Kymeta Demos Ka-Band Sat Downlink With Metametal Antenna

Kymeta's software-enabled, metamaterials-based electronic beamforming antenna passed an important milestone this month when it was used to receive a Ka-band DBS video HD stream.

“This milestone is significant because it proves that our technology works in the real world environment outside of a laboratory, and that it holds promise of becoming a viable solution for satellite communications,” said Bob McCambridge, Kymeta's chief operating officer.

The antenna has an aperture size of 15- by 17-inches and is less than 0.5-inches thick. It’s powered by a USB cable and requires less than three Watts of power to drive the electronic beamforming antenna. The Ka-band direct-to-home satellite used for the test was not specified.

“The fact that they have now successfully demonstrated Ka-band high-definition video reception from a DTH satellite is a strong indication of their potential in this fast-moving and innovative industry,” said Susan Irwin, president of Euroconsult's U.S. office.

The metamaterial antenna technology was developed by Dr. Nathan Kundtz, co-founder and chief technology officer of Kymeta. The technology allows the metamaterials to be created on a PCB-like surface, creating an antenna that is flat, light and can be mass-produced using existing manufacturing techniques.

“Closing a link with a satellite is a difficult challenge with any new technology,” said Kundtz. “You need a high performing antenna to get the job done. The efficiency has to be high. The polarization fidelity has to be good. At the end of the day it just has to work; there’s nowhere to hide. I am proud of our team of designers and engineers, and am excited to see our company moving forward at full throttle.”

Now that reception has been demonstrated, look for the next milestone to be a demonstration a two-way link with a Ka-band satellite. CEO Vern Fotheringham noted Kymeta has entered into a development partnership with Inmarsat and is talking with partners across numerous industries about potential applications of its technology.

“We stand ready to partner with the satellite industry to maximize the revolutionary potential of Kymeta’s technology,” said Fotheringham.

Doug Lung

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. As vice president of Broadcast Technology for NBCUniversal Local, H. Douglas Lung leads NBC and Telemundo-owned stations’ RF and transmission affairs, including microwave, radars, satellite uplinks, and FCC technical filings. Beginning his career in 1976 at KSCI in Los Angeles, Lung has nearly 50 years of experience in broadcast television engineering. Beginning in 1985, he led the engineering department for what was to become the Telemundo network and station group, assisting in the design, construction and installation of the company’s broadcast and cable facilities. Other projects include work on the launch of Hawaii’s first UHF TV station, the rollout and testing of the ATSC mobile-handheld standard, and software development related to the incentive auction TV spectrum repack. A longtime columnist for TV Technology, Doug is also a regular contributor to IEEE Broadcast Technology. He is the recipient of the 2023 NAB Television Engineering Award. He also received a Tech Leadership Award from TV Tech publisher Future plc in 2021 and is a member of the IEEE Broadcast Technology Society and the Society of Broadcast Engineers.