New R&S High-Power Solid-State Satellite Uplink Amplifier

At IBC 2019, Rohde and 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 and 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 and 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 and 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 and Schwarz. “For the first time, it offers a reliable high-power solid state alternative to traditional tube-based amplifiers.”

In developing its new family of satellite amplifiers, Rohde and 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 and 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 research and development, it has succeeded in every respect.

Using the latest transistor technology, Rohde and 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 and 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 12,75GHz to 13,25GHz and 13,75GHz to 14,5GHz,“ explains Christian Baier. “The amplifier can be used in large scale fixed satellite installations serving customer applications such as broadcasters, telecom and internet service providers, financial institutions, government and non-government organisations. At the same time, the smaller amplifier can also be used for mobile, vehicle-mounted satellite applications.”

The amplifiers come with optional adaptive linearisation. Within satellite uplink amplifiers’ signal linearisation is critical since it produces a significantly cleaner signal from the amplifier. Signal linearisation 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 linearisation has two effects: first it improves the in-band 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, linearisation 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 neighbouring channels on the satellite.