Ka-Band Downconverter ARTES3-4 Development of EQM Ka-Band Downconverter

  • Status
  • Status date

The object of this project is to produce a qualified design for a commercially competitive EM stand-alone Ka-Band Downconverter and an EQM Multi-pack Ka-Band Downconverter.

  • Low mass,
  • Low power consumption,
  • Competitive cost,
  • Very good performance: linearity, spurious, noise figure, phase noise,
  • Use of wideband design/components to minimise customisation for specific frequency plans.

The product provides a modular, high performance Ka-band converter solution in either a stand-alone or space saving multi-pack configuration. The modular design approach enables a reduced delivery schedule. The product has an operating frequency range encompassing the entire Ka-band from 27.5GHz to 31GHz and downlink plan from 17GHz to 21.2GHz. It has a market competitive size, power consumption and mass.

The Stand-alone Ka-Band Downconverter has the following functional blocks: downconverter hybrid, local oscillator, DC/DC converter and crystal oscillator.
The Multi-pack Ka-Band Downconverter has 10 downconverter modules each of which contains a downconverter hybrid and DC/DC converter. 8 mass/thermal dummies are used for the EQM.


The system architecture for this Ka-band Down-converter equipment is based on a multi-chip MMIC hybrid implementation for the RF section, using a single piece multi-cavity Low Temperature Co-fired Ceramic (LTCC) packaging technology, and a conventional PCB based DC/DC Converter power supply section. These are housed into a single module mechanical chassis with interconnecting DC wiring, RF cables with input and output coaxial isolators.
Several individual modules can be stacked together onto a mechanical fixing chassis/frame as required for individual spacecraft system requirements.
The Local Oscillator required for the down-conversion process is supplied from separate equipment.
The basic RF converter hybrid is designed to be generally wide band in operation covering the uplink frequency plan from 27.5GHz to 31GHz and downlink plan from 17GHz to 21.2GHz. Specific filtering requirements are implemented using ‘drop-in’ alumina micro-strip filters integral to the LTCC hybrid.
Project Kick-off August 2010
PDR August 2011
Completion EM stand-alone Ka-Band Downconverter November 2011
CDR February 2012
Completion EQM Multi-pack Ka-Band Downconverter March 2014
Completion of hybrid life tests December 2014
Final Report April 2015
Current status
  • 1 off EM stand-alone Ka Downconverter built & tested
  • 2 off QM Downconverter Hybrids passed qualification tests
  • EQM Module & GA assemblies built and tested
  • EQM GA Vibration, shock, thermal vacuum and EMC testing successfully completed
  • Final Review held

Prime Contractor