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Use of satellites

LIVE-NET is able to receive and transmit satellite broadcasts. Reception of signals is via a 1.8m steerable dish or a 1.0m fixed dish. The dishes used to be mounted on the roof of the Senate House library but were moved to the Middlesex Hospital during the summer of 1994.

The first LIVE-NET satellite broadcasts were via the specialised services payload on the European Space Agency experimental Olympus satellite. Transmissions to Olympus were made from the Imperial College satellite uplink station at Silwood Park in ascot. This was connected to LIVE-NET by a fibre optic spur from Royal Holloway and Bedford New College.

After Olympus went out of service LIVE-NET used the Super Beam payload of the Eutelsat II F-3 satellite with the support of the British National Space Centre.

Depending on what is required LIVE-NET can now use commercial services to broadcast from any satellite which is reachable from the UK.

Sessions involving satellites ranged in complexity from the reception of broadcasts viewed by a group of people in a lecture theatre to the transmission of lectures with participation from the receiving sites through an audio conferencing bridge.

Reception of satellite broadcasts was normally straightforward and the sessions could be run automatically. The only intervention needed was point the dish towards the satellite and tune the receiver to the correct frequency before the broadcast.

The most frequent although not the most complicated satellite broadcasts run by LIVE-NET were a series from the Polytechnic of Central London (now the University of Westminster), “Digital Signal Processing Perspectives”.

These sessions were transmitted to university sites throughout Europe who participated via an audio conferencing bridge was used so that the reception sites which were located throughout Europe could participate. When a remote site was speaking the signal to the satellite was switched from PCL to a picture of the participant which had previously been recorded on the LVR. An Amiga computer was used to produce overlay captions for these pictures.

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