FAVNET / Global UTC Unmanned Applications

 Reprinted with permission from Global UTC:

Issue 2 volume 18

 

Foreign business:

 

GUTC has relationships with over 20 UAS manufactures, and with over 30 designs thanks to Gene Payson who is known for Troy Built Models and also lead trainer for the Unmanned Vehicle University. The 17 companies that have been evaluated by Gene Payson are eligible for the financing and replacement insurance product of Eagle Capital. This includes the airframes, and sensor technologies carried by these systems. This gives GUTC a pool of resources to meet requirements for prospective opportunities. This week I was able to forward a response for an RFI from an international client, and have the confidence knowing the information came from one of the most knowledgeable experts in the industry with technology and equipment that has been proven in Afghanistan. After passing on information from Drone America I received another ROI from a source representing three Pacific nations. Another source has inquired on autonomous technology that can help locating Malaysian flight 370.

 

Technology breakthroughs:

 

I have had inquiries about the ability of UAS to locate mineral deposits in the ground. I couldn’t figure out how to accomplish this, but after the third request I had to do some research. I found a YouTube video of NASA using hyper-spectral imagery from the ASTER. They were actually able to use reflective spectral imagery to detect the presence of gold on the surface near a known gold mine. If a hyper-spectral camera can detect gold from up in the stratosphere, how effective will it be detecting it from a small UAS under 400 feet? I have one of the top optical engineers in the country researching the right technology sensor for this application, and once we have that figured we can determine what system to deploy it with.

 

Another application for oil and gas exploration using topographical data, and GAMMA reading to help geologists determine the existence of oil deposits under the ground. I was approached about a year ago for this application, but the technology I uncovered weighed over 20 lbs and had to move as slow as 4 to 6 mph. The question again came up, and Michael Creamer of FAVNET www.favnet.net was able to locate technology weighing between 8 and 12 lbs. This narrows the field of UAS platforms that can deploy this payload weight, now there needs to be research conducted to determine the altitude and speed that is most optimal for this technology. The ability to combine either LiDAR or photogrammetry with GAMMA readings would give geologists data that can significantly benefit and enhance their ability Sto uncover these valuable energy resources, saving time and money in the process.

 

New resources for tethered:

 

I was introduced to a SEAL teammate John Surmont of Softcoast Inc. who was a major player in the development of the Naval Special Warfare UAV program. He now has tethered technology designs for small units for fast deployment, and rapid take down applications. You put it up, see what you need to see then take it down. With the requirement of law enforcement after the Boston Marathon bombing which now require the FBI to have a presence for any public events with more than 50,000 in attendance. This technology will give law enforcement agencies an eye in the sky to monitor and protect the public. There are unique technologies that identify behavioral patterns and anomalies that can identify criminally suspect activities. Combining these technologies is a leap in progress in anti-terrorist protection. Ironhawk Technologies has developed the analytical software that does exactly what I describe.
Then a major border surveillance requirement came to be in an area where the winds pick up to over 40 mph after the sun rises, around 9:00AM until the sun goes down around 8:00PM. Richard Holloman of ElleVision was able to come through with a proposal for a tethered system that has been proven in Afghanistan. It is a good feeling, knowing I can get what it takes to accomplish the mission required by our prospective clients.

 

The right tools for the job:

 

In this industry, like the mortgage or insurance and financial planning industry, everyone believes their solution is the only solution. To be effective you need to have the right tools for the job. Instead of trying to fit a square peg into everyone else’s round holes. A true UAS professional would have a fleet of technologies to accomplish the specific missions.

 

VTOL:

 

A rotary winged system is what you want. The heavy the payload, the more blades, i.e. an octocopter for heavy loads like a LiDAR system for operations other than corridor or large area mapping, other applications would be TV and movie cameras.

 

Flying wing:

 

This design allows for fast, maneuverable flight and for a skilled experienced pilot, the ability to float on and surf a thermal. This makes this design technology ideal for fire-fighting.  Gene Robinson has been using his Spectra UAS for search and rescue for ten years, and he can cut the motor to let his Spectra UAS float on the thermal created at the leading edge of the fire while keeping it in the air longer than there is battery life in the camera.

 

Twin boom pusher:

 

This design is able to carry heavy payloads like LiDAR or multi-sensor payloads long distances. The US Army uses the Pioneer, a twin boom pusher UAS to deploy the Orion LiDAR system which weighs 70lbs.

 

Hand launched, fixed wing:

 

For light payload long range applications like a GSR set up or range surveying and some photogrammetry applications, a light weight fixed wing like the Cyclops, Hawkeye, and military designs such as the Scan Eagle, Puma and Raven. These systems obviously have applications, and are very popular.

