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Earth Station Design, Implementation, Operation and Maintenance for Satellite Communications

4-Day Course

$2195 per person


This intensive four-day course is intended for satellite communications engineers, earth station design professionals, and operations and maintenance managers and technical staff. The course provides a proven approach to the design of modern earth stations, from the system level down to the critical elements that determine the performance and reliability of the facility. We address the essential technical properties in the baseband and RF, and delve deeply into the block diagram, budgets and specification of earth stations and hubs. Also addressed are practical approaches for the procurement and implementation of the facility, as well as proper practices for O&M and testing throughout the useful life. The overall methodology assures that the earth station meets its requirements in a cost effective and manageable manner.

Attendees will receive a copy of Mr. Elbert's textbook The Satellite Communication Ground Segment and Earth Station Handbook, 2nd ed, Artech House, 2014.

  1. Ground Segment and Earth Station Technical Aspects. Evolution of satellite communication earth stations— teleports and hubs • Earth station design philosophy for performance and operational effectiveness • Engineering principles • 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 and Crane rain models • 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 • Radio frequency clearance and interference consideration • RFI prediction techniques • Antenna sidelobes (ITU-R Rec 732) • Interference criteria and coordination • Site selection • RFI problem identification and resolution.

  2. Major Earth Station Engineering. RF terminal design and optimization. Antennas for major earth stations (fixed and tracking, LP and CP) • Upconverter and HPA chain (SSPA, TWTA, and KPA) • LNA/LNB and downconverter chain. Optimization of RF terminal configuration and performance (redundancy, power combining, and safety) • Baseband equipment configuration and integration • Designing and verifying the terrestrial interface • Station monitor and control • Facility design and implementation • Prime power and UPS systems. Developing environmental requirements (HVAC) • Building design and construction • Grounding and lightening control.

  3. Hub Requirements and Supply. Earth station uplink and downlink gain budgets • EIRP budget • Uplink gain budget and equipment requirements • G/T budget • Downlink gain budget • Ground segment supply process • Equipment and system specifications • Format of a Request for Information • Format of a Request for Proposal • Proposal evaluations • Technical comparison criteria • Operational requirements • Cost-benefit and total cost of ownership.

  4. Link Budget Analysis Related to the Earth Station 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 • Transponder loading and optimum multi-carrier backoff • How to assess transponder capacity • Maximize throughput • Minimize receive dish size • Minimize transmit power • Examples: DVB-S2 broadcast, digital VSAT network with multi-carrier operation.

  5. Earth Terminal Maintenance Requirements and Procedures. Outdoor systems • Antennas, mounts and waveguide • Field of view • Shelter, power and safety • Indoor RF and IF systems • Vendor requirements by subsystem • Failure modes and routine testing.

  6. VSAT Basseband Hub Maintenance Requirements and Procedures. IF and modem equipment • Performance evaluation • Test procedures • TDMA control equipment and software • Hardware and computers • Network management system • System software.

  7. Hub Procurement and Operation Case Study. General requirements and life-cycle • Block diagram • Functional division into elements for design and procurement • System level specifications • Vendor options • Supply specifications and other requirements • RFP definition • Proposal evaluation • O&M planning.

Tuition for this four-day course is $2195 per person at one of our scheduled public courses. Onsite pricing is available. Please call us at 410-956-8805 or send an email to

Register Now Without Obligation.


Bruce ElbertBruce R. Elbert, MS (EE), MBA, Adjunct Professor (ret), 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 40 years. He founded Application Technology Strategy, LLC, to assist major private and public sector organizations that develop and operate cutting-edge networks using satellite and other wireless technologies During 25 years with Hughes Electronics, he directed the design of several major satellite projects, including Palapa A, Indonesia’s original satellite system; the Galaxy follow-on; and the development of the first GEO mobile satellite system capable of serving handheld user terminals. Mr. Elbert was also ground segment manager for the Hughes system, which included eight teleports and 3 VSAT hubs. He served in the US Army Signal Corps as a radio communications officer and instructor. By considering the technical, business, and operational aspects of satellite systems, Mr. Elbert has contributed to the operational and economic success of leading organizations in the field. He has written nine books on telecommunications and IT.

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