Intellian v100GX (1.03m) is a Ku-band VSAT maritime antenna system convertible to Ka-band for Inmarsat’s Global Xpress(GX) network. Featuring fully optimized RF performance for Ku or Ka-band, the v100GX provides advanced VSAT solutions for Ku-band satellite services that are also designed to be upgraded when the system is configured to the Ka-band GX high throughput broadband services. To make the future conversion process easy and simple, the v100GX is equipped with a new mounting architecture of RF module consisting of BUC and LNB.

The mounting assembly of BUC and LNB is simply attachable to the rear-side of the reflector so that it will be easily replaced without the need to balance the system after conversion.

The v100GX is built to meet or exceed the industry’s most stringent standards such as FCC, ETSI, R&TT and MIL-STD-167. With its frequency tuned radome and newly designed reflector, the v100GX offers the maximized performance both on a Ku-band VSAT system and a Ka-band Inmarsat Global Xpress system. The antenna’s 3-axis stabilized platform and advanced shock-resistant and vibration damping design of the Pedestal is fully optimized to withstand the demanding maritime conditions and to ensure reliable broadband communications. The unlimited azimuth range ensures continuous tracking without unwrapping the cables in the antenna and the low elevation angle (-20°) supports seamless signal reception at extremely high latitudes.

Equipped with Intellian’s next generation Antenna Control Software, ‘Aptus®’, the v100GX antenna can be remotely accessed, monitored and controlled through Serial connection or secured TCP/IP network. Its graphic-based user interface provides easy-to-use operating environment. The v100GX has also embedded webserver and secured web user interface called Web M&C for remote management of the antenna on a web browser. Network connection can be easily setup through the front Management Ethernet Port on the ACU that supports automatic IP configuration.

The v100GX is fully integrated with ABS (Automatic Beam Switching) function with various platform compatibility such as the OpenAMIP protocol of iDirect and the ROSS Open Antenna Management (ROAM) protocol of Comtech. The v100GX is supplied with both cross-pol and co-pol feeds and comes equipped with Intellian’s patent pending Global PLL LNB by standard.

Features of Intellian v100GX

Ku to Ka-band convertible terminal

The v100GX can be converted from a Ku-band system to a Ka-band GX system by a few simple steps. The v100GX is equipped with an integrated RF module consisting of BUC and LNB. This BUC and LNB mounting assembly is attached to the rear side of the reflector in order to support easy conversion and balance-free installation.

Optimized reflector for Ku or Ka-band

The v100GX is designed and engineered to operate on both Ku and Ka-band. The reflector of the v100GX is capable of handling either Ku or Ka-band without the need to replace the reflector when the system is converted to Ka-band. The system is supplied with a Ku-band feed chain as standard. The 1m reflector for the v100GX satisfies EIRP and G/T performance of both Ku and Ka-band.

Frequency tuned radome

To ensure efficient operations for both Ku-band VSAT and Ka-band Inmarsat Global Xpresssystems, the v100GX has the tuned radome to minimize signal loss while offering improved RF pattern for both Ku and Ka-band systems.

Gyro-free satellite search capability

Intellian’s new generation gyro-free satellite search function enables the v100GX to acquire and lock onto the satellite without requiring a separate input from the ship’s gyrocompass.

DVB/DVB-S2 and NBD detection capability

Intellian v100GX is capable of detecting DVB-S/DVB-S2 signal, SCPC, and Narrow- Band signal using integrated digital tuner and the narrow band detector (NBD).

Graphical and user-friendly antenna control software

Intellian’s next generation Antenna Control Software, ‘Aptus®’ is developed based on the Intellian developed ‘Antenna Remote Management System (ARMS) Software Development Kit (SDK)’. This graphic-based software is designed to remotely monitor and control Intellian antennas through an IP network.

Dedicated Management Ethernet Port

The v100GX has a Management Ethernet Port on the ACU front that enables direct and simple network connection between a PC and the ACU. The Management Port supports DHCP network connection by default, allowing automatic IP configurations, Internet access and quick access to Intellian’s remote management solution, the Web M&C.

