In this unit students will acquire advanced theoretical knowledge, practical and critical analytical skills which can be applied to investigation and resolution of complex problem solving scenarios inherent in microwave and satellite communication systems. The unit material has been developed to enhance students' communication skills, individual and group project participation and other professional capabilities important to practice as an Engineer. This unit has been developed to cover principles of modern microwave systems planning and design. Students will study Microwave propagation, Beam bending, K-factor and Fresnel zone clearance and are expected to critique and implement Free space loss calculation methodologies. In addition this unit is comprised of: Component characterisation, Microwave antennas, oscillators, amplifiers, mixers, filters and isolators. Modulation schemes for analog and digital radio systems will be covered together with Multiplexing techniques, access techniques and system loading effects. This will lead into Microwave link planning and design techniques taking into account Noise budget calculations and Reliability calculations for uplink and downlink.  In general, Satellite orbits, Elevation angles, Polarisation and frequency re-use techniques will be studied including System EIRP and figure of merit Effects of system non-linearity. Mastering these topics will enhance a student's employability with a service provider company or a private company that owns or deploys microwave and satellite communication systems.

Unit details

Study level:
Credit points:
Unit code:

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. To determine and critically evaluate the technical fundamentals to design microwave links;  
  2. Apply high level technical competence in developing link budgets for a given microwave/satellite link;  
  3. Generate appropriate solutions to the design requirements for a low earth orbit satellite and a geostationary satellite;  
  4. Solve and implement techniques to guard against problems in satellite communications; and  
  5. Critically appraise the limits of the link performance for both microwave and satellite links.  


A pass must be achieved in each assessment item to complete the unit.
Assessment type Description Grade
Test Written Test (1.5 Hours - equivalent to 1500 words) 20%
Assignment Lab simulation report (2500 words) 40%
Examination Written examination (3 hours - equivalent to 3000 words) 40%

Required reading

Any text book that covers satellite communication systems engineering is highly recommended.

Satellite communication system Engineering
Pritchard, W, 1993
Prentice Hall

Introduction to Satellite Communication,
Elbert, B., 1992,
Artech House.

Latest edition by Pritchard et al is highly recommended

Where to next?

VU takes care to ensure the accuracy of this unit information, but reserves the right to change or withdraw courses offered at any time. Please check that unit information is current with the Student Contact Centre.