Handheld analysers control satellite ground stations

10 September 2014

Keysight Technologies has announced that its FieldFox handheld combination analysers monitor and control satellite ground stations.

It is also used for maintenance in the aerospace/defence and commercial markets.
Satellite ground stations have long-range communication links, so they must provide high uplink transmit power, receive a very low signal level on the downlink, and compensate for link variation due to weather and satellite/ground antenna changes. The ground stations contain many sensitive components and subsystems (e.g., antenna subsystems, waveguides, coaxial cables, filters, LNAs, LNBs, BUCs, HPAs and TWTAs) that must be verified during installation and maintenance. The spectrum performance of the whole system must also be monitored. Such tasks become all the more challenging when the ground stations are located in remote areas.

The FieldFox handheld analysers offer the precision, frequency coverage (up to 26.5GHz), and all-in-one capability (e.g., spectrum analyser, full two-port vector network analyser and power meter) needed to perform a range of benchtop-quality measurements in difficult test environments. The introduction of measurement Option 208 has been added to verify frequency converters installed in satellite ground stations and performs most required maintenance tasks. Users can perform cable and antenna test, vector network analysis like S-parameters, power measurements, spectrum analysis, and interference detection.

Another addition is FieldFox Option 212,which expands cable testing beyond just single-ended coax cable to provide insight into differential device performance. This option allows the analyser to measure the reflection performance of one-port differential devices such as twisted cable pairs or printed circuit boards. Additionally, it makes time-domain measurements of differential devices under mixed-mode operation.

Data Link software has also been introduced. This integrates remote viewing, control and SCPI command consoles as well as enables users to more easily control and monitor remote instruments and automate test processes, says the company. Satellite operators, for example, can now monitor the spectrum performance of satellite communication links from a control centre.

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