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· Éminence grise
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The Directv 11 thread tends to get a bit off-topic and a separate thread was spun-off to discuss two-line elements. There appears to be a lot of interest in traveling wave tube amplifiers (TWTAs), so here is a place to discuss them.

I came across a pretty good summary on Wikipedia:

The device is an elongated vacuum tube with an electron gun (a heated cathode that emits electrons) at one end. A magnetic containment field around the tube focuses the electrons into a beam, which then passes down the middle of a wire helix that stretches from the RF input to the RF output, the electron beam finally striking a collector at the other end. A directional coupler, which can be either a waveguide or an electromagnetic coil, fed with the low-powered radio signal that is to be amplified, is positioned near the emitter, and induces a current into the helix.
The helix acts as a delay line, in which the RF signal travels at near the same speed along the tube as the electron beam. The electromagnetic field due to the current in the helix interacts with the electron beam, causing bunching of the electrons (an effect called velocity modulation), and the electromagnetic field due to the beam current then induces more current back into the helix (i.e. the current builds up and thus is amplified as it passes down).
A second directional coupler, positioned near the collector, receives an amplified version of the input signal from the far end of the helix. An attenuator placed on the helix, usually between the input and output helicies, prevents reflected wave from travelling back to the cathode.

The TWTAs used on Directv 11 were probably manufactured by Electron Technologies Inc., which is the former Hughes Electron Dynamics Division and was briefly owned by Boeing before being sold to L-3 Communications. Their facility, which I visited several times in the past, is located in Torrance, CA.
 

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· I used to be a rocket scientist
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11,448 Posts
Thanks for that great summary Bob! :)

Now we need only two things: first, someone has to write up how the TWTAs feed signals to transmission antennae and how those are configured on modern sats for national and spotbeams.

And second, a Mod to rename this thread to "Nerd Wars II: The TWTA Strikes Back" or something . . . :p
 

· Godfather
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426 Posts
LameLefty said:
Now we need only two things: first, someone has to write up how the TWTAs feed signals to transmission antennae and how those are configured on modern sats for national and spotbeams.
I haven't been involved in satellite design since the 1990's, but assuming things don't change...

The output of the TWT is usually a waveguide flange. Ditto for the input of the antenna. Waveguide connects the TWT to the antenna. There are usually on board switches to reconfigure if a TWTA fails. Also, transponder filters are used to keep the wideband noise, spurs, intermod, etc., from a TWTA from interfering with reception of the other transponders.

The configuration for national wide beams and spot beams would be the same. The antenna patterns are different.
 

· Lifetime Achiever
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21,244 Posts
houskamp said:
Here's one: Does a vaccume tube in space need the "tube"? :grin:
Yeah, yeah, yeah... that's right up there with do they use Hoover or Dirtdevil vacuums?

Cheers,
Tom
 

· Registered
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2,792 Posts
houskamp said:
Here's one: Does a vaccume tube in space need the "tube"? :grin:
Tom Robertson said:
Yeah, yeah, yeah... that's right up there with do they use Hoover or Dirtdevil vacuums?

Cheers,
Tom
A little levity never hurts before all the glorious new HD comes into being...:lol:

I wasnt able to partake the last time all the new stuff came online...any advice or how to handle the HD overload?
 

· Lifetime Achiever
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jodyguercio said:
A little levity never hurts before all the glorious new HD comes into being...:lol:

I wasnt able to partake the last time all the new stuff came online...any advice or how to handle the HD overload?
:) spend as much time as possible grounded playing with your kid(s).

Cheers,
Tom
 

· Registered
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8,671 Posts
jodyguercio said:
A little levity never hurts before all the glorious new HD comes into being...:lol:

I wasnt able to partake the last time all the new stuff came online...any advice or how to handle the HD overload?
F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 :grin:

yes it's a very slow day at work (and I'm off tomorrow)
 
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