Satellite Communications Training & Education

This page outlines some known opportunities in the UK and Europe for courses, training & education in satellite communications and VSAT systems.  At the University of York we have a long pedigree in these areas, both teaching and research, and we have been involved with or are aware of many programmes and training activities worldwide.  The commentary is subjective, and this is not an official promotion site but provided simply as a service to the discipline and the industry.   I try 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 some other useful satcom websites.

Tim Tozer

Communication Technologies Research Group,
Department of Electronic Engineering,
University of York

Major CPD satellite training courses and summer schools

IET Satcoms Course. This may be considered the leading "industry standard" satellite training course.  It provides 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.  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 next course is planned to run 16 - 20 September 2019,  in central London.  It is organised and run by the UK IET; the contact there is  Sebastian Ives, and the course leader is David Bookham of BDE-Space;  Please see the course website for more information.

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, and it includes some Workshop exercises run as Project work.  Discounts are available for government and military participants, as well as for students and bulk bookings.

(This course is also often called  a 'Summer School', which is a good description.  Several years ago it used to run at the University of Surrey, as well as other locations in southern England.  It was commonly referred to as the 'Surrey Course', although it was in fact run by the IET and was distinct from the University of Surrey's own course, see below  -- that has occasionally given rise to ambiguity and confusion between these events).

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 most recent  course took place 1 - 5 April 2019, and there will likely be one at a similar time in 2020..

This is a well-established, reputable and recommended course, and it includes comprehensive Projects with attendees working in groups. The course is given by experienced lecturers and experts both from the University of Surrey and from industry; it is intensive and covers a wide range of topics.

This course and the IET course above may be considered very broadly similar in scope and content.

(University of York VSATs Course. This was a well-known 1-week course, specialising in VSAT systems, which took place at York annually for very many years from 1990.   However, in recent years we have not run it as there has not been sufficient guaranteed demand.)

Short general CPD satcoms training courses

Shorter training courses have considerable value, and can be very cost-effective, although they may 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.

Some 2- or 3- day courses can be delivered by the University of York (likely through York EMC Services), with Tim Tozer and/or others 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 may 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.  But I find that they work well with small groups, where we can engage in discussion rather than 'death by powerpoint'.

Specialist satcom and VSAT courses

There are a range of specialist training courses available.

The Global VSAT Forum (GVF)  offer a wide range of courses, most of which can be taken on-line.  These include terminal installation etc.

Other courses are usually bespoke training adapted to a customer's requirements, and delivered worldwide.  I would recommend:- Offer 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.

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.)

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

Some general helpful links relating to satellite communications are available here

Tim Tozer
Updated 4 June 2019