 

Long Range, long duration fixed wing:

 

With the  Google acquisition of Titan Aerospace and Facebook’s interest in purchasing Titan for the same reasons, to provide long range communications and connectivity, platforms like Air Ship Technologies Group (AIRSHIPTG) V5 and V9 which have the abilities to maintain flight to up to 30 days. This is a viable utilization for UAS.

 

We have what you need:

 

With the relationships GUTC has developed in the industry, with the leasing and financing option through Eagle Capital we offer a buffet of technologies to fulfil any need or requirement for UAS applications. So far, no one company is offering all technology solutions for UAS, but we can help. I see entrepreneurs cropping up across the country offering services regionally for everything from precision agriculture to surveying and surveillance. Getting set up with a command and control vehicle and Rubicon carts from IPS/NexGen or a Little Blue trailer from FAVNET, and line up accounts with a crop science and ag consulting firm, an equipment leasing company for the citrus industry, a college or university, photogrammetry trade organization or surveyor’s association. Offer a subscribership, join RCAPA and post work for commercial UAS pilots and you’re in business.
Reuben Lowing

Fred Bragg

For information call or e-mail Reuben Lowing at (619)313-1073(619)313-107,

E-mail: reuben.lowing@gmail.com

 
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Darpa Turns Aging Surveillance Drones Into Wi-Fi Hotspots

 

The RQ-7 UAV will be fitted with equipment to increase connectivity in remote areas. Photo: Wisconsin National Guard

A fleet of surveillance drones once deployed in the skies over Iraq is being repurposed to provide aerial Wi-Fi in far-flung corners of the world, according to Darpa.

RQ-7 Shadow drones that the Army flew in Iraq for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions are now becoming wireless hubs for connectivity in remote conflict zones where challenging communication environments can mean the difference between being ambushed and getting reinforcements.

Darpa’s Mobile Hotspots program retrofits retired Shadow drones with pods that will be able to transfer one gigabyte per second of data — the equivalent of 4G smartphone connectivity — so that soldiers in remote areas will have the same access to tactical operation centers and mission data that others in more central theaters have.

The challenge, however, is making sure that the already existing drones can accommodate the wireless system. At just 11 feet long and 185 pounds, the RQ-7 Shadow isn’t exactly the largest of drones, but Darpa researchers say they have developed small antennas operating on the extremely high-frequency millimeter wave-band, in addition to special amplifiers that can boost the signal — all of which, Darpa says, will allow the drones to fly higher and farther out of enemy view.

“We’re pleased with the technical achievements we’ve seen so far in steerable millimeter-wave antennas and millimeter-wave amplifier technology,” said Dick Ridgway, Darpa program manager, in a statement. “These successes — and the novel networking approaches needed to maintain these high-capacity links — are key to providing forward deployed units with the same high-capacity connectivity we all enjoy over our 4G cell-phone networks.”

A lightweight pod, designed specifically to fit the RQ-7 Shadow at just eight inches wide and 20 pounds, will carry all the gear for as much as nine hours. And Darpa says it has created new mobile ad hoc networking approaches to maintain connectivity strength, regardless of mobility, terrain or platform shadowing. While the program seems to take into account topology, it’s not clear that the revamped, lightweight Shadows will be able to handle difficult weather conditions.

Darpa began Phase 2 of the program last month with the intention of integrating all of the components into the aerial pods with ground vehicles. Darpa says it will complete Phase 2 with a ground demonstration of at least four Shadow-compatible pods, two ground vehicles and a fixed ground node.

Last month, Facebook CEO and Founder Mark Zuckerberg announced that the Facebook Connectivity Lab — made up of researchers from NASA and companies like Samsung and Nokia — is developing drones, satellites and lasers to “deliver the internet to everyone.”

DSNG Professionals Group, LinkedIn

I searched for DSNG (Digital Satellite News Gathering) groups on LinkedIn and didn’t find one,  so I created one. Please request to join if you’re a DSGN related professional or company who wants to network, contribute to your industry, share ideas and network.

http://www.linkedin.com/groups?home=&gid=7451101&trk=groups_most_popular-h-logo

LinkedIn Group

LinkedIn Group

Introducing “Little Blue” KU HD Up-link

FAVNET_HDTV DSNG_Mobile_Uplink New email

FAVNET introduces “Little Blue”, KU Band SD/HD-TV uplink trailer for New Sports and Entertainment satellite transmission services. Sporting the latest in H.264 encoding technology and DVBS2 modulation, Little Blue offers affordable uplink with all the amenities of a larger facility. IP based solutions and years of terrestrial transport experience were combined to make up this platform, says founder/engineer Michael Creamer. DSNG and Regional sporting events will be the main focus.  A 9.1 Meter WiFi (Ruckus Wireless 3x3x3 MIMO) mast antennae allows for localized IP broadcast of events as well.

