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Seminar Report ’03 Satellite Radio


We all have our favorite radio stations that we preset

into our car radios, flipping between them as we drive to
and from work, on errands and around town. But when
travel too far away from the source station, the signal
breaks up and fades into static. Most radio signals can only
travel about 30 or 40 miles from their source. On long trips
that find you passing through different cities, you might
have to change radio stations every hour or so as the
signals fade in and out.

Now, imagine a radio station that can broadcast its

signal from more than 22,000 miles (35,000 kill) away and
then come through on your car radio with complete clarity
without ever having to change the radio station.

Satellite Radio or Digital Audio Radio Service

(DARS) is a subscriber based radio service that is broadcast
directly from satellites. Subscribers will be able to receive
up to100 radio channels featuring Compact Disk digital
quality music, news, weather, sports. talk radio and other
entertainment channels.

Satellite radio is an idea nearly 10 years in the

making. In 1992, the U.S. Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) allocated a spectrum in the "S" band (2.3
GHz) for nationwide broadcasting of satellite-based Digital

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Seminar Report ’03 Satellite Radio
Audio Radio Service (DARS).. In 1997. the FCC awarded 8-
year radio broadcast licenses to two companies, Sirius
Satellite Radio former (CD Radio) and XM Satellite Radio
(former American Mobile Radio). Both companies have been
working aggressively to be prepared to offer their radio
services to the public by the end of 2000. It is expected that
automotive radios would be the largest application of
Satellite Radio.

The satellite era began in September 2001 when XM

launched in selected markets. followed by full nationwide
service in November. Sirius lagged slightly, with a gradual
rollout beginning _n February, including a quiet launch in the
Bay Area on June 15. The nationwide launch comes July 1.

To the average user, these systems will look very

similar to conventional AM/FM .radio systems, whether they
are used in the home, office, or on the road. However. the
real difference is in what the listener won't see. Rather than
receiving a signal from a tower antenna of a local radio
station, these new radios will receive signals from a set of
satellites in geosynchronous orbit. Programming will be up
linked from ground stations to the satellites and then
broadcast back to large geographic areas.

The programming will be up linked to the three

geostationary orbit satellites and then rebroadcast directly
to radios in the vehicles of CD Radio subscribers. Ground
based repeaters will be used in urban areas to provide a

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Seminar Report ’03 Satellite Radio
clear and uninterrupted radio signal.

Fig. 1 The satellite station

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Seminar Report ’03 Satellite Radio



Each company has a different plan for its

broadcasting system, but the systems do share similarities.
Here are the key components of the three satellite radio


At this time, there are three space-based radio

broadcasters in various stages of development:

XM Satellite Radio launched commercial service in limited

areas of the United States on September 25, 2001. (They
were originally going to launch service September 12. but
postponed the event because of the terrorist attacks on the
United States.)

Sirius Satellite Radio is now operational in the United

States, with its official launch on July I, 2002.

WorldSpace is already broadcasting in Africa and Asia, and

will begin broadcasting in South America sometime soon.

XM Satellite radio and Sirius Satellite Radio have both

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Seminar Report ’03 Satellite Radio
launched such a service. Satellite radio, also called digital
radio, offers' uninterrupted, near CD-quality music beamed
to the radio from space.

Taking a closer look, you will see slight variances in the

three satellite radio companies' systems. In the next three
sections, we will profile each of the companies offering
satellite radio services.



XM Radio uses two Boeing HS 702 satellites,

appropriately dubbed "Rock" and "Roll," placed in parallel
geostationary orbit, one at 85 degrees west longitude and
the other at 115 degrees west longitude. Geostationary
Earth orbit (GED) is about 22.223 miles (35,764 km) above
Earth, and is the type of orbit most commonly used for
communications satellites. The first XM satellite, "Rock,"
was launched on March 18.2001, with "Roll" following on
May 8. XM Radio has a third HS-702 satellite on the ground
ready to be launched in case one of the two orbiting
satellites fails.

