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Satnews Daily
March 26th, 2009

Is Your VSAT Quakin' In Its Shoes? W.B. Walton To The Icy Rescue...

Walton Ice Quake photo W.B. Walton Enterprises — those fine folk at Walton De-Ice — have released a new product — Ice Quake. W.B. Walton has been told time and time again by their customers that the Gore-Tex Snow Shield Passive Cover works great in almost all conditions — save for a light freezing rain or light snow fall. If icing does become a problem, the customer would simply go to the VSAT and tap on the cover and all of the ice or snow would slide off the cover. With Ice Quake, there's no more going out and tapping on the cover — it's all done for you, automatically.

Ice Quake actuator (Walton) The new product is an electric vibrator housed in a small aluminum enclosure installed on the edge of the antenna reflector using cylindrical vibration isolators to prevent damage to the antenna reflective surface. A piece of PTFE acts as the actuator arm, which is the same material the Gore-Tex Snow Shield Cover is made of. Ice Quake is riveted to the housing and then slipped into a pocket sewn into the Snow Shield Cover. The PTFE actuator arm transfers the vibration from the electric motor into the Snow Shield cover. Because of the vibration isolators, the vibration is not transferred to the antenna by the vibrator assembly or transferred to the feed horn assembly.

Ice Quak actuator positioned Ice Quake is ideal for military or remote applications where a generator is required to power the portable site. In the past up, as much as 4,500 watts of power would be required to power the de-icing System on a 2.4 meter antenna. With the vibration system, less than 200 watts is required to remove snow or ice from the Gore-Tex Cover. The spares that would be normally be required to support the vibration system would also be a cost savings factor. The only components are the vibrator assembly and the DS-2 assembly.

Another advantage would be the storage and transportation of the new unit. No more ducting, ducting nozzles and large heater would be required. The Gore-Tex Cover with its PTFE coating is one of the best hydrophobic materials used in the covering of antennas in the industry today. However a heavy rain will sheet on the fabric and cause attenuation on a Ka Band antenna. We believe that the vibration system will cause the moisture not to sheet on the material and to bead and run off the material much faster then the cover by itself or even just the bare antenna reflective surface causing less attenuation in the signal during heavy rain conditions.