FAVNET is offering this Satellite service in the Texas SW region, but is available to travel anywhere in CONUS coverage area. The entire 14 foot dual axel trailer is pulled by a FORD 150 truck which affords better gas mileage and faster deployment times.

Newly commissioned "Little Blue" HDTV KU Uplink trailer

Newly commissioned “Little Blue” HDTV KU Uplink trailer

The KU band uplink sports a 1.8Meter dish with dual chain AnaCom 60W KU band BUC’s. Combined with Newtec AZ910 DVBS2 Modulators, allows efficient uplink from 3 to 18 MHZ for clients. FAVNET is a reseller with several leading space segment providers and can offer complete packaged deals. Additional remote TVRO packages are also available on demand to corporate and religious broadcast clientele.

FAVNET has extensive experience in SIP/VoIP based solutions, so IP phones and IFB are also on board. The goal was to offer as much facility in a smaller more agile configuration.  Cameras, switchers and additional video recording is also available on demand from a partner’s large rental inventory. The trailer was pre-wired for additional facilities to be easily deployed and made ale cart to clientele. The roof of the control room is reinforced steel ribs allowing it to serve as a camera platform.

FAVNET is located in Flower Mound Texas and offers complete communications solutions and integration services in addition to its newly formed satellite services division.

For more information; www.favnet.net or http://www.texastvtrucks.com

info@favnet.net

Michael Creamer – Operator /Engineer

24 Hour bookings (214) 717-5494

Satellite Test Utilizing H.264 Video –WELLAV Video & Newtec DVBS2

This was a video test to confirm new (H.264 /MPG4) encoders from WELLAV we’ve been testing in-house in combination with DVBS2 modulation techniques to prove increased payload on smaller space segment bandwidth.  Finally received the Azimuth model AZ110 Encoder from Newtec. Since being introduced to Newtec at SMPTE meeting last year, I’ve been reading up on the improvements of DVBS2 modulation over the old DVBS which should yield a +18% increase efficiency and payload due to their FLEX ACM methods.  The following is an actual test of live video utilizing these key components;

Test Bench Config

Test Bench Configuration – Equipment

  • WELLAV – Model SMP100 H.264 Video encoder to 20MB.
  • WELLAV – Model UMH 160R “IRD” (Integrated Receiver Demodulator)
  • NewTec Azimuth – Model AZ110 DVBS2 Modulator to L-Band Output
  • Tandberg 5600 DVBS old modulator w a Newtec If – L-band converter
  • Test source: Canon HD Camcorder with HDSDI output
  • Audio source, SONY Blue Ray player – DVD Eagles “Hell Freeze Over”
  • Agilent Spectrum Analyzer – In line with L-band receive downlink feed
  • Pixel to Pixel 18.5” color monitor by ViewZ with built in Waveform Vector scope Audio Meter
  • TrustComm Teleport Supplied: 1.8Meter Prodelin fixed dish with Paradise 25W BUC feed on L-band at 1235 MHZ.
  • MODCOD’s – QPSK at ¾ FEC, DVBS2 (AZ110 Final)
  • Satellite: AMC-15 at 105W.
1.8M Test Dish w/25W BUC

1.8M Test Dish w/25W BUC

Special thanks to EchoStar folks in Denver and Trustcomm Trusted Networks and in particular my partner in crime today, Tim Knowles station RF engineer. I have to toot the horn of these folks I have worked with for the past 4 years who were and continue to be very accommodating. Thanks to Tim Dubose – Director Solutions Engineering who ran all the initial link budgets and pre-engineering for me for this configuration and assigned Tim to me. Also to Ron and Kelly in the front office and of course Scott Winebrenner who pulls together all the resources around the Earth Station and my long time NOC Manager friend Pete Licce.  Without these people, I could never pull this off. Big FAVNET THANKS!

Should be noted that original link budgets were calculated on APSK at FEC 4/5 and I elected to change the modulation rate to QPSK and FEC of ¾.