XM Radio's ground station transmits a signal to its two

GED satellites. Which bounce the signals back down to radio
receiver son the ground. and the downlink will be in the

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Seminar Report ’03 Satellite Radio
2.33-2.34 GHz frequency range. A spare satellite will be kept
on the ground for emergencies. The radio receivers are
programmed to receive and unscramble the digital data
signal, which contains up to 100 channels of digital audio. In
addition to the encoded sound, the signal contains
additional information about the broadcast. The song title,
artist and genre of music are all displayed on the radio. In
urban areas, where buildings can block out the satellite
signal, ground transmitters supplement XM's broadcasting


Unlike XM, Sirius does not use OED satellites. Instead,

its three SS/L-1300 satellites form an inclined elliptical
satellite constellation. Sirius says the elliptical path of its
satellite constellation ensures that each satellite spends
about 16 hours a day over the continental United States ,
with at least one satellite over the country at all times.
Sirius completed its three-satellite constellation on
November 30, 2000. A fourth satellite will remain on the
ground, ready to be launched if any of the three active
satellites encounter transmission problems.

The Sirius system is similar to that of XM. Programs

are beamed to one of the three Sirius satellites, which then
transmit the signal to the ground where the radio
receiver picks up one of the channels within the signal.
Signals are also be beamed to ground repeaters for listeners

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Seminar Report ’03 Satellite Radio
in urban areas where the satellite signal-can be interrupted.

While XM offers both car and portable radios, Sirius is

concentrating on the car radio market. The Sirius receiver
includes two parts -- the antenna module and the receiver
module. The antenna module picks up signals from the
ground repeaters or the satellite. Amplifies the signal and
filters out any interference. The signal is then passed on to
the receiver module. Inside the receiver module is a chipset
consisting of eight chips. The chip set converts the signals
from 2.3 gigahertz (GHz) to a lower intermediate frequency.
Sirius also offers an adapter that allows conventional car
radios to receive satellite signals.

So far, WorldSpace has been the leader in the satellite
radio industry. It put two or its three satellites, AfriStar and
AsiaStar, in geostationary orbit before either of the other
two companies launched one. AfriStar and AsiaStar were
launched in October 1998 and March 2000, respectively.
AmeriStar, which will offer service to South America and
parts of Mexico, is not yet scheduled for launch. Each
satellite transmits three signal beams carrying more than 40
channels of programming, to three overlapping coverage
areas or about 5.4 million square miles (14 million square
km) each. Each of WorldSpace satellites' three beams can
deliver over 50 channels of crystal clear audio and
multimedia programming via the 1,467- to 1,492-
megahertz (MHz) segment of the L-band spectrum. which

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Seminar Report ’03 Satellite Radio
is allocated for digital audio broadcasting.

AfriStar is positioned in a 210 East geosynchronous

orbit and is controlled by the WorldSpace Operations Center
located in Washington, DC. The prime contractor for the
satellite is Alcatel Space Industries, and Matra Marconi
Space built the EuroStar 2000+ satellite bus. The uplink
frequencies are 7.025-7.075 GHz, and the downlink
frequencies are 1.452-1.492 GHz. Each AfriStar downlink
spot beam has capacity for ninety-six 16 kbit/s mono-AM-
quality signals that can be combined for fewer channels of
higher audio quality. The downlink signals in each spot
beam are combined into two Time Division Multiple Access
(TDMA) carriers. Uplink signals can be. accepted as TDMA
signals from control stations or, individually, as Frequency
Division Multiple Access (FDMA) signals from originating
program locations.
WorldSpace also launched AsiaStar in March 2000, a
DBS radio satellite that currently covers Asia(1050 East
orbit). In late 2000, WorldSpace plans to launch AmeriStar
(950 West orbit) to cover Latin America.

