Satellite Communications Training & Education

This page outlines general opportunities across Europe for courses, training and education in satellite communications and VSAT systems.  At the University of York we have a long pedigree of such activities, as well as research in these areas; and here we list not only our own offerings but also those known to be available elsewhere.  The commentary is subjective, and this is not an official promotion site. We endeavour to keep this information roughly up to date, but things do change you are most welcome to contact me with any feedback or suggestions.

At the bottom of this page you will also find links to other useful satcom websites.

Tim Tozer

Communication Research Group,
Department of Electronics,
University of York

tim.tozer@york.ac.uk


Major CPD satellite training courses and summer schools

IET Satcoms Course. This is the leading "industry standard" satellite training course.  It is an intensive 1 week event providing a comprehensive 'end-to-end' technical overview of satellite communications, encompassing all applications to a good depth.  Subjects range from fundamentals of link budgets to advanced satellite mobile applications.  There are state-of-the-art lectures and workshops on satellite communications, each given by a leading expert or practitioner in the topic.  There are also supplementary short Project Exercises undertaken during the week, in small groups. This training is especially suitable for engineers entering satcoms for the first time, moving sideways within the industry, or wanting to refresh their knowledge. 

The 2016 Course will take place 18-23 September 2016, at Milton Hill House in south Oxfordshire.   It is organised and run by the UK IET, and the course leader is David Bookham; the Course is also associated with the new UK Satellite Catapult Centre which is based close to the venue, and a visit to the centre is included.  Please see the website for more details, or contact Rafal Kornatowski at the IET to enquire further or express an interest.

(In the distant past this event took place for many years at the University of Surrey, although it was run by the IET and was distinct from the University of Surrey's own course (see below).  The two events are quite similar however, and there was often confusion between them.  It is also often called  a 'Summer School', which is a good description).

I highly recommend this IET course. Everyone who participates is extremely enthusiastic about it, and it provides an excellent training. While delegates may not be able to completely absorb everything on every topic, you will come away with a good understanding of both the breadth and depth of satellite communications. It is rewarding and intensive: with the project work, one is working over 12 hours a day, and it is important that delegates try and stay locally (preferably at the conference centre itself) to maximise the time.   Discounts are available for government and military participants, as well as for students and bulk bookings.

University of Surrey Satellite Communications Course. This is a 1-week CPD course, which operates in March/April each year, and is operated by the University of Surrey. Their next course is scheduled for 24 - 28 April 2017.

This is a reputable course. People often get confused between this and the IET school (above), as both used to operate on the campus of the University of Surrey, and are very broadly similar in scope and content, although the IET school has slightly more presenters and is perhaps a little less 'academic'.

University of York VSATs Course. This was a 1-week course, specialising in VSAT systems. It took place annually from 1990, latterly under the auspices of York EMC Services.  However, in recent years we have not run it as there has not been sufficient guaranteed demand. The format was specialist presentations given by practising experts from industry and acadaemia, and it was a 1-week course each March/April taking place at York, UK.  If there is sufficient interest or demand, we would certainly consider resurrecting this event at York.  Please contact Tim Tozer.


Short general CPD satcoms training courses

Shorter training courses have considerable value, and can be very cost-effective, although they do not accomplish as much as the longer ones above. These most likely operate on demand as bespoke courses, and can be delivered at a customer's premises anywhere in the world. The content, level, and emphasis can be adapted as required.

2- or 3- day courses can be delivered by the University of York (likely through York EMC Services), with Tim Tozer as presenter. Please enquire for details or to discuss requirements. Here is a sample 'menu' of topics on which such training could be based.

Similar short courses can also be provided through Lever Technologies, based in Leeds UK.  From time to time they publish these as 'public schedule'; at the present time however, no specific dates are planned.

These courses above do not generally include a practical element - e.g. they do not show you how to erect a VSAT dish. They are more 'technical appreciation' courses, presented in a seminar room. I find that they work well with small groups, where we can engage in discussion rather than 'death by powerpoint'.


Specialist satcom training courses

There are a range of specialist training courses available. These are usually bespoke training adapted to a customer's requirements, and delivered worldwide. I would recommend:-

Brightday Engineering. Dave Bookham offers a wide range of training courses, e.g. Satcoms, Link Budgets, Earth Station design etc., VSAT technology & installation.  These include both theoretical and practical 'hands-on' training.  His company is now rebadging itself as BDE Space, based at Harwell.

BeaconSeek offers specialist training, especially in SNG (Satellite News-Gathering) Operations.

Zetrox offers training specifically related to video and TV engineering (e.g. lots on MPEG etc.)


VSAT and Installation courses

We get a lot of enquiries which are really for courses in terminal installation. In addition to Brightday (above), these are widely handled by the Global VSAT Forum (GVF). They offer a range of courses, most of which can be taken on-line.


Undergraduate and Postgraduate programs in Electronics and Communications Engineering are available from the University of York.


General helpful links relating to satellite communications are available here


Tim Tozer
Updated 3 August 2016