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Chapter: Satellite Communication : Space Segment and Satellite Link Design

Satellite uplink and downlink Analysis and Design

This chapter describes how the link-power budget calculations are made.

Satellite uplink and downlink Analysis and Design:


1. Introduction


This chapter describes how the link-power budget calculations are made.

These calculations basically relate two quantities, the transmit power and the receive power, and show in detail how the difference between these two powers is accounted for.


Link-budget calculations are usually made using decibel or decilog quantities. These are explained in App. G. In this text [square] brackets are used to denote decibel quantities using the basic power definition.


Where no ambiguity arises regarding the units, the abbreviation dB is used. For example, Boltzmann’s constant is given as 228.6 dB, although, strictly speaking, this should be given as 228.6 deci logs relative to 1 J/K.


2. Equivalent Isotropic Radiated Power


A key parameter in link-budget calculations is the equivalent isotropic radiated power, conventionally denoted as EIRP. From Eqs, the maximum power flux density at some distance r from a transmitting antenna of gain G i

An isotropic radiator with an input power equal to GPS would produce the same flux density. Hence, this product is referred to as the EIRP, or EIRP is often expressed in decibels relative to 1 W, or dBW. Let PS be in watts; then [EIRP] = [PS] x [G] dB ,where [PS] is also in dBW and [G] is in dB.


3. Transmission Losses


The [EIRP] may be thought of as the power input to one end of the transmission link, and the problem is to find the power received at the other end.

Losses will occur along the way, some of which are constant.


Other losses can only be estimated from statistical data, and some of these are dependent on weather conditions, especially on rainfall.


The first step in the calculations is to determine the losses for clear- weather or clear-sky conditions. These calculations take into account the losses, including those calculated on a statistical basis, which do not vary significantly with time. Losses which are weather-related, and other losses which fluctuate with time, are then allowed for by introducing appropriate fade margins into the transmission equation.


Free-space transmission:

As a first step in the loss calculations, the power loss resulting from the spreading of the signal in space must be determined.


Feeder losses:


Losses will occur in the connection between the receive antenna and the receiver proper. Such losses will occur in the connecting waveguides, filters, and couplers. These will be denoted by RFL, or [RFL] dB, for receiver feeder losses.


Antenna misalignment losses:


When a satellite link is established, the ideal situation is to have the earth station and satellite antennas aligned for maximum gain, as shown in Fig. There are two possible sources of off-axis loss, one at the satellite and one at the earth station, as shown in Fig.


The off-axis loss at the satellite is taken into account by designing the link for operation on the actual satellite antenna contour; this is described in more detail in later sections. The off-axis loss at the earth station is referred to as the antenna pointing loss. Antenna pointing losses are usually only a few tenths of a decibel;


In addition to pointing losses, losses may result at the antenna from misalignment of the polarization direction (these are in addition to the polarization losses described in Chap. 5). The polarization misalign- ment losses are usually small, and it will be assumed that the antenna misalignment losses, denoted by [AML], include both pointing and polar- ization losses resulting from antenna misalignment. It should be noted


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