The United States is not currently part of

WorldSpace's coverage area The company has
invested in XM Radio and has an agreement with
XM to share any technological developments .
WorldSpace is going beyond one nation and eyeing
world domination of the radio market. That might be
overstating the company's intent a bit. But

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Seminar Report ’03 Satellite Radio
WorldSpace does plan to reach the corners of our
world that most radio stations cannot . There are
millions of people living in WorldSpace's projected
listening area who cannot conventional radio station.
WorldSpace says it has a potential audience of about 4.6
billion listeners spanning five continents.

Fig 2 WoridSpace will be able to broadcast to the majority of

world's population when its AmeriStar satellite is launched.

WorIdSpace broadcasters uplink their signal to one of

the three satellites through a centralized hub site or an
individual feeder link station located within the global uplink
beam. The satellite then transmits the signal in one, two or
all three beams on each satellite. Receivers on the ground
then pick up the signal and provide CD-quality sound
through a detachable antenna.

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Seminar Report ’03 Satellite Radio

Fig. 3 World space integrated solution


Satellite radio reception, poses threats from weather,

tall building_ and mountains that can potentially interfere
with broadcasts.

To avoid the interference caused by tall structures,

both Sirius and XM Radio are supplementing their satellite
coverage with terrestrial transmitters, called ground
repeaters. If the satellite radio antenna is blocked by a
skyscraper, it should pick up signals from one of the ground

Getting signals from a satellite to receivers in cars or

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Seminar Report ’03 Satellite Radio
in the home is a tall order. Although the microwaves the
satellites rely on are able to penetrate the atmosphere from
space, they need a "direct line of sight" and can only reach
their target if unimpeded by obstacles such as trees,
houses, or thunderstorms. Therefore, ground-based
repeaters are needed to prevent service interruption in
cities where tall buildings otherwise would block the line of
sight between radio receivers and the satellites. XM has
employed more than 1,000 of these terrestrial repeaters,
which have been strategically placed throughout the
continental United States to receive the XM signal directly
from the satellites, and then retransmit it to XM radios in
cars and homes. These repeaters have been installed in
densely populated cities, on the roofs of buildings, and in
mountainous areas where line of sight can be difficult to


Existing AM/FM car radio will not be able to receive

satellite radio broadcasts. Two options are available.
Replacement of the radio with a 3-band capable receiver
(AM, FM, Sirius or XM Satellite). Radios can be purchased as
a dealer option or can be directly purchased at consumer
retail stores, mail order and Internet stores. All major
manufactures are prepared to provide radios capable of
satellite radio reception.

A second option is the purchase an adaptor for existing

AM/FM radios. The adaptor will contain the satellite receiver,

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Seminar Report ’03 Satellite Radio
along with display and control functions. Sirius and XM have
developed slightly different technologies which mean that
you can purchase a radio capable of receiving satellite
broadcasts from one company or the other. but not both..
You need a receiver, about the size of squashed shoe box,
which goes under a car in the trunk, along with a fist-sized
antenna that sits on the roof or trunk lid.

The receiving end is virtually the same for both

companies, but the satellite configurations are different: XM
Radio will use two satellites, and Sirius will use a
combination three. These receivers, somewhat akin to
AM/FM tuners, are made up of two parts: an "active"
antenna and a receiving module.

XM and Sirius Radio will work similarly. Each will

beam a combination of original and syndicated
programming to orbiting communications and terrestrial
satellites which will send out signals to the satellite radio
receivers. These receivers, somewhat akin to AM/FM tuners,
are made up of two parts: an "active" antenna and a
receiving module.

The antenna is active because it basically looks for

available signals to pick up from. Satellites it recognizes.
When it finds them, it amplifies them, filters out any
accompanying noise and interference, and then sends them
to the receiver, where most of the real work is done. En
route to the receiver, the signals are converted from analog

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Seminar Report ’03 Satellite Radio
to digital. Once in the digital realm, they are analyzed for
quality, and then processed and combined to produce the
best digital "image" of the sound. The receiver also decrypts
the signals and finally converts them back to analog audio,
which can be sent to the radio' s speakers so one can hear

The receiver connects to your existing car radio

through a device called an FM modulator that puts the
signal on an unused portion of the FM band. Or you can buy
a car radio -- called a "head unit" by industry insiders --
that's "satellite ready" to make a direct wired connection for
maximum audio quality.

