OBSM On-Board Spectrum Monitoring

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This activity aims to define the requirements for different frequency bands (C-, Ku-, Ka-band) and to develop a suitable equipment architecture that can be readily adapted to the frequency band of interest. A representative engineering breadboard shall be designed, manufactured and tested based, as far as practicable, on existing frequency converter and digital signal processing technology.


Leveraging on expertise in interference detection algorithms at imec, the team customizes detection algorithms for use on-board the satellite. 


Interference management is of increasing concern in commercial satellite telecommunication systems. Several complementary ground-based tools are used for interference management, but as yet there are no in-orbit tools available for this purpose in conventional analogue satellite communication repeaters. By exploiting existing technology (flexible frequency converters, digital transparent processor technology) an initial uplink spectral monitoring feature could be introduced at relatively low cost. The developed hardware could eventually also serve as a platform for future enhancements, such as sub-channel signal (interferer) suppression and interference identification.


The on-board spectrum monitoring proof-of-concept is targeted to detect and identify interferers in the form of a carrier, modulated carrier, carrier-under-carrier, a sweeper. An elaboration on the proof-of-concept includes the implementation of carrier ID (DVB-CID) detection.


The demonstrator is comprised of a collection of breadboards, including – but not limited to – a microwave block downconversion, a flexible scanning RF downconverter, a dataconverter and detection algorithm implementation in an FPGA.


Task 1: Define the requirements for the spectrum monitoring system.

Task 2: Investigate different architectures for implementing the spectral monitoring feature with existing technology. Select an architecture.

Task 3: Design, manufacture and test an engineering breadboard of the spectral monitoring hardware.

Task 4: Analyse the test results, provide a qualification plan and produce recommendations for further development (e.g. new features).

Current status

Tasks 1 and 2 are completed, with task 3 in progress.

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