Wireless access via WiFi and Bluetooth

The built-in WiFi wireless network card enables the ACU to be wirelessly connected that can be either turned on and off by a switch. Any kind of wireless devices such as PCs, laptops and smartphones can be used to connect to the ACU and monitor, control and change the settings of Intellian antenna system wirelessly. Users can also access and control the antenna with a PC that has Bluetooth capability. The Bluetooth connectivity enables wireless antenna monitoring and control from a PC without Ethernet or Serial Cable connection.

Intelligent firmware upgrade

Intellian v100GX provides easy and intelligent firmware upgrade methods. Firmware upgrade can be automatically initiated by plugging a firmware stored USB Memory Stick to the USB Port on the ACU front or by launching ‘Firmware Upgrade’ on the Aptus® or Web M&C. User can also manually select a firmware file on a local disk and complete the upgrade. The firmware can be rolled back to a previous version as the ACU’s built-in memory stores the current and previous firmware files.

System Configuration

For your satellite communication system to work properly, the system will have to be connected with all of the provided components as shown in the figure below. Separate purchase of a satellite modem, ship’s gyrocompass, and Intellian Dual VSAT Mediator may be required.

Basic System


Dual System


Satellite Modem

(Not supplied)

What is a Sailor 900 VSAT System?

The SAILOR 900 VSAT is a unique stabilized maritime VSAT antenna system operating in the Ku-band (10.7 to 14.5 GHz). It provides bi-directional IP data connections both on regional satellite beams and quasi-global Ku-band satellite networks. The system only requires a single 50 Ohm cable to provide the Above Deck Unit with both DC power, data and control information. The radome does not have to be removed neither before nor after the installation. To protect the Above Deck Unit the built-in DC motors act as brakes during transport and when the Above Deck Unit is not powered. The ADU system can be accessed remotely and in-depth performance analysis can be done using the built-in web interface.

The SAILOR 900 VSAT system consists of two units:

• Above Deck Unit (ADU)

• Antenna Control Unit (ACU)

The following figure shows the SAILOR 900 VSAT system.


SAILOR 900 VSAT features

  • Single 50 Ohm coax cable for the ADU.
  • Support of several VSAT modems.
  • Dual antenna mode.
  • SNMP support.
  • Service communication using SAILOR FleetBroadband over WAN.
  • Remote or local simultaneous software update of ADU and ACU via PC and Internet browser.
  • Global RF configuration.
  • Full remote control and troubleshooting with built-in test equipment (BITE).
  • ACU with 4 x LAN, NMEA 0183, NMEA 2000, RS-232 and RS-422.
  • All interfaces at the ACU, no additional units required.
  • DC powered. Start up voltage: 22 VDC guaranteed, operating range: 20 – 32 VDC.
  • No scheduled maintenance.

Installation of the Sailor 900 System

Above Deck Unit

  • Check that the antenna is free of obstruction
  • Make sure there is sufficient space for access through the service hatch.
  • Make sure to maintain the vertical orientation of the ADU center line.
  • Check that the ADU is installed where vibrations are limited to a minimum.
  • Check that you programmed the blocking zones correctly.
  • Make sure that the safety distance for radiation hazard of 30 metres is kept.
  • Check that the mounting height of the antenna is in accordance with the ship’s min. roll period.
  • Install the mast with the mast flange and have the 4 M12 bolts ready
  • Undo all shipping buckles, take off the wooden top and remove the casing.
  • Unscrew the 4 bolts holding the ADU on the wooden platform.
  • Attach a webbed, four-part sling with a belt to all 4 lifting brackets.
  • Attach 2 tag lines of suitable length to 2 lifting brackets and man them.
  • With a crane lift the ADU off the wooden platform and move it on top of the ADU mast.
  • Install the ADU on the mast flange with 4 M12 bolts and washers.

  • Put the coaxial ADU cable through the protection plate as shown in the following figure, and connect the N connector of ADU cable to the ADU.
  • Put the protection plate in place and fasten the 4 bolts (Picture 5).
  • Fasten the nut (Picture 6).
  • Make sure that the distances to radar, Inmarsat systems, GPS receivers and other transmitters are as required.
  • Make sure that the drain tube is open and risk for water intrusion is at a minimum.
  • Check that the ADU is grounded correctly, using the mounting bolts.

Maximum allowed cable loss = 20 dB at 1950 MHz. This is to ensure optimum performance of the system.

