Satellite Ground Stations

Satellite Data Distribution and Translation:

Mini-modular Instruments (MMIs) from Pulse Research Lab are deployed in satellite ground stations throughout the world for signal buffering, distribution, translation, and scanning. Combinations of modules have been assembled to implement higher-level functionality, such as a multi-receiver switch matrix with redundancy and fail-over.

In this simple example* a single antenna output is passively split to two demodulators, and the differential NECL outputs of each demodulator are actively fanned out to an ingest path and a monitoring path. A remotely-controlled 2 x 2:1 RF switch selects either the Primary receiver or the Backup receiver, and another NECL fanout sends the selected data stream to two ingest systems. The monitor path provides active 50 Ω/VTTterminations and provides level-shifting for compatibility with standard 50 Ω test equipment.

* In the actual implementation there are two of each module, one for CLK and one for DATA.

Signal Buffering and Distribution: 

Our most common ground station application is fanout of a single demodulator output to multiple digital receivers, such as ingest systems, logic analyzers, oscilloscopes, etc. Fanout buffers are different from RF splitters (even active splitters) because fanout buffers regenerate clean logic signals.  Popular models include:

  • PRL-434A, 1:4 NECL Fanout Buffer, 4+ GHz
  • PRL-434LP, 1:4 LVPECL Fanout Buffer, 4+ GHz
  • PRL-424LV, 1:4 LVDS Fanout Buffer, 1.25 GHz
  • PRL-414B, 1:4 TTL Fanout Buffer, 130 MHz
  • PRL-430AN, 2 Ch. NECL Line Driver/Receiver
  • PRL-431AN, 1:2 NECL Fanout Buffer, 3+ GHz
  • PRL-444, 4 Ch. TTL Line Driver with High-Z Input

A complete list of models is available on Fanout Buffers page.

Logic Translation:

The alphabet soup of digital data standards can be daunting, especially since they are nearly all mutually incompatible. Our second most common ground station application is level translation of digital data streams to/from NECL, CML, RS-422, and 124 Ω ECL, including optional Triax connectors. Popular models include:

A complete list of models is available on Level Translators page. 

Scanning And Routing: 

We offer a variety of modules for switching and routing your RF and digital signals from multiple antennae to a single demodulator, from a single demodulator to multiple ingest systems, from multiple channels to a single diagnostic point, etc. Selected modules have 50 Ω/VTT  terminations necessary for measuring/monitoring ECL/PECL/LVPECL signals on standard test equipment. Popular models include:

  • PRL-852A-RM, 2 x 1:2 Switch/Router
  • PRL-854-RM, 1:4 Switch/Router
  • PRL-854N, 1:4 NECL Switch/Router with 50 Ω/VTT Termination/Translation

A complete list of models is available on Switches/Routers page.


For single- or dual-channel (CLK/DATA) applications a single PRL module may be sufficient. For multi-channel applications or higher-level functions, such as a failover switch with monitoring, multiple units can be integrated into a rack-mount chassis. We offer rack-mount kits for you to do it yourself, or we can engineer a solution for you. Previously designed systems include:

  • PRL-4501, 8 Ch. Differential NECL<-->NCML Logic Level Translator System
  • PRL-4505, 1:8 Differential Fanout Buffer System, NECL and TTL Inputs, RS-422 Outputs
  • PRL-4506, 1:8 Differential Fanout Buffer System, NECL and TTL Inputs, TTL Outputs
  • PRL-4508, 1:8 Differential Fanout Buffer System, NECL and TTL Inputs, NECL Outputs
  • PRL-4513, Fully Buffered RS-422 Switch Matrix System
  • PRL-4516, 4 x 1:4 RS-422 and NECL Fanout Buffer System
  • PRL-4518, 8 x 1:4 TTL Fanout Buffer/Line Driver System
  • Many more systems are available, and being engineered every day!

Please contact for a quote on your custom application.