An antenna for every application
From the humble beginnings of the satellite communications antenna, we could
probably never have dreamed that such a thing could evolve as much as it has over
recent years. With designs becoming increasingly innovative and suiting a plethora of
applications, Satellite Evolution EMEA looks at the developments in antenna
Photo courtesy of Starling.
There is an antenna to suit every application today. Would you munications to a new level. Antennas come in all shapes and sizes
like connectivity on a train? There is an antenna for that. Do you and they perform many different functions. They are a critical part of
want to check your email in the air? There is an the satellite network. Advancements in communications technology
antenna for that. Do you want to be able to receive TV in your vehi- such as comms-on-the-move are pushing manufacturers to constantly
cle? There is even an antenna for that. Antenna design has literally innovate. Demand placed on antennas are causing manufacturers
moved with the times. No longer are they the clunky, difficult to oper- to change their shape, to make them highly portable and able to be
ate, highly technical, heavy and very difficult to move items that they dismantled, and the material the antenna is constructed of must be
were in the past – now they are designed to be portable, to be easy lightweight and easy to transport. These days, the large, immove-
to assemble, simple to install and use and have been adapted for able antennas are a thing of the past meaning that satellite commu-
use in particular situations for a vast variety of applications. nications can be attained just about anywhere on the planet.
Satellite communications are now enabling broadband Internet, What is generally new and innovative antenna design in the in-
VoIP, location–based services as well as the traditional voice and dustry?
data services – and we want access to them no matter where we
are. Therefore, the antennas on the market today have to be able to Manpack
meet certain criteria wherever they are used. They must be able to Carbon fibre-based antennas and new technology have given an-
withstand different weather conditions, to cope with movement and tennas a new kind of portability. They may be broken up and placed
to be able to acquire the satellite signal quickly when emerging from into fly cases and checked in at airports for easy transportation. But
a tunnel, for example. how can they be easily moved around in battlefield scenarios when
Developments in antenna technology have taken satellite com- there is no vehicle to help the soldiers move equipment around?
20 www.satellite-evolution.com | January/February 2011
tional global Ku-band connectivity for airborne communications, at a
highly competitive cost of system.
The single panel antenna supports a multi user environment on
board aircraft; it provides data transmission and reception at true bit
rates enabling airlines and service providers to offer all passengers
on aircraft a wide selection of in flight communication and entertain-
ment packages and also to enable air travellers the option to use
their own mobile devices during flight for unlimited applications such
as: internet, email, VPN, VOIP, instant messages, VOD, download
heavy files , online gaming and multimedia.
The MIJETLite is another part of the MIJET family of antenna
systems, based on Starling’s CoMPA (coherent multi-panel antenna)
technology and especially designed to fit airliners needs: data trans-
mission and reception at true broadband bit rates via an extremely
lightweight and low profile antenna to save drag and fuel costs. The
innovative antenna design allows for ease and low cost of installa-
tion on the aircraft fuselage.
“The single panel design makes it the lightest Ku-band antenna
available today for commercial aircraft. It was specifically designed
for airliners and service providers that want to offer their customers
a lighter and yet still highest-performance airborne connectivity,” says
Micha Lawrence, CEO Starling Advanced Communications. “It proves
that Starling is the market forefront, by providing the airline industry
with an available advanced solution to support the increasing de-
mand for high speed, global coverage broadband services onboard
aircraft at a competitive price.”
AvL’s range of FlyAway Mobile VSAT Antennas include the carbon
fibre antenna and auto-acquisition controller for ease of operation.
No laptop is necessary to operate the controller, the antennas inter-
face with any modem, RF electronics, or satellite service. The anten-
nas are extremely easy to transport and pack up into soft cases,
backpacks or rugged hard cases. They are quick and easy to set up
and interface with all kinds of RF electronics and services. They fea-
ture stabilising legs that create increased wind resistance in difficult
Another vitally important feature for the flyaway antennas is AvL’s
Zero Backlash Roto-Lok Cable Drive Positioners. The most impor-
PCCT Suitcase CCT120, tant specification for a satellite antenna, particularly an auto-acqui-
courtesy SWE-DISH by sition antenna, is pointing accuracy and the stability and stiffness of
Rockwell Collins. the positioner under the most extreme environmental conditions. AvL’s
patented Roto-Lok cable drive technology provides precision and
stiffness compared to geared drive systems and, unlike most other
systems, is free of backlash. It is a maintenance-free dry mecha-
nism able to operate in a very wide range of difficult and hazardous
conditions without degradation.
