A Flyaway future for KA?

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Dawson Ka-band Flyaway is easy to transport

As Dawson launch their new SC-Zero Ka-Sat Flyaway unit, we ask Managing Director and company founder Ian Dawson, if the Flyaway unit is the future of KA band?


Q: Why did you decide to add a Flyaway version of your GC-Zero vehicle mounted antenna to the Dawson range?

ID: It really was a customer driven initiative. We had great success with our GC-Zero 70K vehicle mounted antenna, and continue to do so. However, some customers already won over to the benefits of Ka-Sat were looking for some extra flexibility that a Flyaway system gives you out in the field. After receiving many requests, we devoted considerable R&D to develop the Flyaway unit with the main brief to ensure we were offering increased flexibility without compromising on quality or performance.


Q: Aren’t Flyaways usually pretty tricky to set up and heavy to transport?

ID: I think some legacy Ku systems have created some bad impressions on what a Flyaway unit should look like. Our SC Zero 70K system has been designed to be light, rugged and quick to deploy. It comes in just three flight cases and can easily fit inside most vehicles and is also perfect for air transportation whether that be by helicopter or commercial flight.

As regards the set up – our Flyaway antenna is no different from our standard antenna. It follows the same ‘Fit and Forget’ philosophy. Our Dawson embedded software is pre programmed to search for KA-SAT with the touch of a button. So like our standard antenna, you don’t need to be a satellite engineer to operate it.

Dawson SC-Zero Flyaway literally 'out in the field'

Dawson SC-Zero Flyaway literally ‘out in the field’

Q: In what type of environments have you seen clients use the Dawson Flyaway unit?

ID: The great thing about our SC-Zero Flyaway unit is that there really are no limits to its applications. The obvious answer is in built up inner city environments where sometimes line of sight may be tricky when faced with multiple tall buildings. Placing the Flyaway on the roof can be an easy solution. In many broadcast news environments, quite often the production team want a roof top position anyway for a greater camera shot of the background to the story. Having the Flyaway within metres of the production can be an added advantage.

We’ve also seen the use within emergency services where the fastest way to get to a location is to fly. The time saved by flying as opposed to driving can mean that they can be operational in a fraction of the time that they would have needed if they had to travel by road.


Q: Does the Flyaway meet all the high specifications that broadcasters demand?

ID: Absolutely. It was key to our design process that we wouldn’t compromise on quality or functionality. The SC-Zero 70K can transmit IP radio, SD and HD broadcast video signals as well as providing mobile broadband.


Q: So do you see the Flyaway replacing the traditional roof mounted antenna?

ID: Not at all. If anything, they complement each other. And there will always be some users for whom the roof-mounted antenna is the perfect solution. We have also seen a lot of enquiries recently for a combination of both roof mounted and Flyaway systems highlighting that a lot of clients see a place for both systems within their operations.


Q: And what’s next in the Dawson product range?

We are always looking for ways to make our clients lives easier! Whether that be expanding in to other geographical territories – or adding new features and upgrades to our existing portfolio. In this last year we’ve won the Queen’s Award for Industry for our antenna, introduced the SC-Zero Flyaway, as well as launching our Dawson ‘Go’ antenna range, so I am sure 2017 will be just as busy!