RF for Satellite broadcasters

This course is intended for Engineers who provide Satellite television uplink services and who require an in-depth knowledge of the RF aspects of the overall system. It provides an understanding of a satellite link and the component parts of the system, the signal flow, expected levels, system optimisation and fault isolation.




  • Evolution of satellite communications
  • Frequency bands and propagation
  • Earth station block diagram
  • Network architecture and access
  • Typical signal levels
  • Availability
  • Responsibilities
  • Industry trends

Satellite basics

  • The satellite orbit and characteristics
  • Footprints
  • Transponders
  • Full transponder and partial leases

RF basics

  • dB notation
  • Coaxial cable
  • Connectors
  • Waveguide components
  • Power measurement
  • VSWR

Modulator and IRD

  • Modem block diagram
  • Terrestrial interfaces
  • Forward Error Correction
  • Modulation
  • Pre-distortion
  • DVB-S, DVB-S2 and DVB-S2X
  • Carrier ID

Frequency conversion

  • 70MHz vs L-Band IF
  • Spectral inversion
  • Phase noise
  • Filtering

High power amplifiers

  • TWTA, Klystron and SSPA
  • Linearization
  • Power combining
  • Equipment protection
  • Harmonic filtering
  • Cooling


  • Linear vs Circular polarisation
  • Radiation patterns
  • Gain
  • Beamwidth
  • Optics
  • Multi-band feeds
  • 2, 4 & 6 port feed systems
  • Antenna alignment
  • Az/El, Polar &Turning head mounts
  • Motorised systems
  • Tracking
  • LNA, LNB and LNBF
  • Pressurisation

System considerations

  • L-Band amplification and distribution
  • Routing / switching matrices
  • Level setting
  • Slope equalisation
  • Group delay
  • Uplink power control
  • System impairments
  • Acquisition optimisation
  • Signal levels
  • IRD configuration
  • Antenna / SNG location

 Basic RF test equipment

  • Satfinder
  • Spectrum analyser
  • Constellation analyser
  • Power meter
  • Scalar analyser

Maintenance and fault finding

  • Maintenance
  • Non-intrusive monitoring
  • Ground / Satellite link fault isolation


Preparation details

Duration              Three days

Participants        A typical class size is around 5+ people

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

Materials             A course handbook and certificate of attendance is provided for each participant

Experience         Each participant should have a background in electronic engineering


Follow on courses

Our (one day) course entitled “The satellite link budget” may be of interest to those who are responsible for purchasing satellite leases.