Antenna Control Unit (ACU), Connectors and Wiring

A cable relief bracket is already mounted when receiving the ACU. The cable relief is a simple system to secure cables with cable strips. It offers a number of holders to which you can secure the cables from the ACU. To install the 19” rack version of the ACU, do as follows:

  1. Slide the ACU into a 1U space in a 19” rack.
  2. Mount the screws in each side through the holes in the front and fasten the screws to the rack. Make sure that the unit is mounted securely according to the requirements for your 19” rack.
  3. Connect all cables.
  4. Set the On/Off switch at the back of the ACU to On. Then you can use the On/Off switch at the front panel of the ACU 19” rack version.

The ACU has additionally a LAN connector at the front for accessing the service port from the ACU front panel.

Grounding the ACU

Make sure that the grounding requirements are met.

ADU cable

The ADU is connected to the ACU with the ADU cable (coax cable) with an N connector at both ends. For information on ADU grounding.

At the ACU end, it is strongly recommended to ground the ADU cable. Use a short cable from the ACU to a grounding point in the rack and connect the short cable to the ADU cable at this grounding point, making sure the shield of the connector is properly connected to the rack.

Ground stud at the ACU

To ensure that the ACU is grounded – also if the ADU cable is disconnected from the ACU, connect an extra ground wire from the rack to the ground stud on the ACU. This ground wire must be a heavy wire or braid cable with a larger diameter than the coax cable.

Figure 3-24: ACU, 19” rack version, ground stud

What is OpenAMIP?

OpenAMIP is an IP based protocol that facilitates the exchange of information between an Antenna Controller Unit and a satellite.

Expanded Use for VSAT Technology

The use of VSAT technology for mobility applications has expanded greatly in the past five years. During this period of growth new advances were developed to make it easier to implement a VSAT solution.

One of the early challenges for VSAT networks was the fact that the manufacturers of VSAT infrastructure equipment were separate companies from those that produced stabilized VSAT antennas. This meant that custom integration work often needed to be done by a service provider or network integrator to make sure that the components of a solution offered to a maritime customer would work as designed. After extensive work was undertaken between iDirect and several leading stabilized antenna manufacturers to make their systems interoperate iDirect developed the OpenAMIP protocol in 2006 as an industry-wide open-source standard for antenna-router integration.

Facilitating the Exchange of Information with OpenAMIP

OpenAMIP is an IP based protocol that facilitates the exchange of information between an Antenna Controller Unit and a satellite router. It allows the router to command the antenna and enables the use of Automatic Beam Switching (ABS), which transfers connectivity from one satellite beam to the next as a vessel passes through multiple footprints. In addition, OpenAMIP and ABS enable service providers and their customers to meet government regulations by commanding the antenna to mute the signal in no transmit zones.

iDirect has since integrated the open source code into its mobility VSAT platform, and has established a formalized qualification program for satellite antenna manufacturers. The OpenAMIP protocol eliminates the need for proprietary coding to make new antennas or routers introduced into the market work together. And it allows maritime organizations to choose from a wider selection of hardware to best suit their needs.

iDirect is antenna agnostic and our platform is designed to work with all major stabilized VSAT manufacturers products. The following is a list of supported manufacturers that have adopted the OpenAMIP protocol and qualified their respective products with iDirect. Numerous additional manufacturers are currently in the implementation and testing phase to receive qualification.

OpenAMIP on Sea Tel communications

OpenAMIP is an ASCII message-based protocol. It is a specification for the interchange of information between an antenna controller and a satellite modem. OpenAMIP allows the modem to command the controller to target a particular satellite and also allows the modem and antenna controller to exchange information. Using a satellite modem, for example, will allow automatic instructions and/or parameter settings to be sent to the Sea Tel antenna controller to target and track the desired satellite. These parameters and settings include, but are not limited to, satellite longitudinal position, tracking frequencies, LNB band selection, polarity (horizontal/vertical) and cross pol / co-pol selections to name a few. Sea Tel’s Quad L/O Ku Band LNB ensures that Sea Tel’s USAT and VSAT systems are a global antenna system.

