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  • Satellite Evolution

New high-power solid-state satellite uplink amplifier from Rohde & Schwarz launched at IBC 2019

Fresh from the R&D lab at Rohde & Schwarz: The new high-power solid-state satellite uplink amplifier

At IBC 2019, Rohde & Schwarz (booth 7.B21) will extend its range of solid-state satellite uplink amplifiers with the launch of a new high-power model. The R&S PKU100-O750 is rated within 750W power class and is designed for outdoor operation – it represents the world’s most compact and lightweight high-power satellite amplifier that is based on solid-state technology. Together with all of the Rohde & Schwarz R&S PKU satellite amplifier family, this new model will be commercially available at IBC.

When first launched, the R&S PKU amplifier family represented a new and radically different approach to satellite amplifiers through their use of solid-state enabling technology in place of traditional tube-based amplifier systems. With all its models commercially available, Rohde & Schwarz reports significant interest in this new range of satellite amplifiers.

Although the R&S PKU100-O750 is rated at 750W, it comes in a superior form factor, representing the most compact and lightweight high-power satellite amplifier available on the market today. Furthermore, through a rigorous research and development process, Rohde & Schwarz’s design engineers have achieved the highest power efficiency of any amplifier within its power category.

“The R&S PKU100-O750 is clearly differentiated as a high-power satellite amplifier since it produces a significantly better signal quality than any other solid-state device,“ commented Christian Baier, Product Manager and Technical Sales, Satellite Amplifiers at Rohde & Schwarz. “For the first time, it offers a reliable high-power solid state alternative to traditional tube-based amplifiers.“

Major development challenge pushes back boundaries of amplifier technology

In developing its new family of satellite amplifiers, Rohde & Schwarz’s goal was to substitute traditional tube technology with the latest advances in solid-state transistors. Working at high frequency, the big challenge is to develop a heat sink concept to keep the transistors cool which increases their lifetime and performance and to come up with a compact topology for the RF components with as little as possible attenuation caused by the insertion losses of power splitters, combiners, connectors and cables.

Also, Rohde & Schwarz sought to develop a product that is easy to integrate within existing satellite systems, is compact, lightweight and efficient in its use of power. After a great deal of in-house R&D, it has succeeded in every respect.

Using the latest transistor technology, Rohde & Schwarz has introduced a new family of solid-state amplifiers which combine the best of both worlds and offer users new and radically different functionality. Importantly, if transistors fail during operation, the amplifier continues to operate with reduced output power. With no high voltages used within the product it is easy to maintain and it offers a significantly longer operating lifetime than its tube-based counterpart. Moreover, it is possible to equip the Rohde & Schwarz amplifiers with redundant power supplies, both for AC and DC operation, so that a power supply failure does not stop the operation of the amplifier.

“We have developed two power classes for our uplink amplifiers: 400W and a 750W models will be available as outdoor and indoor units and for the two frequency bands 12,75 GHz to 13,25 GHz and 13,75 GHz to 14,5 GHz,“ explains Christian Baier. “The amplifier can be used in large scale fixed satellite installations serving customer applications such as broadcasters, telecom & internet service providers, financial institutions, government and non-government organizations. At the same time, the smaller amplifier can also be used for mobile, vehicle-mounted satellite applications.“

The amplifiers come with optional adaptive linearization. Within satellite uplink amplifiers’ signal linearization is critical since it produces a significantly cleaner signal from the amplifier. Signal linearization has been a feature found in several tube-based amplifiers but until now it has not been possible to integrate it within solid-state amplifiers.

The linearization has two effects: first it improves the inband signal quality which means better MER (Modulation Error Rate) respectively better EVM (Error Vector Magnitude) or NPR (Noise Power Ratio), which makes the signal easier to receive. Secondly, linearization yields much better out of band performance, i.e. significantly better shoulder attenuation which translates into lower adjacent channel power and therefore less influence on neighboring channels on the satellite.

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