Saturday, March 28, 2009

Closing out Satellite 2009

Satellite 2009 was dubbed Solutions Start Here and lived up to its billing of offering a glimpse into the future of the satellite-enabled communications market and the solutions new technology will provide. The sessions covered enterprise, military, commercial, broadcast, government, and others. The conference and panel sessions covered many topics like Satellite broadband, WiMAX, IP networking, SatCom, hybrid networks, financial impacts, military applications, HD, Mobile TV, backhaul, etc.

I was impressed with the new RF/microwave technologies on display at the exhibition. Many companies were offering very high power, light weight amplifier and upconverter solutions from TWTs to SSPA. The filtering technology was just as impressive as the airways are getting more and more crowded with signals that need to be blocked out. And we cannot forget the antennas, feeds and motion controls at the end of the communication line that are also critical for optimal performance.

I am heading off to CTIA next week as we will put on the first ever RF/microwave Pavilion at CTIA Wireless 2009 in Las Vegas. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Satellite 2009

I attended the exhibition and one of the panel sessions yesterday. The show seems relatively busy which is a good sign these days. There were 2 interesting panel discussions I wanted to attend yesterday. One was on the capacity crunch and debated the different frequency bands as C-band seems to be slowing, Ku-band is growing and Ka-band is on the horizon. I was not able to make this one but made the one on the WiMAX and Satellite broadband debate - are they direct competition or complementary.

The panel was moderated by Claude Rousseau (NSR) and made up of Drew Caplan (SkyTerra), Amiee Chan (Norsat), Gary Hale (Cisco Systems), Laurent Thomasson (EADS) and Greg Wyler (O3b). They had done some polling of the industry and 59% thought WiMAX was a long term solution with only 11% thinking WiMAX was a direct threat to Satellite Broadband (but 69% thought is was an opportunity and threat). WiMAX seems to be a good solution for places that have no infrastructure for wireless backhaul and may not necessarily be a good mobile solution at this point. It seems like WiMAX and Satellite broadband hybrid systems that utilize the best one for each situation might be the answer in the long term.

The exhibition was fairly well attended and we visited many of the RF/microwave companies. We stopped by Cobham, Teledyne, Locus, Diamond, NEC, Actox, Wavecom, Tampa, FilTel, Microphase, K&L and Millitech. I saw some impressive amplifiers and upconverters that are very compact and high power. There are still some good TWT solutions but it seems like SSPAs with proprietary combining solutions are taking a big part of the business. Today we will finish off our visits and I will be doing a show wrap up of the whole event in the next couple of days.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Greenray Industries Debuts New TCXO

Greenray Industries of Mechanicsburg, PA announced a new High Frequency TCXO for Wireless & Mobile Apps last month, the T121 TCXO just in time for Satellite 2009. The device is designed to serve as a super-stable frequency reference in high shock and high vibration environments. The T121 Series TCXO, available from 50 to 100MHz, provides extremely stable sinewave output and temperature stability to ±0.5ppm over -40 to +85°C. The T121 measures 0.68 x 0.68 x 0.200” and features vibration sensitivity of 7 x 10-10/g or better. The T121 Series combines a compact, rugged package, tight stability and high frequency availability to suit high shock/high vibration environments, including mobile and airborne applications. Stop by booth #1607 for more details.

CPI Satcom Showcases 100 watt Ku-band outdoor SSPA

CPI Satcom Division is featuring its 100 watt Ku-band outdoor SSPA at the SATELLITE 2009 Conference and Exhibition. This outdoor SSPA is the latest addition to the company’s extensive range of solid state amplifiers and is being touted by the company for its flexibility and easy maintainance. Frequency bands can be changed among X-, C- and Ku-band very quickly without rewiring and using only minor hand tools. Swapping out fans typically takes less time than it does to simply remove the cover on competing products. The ease of owning a CPI SSPA is enhanced by the company’s fifteen worldwide service centers and 24-hour telephone support.

Reliability is built-in to the CPI outdoor SSPA. In addition to the soft-fail RF feature found in most SSPAs, the CPI SSPA also provides redundant power supply modules and a microprocessor-controlled fault reporting system.

CPI’s satellite communications products are on display in booth 301 at the SATELLITE 2009 Conference and Exhibition.

At Satellite 09 Aeroflex Unveils Latest Payload Tester

At Satellite 2009 in Washington DC, Aeroflex announced the commercial availability of their Synthetic Multifunction Adaptable Reconfigurable Test Environment (SMART^E™) 5200 Series. This new hybrid synthetic Satellite Payload Test Environment includes hardware, software, test practices and support provides standard and customizable test programs tailored to the specific problems of testing (standard and customizable) high performance payloads, which consist of multiple channels, each with up to hundreds of connections between the test system and payload under test.

“The SMART^E 5200 replaces the STI1000C Satellite Payload Test System currently installed and in operation at customer sites worldwide,” according to Dr. Francesco Lupinetti, vice president and general manager, Aeroflex High Speed Test Solutions.

SMART^E 5200 is a highly integrated and reliable COTS-based solution. The core modules utilized in the SMART^E 5200 have been shipping in other SMART^E applications for approximately two years. Like the software and user interface, the core modules are production-grade and operationally proven in the field. When combined with proven accessories such as the Remote Calibration Unit (RCU), which allows TVAC testing of payloads with as many as 384 ports at an extended frequency of 40 GHz.

Aeroflex has more than ten years of experience in fielding synthetic test systems specifically configured for testing satellite payloads. Customers utilize the same systems for all stages of payload integration and test, including panel testing, reference performance testing of the full payload, testing in a thermal vacuum chamber and antenna-range testing in anechoic chambers.

Different satellite payloads may have many similarities, no two payloads are exactly alike and no two manufacturers have exactly the same test strategies and methodologies. When designing the SMART^E 5200, Aeroflex’s objective was to create a test environment solution with core capabilities that addresses the common aspects of satellite payload test and still remain flexible enough so that it can be easily customized to match the unique requirements of any given payload and associated customer. Each of the Satellite Payload Test Systems from Aeroflex share common core elements, but are customized with unique test aspects for each customer implementation.

The latest SMART^E Test Environments implement the core RF/microwave functions to be more modular in terms of the frequency ranges and power characteristics for the various applications. Satellite payloads operate at different frequencies and power levels depending upon the system application/mission to which they are applied. Frequency and power are two of the most basic cost drivers for microwave equipment, so the most cost-efficient solution is a test system that optimally and dynamically matches the range of frequency and power characteristics of the modules to be tested.

Together with full diagnostic capabilities, calibration and NIST traceable standards, Aeroflex supplies a standard library of common tests with each Satellite Payload Test Environment, including: Payload Control, Multi Carrier, Gain Transfer/ALC, Noise Power Ratio, Noise Figure, Frequency Conversion, Amplitude Linearity, Group Delay/Phase vs. Frequency, Passive Intermodulation, and many more.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Satellite 2009 in DC

I am heading out to the Satellite 2009 show in Washington DC tomorrow morning to meet with the RF/microwave companies there. I hope to recruit some good material for our August Satellite and mmWave issue and perhaps our October Gov't and Military issue. It should be an interesting trip before heading out next week to Vegas for CTIA.

If anyone else is attending and wants to meet for coffee (or a drink), drop me a line.