Robotic Feed - Ka-band manual adjusted feed positioner. Motorised feed positioner for tracking inclined satellites on any band.

Objectives

  • A lower cost VSAT tracking terminal programming very low-cost consumer computing hardware and motors to move the feed of an antenna, rather than the entire reflector.
  • A manually adjusted feed bracket, which makes final fine adjustment on Ka-band reflectors to place the feed at the best point for cross-pol. The objective to reduce the installation time.

Challenges

Combining RF and hardware skills with computing programming skills. The computer program has a scheduler because it is a time-based program whi carries out actions on hourly, weekly and monthly intervals. Scheduling random customer intervention or alarms and re-syncing events had to be carefully programmed to avoid conflicts in the scheduler. These were carefully worked out through meticulous management of variables and state machines.

Benefits

Manual adjustable feed

For installer, reduces installation time from a few days when adjusting with AzEl head, to around 30 minutes, because the cross polarisation can be adjusted while the antenna is transmitting- which is impossible with AzEl adjustment. The cross polarisation can therefore be tuned on-the-go, and has zero backlash unlike the nuts and bolts of the AzEl.

Inclined tracking feed

Extends life and ROI for satellite operator. Gives access to lower cost space segment for service provider but also - Lower cost than AzEl head tracking systems. - Lower power, and lower freight cost. - Retains the wind loading of the antenna. - Can be retrofitted to existing fixed antenna.

New ITU compliant Feeds

Flexible design for Ka-band frequency, 2 or 4 port, linear or circular. Competitive and highly experienced, highly accurate UK machine manufacture.

Features

Manual adjustable feed

A robust and adjustable XY feed holder, where the XY table is removed and holder is locked off. The XY table can control the position of the feed to within 0.01 mm (2mm relates to 0.1degree on a 2.4mtr) allowing peaking of cross pol while transmitting.

Inclined tracking feed

Fully unattended operation One waterproof outdoor motor low-cost feed tracking system Robust hardware. Outdoor unit for local motor control, calibration and alarm monitoring. Single digital Ethernet cross site cable resilient against RF interference. Indoor touch screen controller showing motor displacement against time graph on home page and comprising

  • Configuration for any satellite or antenna.
  • Alarm monitoring
  • Computer that calculates distance to move motor from TLE.
  • IP setup for static routing and proxy 
  • TLE configuration menu

New ITU compliant Feeds

Proven designs for feeds that have now entered the market and proven extremely competitive in open tenders. These are designs which can be produced by machine, meaning lower costs to sell when quantities are in the 100s to 1000s.

Current status

The inclinded tracking feed prototype has been tracking NSS7 for 2 years reliably. The controller program is written and stable. 3 feeds were developed and passed ITU sidelobe compliance tests. The rotating 1.2mtr Skyware reflector is assembled and fits together.

Contacts

ESA Contacts

Status date

Friday, February 16, 2018 - 11:43