With the launch of the European Space Agency's Olympus‐1 satellite, a whole new era of communication experiments in the 20/30 GHz bands will start. Of particular interest will be those experiments concerned with fade countermeasures for the very small aperture terminals (VSATs). Portsmouth Polytechnic's experiment will focus on adaptive modulation as a type of fade countermeasure, and this paper introduces and describes the whole concept. Based on the assumption that the performance of a VSAT operating at 20/30 GHz band will be affected to a major extent by amplitude scintillations and rain fading, the performance of a range of combinations of earth‐station power amplifier and antenna characteristics is presented. An adaptive multi‐phase shift keying technique is then compared with conventional systems in terms of availability and data throughput. It is shown that such a fade countermeasure contributes to increasing both the overall system availability and the total data throughput of a digital communication system, while the inevitable reductions in data rate occur smoothly.
- Adaptive modulation
- Digital satellite communications
- Fade countermeasures
- M‐PSK VSAT