Satellites are transferring a growing amount of information, with suppliers of satellite communications (satcom) hardware being asked to deliver higher-performance, innovative subsystem solutions. MITEQ’s response has been the development of outdoor Ku- and Ka-band block frequency downconverters and upconverters capable of handling multiple wide bandwidths within a single converter unit. These rugged, antenna-mounted assemblies can work with two or three intermediate-frequency (IF) signals across bandwidths as wide as 0.95 to 2.45 GHz and upconvert them to one composite broadband RF output either in Ku or Ka band. Conversely, with the downconverter, a composite Ku-band signal from 10.70 to 12.75 GHz or Ka-band signal from 27.0 to 31.0 GHz or 17.7 to 22.0 GHz is downconverted into two or three independent IF signals. The new MITEQ multicarrier converters are available in a variety of configurations to help system architects achieve reliable, high-performance levels in satcom hub terminal applications.

Multicarrier Converters Conquer Ku/Ka Bands, Fig. 1

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These compact wideband Ku- and Ka-band frequency downconverters and upconverters from MITEQ (Fig. 1) can reduce satcom equipment installation time at an antenna. They also save money, both in terms of equipment (using one frequency converter in place of two or three) and operating costs, with the power consumption for one of these frequency converters being considerably less than for two or three separate frequency converters. The new frequency converter units achieve their compact dimensions by packing the equivalent of two or three sets of frequency-conversion components (Fig. 2)—including RF amplifiers, IF amplifiers, frequency mixers, and local oscillators (LOs), along with a full set of monitoring and control circuits and functionality—into a compact, weatherproof housing.

Multicarrier Converters Conquer Ku/Ka Bands, Fig. 2

The wideband frequency converters offer impressive performance and functionality. They are designed to work with a stable external 5- or 10-MHz reference oscillator, but each frequency converter also contains an internal reference oscillator and each converter includes circuitry to detect the presence of the more appropriate frequency reference source for optimum performance. For example, if the power level of the external reference drops below +1 dBm, the converter will automatically lock to the internal frequency reference. Each frequency converter includes 10/100Base-T Ethernet and RS-485/RS-422 digital interfaces for remote control purposes, and each incorporates a gain-control adjustment with 30-dB range for setting RF-to-IF levels in the downconverters and IF-to-RF levels in the upconverters.

The frequency converters boast phase-noise performance that exceeds the requirements of IESS308/309 and MIL-STD-188-164B specifications. Each outdoor unit is equipped with an AC power supply with power factor correction, and each is designed for a 100 to 240 VAC power supply and low power consumption. Said power consumption is typically 50 W when working with frequencies below 15 GHz and typically 60 W when working with frequencies above 15 GHz. The converters are RoHS-5 compliant, meaning that they may contain lead, but no other RoHS-restricted materials.