S a t e l l i t e   T V   1 0 1

The basic idea of the satellite is that it is a relay; it serves as a bridge between two existing data networks, allowing voice, video or information bits to flow between them. For example, telecommunications satellites bridge the Atlantic Ocean between the U.S. and European telephone networks, allowing phone calls from local exchanges to be routed overseas into international calls. In our case, though, our Amazon “data network” only consisted of some phone and TV ports in our satellite terminal room, hardly comparable to your local phone company!

The ground parts of this satellite link are “earth stations”, the jumping off points for the signals to and from space. An example of an earth station is an ordinary satellite TV dish, which receives television signals from special purpose satellites. At some central location would be the other side of this link, another earth station, from which the television distribution company is sending up the music, movie, and sports channels which the satellite bounces back down to the home earth stations. This is a specialized kind of link called a “point-to-multipoint” broadcast, where only a single earth station talks while many others listen.

Though we are also doing television with our earth station, we will be operating “point- to-point”, which is to say, we will be connected directly to a single other earth station. Another difference will be that we will be both sending AND receiving signals. Like the television distribution company, we’ll be transmitting video and audio, in this case ultimately to Mississippi State University, but we’ll also be receiving audio and video back from MSU at the same time to monitor the progress of the show. Along with the two-way television will be simultaneous two-way voice channels, which will allow local production workers to talk with and get direction from the producers and directors at MSU. Both sides of our link have to be able to talk and listen at the same time.

Ann’s Journals Satellite TV 101    1     2     3     4