[SatNews] Maritime satcom service provider and Cobham SATCOM's partner e3 Systems, has recently completed the unique installation of a dual SAILOR 800 VSAT system atop the 60 degree rotating mast of 33.3 m catamaran in France.
The catamaran’s mast is designed to rotate 30 degrees to port and starboard, a design choice for many multihull yachts taken to enhance downwind performance in addition to sail handling. This posed a challenge for e3’s antenna installation engineers because the antenna heading will change from the boat's heading, which if not accounted for can cause loss of service.
Danny Remkes, e3’s Engineering Manager in Mallorca and lead installer for the project in France, explains how the team overcame this issue and ensured the catamaran would experience 24/7 availability of its connectivity and voice services. “The challenge was to provide a heading reference relative to the actual heading of the mast. This needed to be a simple reliable solution with the accuracy required by the dual antenna installation. We engineered a compact fluxgate compass to the underside of the carbon fibre antenna bracket, having tested the accuracy and any effect from the movement of the SAILOR 800 VSATs. This combination achieved the perfect solution for this specific application.”
The 83cm SAILOR 800 VSAT system was chosen for the installation as it provides comparable radio performance to antennas in the 1m category, yet is much smaller, lighter and less power hungry. The dual system ensures high system redundancy and service availability should line of sight of a single antenna to the satellite be obstructed.
SAILOR 800 VSAT provides uniquely simple procurement and installation in addition to top of the line RF performance. After ordering a complete system with a single part number, the antenna leaves the factory fully tested and configured, with all RF equipment installed, which simplifies logistics for the service provider and reduces the time needed on board for installation.
Also supporting the complex installation for e3, was the fact that SAILOR 800 VSAT can be installed and commissioned without the requirement for line-up or calling the Network Operations Centre (NOC). It uses a single cable between antenna and below deck equipment for RF, power and data, while advanced features such as Automatic Azimuth Calibration (home flag) and Automatic Cable Calibration, complete the unique ability to commission a SAILOR VSAT antenna far quicker than any other antenna.
“Size, weight and power-consumption are all vital considerations for any sailing yacht, especially when the installation requires a dual antenna system,” adds Danny. “However, Cobham SATCOM’s approach to delivery and a system design aimed at installation convenience, helped to ensure a quick, successful project, even on such a challenging job.”