Satellite Link Budget Training Using SatMaster Software

Course length:

3 Days



Course dates

Interested in attending? Have a suggestion about running this course near you?
Register your interest now

Want to run this event on-site? Enquire about running this event in-house


Link budgets are the standard tool for designing and assessing satellite communications transmissions, considering radio-wave propagation, satellite performance, terminal equipment, radio frequency interference (RFI), and other physical layer aspects of fixed and mobile satellite systems. The format and content of the link budget must be understood by many engineers and managers with design and operation responsibilities. SatMaster is a highly-recognized yet low-cost PC-based software tool offered through the web by Arrowe Technical Services of the UK. This three-day course reviews the principles and use of the link budget along with hands-on training in SatMaster 9, the latest version, for 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 UHF, L, S, C, X, Ku, and Ka bands to fixed and mobile terminals are considered. The course includes 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. The course notes are provided. Bring a Windows OS laptop to class with SatMaster software. It can be purchased directly from (a discount is available to registered attendees).

The course notes are provided. Bring a Windows OS laptop to class with SatMaster software. It can be purchased directly from Software can be provided for use during live in person courses only. All Virtual Live Webinar attendees must purchase the software.

Course Outline:

Day 1 Principles of Satellite Links and Applicability of SatMaster

  • Standard ground rules for satellite link budgets
  • Frequency band selection: UHF, L, S, C, X, Ku, and Ka
  • Satellite footprints (EIRP, G/T, and SFD) and transponder plans; application of on-board processors
  • 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 built-in DAH and Crane rain models
  • Modulation systems (QPSK, OQPSK, MSK, GMSK, 8PSK, 16 QAM, and 32 APSK)
  • Forward error correction techniques (Viterbi, Reed-Solomon, BCH, Turbo, and LDPC codes)
  • Transmission equation and its relationship to the link budget
  • Introduction to the user interface of SatMaster
  • Differences between SatMaster 9, the current version, and previous versions
  • File formats: antenna pointing, database, digital link budget, and digital processing/regenerative repeater link budget
  • Built-in reference data and calculators
  • Example of a digital one-way link budget (DVB-S2) using equations and SatMaster

Day 2 Detailed Link Design in Practice: Computer Workshop

  • Earth station block diagram and characteristics
  • Antenna characteristics (main beam, sidelobe, X-pol considerations, mobile antennas)
  • HPA characteristics, intermodulation and sizing , uplink power control
  • Link budget workshop example using SatMaster: Single Channel Per Carrier (SCPC)
  • Transponder loading and optimum multi-carrier backoff; power equivalent bandwidth
  • Review of link budget optimization techniques using the program’s built-in features
  • Transponder loading and optimization for minimum cost and resources, maximum throughput and availability
  • Computing the minimum transmit power; uplink power control (UPC)
  • Interference sources (X-pol, adjacent satellite interference, adjacent channel interference)
  • Earth station power flux density limits and the use of spread spectrum for disadvantaged antennas
  • Earth station power flux density limits and the use of spread spectrum for disadvantaged antennas

Day 3 Consideration of Interference and Workshop in Digital Link Budgets

  • C/I estimation and trade studies
  • Performance estimation for carrier-in-carrier (Paired Carrier Multiple Access) transmission
  • Discussion of VSAT parameters and technology options as they relate to the link budget
  • Example: digital VSAT, multi-carrier operation
  • 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


Bruce 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.

Contact this instructor (please mention course name in the subject line)


REGISTRATION: There is no obligation or payment required to enter the Registration for an actively scheduled course. We understand that you may need approvals but please register as early as possible or contact us so we know of your interest in this course offering.

SCHEDULING: If this course is not on the current schedule of open enrollment courses and you are interested in attending this or another course as an open enrollment, please contact us at (410)956-8805 or Please indicate the course name, number of students who wish to participate. and a preferred time frame. ATI typically schedules open enrollment courses with a 3-5 month lead-time. To express your interest in an open enrollment course not on our current schedule, please email us at

For on-site pricing, you can use the request an on-site quote form, call us at (410)956-8805, or email us at