Frequency scaling of rain attenuation on satellite links in the Ku/Ka-bands using OLYMPUS satellite data

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Virginia Tech

Frequency scaling of attenuation is the prediction of attenuation at a desired frequency from attenuation values at a base frequency. The attenuation at the base frequency is often known from prior measurements. Frequency scaling of attenuation is of interest because of the eventual need to exploit higher frequency bands. Most satellite communications traffic now use C-band (4-8 GHz) and Ku-band (12-18 GHz). The next approved, yet largely unused, frequency allocation for domestic use is in the K-band (18-27 GHz) to Ka-band (27-40 GHz). At these higher frequencies, however, earth-space radio links suffer atmospherically induced impairments as frequency increases. In particular, rain causes severe fading. Consequently, satellite systems in these higher bands are very susceptible to outages due to rain-induced fades. Reliable frequency scaling models are needed in system design to estimate the effect of these rain-induced fades.

Between August 1990 and August 1992, V.P.I. & S.U.'s SATCOM Group performed extensive measurements of slant path attenuation using the 12, 20, and 30 GHz beacon signals (in the Ku/Ka-bands) of the European OLYMPUS experimental satellite. The experimental results are used to evaluate the usefulness of scaling models proposed by other researchers, both for instantaneous and statistical purposes. New models are presented for accurate scaling of attenuation within the Ku/Ka-bands.