I have to say it’s really nice to have Tim Knowles at the controls leading me through the set up and getting up on the bird so easy. Tim put up a CW (Clean Wave) and peaked and poled out the antennae prior to my arrival, which saved time.  We started out by configuring the L-band output back to back with the Input to the IRD (WELLAV UMJ 160R) to verify L-band transmit and receive frequencies and establish proper video encode rates and ASI stream to decode in the IRD.  Source signal is CANON HD camera with HDSDI output set at full 60fps HD 16:9 and terminated to input of encoder (WELLAV SMP100).

We began the test using the older Tandberg 5600 and Newtec L-band conversion modulator.  Initially we had bad and torn pictures with a bad repeating vertical screen that would lock up in full picture. So after an hour of hit and miss attempts to no avail, we switched to the new NewTec AZ110 to see if it was an Encoder or Modulator issue.  Much to our delight it came up straight away!  Ah ha! So with some quick calculations we realized what the ASI output stream should look like and I adjust the SMP100 Encoder down to match the Symbol Rate/Mbaud rate of the modulator in the AZ110. It should be noted that when we first slammed the encoder into the NewTec, it was set too high (factory default) of 34MBpbs, which blew away the Tandberg and created a FIFO alarm “RED” font panel indicator. This was all done in less than 5 minutes, and just before our lunch break, I suggested we take our newly balanced load and switch back to the older Tandberg, and Valla it works! Now to be completely fair to Tandberg who has made great transmission equipment for decades, this is looking at two different decades of technology, not to mention the age of the gear itself. We noticed a lot of automatic settings in the Newtec for modulation gain compensation. Obviously these folks have put considerable time into smoothing out the bumps in the road for satellite transmissions and it shows with novice new operators. Oh yeah, did we say, the unit didn’t have an owner’s manual, so we were stumbling through set up menus, which after one gets used to everything being access through left right arrow keys in a “horizontal” fashion as opposed to the old school vertical scrolling found on Tandberg, we were good to go!  Also we found the CW (Clean Wave) or “Pure Carrier” (NewTec’s Description) function, which made lining up with the NOC at Echo star a breeze when we signed on and verified our pole/cross pole and power levels.  Very easy and quick!

Video Mod Test Mod. Rate FEC MODCOD dB Level  Symbol Rate  SMP100 Video Encode Rate MBPs SMP100 Audio KHz  SMP100 ASI MBPS Comments
Tandberg 5600 6MHz  3/4 QPSK -22.3     5,000            4,500 64       7,260 Choppy, requires 4 decimal symbol to ASI rate
NewTec AZ110 6MHz  3/4 QPSK -22.5     6,000            5,980 128       8,500 Locked up quick, looks good, more video payload
  Newtec Test 2 9MHz  3/4 QPSK -22.5     9,500  9,500 -10,500 128     10,000 Looked better, smoother, faster motion
 Newtec Test 3 12MHZ  3/4 QPSK -22.5   13,760          12,500 128     11,600 Best look, biggest payload Mbps video

Now for the fun stuff! Yep, fire up the engines, let’s make and transmit video 28,000 miles into space, I said.

No picture?  Turns out that the WELLAV 160R Receiver wants the actual frequency not a converted offset L-band reference, it makes up and converts internally, which is a really nice feature. Simply plug in 12869 MHZ and it figures out the rest!  Once again, Valla, and now were seeing live video and my Eagles singing along. Much better than wind noise off the shot gun mic on the camera.  Also I have found a trick over the years about H.264 mpg encoding video, listen to the audio and it will tell you when you are clipping the video or over-modulating.  Drop outs in video are noticeable in audio as audio gets squashed out first.  This is analogous to the old IP saying, “big trucks run small cars off the road.” These audible cues should be early warning signals for transmission errors about to cascade into really noticeable ones in the picture as well.  Yes, if things are in balance, you should have enough room for nice smooth 128Kbps audio along with your 8 bit video. Whether fiber transmission or over satellite, this audio trick always holds up.

Encoder Setttings

Encoder Setttings

ASI Levels

ASI Levels

So we now have a nice clean carrier up. We’re feeding it 7260Mbps of ASI made up of 6500MBps video + 128Kbps stereo audio. Things couldn’t be smoother. But I want to know if I can push the encode levels up to 7Mbps video, which I did but started to clip out the audio. Ok, found the upper limit. Our output on the front panel shows -22dbM relative power.  With all the complex signal chain to the BUC it’s not easy to get a true sense of power, even with the Agilent Spectrum Analyzer looking at the return downlink feed in line with the IRD.  So, Tim Knowles said, let’s pull the BUC in, put it on the bench, put a dummy load on it and fire it up with the same level and we can get an accurate level, which we did. Much too our surprise we utilizing only 12-14 Watts from the 25W BUC. We can only get within 1-2 dB of accuracy here due to the test gig and its calculations.  Still not bad as I’m thinking that with sticking to only 6MHZ and not going up to 9 or 12 MHZ I can get away with lower power, mostly due to the more efficient modulation of the DVBS2 Flex ACM which the NewTec provided us. In contrast we need closer to 18-22Watts to accomplish same level on older DVBS modulation standard.

