hiSkys 64 element Ka-band phased array

hiSky announced the successful measurement and testing of its Ka-band 8×8 antennas. The antennas are an innovative and integral component of a small portable terminal developed by hiSky, which makes satellite calls and data available and affordable to people everywhere, all the time.

The fully integrated phased array antennas include 64 active elements and frequency conversion. Their specified frequency range is 17.7GHz – 20.2GHz for the receiving antenna and 27.5GHz – 30GHz for the transmitting antenna. Angular coverage of the antennas is between 35° to 90° above the antenna plane in elevation, and 360° in azimuth. Both antennas support on-the-fly, left-hand / right-hand switchable circular polarization.

The antennas have been calibrated and their performance, including radiation pattern at different scan angles, has been successfully tested at an antenna range. Several antennas were tested to ensure reproducibility of the calibration and performance over different units. The antenna performance obtained in the laboratory tests was very close to the simulation results.

The integrated frequency conversion includes the local oscillator (LO), mixer and additional amplification. The up/down converters support a wide range of intermediate frequency (IF), from 1GHz up to 5GHz, depending on filter configuration. This enables direct interface to the modem IF. To minimize the frequency error, a precise reference is supplied to the antenna. The antenna’s fast digital interface supports very fast beam switching and easy control over the LO. The antennas have low power consumption of about 20W for the transmitting antenna and 5W for the receiving antenna.

hiSky in-house antenna range test facilityThe transmitting antenna size is 73mm x 73mm and weighs only 65 grams.

The receiving antenna size is 87mm x 79mm and weighs only 75 grams.

The antennas are designed to be integrated in a low data rate mobile satellite communication terminal for MSS and IOT applications. Using the integrated modem and satellite tracking, with internal MEMS sensors, the terminal shall enable on-the-move automatic satellite search and tracking capabilities, with minimum user assistance. The integrated modem supports frequency spreading and power control, which is required to meet the spectral density standards. The modem further supports fast synchronization, even at low data rates, to accelerate signal detection during satellite search. System reliability and robustness is increased by the construction of a satellite communication terminal using the phased array antennas without any mechanical moving parts.