Oct. 4, 2000 Revolutionary CSIRO designed multibeam antennas have just been taken up for the lucrative European Pay TV market.
Unlike the existing antenna systems where one dish receives the signal from a single satellite, the CSIRO multibeam antenna can receive the signals from more than 10 satellites at one time.
German company, TST Kommunikations-technik GmbH (TST), has commissioned CSIRO to supply four 4.2m diameter multibeam antennas designed specially for the European Pay -TV market.
The first two antennas will be delivered to Société Européenne des Satellites (SES), the operator of ASTRA, Europe's leading direct-to-home satellite system, and installed at SES-ASTRA's satellite control facilities at Chateau de Betzdorf, Luxembourg. From this location, the multibeam antennas will allow SES-ASTRA to communicate with satellites in geostationary orbit through a 70-degree angular range.
Mr Hans-Dieter Wilhelm, Managing Director of TST says that the company chose the CSIRO multibeam antenna because it provides the best performance in a compact antenna configuration for the best price.
"We have searched a long time all over the world to find a product like CSIRO's multibeam antenna that meets the requests of our customers in Europe in this perfect way," he says.
"We are delighted at the interest shown by TST," says Dr Trevor Bird, General Manager, CSIRO Telecommunications and Industrial Physics.
Dr Bird says that the multibeam antenna is an innovative design that gives significant cost savings without significantly compromising performance.
"One antenna now replaces many other systems, meaning fewer antennas have to be used. This reduces the amount of real estate required for satellite teleports and also visual pollution from the proliferation of antenna dishes on the skyline."
Dr Bird is leaving to attend the International Broadcasting Convention, a major international broadcast technology event in Amsterdam, later this week. He will showcase the multibeam antenna at TST's exhibit.
"We hope that the current contract will demonstrate the significant benefits of the multibeam antenna technology and generate more orders", he says.
A local company, Sydney Engineering Sales Pty Ltd, will fabricate the antennas while the feed horns will be made by CSIRO.
Peter Goss, Managing Director of Sydney Engineering Sales says that CSIRO and Sydney Engineering Sales have a long-standing, successful working relationship in reflector antennas. He says that Australian industry should look to the organisation more for high technology solutions.
"It's been great to work with CSIRO over the last fifteen years. The relationship has been mutually beneficial and I look forward to it continuing. I'm thrilled that CSIRO has landed this contract", he says.
The CSIRO multibeam antenna consists of two reflectors and an array of feed horns, each viewing one satellite. Unlike the conventional antenna, which has a single focal point where the feed must be positioned, the multibeam antenna has a focal surface on which over 10 feed horns can be placed.
The reflectors are specially shaped and strategically positioned to maximise the field-of-view of the geostationary arc. This is so-called because satellites in geosynchronous orbit appear in fixed angular positions in the sky, or slots, which lie on a circular arc. The shape and height of the arc in the sky depends on the location of the earth station. About 36 degrees of the arc can be viewed with the CSIRO multibeam antenna.
The antenna is lighter and more compact than other multibeam systems currently available, making it ideal for rooftop installation. Initial set-up costs are low and system expansion costs limited, since only one extra feed is required for each additional satellite accessed. Operational flexibility and reliability is a feature of this system. A feed horn can be re-positioned easily to view another satellite, reducing system downtime.
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