So then we pushed the carrier up to 9 MHz opened up the ASI to 13,100Kbps or 13.1Mbps and pushed the encoder up to 10,500 Video encode rate (CBR).  I should note that I kept the H.264 in CBR as I wanted to see best/worst case scenario on modulation and I was not trying to cheat any additional bandwidth out of content or lack of motion in the JPG fields. Yes, this look really nice too, maybe a little smoother on the motion side, so we did some fast pans and pulled pretty hard left to right to create motion. No motion artifacts that were visible to my naked eye.

6MHZ Carrier at power

6MHZ Carrier at power

We eventual opened up to 12MHZ carrier increasing to 15MBps on Video encode rate just fine.

Now for one final note, that is definitely worth mentioning.  We decided we had seen all the modulation with adequate power levels on the return feed we’re viewing, but what about “Rain Fade” and low power conditions?

So, we went back to our standard 6MHZ set up and started lowering the power on the AZ110 down.

We lowered output to -34.9dB before the IRD lost its “LOCK” light LED and stopped decoding video. The Agilent was now flat lined and we didn’t see how we could possibly still be on the air. So we bench tested and calculated that it was around 1dBW in power when we finally crapped out! Geez what a great receiver this UMH160 has, very forgiving. We all know we can turn the power up, but having greater receive sensitivity means we had a link budget delta somewhere around 12-14dB. That’s a lot of rain fade for those math challenged. Could mean the difference between keeping program on air and just fading out to black or worse, NOISE.

So, it’s not just the modulation, power and transmit chain, it’s also the TRVO station equipment and in particular the receiver that has to be credited as well. So my conclusions;

6MHz with 6.5MBPS payload, looks great is my “Best Value’ solution, for contribution content for DSNG for sure, with regional sports or secondary market program feeds. Most economical use of MPG4 video over satellite. Wouldn’t hesitate to use this 80% of the time

Live picture of trees blowing, captured

Live picture of trees blowing, captured

9MHZ – with 10,500MBps video payload, for Sports & Entertainment needing more depth of field, higher motion content that is more demanding national feeds. Nice happy medium between having more depth and not blowing out your space segment budgets on long shows.

12MHZ – Best quality with tons of headroom, if you’re not worried about space segment bandwidth costs. 20MBps video encode rates can be expected here, but we did not push it that high. My notes say we were at 15MBps video.

18 MHz – Who needs this!  This is the final point here for my old analogue transmission satellite users.

I still hear producers saying, oh I need 18 MHz on this show etc.! Why I ask?! Have you actually seen a difference?

With mezzanine level H.264 encoding and soon to be H.265 married up to the DVBS2 modulation and added FLEX ACM by Newtec, there is absolutely no reason to burn up that much bandwidth to get the same or better results. Now, one could argue that you could put two or even three streams into an 18MHZ carrier and that makes good sense to me.  Why not have multiple feeds or camera shots? Or even a pre-groomed IPTV content feeds readied for mobile apps? BTW – Most CDN’s now generate on the order of 8 feeds of varying content encoding for delivery now.

Now, we didn’t utilize my favorite Tektronix VM700 video analyzer, but I feel for motion content testing, one is best to use your eyes and pay very close attention.

As always, these are my subjective opinions and you are welcome to yours and can disagree with mine.

Until next time!

For more information: email – michaelc@favnet.net

http://www.trustcomm.com/

http://www.newtec.eu/product/az110-broadcast-satellite-modulator

http://www.wellav.com/plus/view.php?aid=109

My drive home, TEXAS SKY

My drive home, TEXAS SKY

ViaSat KA Band Internet Satellite – Review

Exede Portable KA Band Review: This is a small portable package that delivers big internet service from KA space segment provided by ViaSat1 satellite at 115.1W.

