FCC Order Paves Way for Licensed Operation of Vehicle-Mounted Earth Stations

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a Report and Order to implement regulations for Vehicle-Mounted Earth Stations (VMES). The order will permit the first formal licensing procedure for wideband FSS Ku-Band satellite communications terminals mounted on land vehicles anywhere in the world.

General Dynamics SATCOM Technologies' Satcom-On-the-Move™ terminals have been specifically designed to meet the high performance levels specified by the FCC order and are available now to meet the Satcom-on-the-Move requirements of military forces, government entities, disaster-recovery teams, and television news providers.

SATCOM Technologies Chief Technical Officer, Tim Shroyer, said, "The FCC's action is an important development because it represents the first time that any country has promulgated regulations normalizing use of these small, highly mobile satellite earth stations. Although the FCC regulations only govern VMES operations in U.S. territory, they clearly set a precedent that other countries can use to ensure that they satisfy ITU recommendations while deploying these new, powerful communications systems."

Shroyer added that VMES operators will gain significant advantages from satisfying the requirements of the new regulation, including:

  • Blanket licensing, permitting individual terminals and entire networks of VMES terminals to be covered under one commercial license.
  • A 15 year license term, ensuring a known baseline technical operation.
  • ALSAT authorization, which allows use of any and all satellites permitted by the FCC without further license additions or modifications.
  • Primary status for FSS Ku-Band frequencies - similar to any other fixed FSS Ku-Band terminal - and secondary authorization for the international Ku-Band downlink frequency band.

The new regulations establish technical requirements to ensure that VMES transmissions affect FSS Ku-Band satellites in exactly the same way as any other FSS Ku-Band transmission. Requirements include uplink power density limitations and antenna pointing accuracy which ensure that higher levels of interference cannot be transmitted toward adjacent satellites.

"Prior to the new FCC Regulations, the only way to operate VMES terminals in the U.S. was under an 'Experimental License' or by requesting an FCC rule waiver," Shroyer said. "As a result, the satellite communications industry lacked a clear roadmap for VMES product development. The new regulations assure customers that any products satisfying technical requirements can be operated with a 15-year term Commercial license and Primary status - just like any other fixed Ku-band earth terminal."

"General Dynamics SATCOM Technologies has been working with the FCC for more than three years to establish the new regulations," Shroyer added. "The Company's Satcom-On-the-Move™ terminals are specifically designed to meet the high performance levels now specified by the FCC. By combining excellent antenna pointing accuracy with careful uplink power density control, General Dynamics' Satcom-On-the-Move terminals maximize data throughput performance on desired satellites, while preventing interference to adjacent satellites."

Click here for more information about SATCOM Technologies Satcom-on-the-Move™ products.



For more information on General Dynamics SATCOM Technologies contact Jimene Conn, at +1-770-689-2052 or via e-mail at

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