New Innovative System Enables Automatic Switching

By MarEx 2014-06-19 09:54:00

Cobham SATCOM has developed an innovative switchable feed kit that introduces sophisticated new capabilities for its established Sea Tel 9797B C- / Ku-band switchable VSAT antenna. The new, patent pending Sea Tel 97IMA Ku Switchable Feed Upgrade Kit eliminates the need to manually change feeds and re-balance the antenna by fully automating the process of transitioning the Sea Tel 9797B from C-band service to Ku-band service at the touch of a button. The kit, which can be fitted to all existing Sea Tel 9797B antennas and chosen for new deliveries, blends precision engineering with advanced Sea Tel IMA electronics, resulting in a substantial technology and capabilities upgrade.

The Sea Tel 9797B VSAT antenna is generally deployed in high-end, customised VSAT networks for large, specialist vessels such as cruise ships, research ships,  jack-up rigs and FPSOs. Its ability to switch between C- and Ku-band without degradation of service offers much needed flexibility and redundancy for service providers and users. It enables better availability of service in high-precipitation regions such as the tropics or the Arctic. Likewise, a cruise ship sailing out of Ku-band coverage, can continue to provide bandwidth for passengers by switching to C-band VSAT services. Though already convenient, the ability to switch bands automatically with the Sea Tel 97IMA Ku Switchable Feed Upgrade Kit removes the need for a technician to visit the vessel, which improves convenience and saves time, money and resources.

Cobham SATCOM engineers have designed an innovative method to make automatic band switching possible on the Sea Tel 9797B. The Sea Tel 97IMA Ku Switchable Feed Upgrade Kit adds a permanently installed Ku-band feed along with a moveable sub-reflector, which swings into position on an electric motor when switching is initiated either manually or by remote access. The Ku-band feed illuminates the sub-reflector, which bounces the signal down to the main reflector. The process requires high precision, achieved through the use of a precision mechanical stop and limit switches, to ensure no loss of signal or degradation of service. 

“Though uniquely designed for simple switching from C- to Ku-band, prior to the development of our new kit, switching between bands on the Sea Tel 9797B required a trained technician to manually change feeds, connect the wave guide plumbing, change wiring and re-balance the antenna, which takes at least half a day,” explains Pete Blaney, Chief Engineer, Cobham SATCOM. “Now, without the need for human intervention and considering that a vessel may change VSAT bands semi-regularly, our new solution will provide significant cost savings during the lifetime of the antenna, whilst increasing the amount of opportunities when the switching capability can be implemented to ensure availability of VSAT services.”

The products and services herein described in this press release are not endorsed by The Maritime Executive.