On the open road, the receivers pick up a signal from

orbiting satellites. Sirius and XM have also built repeater
stations on the ground in major metropolitan areas to
maintain reception when the satellites are blocked by
buildings or other large structures.

One receiver utilizes a vehicles existing FM radio. A

small flat 2" disk antenna is attached to the outside of the
vehicle, a processing unit is placed in the trunk or
dashboard and a display and control screen mounted next
to the vehicle's FM radio. The display screen indicates the
selected channel number, channel name, song title and

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Seminar Report ’03 Satellite Radio

Each receiver contains a proprietary chipset. XM

began delivering chipsets to its XM radio-manufacturing
partners in October 2000. The chipset consists of two
custom integrated circuits designed by ST Microelectronics.
XM has partnered with Pioneer. Alpine, Clarion, Delphi
Deleo, Sony and Motorola to manufacture XM car radios.
Each satellite radio receiver uses a small, car-phone-sized
antenna to receive the XM signal. General Motors has
invested about $100 million in XM, and Honda has also
signed an agreement to use XM radios in its cars. OM began
installing XM satellite radio receivers in selected models in
early 2001.

WorldSpace satellite receivers are capable of

receiving data at a rate of 128 kilobits per second (Kbps).
The receivers use the proprietary StarMan chip set,
manufactured by STMicroelectronics, to receive digital
signals from the satellites


Digital radio works by combining two digital
technologies to produce an efficient and reliable radio
broadcast system.

Firstly, an audio compression system, called MPEG,

reduces the vast amount of digital information required to
be broadcast. It does this by discarding sounds that will not
be perceived by the listener - for example, very quiet

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Seminar Report ’03 Satellite Radio
sounds that are masked by other louder sounds - and hence
not required to be broadcast, and efficiently packages
together the remaining information.

The second technology, COFDM (Coded Orthogonal

Frequency Division Multiplex) ensures that signals are
received reliably and robustly, even in environments
normally prone to interference. Using a precise
mathematical relationship, the digital data signal is split
across 1,536 different carrier frequencies, and also across
time. This process ensures that even if some of the carrier
frequencies are affected by interference. or the signal
disturbed for a short period of time, the receiver is still able
to recover the original sound.

The interference which disturbs FM reception, caused

by radio signals "bouncing" off buildings and hills
(multipath) is eliminated by COFDM technology. It also
means that the same frequency can be used across the
entire country, so no re-tuning of sets is necessary when
traveling, or taking a portable receiver to a different area.

Instead of having a different frequency for each radio

station, digital radio combines several services together in
what is called a multiplex.

The multiplex has a gross capacity of 2,300,000 bits.

which are used for carrying audio, data and an in-built
protection system against transmission errors. Of these

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Seminar Report ’03 Satellite Radio
about half the bits are used for the audio and data services.
Throughout the day, the data capacity allocated to each
service can be varied by the broadcaster.

The UK Government has allocated seven multiplexes

on the radio spectrum 217.5 230.0 MHz, which will be used
for BBC and Commercial Radio for national. regional and
local services. Each multiplex can carry a mixture of stereo
and mono audio Services and data services too; the number
of each dependent on the quality required.


How each service signal is coded individually at

source level, error protected and time interleaved in the
channel coder is shown in Figure 3.1. Then the services
are multiplexed in the Main Service Channel (MSC),
according to a pre-determined, but adjustable, multiplex
configuration. The multiplexer output is combined with
Multiplex Control and Service information, which travel in
the fast Information Channel (FIC), to form the transmission
frames in the Transmission Multiplexer. Fig 3.1 Finally,
Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) is
applied to shape the DAB signal, which consists of a large
number of carriers. The signal is then transposed to the
appropriate radio frequency band, amplified and

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Seminar Report ’03 Satellite Radio

Fig 4 Generation of DAB signal


Figure 3.2 demonstrates a DAB receiver. The DAB

ensemble is selected in the analogue tuner, the digitized
output of which is fed to the OFDM demodulator and
channel decoder to eliminate transmission errors. The
information contained in the FIC is passed to the user
interface for service selection and is used to setup the
receiver appropriately. The MSC data is further processed in
an audio decoder to produce the left and right audio signals
or in a data decoder (packet Demux) as appropriate.

