Earth Station Design

This course lasts 5 days and is written for Engineers and Technicians who are actively involved in the satellite communications industry and wish to gain an “in-depth” understanding of the process of designing a hub earth station.

The course commences with an overview of the satellite orbits, frequency allocations and applications and proceeds to introduce the typical architecture of a satellite and an earth station.

The various items of equipment present in the earth station are introduced and their parameters are discussed; enabling the engineer to understand the relevance of each specification to the system design.

A section on optimisation introduces methods demonstrating how efficient utilisation of the available space segment can lead to a better return on investment and simultaneously keep antenna sizes small.

A full day is spent on the link budget which commences with the theory and finishes with an explanation of the use of the proprietary software package SatmasterPro (from Arrowe technical services) and if time permits LST5 (from Intelsat).

The entire earth station system is explained, based on the parameters discussed earlier and this logically leads to planning, installation and commissioning.

The course completes with a section on operation and maintenance with emphasis on safety and the reduction of outage times.

When conducted in the UK, practical demonstrations throughout the 5 days show the physical effects of the theory.



  • Satellite orbits
  • Frequency bands
  • Propagation
  • Evolution of the industry
  • Satellite block diagram
  • Earth station block diagram
  • Network  topology
  • Traffic types
  • Typical signal levels
  • Regulatory matters
  • Availability

Equipment comparison

  • Antennas
  • Frequency converters
  • BUC
  • Transceiver
  • Modem / IDU


The satellite modem

  • Terrestrial interfaces
  • Drop and Insert
  • Doppler compensation
  • Clocking
  • Overheads
  • Forward Error Correction
  • Modulation
  • DVB-S / DVB-S2
  • Compatibility settings

The frequency converters

  • Single vs dual conversion
  • Spectral inversion
  • Phase noise
  • Filtering
  • Group delay

The power amplifier

  • TWTA, Klystron, SSPA
  • Linearization
  • Power combining
  • Reflection / Arc protection
  • Out of band rejection

The antenna

  • Antenna types
  • ITU / ETSI compliance masks
  • Gain
  • Beamwidth
  • G/T
  • Linear and Circular polarisation
  • Multi-port
  • Mounts
  • Motorisation and tracking
  • Type approvals



  • IP compression and acceleration
  • GSM compression
  • MODCOD values
  • Pre-distortion
  • Group delay equalisation
  • Frequency re-use


The link budget

  • How the satellite link budget is formed
  • The magnitude and importance of each variable
  • Interpretation of satellite operators and modem manufacturers datasheets
  • Effect of external variables (weather, interference, scintillation, satellite settings etc.)
  • Availability trade-offs
  • The use of SatmasterPro and Intelsat LST5 software
  • Optimisation of space segment
  • Link budgets using ACM
  • Link budgets using frequency re-use techniques (e.g. C in C and Paired Carrier)



Preparation details

Duration             5 days

Participants       No limit

Location             We often hold this course in a conference room in a hotel or at the customer site

Lunch                  Lunch is provided. Please notify us of any special dietary requirements beforehand

Materials            A course handbook is provided for each participant to use and then afterwards keep

Experience         Each participant should have a background in electronic engineering