Monthly Archives: January 2013

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.

Satellite Images 011

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.


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”