As the need for more bandwidth increases, satellite communication (SatCom) terminals are forced to climb higher in frequency. Higher frequency means greater propagation losses, and so antenna gain and sensitivity have to increase. The higher the gain, the more difficult it is to point the antenna. To make matters even more challenging, consumers are requesting satellite links in harsher environments and on moving vehicle and planes. In order to meet today's challenges and improve on dish feeds, research is ongoing to replace fixed-beam feedhorns with smaller, cheaper, and lighter PCB based antennas and to develop low-cost electronically steered array feeds (ESAF). ESAFs will not only improve the signal link, but they will also aid in pointing the antenna and then tracking the satellite independent of movement. Here is presented some of the first planar antenna dish feeds developed by the Brigham Young University's SatCom Group. Included are the simulation and test procedures to determine if they are viable for SatCom use. The results show that these antennas make significant advancements in efficiencies and prove a path forward to a feedhorn replacement. Several planar designs are presented, each with a unique solution to meet all the requirements for a dish feed. Also presented is the first low-cost ESAFs developed to give commercial SatCom an electronically steerable dish. None of the designed hardware requires a redesign of current modems and receiver boxes. The research looks at keeping costs low by minimizing the required electronics. This further led to researching the limits on how simple the electronics could be. The ESAF doubled the visible area of the dish and successfully acquired and tracked a satellite as the dish moved. The ESAF also demonstrates a path forward to increase the steerable range and improve pointing and tracking.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Electrical and Computer Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





array feeds, electronically steered array feeds, satellite communications, beamforming