Advantages of OpenAMIP TM 

  • 60 seconds or less reduction in switch time between satellites if using iDirect modems.
  • Significant decreases or complete elimination of downtime required to configure the Sea Tel antenna for the desired satellite.
  • Elimination of mechanical intervention when switching between multiple satellites or different beams of the same satellite.
  • Automation of loading satellite parameters into option files in the iDirect modem for each desired satellite.

The below picture shows an iDirect Modem interface through OpenAmip (Ethernet)

“OpenAMIP” protocol developed by iDirect is adopted as industry standard to improve integration between stabilized antennas and remote satellite routers.

On September 7, 2010 VT iDirect, Inc. (iDirect), a company of VT Systems Inc. (VT Systems), announced that  leading manufacturers of stabilized marine VSAT antennas – Sea Tel and Intellian– have implemented the OpenAMIP protocol developed by iDirect and completed successful interoperability testing with iDirect’s suite of broadband satellite routers. Nine additional antenna manufacturers are in the process of implementing the OpenAMIP protocol and working with iDirect to qualify that their systems are interoperable. iDirect is a world leader in satellite-based IP communications technology.“OpenAMIP” protocol developed by iDirect is adopted as industry standard to improve integration between stabilized antennas and remote satellite routers.

iDirect developed the OpenAMIP protocol more than eleven years ago as an industry-wide, open-source standard for antenna-router integration after extensive work was undertaken between iDirect and several leading stabilized antenna manufacturers to make their systems interoperate. iDirect has since integrated the open-source code into its maritime VSAT platform, and has now established a formalized qualification program for satellite antenna manufacturers. The OpenAMIP protocol eliminates the need for proprietary coding to make new antennas or routers introduced into the market work together. And it allows maritime organizations to choose from a wider selection of hardware to best suit their needs.


Why is Polarization Important?

A understanding of wave polarization in VSAT is essential. Firstly, if we don’t transmit a polarized wave, we will waste signal power. That would make the satellite link inefficient, reduce its capacity and increase cost.

Secondly, we can use both polarizations at the same time to transmit independent signals. This can double the capacity of satellite.

Linear Polarization

From a technical perspective, linear polarization is defined as polarization of an electromagnetic wave in which the electric vector at a fixed point in space remains pointing in a fixed direction, although varying in magnitude. There are two forms of linear polarization: vertical, where the electric field is perpendicular to the Earth’s surface, and horizontal, where the electric field is parallel to the Earth’s surface. Both directions can be used simultaneously on the same frequency. Some customers consider linear polarization to be superior, if only because the specific equipment costs are marginally less. Linear polarization can be found in both C-Band and Ku-Band.

vertical polarization, vsat, satellite, antenna

Figure 1: Linear, Vertical  Polarization

For simple signal polarization, all electromagnetic waves vary in three dimensions. Those dimensions are Frequency, Phase, and Amplitude. One type of waveform, regardless of polarization type, will exist using the same given frequency. With frequency fixed, the focus when examining the waveform is then on phase and amplitude, the other two dimensions.

If the phase is found to be identical, meaning the Horizontal (H) and Vertical (V) components are in phase, this is the definition of Linear Polarization. The relative amplitude then (the remaining dimension) determines if the waveform is considered horizontally or vertically polarized.

horizontal polarization, vsat, satellite, antenna

Figure 2: Linear, Horizontal  Polarization

Key points for our purposes are:

Linear Polarization is more common when using Ku-Band RFTs. (C-Band systems use Circular Polarization almost exclusively.)

Linear polarization is comprised of both Horizontal and Vertical components, which are exactly “in phase”, and have exactly the same frequency as stated above. This means there is always a component in both the horizontal and the vertical plane for each frequency in the spectrum. How we tune or extract the energy from the wave establishes the operational mode.

The polarization setting (direction or degree value) is related to how the two signals vary in amplitude in relation to the other.