AvL flyaway antennas also include one button satellite acquisi-
Cobham SATCOM Land Systems has a 1.0 metre backpack flya- tion antenna control systems to provide fully automatic, modem in-
way TX/RX antenna. It is designed for worldwide transmit and re- dependent, acquisition and tracking capabilities for rapid deployment.
ceive in Ku- and Ka frequency bands and is lightweight and portable Satellites are typically acquired in less than three minutes. The prod-
with rigidity and high performance even under wind loading condi- ucts can be reliably operated by non-technical operators without any
tions. The rucksack is airline checkable and weighs less than 65 requirement for external testing equipment or laptop.
pounds. Set-up is simple and the antenna comes in six pieces. A
sturdy feed boom enables the system to accommodate many differ- Highly portable
ent BUC/LNB options. A similar idea is available with BGAN technol- The Rockwell Collins SWE-DISH CCT120 Suitcase System uses
ogy. VIASAT has developed a BGAN AN/PSC-14 Manpack Terminal the company’s CommuniCase technology and classes the system
with integrated type 1 encryption. This ruggedised terminal combines as the quickest-to-air terminal in the world. SWE-DISH has used
security and broadband with simple deployment. Once again, the innovative modular architecture to create a line of easy-to-change
suitability of this type of portable satellite solution to military applica- terminals designed for the present and future – like all CommuniCase
tions is evident. Soldiers on the front line may access maps, detailed technology products, the CCT120 Suitcase System features multi-
images and other critical information making it faster to make in- ple modules, a plug-in modem, an antenna system, a controller, and
formed decisions in a tactical environment. a transceiver, all of which can easily be replaced and used with cur-
rent and future SWE-DISH CCT products. Different modules sup-
Airborne port different frequency bands, power levels and modem types.
Starling Advanced Communications’ MIJETLite is a single-panel, very The key features of the system include a slide-in cassette that
light weight antenna system providing high performance bi-direc- makes the easy-to-switch multiple modem feature possible. The whole
22 www.satellite-evolution.com | January/February 2011
RaySat and FUNTORO launch global cooperation to offer LIVE infotainment systems to mass transportation market
RaySat and FUNTORO have announced a global cooperation to promote and distribute their complementary products for LIVE
satellite infotainment systems on buses, trains and ferries. This cooperation will offer distributors, integrators, bus operators and
manufacturers turnkey solutions for personalised in-vehicle satellite entertainment.
Both RaySat and FUNTORO are pioneers in the field of infotainment systems for upscale, mass transit vehicles. RaySat has
deployed its leading product the SpeedRay 1000, a mobile satellite-tracking antenna, on thousands of vehicles around the world. Only
15 cm high, the antenna is low-profile and is uniquely designed to meet the special requirements for OEM Bus and Train Operating
FUNTORO’s Media-on-Demand (MOD) solution for the bus, train and mini-coach markets, provides a personalised infotainment
viewing experience to every passenger. FUNTORO MOD is highly reliable, fully scalable and simple to install. The FUNTORO MOD
system has been installed in many buses and trains around the world.
RaySat, Inc’s Executive Vice President, Michael Barak stated, “RaySat’s cooperation with FUNTORO will provide both of our
companies with greater reach around the world and offer our global partners and distributors access to state-of-the-art, on-board
MOD technology and personal viewing systems. We are pleased to offer all of our existing distributors the opportunity to introduce a
new product to their current customers. In Q1 of 2011, we expect to announce a substantial deal as a result of this cooperation.”
Arthur Huang, Vice President of FUNTORO INC, stated, “With constant technology innovation and rapid development in the
vehicle industry, there is increasing demand for safety and entertainment from passengers. FUNTORO’s breakthrough MOD was born
out of this need. We are pleased to have an opportunity to team up with RaySat and provide customers the most-advanced satellite
infotainment system for commercial vehicles.”
The combination of the SpeedRay 1000 and FUNTORO’s MOD Telematics will offer highly-reliable, in-motion LIVE entertainment
to every passenger. With a personalised delivery system, each passenger will have hundreds of high-quality satellite-TV channels at
their fingertips. With premium VOD content, radio and music stations and multiple LIVE channels, ground travel outperforms domestic
system deployment, from case to contact, is typically undertaken in suited to the demands of high-speed rail. As high-speed rail trans-
under five minutes – with no tools needed. It can be operated by one portation grows in popularity, operators worldwide are turning to
person, features an intuitive user interface and fully automatic point- value-added services like broadband Internet, satellite TV, and cel-
and-shoot antenna control. In all, it is extremely easy-to-use. lular voice services to entice new, and retain existing, passengers.
The CCT 120 is also compliant to military standards and is con- Additionally, operators are migrating train operational communica-
structed of rugged materials like carbon fibre, and rigorously tested tions to more reliable and cost-effective satellite platforms.
to surpass the toughest conditions and standards. The antenna it- The StarRail is well-suited to the challenges of high-speed rail
self is small but offers a high transmission data rate and the Gregorian transport and enables high-capacity, uninterrupted real-time stream-
dual offset elliptical antenna and feed system achieves low loss and ing video, voice, and high-speed data connectivity for multiple users
up to 20Mbps. The antenna is Eutelsat type approved and also meets – in an easily-deployed, lightweight and aerodynamic package.
