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Active Array Feeds – Phased Arrays

Active Array Feeds

Active array feeds (known also as phased arrays) use electronically steered beams to optimize the receiving and transmitting of ground-based satellite communication.  Linear Signal’s active array feeds are built from a synergy of sciences involving microwave technologies, RF or radio frequency electronics, and embedded software to create a product that maximizes SWaP-C, or reduces size, weight, power consumption and overall cost of the product.  Our active array feeds are capable of replacing all feed assembly components including the BUC, resulting in a feed assembly that is 20 to 40 times smaller and lighter than the competition.

Linear Signal’s active array feeds dynamically steer beams (and/or nulls) across a reflector +/- 2 to 15 degrees for vastly improved antenna performance.  This revolutionary technology was developed at Linear Signal in conjunction with our key research partners at Brigham Young University and Washington State University.

Linear Signal’s Active Array Feed is a “Game Changer”

For fixed satellite antenna installs, such as those on nearly every restaurant, bank, big box store, gas station, etc., the ability to repeak or repoint the antenna is a very costly endeavor.  Linear Signal’s active array feeds are capable of performing the repeaking task for most situations, and the repointing task for a significant percentage of the situations that arise for SATCOM customers.

For autopointing and SATCOM on the move (SOTM) applications (and even some fixed reflector installs), an array feeds monopulse tracking functions can tell an antenna controller (or network operations center) exactly how many degrees and in which direction and at what speed of travel that antenna is off-point.  Monopulse tracking is far more accurate and is far faster than current horn fed methods of satellite tracking.

Because of the use of inexpensive electronic stepper motors in common horn feeds to adjust for the polarization skew angle (for linear V/H polarity), there is a fair amount of backlash in the fine adjustment of these systems, which means that the skew angle will rarely if ever be perfect.  This inaccuracy costs the satellite operator transponder capacity.  Correcting this problem requires the satellite network operator and the installer to communicate in real time – something that is rarely convenient and sometimes impossible.  Further, in certain bands, ionospheric interference rotates the linear polarity making it difficult to maintain good polarity alignment.  Linear Signal’s active array feeds can electronically synthesize the polarity rotation perfectly, automatically and dynamically.

Show Above: Linear Signal’s Electronically Steered Array Feed with integral BUC

The Linear Signal Advantage

Linear Signal’s team and its technology partners are well versed and experienced in beamforming algorithm development.  Having developed beamforming solutions for radio astronomy array feeds have allowed us to address some of the most difficult applications within the areas of beamforming and phased array antenna design.

Our active array feeds are designed with independent, optimized beam patterns for transmit andd receive – a capability that traditional horn feed antennas do not possess.

SATCOM specific advantages of Linear Signal’s active array feeds include:

  • Self-aiming or dynamic repeaking/repointing
  • Monopulse tracking
  • Integrated transceiver, feed and beamformer
  • Reduced size, weight and total cost
  • Electronic polarization rotation
  • Track inclined orbit satellites
  • Better signal ‘lock’
  • Block sources of dynamic interference
  • Work from moving platforms
  • Near instant source switching
  • Solid state maintenance profile
  • Feeds available in Ku, Ka, X, C, S and L bands

Linear Signal will build a line of array antennas for private label distribution. Custom active and passive array projects are welcome.

To Learn More…

See our White Papers section for product specifications or contact us today to learn how Linear Signal’s Active Array Feeds can improve the performance and functionality of SATCOM antennas.

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