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Ka-band user terminal antennas for satellite communications

Antenna Applications Corner
: Bayer, Hendrik; Krauss, Alexander; Zaiczek, Tobias; Stephan, Ralf; Enge-Rosenblatt, Olaf; Hein, Matthias A.


IEEE antennas & propagation magazine 58 (2016), Nr.1, S.76-88
ISSN: 1045-9243
ISSN: 1558-4143
Fraunhofer IIS, Institutsteil Entwurfsautomatisierung (EAS) ()

The growing need for bidirectional mobile satellite communications in the Ka-band necessitates the development of dedicated antenna systems. In this article, we describe two different solutions for mobile user-terminal antennas intended for an operation in emergency scenarios. The first solution, a high-gain antenna, consists of a Cassegrain reflector, fed from a multimode monopulse tracking system for circular polarization at a satellite downlink frequency of 20 GHz. The structure is operational at 30 GHz to cover the uplink frequency range. The antenna system is mounted on a high-performance mechanical positioner to facilitate a fast compensation of the movements of the carrier vehicle. The second solution, a low-profile antenna, consists of leaky-wave antenna (LWA) panels employing two-layer partially reflective surfaces (PRSs). A hybrid tracking technique is used, and a unique feature of this antenna is its dual-band operation, to overcome the challenge of widely separated uplink and downlink ranges in the Ka-band. This article describes the design of the two types of antennas and analyzes the measurement results. Furthermore, tracking issues considered from the view of control engineering are addressed, and an evaluation of tracking accuracy is presented.