LOCOPO: Low-Cost Ku-band High Power Amplifiers for VSAT Ground Terminals

Status date

The objective of this project is the development of packaged 1-Watt and 2-Watt high power amplifiers for Ku-band VSAT applications. The latter one is being potentially well suited to address future need of 4-Watt output power levels, by means of a layout mirroring (using external power combining).

  • Design, Fabrication, and Characterization of Ku-band HPAs.
  • SMD fabrication line compatible low cost packaging of high frequency GaAs high power amplifiers.
  • Affordable VSAT outdoor units (ODU).
  • Broadband information access also in rural areas of Europe.
  • Maintenance and enhancement of the competitive position of the European telecom industry.

For the envisaged output power levels a high power 0.25-µm PHEMT process is used. In order to achieve a gain in the range of 20 dB to 25 dB, a 3-stage design would be suitable in both cases. Both designs will be optimized for a cost effective plastic package solution like QFN packages (Quad Flat Non-leaded package) together with the definition of mounting and assembly. The QFN package (see pictures below) is made of copper carrier and lead frame with a low-k plastic molding. This low cost package is fully compatible with an SMD assembly line.

Side view of a Quad Flat Non-leaded package.

click for larger image


The project consists of two phases:

  • Phase 1 is related to the development of 1-Watt and 2-Watt HPA MMIC prototypes in SMD packages.
  • Phase 2 is dedicated to a pre-production of packaged 1 Watt and 2 Watt HPAs.
Current status

The fabrication of the 1-Watt and 2-Watt prototype HPAs has been finished.

The 1-W HPA is achieving all specifications and has been made available as a UMS product. The QFN packaged 1-Watt HPA can be found in the UMS product catalogue under the reference number CHA6664-QDG.

For the 2-Watt HPA, a large discrepancy between the simulated results and the ones measured, have demonstrated the inability of the standard power transistor model to predict the behaviour of the original power cell used in this HPA. Therefore an additional characterization and modeling work package has been inserted into the project and the work is almost finished. Depending on the final results of this additional work package UMS will decide on the HPA architecture which will be used for the design of the 2nd 2-Watt HPA iteration.