Thursday, March 22, 2018

Belrose Optus satellite earth station

I was fortunate to have a tour of the Belrose satellite earth station run by Optus today. It's a fantastic facility that serves various satellites used for TV, NBN and other services.

Uplinks are on 12GHz and downlinks on 14GHz. Satellites have gone through several generations and staff have interesting skills ranging from orbital mechanics through to microwave power RF.

One of the dishes is quite mobile and is used for tracking and commanding newly launched satellites.


At 12GHz the waveguide really looks like plumbing.


Smaller dishes are fixed and used for telemetry reception.


This next shot shows how RF gets up to the big mobile dish from below. 


Belrose is near Terry Hills which has the highest rainfall in Sydney. I've often seen these dishes as I drive on Forest Way, it was great to see them up close. Click to enlarge any of the photos.

For more, there's a rather cheesy promo video here and a bit more about the steerable dish here.

3 comments:

Tom Storey said...

Very cool. I dont suppose you have any more photos? Ive been inside a couple of submarine cable landing stations and its all really fascinating stuff - I'd love to have a look inside a facility like this too!

Is the steerable dish used for anything else, like telemetry from space missions - ala SpaceX?

Peter Marks said...

Hi Tom,

No I was only permitted to take photos outside and in a corridor. It's a very secure facility.

The steerable dish is used for assisting with satellite launches but no mention of other activities.

Geoff said...

Peter,

This is a KU-band facility, correct? So it should be 14HGz up, 11/12GHz down. At least, this is the case in Europe and the USA, so I suspect it's a worldwide allocation, which would make it apply in Oceania.

Geoff G8KBZ

(Retired Broadcast TV (including satellite) engineer)