Qualcomm files STA to conduct satellite antenna tests at 12.2-12.7 GHz

Qualcomm has applied with the FCC for Special Temporary Authority (STA) to conduct limited antenna pattern testing of satellite antennas designed for use in the 12.2-12.7 GHz range.

The application states that the testing requires a large separation distance to gather far field data due to the frequencies and antenna aperture size and can’t be done in Qualcomm’s anechoic chamber. So, they want to do them outside a Qualcomm facility in San Diego. 

The plan calls for a single, low-power continuous wave (CW) form measurement signal to be transmitted from one site at a fixed orientation. The equipment under test is a receive antenna located on another building, with the receive antenna’s orientation to be moved in a process to evaluate the antenna pattern.

The original request was for a single frequency range of 11.7-12.7 GHz, and that was granted by the FCC in March of this year, effective through Sept. 2. For the 12.2-12.7 GHz band, the FCC directed Qualcomm to work with Broadcast-Satellite Service (BSS) operators to obtain their consent.

The June 8 application shows Qualcomm got consent from DirecTV/AT&T and Dish TV; it was waiting for consent from EchoStar when it filed the paperwork.

The new request seeks a time frame of conducting tests from July 1 to Dec. 30, 2017.

It’s unclear exactly what the antenna will be used for; a Qualcomm representative wasn’t immediately available to add context.

Qualcomm has a history of working in the satellite space so it’s not surprising.

Qualcomm also is an investor in OneWeb, which is building a constellation of satellites to serve the underserved and unconnected in the U.S. and around the world. OneWeb Founder and Executive Chairman Greg Wyler told FierceWirelessTech earlier this year that the satellite company has worked closely with Qualcomm engineers in terms of a revolutionary chipset that will make the whole OneWeb system work affordably.

The 12.2-12.7 GHz band has been the subject of wider debate among companies seeking access to it via the FCC. Last year, a group of companies dubbed the MVDDS 5G Coalition, led by Charlie Ergen’s Dish Network, argued that any OneWeb rollout in the 12.2-12.7 GHz band would prevent MVDDS 5G Coalition members from offering their own services in the band.

The coalition urged the FCC to permit the use of Multichannel Video Distribution and Data Service (MVDDS) spectrum in the 12.2-12.7 GHz band for two-way mobile broadband 5G service. The group said that by initiating a rulemaking on its petition, the public would have the opportunity to participate and enable the commission to unleash the MVDDS band for next-generation 5G mobile uses while protecting the DBS operations and leaving ample spectrum available for future non-geostationary satellite orbit (NGSO) fixed satellite service (FSS).