.85M Carbon Fiber Exede Satellite DishThe small .85M dish sets up quickly and points easily, typically in under 5 minutes.  You rough it in using the angle finder gauge and then adjust with the fine screw azimuth and inclination until reaching the highest dB gain on the front panel of the Surfbeam2® Pro Portable Terminal (pictured).  This is typically around 8.10 dB or greater.  There’s also an audible beep that changes pitch until it reaches threshold then goes to a steady tone indicating you have reached zenith and you can hit enter and acquire network connectivity. The screen indicates a look up of GPS which is indicative of any TDMA network VSAT device and then it locks into internet.  My only misgiving is that it doesn’t tell you it’s actually in network, it just stops blinking and beeping around. There are several LED’s on the front panel to tell you PWR, TX, RX and ENET indicating you have internet. The best part of the device is running a speed test once you have in online, which is surprising, because you see download speeds nearing 20MB and 5MB on upload, which is usually reserved for terrestrial cable providers but not VSAT systems on KU or C-band. There are four Ethernet metal RJ45 jacks in the front, which is right where I want them.  The ergonomics were well thought out with the Ethernet router built into it, which I’m told is a Cisco OEM. There is a hinged steel lid to close and protect the LCD display and membrane soft control keys, which in my opinion could have been a little larger, my eyes and age showing here.

This unit is sturdy made of Carbon Fiber on the dish which assembles easily and intuitively. The Control panel will attach to the base with one built in removable pin assembly. I opted to move it indoors after pointing.  There is one coaxial cable F connector which surprise me that there’s no LNB or TX to keep straight, which was a great idea.  How many have gotten these turned around or arced out an LNB?  Come on fess up, you know who you are! So any way, this is a very robust military style designed hardware package, obviously intended for portable mobile deployment. There’s a pole mounted domestic version with standard set top box style modem packaged for under $1,500 I’m told.  There’s a SMA connector with a 2 meter antennae lead for the GPS device which is magnetic.  Oh yeah the stand is non-Ferris so it won’t stick.

Speed test on ViaSat

Speed test on ViaSat

I ran several speed tests, did my usual Hulu download, watched an episode of Star Trek Generations and didn’t see any obvious drop outs. I still am having a hard time justifying the data package costs, but clearly the pre-purchase plans are the way to go. If one was using this for home, you could run up quite a bandwidth bill if you weren’t careful.  I believe this will be very nice for DSNG users out there wanting quick deployable IP transport.  I’m told there are 3 vendors in the offering for Auto Acquisition for Drive Away and Quick deployable systems from AvL, C-Com and even Winegard. Considering the size and overall weight of this portable, which fits snuggly in an ATA style trunk, you could ESNG this around the world nicely. Portable office for Oil and Gas exploration, Geology, Disaster Recovery, or mobile office on the go, this is a nice package indeed.

We feed the Exede with a WELLAV SMP100 H.264 HD video encoder but weren’t able to connect to my colleagues streaming WOWZA server at first try.  Considering the “IN routes” capacity, this is the only thing that concerns me with the DSNG application, is having enough upload bandwidth to make an adequate video encoded picture.  Having said that, I have seen some remarkable 1MB uplink codecs and fly away systems recently that were very usable on the air for stand up news gathering. The global spot beams download capacity is something short of wonderful and will never leave you wanting more speed, well most people any way. It always comes down to “How good is good enough” and what it the real application. No, I’m not going to use it for multiple camera shoot on a sports or entertainment, but it could do in a pinch.  Certainly video conferencing even at the Video presence level would look very nice.  News gathering without excessive motion contribution is fine, and let’s face it a talking head in front of waves, fires or disaster doesn’t require that much bandwidth in reality.  Obviously the Disaster Recovery market is an excellent use for this little guy and I’m told the Red Cross has already purchased 70+ units for field use.  I did test my NEW Pearl 3203 IS (Intrinsically Safe) Wi-Fi “SIP/VoIP” phones across it and it was remarkably clean and low in latency for a satellite system.  If one were to combine my favorite MESH/MIMNO Ruckus (5GHz /2,4GHz) Wireless outdoor access point network combined with this, would be powerful mobile communications and command center package.

KA Band, ok well everyone says, the spot beams have holes and don’t overlap. I can’t attest to this but in discussions with factory personal, I’m told the overlapping and switching is now seamless and operates much like a cell phone network. This I haven’t test and can only say, I’m happy to hear they addressed this issue and have a solution in place.  If this is true, the aforementioned DSNG for the likes of storm chasers should yield some impressive footage in the days and years to come.

The other technical issue is the nasty one “Rain Fade”. This unit operates with a 4Watt BUC and I’m told they are developing an 8Watt version for future release.  I haven’t had the opportunity to operate in a down poor or good ole Texas thunder storm yet as we are still having a drought here.  However, the efficiency seems to be good and I would guess with the doubling the power and additional 3dB of link budget should get one through the nastiest of weather. Again, we’ll see how our storm chases fair with this last one

As always, I make no claims, these are only my subjective opinion and you are welcome to disagree with my findings base

d on your own. Always happy to share.

