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Satellite Communications Experiences For Electrical Engineering Technology Students

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

New EET Course Development

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.992.1 - 7.992.10



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Paper Authors

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Albert Lozano

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Albert Lozano-Nieto The Pennsylvania State University School of Engineering Technology and Commonwealth Engineering P.O. Box PSU Lehman, PA 18627 Phone: (570) 675-9245 ; FAX: (570): 675-7713 email:


Satellite communication systems are playing an increasingly important role in today's society, providing a growing number of services, such as international telephony, domestic and international radio and TV, global positioning system, transatlantic aeronautical and maritime communications, weather and environmental monitoring and imaging among others. However, despite its growing importance, this subject has not been addressed in most Engineering Technology programs as needed. With this in mind, the author has developed an introductory course on Satellite Communications as an elective course within the Electrical Engineering Technology program at Penn State Wilkes-Barre, with the intention of covering this gap between skills demanded from our graduates and what is being taught in the EET curricula.

The focus of this paper is to describe this newly developed course as well as to share the students opinions and reactions to the course. As in any Engineering Technology course, the experimental component of this course is critical to the success of its graduates. The experimental part of this course combines academic experiences to help students understand the concepts explained in the classroom, linked with hands-on experiences in receiving communications from different satellite services. In particular, these experiences are centered on two types of communications that, because they are low-cost and have open transmission, (not scrambled or codified) become ideal to bring them into our classes. First, students are exposed to non-commercial television transmissions from geostationary satellites operating in the Ku band (12-14 GHz). These transmissions are normally used as a feed link to a central station. Students need to localize the satellite, point the antenna in the correct direction regarding azimuth and elevation and choose the appropriate characteristics such as frequency and polarization of the downlink. In the second experience, students receive images from satellites in a polar orbit, managed by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, operating in the VHF band at approximately 137 MHz. In this case, students become familiar with satellite tracking tools, the prediction of the satellite appearance times, and the decoding of the signals, among others.

“Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education”

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Lozano, A. (2002, June), Satellite Communications Experiences For Electrical Engineering Technology Students Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10917

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