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Seminar Report ’03 Satellite Radio

User InterfaceFig. 5 DAB receiver


Digital radio is operated in a frequency range of

between 215 - 230 MHz (Mega Hertz). This part of the radio
spectrum is sometimes called Band III, or VHF, and was
previously used for some television transmissions and by
the military. The central frequency for the BBC National
Multiplex is 225.648MHz.


Multipath interference occurs when radio waves

bounce off buildings, hills, or other obstacles. This means
the waves reach the set at different times, causing
interference. This is a particular problem in the car. Digital
radio sets have processors which filter out interference and
correct errors, such as those caused by multipath, so no

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Seminar Report ’03 Satellite Radio
interference. In fact, digital radio is designed to use
multipath to its advantage.


Conventional analog radio cannot meet this standard,

simply because of the technology used and the transmission
environment in which it is broadcast.

As well - unlike AM and FM - digital radio reception

is virtually immune to interference, which means there are
no static growls or 'multi path' echoes (caused by signal
reflections off buildings or topographical features) to make
listening unpleasant. at home, or in the car, In short, digital
radio eliminates the noise that creeps into analog radio
transmission and reception

The reason digital radio is so reliable is because it

employs a 'smart' receiver. Inside each digital radio receiver
there is a tiny computer: a computer capable of sorting
through the myriad of reflected and atmospherically
distorted transmissions and reconstructing a solid, usable
signal for the set to process.

In contrast, an un-intelligent analog receiver cannot

differentiate the useful information from the useless noise. It
reproduces the entirety of whatever signal it is tuned to:
static, 'multipath' echoes, and all.

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Seminar Report ’03 Satellite Radio


For the listener, digital radio will be more than just

'the best sound on the airwaves', it will be an intelligent
communications device that will offer more services and
conveniences than can be provided by conventional analog

For the broadcaster, digital radio is not just a way

to stay competitive with other forms of digital sound, but
one that offers numerous new business opportunities as

It is a bright future for listeners and broadcasters alike:

a future that truly promises to provide 'the best sound on
the airwaves' for the world.

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Seminar Report ’03 Satellite Radio


1. D. Prabakaran, “WORLD SPACE- Satellite digital audio

broadcast service”. Electronics For You. Nov 2001, Volume
33, No:11.

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Seminar Report ’03 Satellite Radio


Satellites are one of the greatest achievements of

mankind. They have been used for various applications like
communication, military application, weather forecasting
and so on. They play a big role in the case of television
channels and other entertainment networks. One of the
latest applications of satellites is the satellite radio.

Satellite radio is a subscriber based radio service that

broadcast directly from satellites. It is an advanced form of
mobile radio service where one can receive compact disc
quality music and other entertainment channels. Even if the
person is miles away from the radio station, the quality of
the program is not affected. The paper deals with the basic
structure of the satellite radio and its transmission and
reception procedures.




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Seminar Report ’03 Satellite Radio
2.11 XM Satellite radio 4
2.12 Sirius Satellite radio
2.13 World space Satellite radio


3.1 Generation of DAB signal
3.2 Reception of DAB signal
3.3 Frequency of operation 15
3.4 Multipath interference 15




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Seminar Report ’03 Satellite Radio


I extend my sincere gratitude towards Prof.

P.Sukumaran Head of Department for giving us his
invaluable knowledge and wonderful technical guidance

I express my thanks to Mr. Muhammed Kutty our

group tutor and also to our staff advisor Ms. Biji Paul for
their kind co-operation and guidance for preparing and
presenting this seminar.

I also thank all the other faculty members of AEI

department and my friends for their help and support.

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