Michael C. Creamer

Founder Managing Partner – FAVNET LLC

For more information:

E-mail michaelc@favnet.net

Exede ViaSat Surfbeam controller interface

ViaSat Surfbeam2® Controller interface

 

ViaSat Surfbeam rear panel connectors

ViaSat Surfbean 2® Rear panel connections

ViaSat Exede Carbon Fiber w/4W BUC

ViaSat Exede Carbon Fiber w/4W BUC

WELLAV Successful Encoder/Decoder Testing

August 17, 2103 marked the first complete day of successful day of lab testing the NEW WELLAV SMP100 H.264 video encoder and their UMH “IRD“(Integrated Receiver Demodulator) decoder online. I am happy to report its 100% with no line errors dropped packets or tiling!  Now we just need to modulate it up on the bird and confirm all of our specifications to our “Link Budgets” and were complete!  Well and get take the confirmation feed back and utilize the L-band input on the UMH with it’s selectable ASI,  C or KU band tuner on the input selection. Today is was ASI input to HDMI to the second 43″ LED monitor.

Yes, FAVNET will become a reseller of these fine products from China to any and all who wish to have a cost effective high performance H.264 Encoder scheme.  Test signals included a SONY Blue Ray for 8 hours alongside a professional CANNON HD SDI camera on input 2 and switched back and forth. Noteworthy, you can push the stream engine to 12 assignable IP outputs simultaneously while output to 2 x ASI as well for the uplink satellite chain. Nice when you have IP based solutions over the internet or a push to a CDN house. Initially had some audio pumping from the decoder only which turned out to be a setting in the output of the ASI chain in the encoder settings! Duh! Thanks to Jordan – technical sales support; who in 2 minutes on Team Viewer spotted the error.

The SMP100 chassis frame supports all sorts of modules including transcoding, so if you think you want to “Chunk” for CDN for iPhone, Droid, Flash, WM player, well you can while you are steaming out your primary high bandwidth encoded signals. Will generate in either Unicast of Multicast UDP or RTP as well.

The SMP100 frame will hold 3 encoder modules which are mostly dual inputs as well.  I found myself switching back and forth between sources, not really fast, but very usable. BTW – I did a hard reboot and clock it at 38 seconds which is pretty darn good. Certainly fast enough to carry off during a TV Ad commercial break! In comparison, I have seen 90 seconds to 2 minutes on encoders costing 5-10 times the price. More as we progress to the next phase of our FCS (FAVNET Certified Solutions) Broadcast IP-Video Uplink trailers and services roll out.

Successful H.264 Video encoder testing

Successful H.264 Video encoder testing  WEALLAV products

Mexico – VSAT Transmit Operating Licenses Issued

FAVNET and its operating Teleport Partner LBiSat have been issued 220 full transmit site licenses for iDirect TDMA satellite services in Mexico on SATMEX 8 – KU1 (NAFTA) Beam starting immediately.  These will be issued and serviced on a first come first serve basis.  Full turnkey communications from FAVNET including “No More Wires” solutions with MIMO Wireless and CudaTel SIP PBX are available as well.  Please inquire for a quote, as these wont last.  30 Licenses have already been assigned to a Oil and Gas company that were waiting for service.  FAVNET is really happy to see this KU band service finally become available for commercial and small enterprise customers.

WAN Optimization

WAN optimization are significant new tools to consider when deploying in low bandwidth IP access areas like; VSAT, Dial-Up and DSL in rural locations.  Learn who and how they are utilizing this new cutting edge IP technology. FAVNET is currently testing some of the products from Riverbed and Barracuda Networks with our VSAT-1 services for Teton Oilfield Services.

http://www.fedtechmagazine.com/article/2012/12/wan-optimization-products-change-times

Teton Oilfield Services selects FAVNET for VSAT Communications

Due to the fact, that I have been remiss about blogging the recent developments at FAVNET, I will write this as a prequel and venture to catch you up here.   This story continues on into 2013 and I will blog about the updates and changes to this VSAT Trailer design as we roll it out with Teton Oilfield Services to their clientele.

