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Amateur Satellites


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Care­ful and detailed mis­sion plan­ning — par­tic­u­lar­ly radio fre­quen­cy plan­ning — gives satel­lite projects the best chances of suc­cess. Work­ing out space sta­tion and Earth sta­tion oper­at­ing fre­quen­cies and link oper­at­ing para­me­ters at the very begin­ning of the design process means:

  • Com­mu­ni­ca­tion links will work because the link bud­get is planned to be ade­quate for the mission
  • Anten­na gain, phys­i­cal size(s), placement(s), and point­ing accu­ra­cy (if need­ed) will be ade­quate for the mission
  • Trans­mit­ter pow­er require­ments, emis­sion, and cod­ing types will be select­ed for effi­cien­cy and performance
  • Receiv­er design will be select­ed for sen­si­tiv­i­ty, band­width, and sus­cep­ti­bil­i­ty to inter­fer­ence so that it will per­form ade­quate­ly for the mission
  • Space sta­tion pow­er gen­er­a­tion and stor­age will be ade­quate for the mission

Radio fre­quen­cy (RF) plan­ning at the begin­ning of your project means few­er design changes, low­er project costs, and a greater chance of your project succeeding.

This doc­u­ment should help by explain­ing and defin­ing some basic fre­quen­cy man­age­ment issues to help you through the begin­ning of RF plan­ning. Impor­tant top­ics include:

  • Treaty basis for world­wide radio regulation
  • Spe­cial fre­quen­cy man­age­ment terms and definitions
  • Fre­quen­cy coor­di­na­tion process
    • Ama­teur ser­vice and ama­teur-satel­lite ser­vice sta­tion coordination
    • Start­ing the fre­quen­cy coor­di­na­tion process
    • IARU fre­quen­cy coor­di­na­tion assistance
    • Inter­na­tion­al fre­quen­cy plan­ning requirements
  • Oper­a­tional guidelines
    • Ama­teur satellites
    • Sta­tion control
    • Mul­ti-ser­vice satellites
    • Per­mis­si­ble communication
    • Open access
    • Broad­cast­ing (not permitted!)
  • Review of mis­sion plans and ser­vice options

No doubt, radio fre­quen­cy plan­ning seems involved and full of details. But, keep in mind that Earth sta­tions and space sta­tions must take into account oth­er users of the radio spec­trum and the laws of physics. When you plan prop­er­ly, you will con­sid­er both and your project like­ly will work. 

Print This Page Updated on December 22, 2019

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