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Satellite Communication-at-Sea

The Challenges of Installing Two VSATs on a Rotating Mast

e3 Systems' Dual Cobham SAILOR 800 VSAT Installation Ensures Reliable Connectivity for Cayman Registered Catamaran

e3 Systems' Dual Cobham SAILOR 800 VSAT Installation Ensures Reliable Connectivity for Cayman Registered  Catamaran


17 July, Copenhagen - Maritime satcom service provider and Cobham SATCOM partner e3 systems, has recently completed the unique installation of a dual SAILOR 800 VSAT system atop the 60 degree rotating mast of a stunning 33.3 m catamaran in France.


The catamaran's mast is designed to rotate 30 degrees to port and starboard, a design choice for many multihull yachts taken to enhance downwind performance in addition to sail handling. This posed a challenge for e3's antenna installation engineers because the antenna heading will change from the boat's heading, which if not accounted for can cause loss of service.


SAILOR 800 VSATDanny Remkes, e3's Engineering Manager in Mallorca and lead installer for the project in France, explains how the team overcame this issue and ensure the catamaran would experience 24/7 availability of its connectivity and voice services. "The challenge was to provide a heading reference relative to the actual heading of the mast. This needed to be a simple reliable solution with the accuracy required by the dual antenna installation. We engineered a compact fluxgate compass to the underside of the carbon fibre antenna bracket, having tested the accuracy and any effect from the movement of the SAILOR 800 VSATs. This combination achieved the perfect solution for this specific application." 


The 83cm SAILOR 800 VSAT system was chosen for the installation as it provides comparable radio performance to antennas in the 1m category, yet is much smaller, lighter and less power hungry. The dual system ensures high system redundancy and service availability should line of sight of a single antenna to the satellite be obstructed.


SAILOR 800 VSAT provides uniquely simple procurement and installation in addition to top of the line RF performance. After ordering a complete system with a single part number, the antenna leaves the factory fully tested and configured, with all RF equipment installed, which simplifies logistics for the service provider and reduces the time needed on board for installation.


Also supporting the complex installation for e3, was the fact that SAILOR 800 VSAT can be installed and commissioned without the requirement for line-up or calling the Network Operations Centre (NOC). It uses a single cable between antenna and below deck equipment for RF, power and data, whilst advanced features such as Automatic Azimuth Calibration (home flag) and Automatic Cable Calibration, complete the unique ability to commission a SAILOR VSAT antenna far quicker than any other antenna.


"Size, weight and power-consumption are all vital considerations for any sailing yacht, especially when the installation requires a dual antenna system," adds Danny. "However, Cobham SATCOM's approach to delivery and a system design aimed at installation convenience, helped to ensure a quick, successful project, even on such a challenging job."


About e3 Systems

e3 Systems has been a leading, technology agnostic, communications integrator in the yacht market for the past 20 years.  e3's mission is to connect people globally using their diverse portfolio of communication services including VSAT, Inmarsat, Iridium, 3G, 4G and WiFi. 


e3's HYBRID solution is controlled by the data management system e3.ARMMS to control data service quality and costs. Data distribution including IT, networks, service and support with Standard and Enterprise solutions, covered by SLA contract support, is also included.


e3 were the first to introduce a managed hybrid solution to the yacht market ten years ago which is just one illustration of their successive introductions to the industry of cutting edge solutions. They also provide content including digital TV and IPTV, newspapers, magazines and video.


e3 is involved with next generation technology and in particular with the development of new communication technology using flat panel antennas.


The thirty plus strong team operates from the Med and the USA with thirty global Partners. e3 is part of the large marine electronics group grupoarbulu who have engineers worldwide. 


Remote service and support is just an email or phone call away and the new client portal "my.e3s" provides access to all the yacht's services.


About Cobham SATCOM

Providing dependable communications and internet access anywhere under the most demanding conditions.


Our satellite and radio communication terminals perform in the most challenging and remote environments on land, at sea and in the air.


We design and manufacture these high performance products under the AVIATOR, EXPLORER, SAILOR and Sea Tel brands providing customers with outstanding performance, value and support through our global sales and service network.


About Cobham

The most important thing we build is trust.

We protect lives and livelihoods with our differentiated technology and know-how, operating with a deep insight into customer needs and agility. Our innovative range of technologies and services solve challenging problems in harsh environments across commercial, defence and security markets, from deep space to the depths of the ocean, specialising in meeting the growing demand for data, connectivity and bandwidth.


We employ more than 12,000 people on five continents, and have customers and partners in over 100 countries, with market leading positions in: wireless, audio, video and data communications, including satellite communications; defence electronics; air-to-air refuelling; aviation services; life support and mission equipment.




Jens Ewerling

Director, Maritime Broadband

+45 39558 820

e3 Systems 

Diane Franklin



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