In late fall 2012, we were engaged by Glen Pelt – President of  “TOS”  (Teton Oil Field Services) to design and implement their communications package for their oilfield rental service offerings.  We began our partnership by meeting with and at  TrustComm, earth station operator located on Ellington Field/NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston.  We meet with Bruce Dunlop Vice President of Operations to discus the long term implications and options for hosting Teton VSAT communications with FAVNET. One of the obvious advantages Glen Pelt noticed was the increased security being located on a military base. TrustComm not only has a very hardened (UPS – power redundant with divergent Internet /PSTN Connectivity and RF plant/Dish’s) facility/infrastructure, but enjoys the added physical military security as well.  Our meetings proved to be invaluable and is still ongoing. More on TDMA/MCPC and options were exploring to improve service and performance.  The trade off in price versus performance is always a tough decision for any VSAT operator.  Speed Price and Quality, Name any two!  I must also state the amazing support from our equipment supplier and friend, Marty Chavez at SCE (Satellite Communications Equipment) who has weighed in and supplied us with more than just satellite components.  Your suppliers are your partners and head their advise and take their counsel.

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13 Meter Main KU Dish at TrustComm Ellington Field/NASA Johnson Space Center – Houston

Following our meetings at the TrustComm, we exhibited at the the Permian Oil Basin Show in Odessa,  supplying our standard skid mounted 1.2 Meter Prodelin, iDirect VSAT package.  This was to compliment their newly built “Hunting Lodge” office/living quarters (Company Man Trailer)  on display along with their crew quarters.  I must say this was beautiful execution with an all cedar wood interior, I would love to live and work here myself.  The VSAT package included the  standard iDirect 5100 modem, Edgewater 200 router w/ 2 phone/fax lines and internet (768x512Kbps) capable of high speed connectivity supported Skype video conferencing all on TrustComm iDirect Evolution Hub on a transponder on AMC-15.  special thanks to Bruce and TrustComm for supplying the bandwidth during the show on their shared iDirect Evolution hub/hosted network.

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Fixed portable skid mounted 1.2 Prodelin dish with iDirect 5100 modem.

Follow the show, TOS signed a purchase order and contract to design and deliver a VSAT tailer based system.  Unlink most satellite communications operators who put a lot of equipment (Modem, Router, Switch and ATA’s) in portable SKB racks placed  under the desk in the “Company Man’s Trailer,’ we opted for a climate controlled integrated DDB rack mounted to a portable trailer along with all the satellite masts in one system.

One of my early concerns was shock mounting the electronics and satellite stand itself.  So, I under took researching shock mounts and trailers for isolation. With the need for speedy delivery to oil field drilling sites, the need for the trailer be both rugged and smooth riding was essential.  I eventually hooked up with Eddie Meeks of North Texas Trailers in Lewisville Tex after interviewing several leading trailer manufacturers and dealers.

Raw frame trailer 77"x 96"

Raw frame trailer 77″x 96″

With a great deal of dialogue and his input we landed on a combination of elements that lead to a robust design. This included utilizing independent torsion axles that will ride up and down independently, adjusting to the pot holes and bumps encountered in off road and less than ideal dirt road entrances found in the oil field.  We also opted for larger wheel base of 77″ to help with cross wind stabilization for the dish. We increased the tires to a 255 from the standard 205 making it smoother and easier to pull. Installed 4 leveling jacks and a bull nose hitch for greater reliability while pulling.  We started out with a 10foot deep bed and then shortened it up to 8ft.  This turned out to be just perfect for all the equipment placement and storage. During the fist dish alignment test and acquisition, I was amazed at the leveled trailer, how easy I could locate (sweep) and cross pole the alinement on the bird (AMC-15). It’s been said, but I can’t stress enough, get you dish level before sweeping for the bird.  We installed two bubble levels, one on top of the rack directly behind the mast, easily viewable to set up he trailer jacks and one in top of the mast canister plate.  This meant the trailer was level, then the operator can level the canister/dish assemble before beginning the sweep for satellite acquisition.  We set the mast at 44″ which meant the operator doesn’t have to bend over to adjust the canister, the azimuth arm, or the elevation adjustment screw.

The second engineering design task, was to find isolation mounts to help with vibration.   I had seen this deployed by ATA flight case companies over the years, isolating the internal rack from shock and vibrations from the outside case.  I secured a supply of these devices from a case company recommended by my old friend and colleague Jason in Florida. whom I had build a 24 Foot video trailer with 2 years ago. With up to 8G’s of isolation, I was assured my rack mounted electronics would enjoy longevity not normally associated with hard road life.  These are small, stiff and easy to install under a steel welded rack case with doors from supplier DDB.  This is a fairly inexpensive component, but a vital one for securing the internal electronics.

More on the following days of the actual building of  “Teton One”