The mobile Tetra (terrestrial trunked radio) solution with satellite connectivity, “Tetra radio coverage via satellite”, from Airbus Defence and Space was successfully tested as part of a field test by the German Federal Agency for Digital Radio of Security Authorities and Organisations (BDBOS). This has proven the suitability of the solution for operational service.
The mobile Tetra satcom solution, consisting of a mini TB3p Tetra base station and a portable DXT3p Tetra switch as well as one or several VSAT satellite dishes, enables the temporary expansion of existing networks by creating mobile, local Tetra networks with a satellite connection.
Large-scale planned events such as concerts and sporting events, or unplanned events such as major train or plane crashes, storm damage or floods sometimes make it necessary to temporarily expand existing professional mobile radio (PMR) networks at short notice. The same applies to assignments outside the normal area of operations or for network coverage on foreign missions or at sea.
Potential users of such systems are police, fire brigades, technical aid agencies and rescue services. An additional satellite connection for the Tetra network is an effective and economic method, but users have so far had reservations about the process.
“Teststellung Brandenburg”, a three-week field test with the mobile Tetra satcom system from Airbus Defence and Space, was carried out in March 2014 for the BDBOS. The digital radio project group of the federal state of Brandenburg provided support for the test. The dual-phase tests focused on the carrier signal power (latencies) between the ground-based Tetra transmitters and receivers and the satellite in geostationary orbit, and were carried out under realistic operational conditions. The tests also covered any disruptions when establishing connections, interruptions to operations and other potential negative effects, such as echoes.
The first test phase, lasting a week, was used to qualify the devices used and the test parameters. Subsequently, the system was investigated during operation in 33 test cases, comprising 198 individual tests over 16 days. In the second test phase, the mobile Tetra satcom system operated without any disruptions. Since the test phase was so successful, the investigations were completed a week earlier than planned.