAH rain model
— Modulation systems (QPSK, OQPSK, MSK, GMSK, 8PSK, 16 QAM, and 32 APSK)
— Forward error correction techniques (Viterbi, Reed-Solomon, Turbo, and LDPC codes)
— Transmission equation and its relationship to the link budget

. Introduction to the user interface of SatMaster
— File formats: antenna pointing, database, digital link budget, and regenerative repeater link budget
— Built-in reference data and calculators
— Example of a digital one-way link budget (DVB-S) using equations and SatMaster

. Interference and noise considerations
— Interference sources (X-pol, adjacent satellite interference analysis, adjacent channel interference); C/I estimation
— Noise considerations of the receiver, antenna, and transmission line: G/T
— Intermodulation products and satellite amplifier backoff

. Earth station characteristics
— Antenna characteristics (main beam, sidelobe, X-pol considerations)
— HPA characteristics, intermodulation and sizing

. Link budget workshop example using SatMaster: multiple channel per carrier

 Day Two

Detailed Link Design in Practice: Computer Workshop

. Transponder loading and optimum multi-carrier backoff

. Review of link budget optimization techniques using the program’s built-in features
— Minimize required transponder capacity
— Maximize throughput
— Minimize receive dish size
— Minimize transmit power

. Discussion of VSAT parameters and technology options as they relate to the link budget

. Example: digital VSAT, multi-carrier operation

. Example: two-way FDMA data link

. Comparison of SatMaster Pro (legacy version) and SatMaster+ (feature-rich version)

. Use of batch location files to prepare link budgets for a large table of locations

. Case study from the class using the above elements and SatMaster