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Ka Band Propagation
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The objective of the Ka band project is to perform attenuation measurements and a traffic study enabling more reliable dimensioning of satcom systems operating at high latitudes. Main topics include low elevation propagation in combination with maritime environments and gateway diversity benefits.

Measurement sites

The measurement locations selected for the beacon campaign are Nittedal, Eggemoen, Røst, and Vadsø, all being at high latitudes. The measuremet sites selected for the traffic study is Vadsø.

Location Lat [deg] Long [deg] Altitude [m] Elev. angle [o]
Nitteldal 60.1 10.8 200 21.8
Eggemoen 60.2 10.3 200 21.7
Røst 67.5 12.1 10 14.1
Vadsø 70.1 29.7 30 10.1
Isfjord radio 78.1 13.6 5 3.2

Svalbard is selected due to its location far North, representing the practical limit for fixed stations communicating with GEO satellites. Svalbard is a major download site for polar orbiting Earth observation satellites. To obtain results believed to be representative for typical maritime users, we have selected Isfjord radio as measurement site.

Vadsø is selected due to its location far North on the mainland. The Earth-space path crosses a fjord, enabling costal climate measurements with a variety of precipitation forms and possible atmospheric anomalies. This is important as for example wet snow attenuates significantly more than rain or dry snow for the same precipitation intensities.

Measurements at Røst, the southmost island in the Lofot islands, is roughly 115 km north of the Artic circle. The location is dominated by the sea surrounding the small island.

Eggemoen will become the main anchor station for the Defence’s Hisnorsat, serving both X- and Ka-band users. Similarly Nittedal will be the main gateway for Telenor’s Thor 7 carrying Ku- and Ka-band payloads. Joint diversity conditions for these two locations may become important to ensure high availability services utilising sites with existing gateway infrastructure.

Equipment on site

Each stationary site will be equipped with a stationary receive-only Ka-band antenna, temperature stable RF-frontend, beacon receiver, and PC with logging software. Compact weather stations will be utilised as well as GPS/NTP for timing reference. The sites will to a largest possible extent be co-located with manned offices enabling operation and maintenance of the measurement equipment.


This ESA funded project aims at performing a long-term study of Ka-band propagation effects in arctic and high latitude regions



Participating Partners

ESA project manager