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Product Feature

Ka-Band VSAT
Chipset Family

pplications for communications systems


using very small aperture terminals
(VSAT) have grown from their initial
operation at C-Band in the 1980s to become a
large and diverse market. Satellite service and
companion ground terminals are arguably the
most central element that made modernized
point-of-sale transaction processing possible,
along with supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) remote monitoring systems,
not to mention fixed and portable wideband
systems for military and maritime communications.
What began as not very small aperture
terminals that relied on backyard-filling, threemeter parabolic antennas is now dominated by
more than 370 VSAT operators throughout the
world that rely on rooftop antennas that capture Ku- and Ka-Band signals. Commercial
data transmission dominates Ku-Band services
along with home/consumer programming. Despite the advantages of non-tethered access
172

that satellite service provides, bandwidth limitations and cost have meant that most North
American consumers seeking high definition
programming and broadband Internet access
have remained cable TV subscribers or patrons
of emerging fiber to the home (FTTH) services. Broadband consumers by the millions are
the prize sought after by satellite service providers a market that is now more within reach
thanks to additional Ka-Band services coming
online in the near future.
The latest major Ka-Band event for North
America was the successful launch and deployment of the Hughes EchoStar XVII satellite
in July. The Jupiter satellite, built for Hughes
Network Systems by Space Systems/Loral, has
60 Ka-Band transponders designed to provide
HughesNet broadband services to consumers,

TriQuint Semiconductor
Richardson, TX

MICROWAVE JOURNAL n SEPTEMBER 2012

Product Feature
businesses and governmental customers throughout North America. It uses
a bent-pipe Ka-Band architecture delivering spot beams with a total of 360
Gb/s of data throughput.
The benefits of increased bandwidth and the potential for lower
ground terminal costs are driving significant interest in Ka-Band (28 to 31
GHz) frequencies for broadband Internet access, digital telephony, highdefinition video and other Triple Play
services.
A new family of GaAs MMICs from
TriQuint Semiconductor is designed
to help Ka-Band ground terminal
manufacturers support this emerging
market. TriQuints high-performance,
functionally-integrated products offer
easy-to-assemble, cost-effective packaged solutions for VSAT RF requirements.
TriQuint Semiconductor has long
supported satellite communications
with GaAs solutions, including amplifiers and control products for orbital
payloads as well as VSAT devices in
commercial and defense programs.
TriQuint leads the orbital payload
market with more GaAs devices aloft
than any other provider. Long known
for its amplifier solutions, TriQuint
has introduced a complete RF chipset
for Ka-Band applications including
a variable-gain driver amplifier, 1 W
MMIC amplifier, sub-harmonic upconverter and a block downconverter.
All four VSAT Ka-Band products use
TriQuints GaAs PHEMT process and
are housed in standard QFN packages. A typical lineup is shown in the
Figure 1 block diagram.
Amplification stages are provided
by two components: TGA4541-SM
and TGA4539-SM. The TGA4541SM variable gain amplifier is designed
to be used as a highly linear driver amplifier over a 28 to 31 GHz frequency
range, and provides P1dB RF output
power of +23 dBm, gain of 33 dB and
a third-order intercept point (OIP3)
of +31 dBm. Output of the amplifier
can be varied over a wide 30 dB range.
The amplifier draws 330 mA from its
+5 V DC supply. The TGA4539-SM
GaAs MMIC amplifier delivers P1dB
RF output power of 1 W (+30 dBm),
gain of 20 dB from 28 to 30 GHz, and
has an OIP3 of 33 dBm. It draws 420
mA from a +6 V DC supply.
The TGC4408-SM block downconverter includes dual-band switch174

TGA4539-SM

TGA4541-SM
TGC4407-SM

DIPLEXER

KABAND
AMP

KABAND
AMP

KABAND
AMP

ATTENUATOR

IF IN

TGC4408-SM
LO

IF OUT
RF IN

VCO

VTUNE

s Fig. 1

Complete chipset solution for Ka-Band VSAT ground terminal.

TABLE I
KEY VSAT DEVICE SPECIFICATIONS
TGA4539-SM

TGA4541-SM

TGC4407-SM

TGC4408-SM

28 to 30

28 to 31

Input: 21.5 to 32.5


LO: 11 to 16
IF: DC to 7

Input: 18.3 to 20.2


IF: 0.950 to 1950

P1dB RF Power
Output (dBm)

30

23

Gain (dB)

20

33

9
(conversion gain)

8.5 dB
(conversion)

IP3 (dBm)

33 (output)

31 (output)

13 (input)

6 (input)

Gain Attenuation
Range (dB)

30

Noise Figure
(dB)

6.5

6 at 420

5 at 330

+5 at 65

+5 at 305

10 kHz offset: -73


1 MHz offset: -126

20-lead 55
mm QFN

40-lead 66
mm QFN

16-lead 33-mm
QFN

32-lead 56-mm
QFN

Frequency
Range (GHz)

Power Supply
(VDC at mA)
Phase Noise
(dBc/Hz)
Package

able VCOs, a subharmonic mixer with


LNA and LO buffer amplifiers in a
32-pin 56 mm QFN package. It
has an input frequency of 18.3 to 20.2
GHz and IF frequency of 950 to 1950
MHz. Conversion gain is 8.5 dB, noise
figure is 6.5 dB, and phase noise is 73
dBc/Hz at a 10 kHz offset and 126
dBc/Hz at a 1 MHz offset. The downconverter also has a differential signal
at one quarter of the VCO frequency
that can be used in a phase-locked
loop. TGC4408-SM utilizes TriQuints
PHEMT process and HBT processes,
and draws 305 mA from a +5 V DC
supply.
The TGC4407-SM is a sub-harmonic upconverter with an integrated

local oscillator buffer amplifier that


has an input frequency range of 21.5
to 32.5 GHz, wide IF range of DC to
7 GHz, a sub-harmonic LO frequency
of 11 to 16 GHz, and accepts an LO
input power of 0 to +7.5 dBm. It has
conversion gain of 9 dB and draws
65 mA from a +5 V DC supply. Full
details of all four devices are shown
in Table 1. All of the devices are in
production and supporting evaluation
boards are available.
TriQuint Semiconductor,
Richardson, TX,
info-networks@tqs.com,
www.triquint.com.
MICROWAVE JOURNAL n SEPTEMBER 2012