Intelsat standards. Leveraging Ku-band, and featuring a unique flat-panel design,
StarRail’s size and weight is very low but makes no compromise on
Rail communications performance. Offering reliable, seamless tracking
For the rapidly-growing number of high-speed rail passengers, Star- even at high speeds, and ultra-fast satellite re-acquisition after tun-
ling has also introduced StarRail, which is an always-on satcom nel or station exit -StarRail enables true infrastructure-independent
broadband system in an aerodynamic, low-profile package uniquely multi-megabyte, multi-user data connectivity.
StarRail systems are easily and quickly installed, with only a sin-
gle connection between external antenna and in-train systems. Once
again, the system uses Starling’s patented Coherent Multi-Panel
Antenna technology and the systems are easily maintained and self-
contained, with all electronics housed inside the rugged antenna it-
Orbit’s Orsat-X antenna system enables high performance, high-
speed, 2-way broadband communication in a wide variety of appli-
cations but is ideal for use in existing VSAT naval environments. It
provides a single platform for Ku & X-band applications switching
seamlessly back and forth between each, without the need to
recalibrate the system.
The system ensures superior quality of connectivity for compre-
hensive on-board communication applications via its exclusive me-
chanical design, compact dimensions and zero ‘keyholes’ for con-
tinuous zenith-horizon global communications. Orsat-X’s built-in RF
package (16W BUC) combined with its unique RF/ antenna system,
provides the best maximum EIRP (Equivalent isotropically radiated
Photo courtesy of Starling. power) spectral density capability and unmatched performance to
24 www.satellite-evolution.com | January/February 2011
OrSat-X is a highly efficient dual offset Gregorian 1.15m X-band revenue margins, provide a strategic competitive advantage and in-
antenna housed in a low loss 1.28m radome, that delivers a power- crease customer satisfaction levels and generate preference.
ful, compact and cost-effective VSAT package. The system meets The SpeedRay 1000 system features a low-profile antenna, a
the toughest environmental marine standards and boasts robust and roof-mounting kit for a variety of vehicles, an antenna control unit
modular design. that sits inside the vehicle, and a set-top box provided by the local
OrSat-X complies with “STANAG 4484” Ed. 2 July 2003 (Fre- satellite TV provider. Supporting TV services on Ku-band satellites,
quency bands, Polarization, antenna side-lobes). The system is com- RaySat antennas are completely independent of terrestrial infrastruc-
pliant with environmental conditions including: EMC: IEC-EN 60954, ture and can be pre-configured for use with different satellite TV serv-
Safety: EN 60204-1, ISO 12100-2, Shock: STD 810E Method 516.5 ices around the world. Ideal for commercial use in a variety of differ-
Pro.1, Vibration: MIL-STD-167-1 (Mast Mounted). ent markets, RaySat antennas facilitate satellite acquisition in less
Orbit’s solutions are installed on a wide variety of naval and coast- than one minute for quick signal reception and re-acquisition in less
guard vessels, private yachts, cargo and cruise ships, tankers, fish- than 10 seconds following disruption of line-of-sight due to tunnels
ing vessels, oil & gas rigs and other maritime craft. The systems use or bridges. The system also features an automatic and autonomous
innovative technology but one of the most attractive aspects of the operating system for easy use and rapid satellite tracking for recep-
system is its plug and play nature. It can also be easily converted to tion at high speeds.
operate in Ku-band if required.
An antenna for every use
TV on-the-move These examples are illustrations of just a few of the different anten-
Today, there is no need to wait until you are in the comfort of your nas available on the market today. There are many more that help to
own home to watch TV. Raysat have brought live satellite TV to com- address established and still-emerging applications in the best way
mercial transportation with their SpeedRay 1000 in-motion low-pro- possible.
file Ku-band antenna. The channels available include everything from The need for mobility will drive the antenna market forward. Air-
sports, news, children and family programming and movies. The sys- borne communications will be of particular interest as broadband is
tem can even offer individual in-seat choices of channels. increasingly required by people on the move. Transport such as trains,
With a growing trend in the transportation market towards com- other modes of public transport, and even private cars will be an
fort and entertainment, the SpeedRay 1000 offers new revenue op- important focus for antenna manufacturers as they attempt to make
portunities for installers, dealers and fleet owners and access to their products even smaller, lighter and more aerodynamic with faster
multiple transportation sectors – buses, RV’s, VIP vehicles, trains acquisition capabilities. There is still much to come from those who
and large private cars. In the competitive transportation market, the design antennas to enable us to have access to communications
added-value service of LIVE satellite entertainment can increase literally anywhere.
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