Circular Polarization

Some customers feel that circular polarization is not as desirable as linear polarization. The reasons for this view are not clear; one possible reason is due to the customer not being fully educated on the benefits or the price sensitivity towards equipment. However, it is important to realize that the increased reliability in signal strength, resistance to weather conditions, and ease of installation outweigh the expense of the feed horn. Technically speaking, circular polarization involves the plane of polarization rotating in a corkscrew pattern, making one complete revolution during each wavelength. The circularly polarized wave will radiate energy in the horizontal and vertical plane, as well as every plane in between. There are two directions of propagation that come with circular polarization: Right-Hand-Circular (RHC) which follows a clockwise pattern, and Left-Hand-Circular (LHC) which follows a counterclockwise pattern. As with linear polarization, both directions can be used simultaneously on the same frequency, allowing higher revenue generation through the doubling of capacity on the satellites. Circular polarization can be found on both C-Band and Ku-Band. It is important to note that Intelsat does not have any Ku-Band fleet with circular polarization.

Circular Polarization. Circular, as well as elliptical polarization is possible because the propagating electric and magnetic field can have two orthogonal components with independent amplitudes and phases and the same frequency.

For Circular polarization, both Frequency and Amplitude are equal, so only their Phase relationship determines the polarization type. The direct relationship between the phases — which one is ahead of, or leading the other — determines the direction of rotation. Circular polarization doesn’t require tuning or nulling out the opposite polarization component as is required for Linear. The polarization is fixed as either right-hand or left-hand circular and the proper type of feed is selected and installed; no further adjustment is needed. Circular polarization predominates with C-Band networks.

circular polarization, vsat, satellite, antenna

Figure 3: Circular Polarization. Left hand (blue) and Right hand (red)

Circular polarization operates in more of a helical type arrangement where you can have two types of circular polarized signals. Looking at a transmission from the remote towards the antenna feed horn in the direction of transmitting towards the satellite, right-hand circular polarized signals would rotate clockwise and left-hand circular polarized signals would rotate counter clockwise. Circular polarization also helps reduce the amount of rain fade in the 12 Ghz range of transmissions.

Polarization is the orientation of radio waves as they leave a transmitting antenna. This is true across the entire RF spectrum, of which VSAT frequencies only occupy a small segment. Common polarization types within the VSAT segment include linear and circular. Receive antennas must be oriented on the same plane as the transmitted signal.
Linear polarization is either horizontal and vertical. It might be easier to think “sideways” or “up and down”. In horizontal, the radiation pattern comes sideways off the transmit antenna. In vertical, it comes off up and down. These waves maintain that relationship to the transmit antenna as far as they can travel, and the receiving antenna must be oriented on the same plane; horizontal transmitter to horizontal receiver, vertical transmitter to vertical receiver.
Circular polarization is either left hand or right hand. It might be easier to think of a corkscrew spiral. In left hand, the radiation pattern comes spiraling off the transmit antenna in a left hand spiral. In right hand, it’s the opposite. Again, the receiving antenna must be oriented on the same plane; left hand transmitter to left hand receiver, right hand to right hand receiver.
To understand this in VSAT, you have to consider that the “dish” is not the antenna. It’s simply a reflector; focusing the RF plane on the transmit, collecting the RF plane on the receive. The actual antennas are tiny little dipole antennas in the waveguide. In most cases these miniature antennas are situated at the point where the waveguide attaches; BUC output, and LNB input. It is the orientation of these little antennae that determines horizontal or vertical. In circular, an additional device called a polarizer is added to change from linear to right hand or left hand.

Advantages of Circular Polarization

There are several key advantages for circular polarization over linear polarization, which make it more appealing to atmospheric conditions. These conditions can cause changes in the rotation of the signal, and will more adversely affect linear polarization than circular polarization. The effect of a high frequency signal passing through rain can cause signal attenuation and accounts for the majority of the problems with rain fade. Moisture laden clouds are also a factor; by the time a signal passes through a cloud system it can be attenuated by as much as 1dB. Water droplets on the feed horn may also cause detrimental effects. However, the most important aspect to note is that higher frequencies (like Ku-Band) degrade faster, harder, and longer than their frequency counterparts (C-Band).

Easier installation

The only requirement is ensuring that the antenna is aimed in the correct direction on the satellite; simply point and transmit. This allows for circular feeds to  be set up quicker, and there is less of a risk of being misaligned.

Higher link reliability

There is higher link reliability since there is a low risk of misalignment, and encountering interference. Faraday’s effect will not affect transmission with circular C-band, so there will be no need to readjust the alignment. Finally, because transmission is sent and/or received at different frequencies, interference (cross polarization) is less of a concern.