GVF562T: Operating the SpaceTrack Marine VSAT

Course details

  • Specific knowledge and skills for crew responsible for operating and monitoring a SpaceTrack 4000 marine VSAT terminal at sea.


SpaceTrack marine VSAT terminals are stablized antennas now manufactured and supported by SpeedCast and previously by Harris CapRock and Schlumberger.

In this course, you will learn fundamental aspects of how to monitor, operate, and perform at-sea maintenance of SpaceTrack 4000 and 4000E series marine VSAT terminals. Topics covered include hardware components of the SpaceTrack VSAT terminal, principles of operation of the terminal, startup and shutdown procedures, operating controls using the front panel or built-in web pages, satellite modem operation, operator-level troubleshooting, and preventive maintenance. Animation and simulator-based interactivity are used throughout the course to explain critical skills and concepts.

Why should VSAT operators be trained?

Marine VSAT terminals offer global broadband coverage to ships at sea. But for maximum up-time, crew members must be able to perform critical ongoing operational tasks after the installation technician has departed.


This course is ideal for all radio operators, IT technicians, or other crew members who are responsible for operating and monitoring a SpaceTrack 4000 or 4000E VSAT terminal system while underway, as well as field engineers who will be continuing on to the GVF 503T series courses for installation and maintenance.


Students who successfully complete this course are awarded the Marine Satcom Professional: SpaceTrack 4000 Specialist Certification.


GVF 561

Reference materials included:

Students may download and keep the SatProf SpaceTrack 4000 Operators Handbook.


Animated & interactive HTML/Flash, self-paced, on-line format. Requires Internet access while studying the course material. High speed access is preferred but is NOT required. Student's computer must have a current browser and the current version of the Adobe Flash player (free) installed.


7 lessons
  1. Course introduction. About Harris CapRock. What you will be learning in the course.
  2. How it works. Typical above-decks and below-decks installations. Overview of the system hardware components including radome, pedestal, and antenna control unit. The axes of motion of the antenna. Polarization control. Stabilization and the importance of balance. Targeting, searching, and tracking.
  3. Normal operation. Reading the ACU and modem front panel LED’s. Checking for healthy operation. What happens when it rains and solar outages. Pre-defined blockage zones. System startup checklist. Observing the normal signal acquisition process.
  4. Switching satellites. Automatic beam switching. Switching satellites manually. How to enter parameters using the front panel.
  5. Preventive maintenance. In-service maintenance tasks. Checking voltages, vessel location and heading, axis readings. Inspecting the radome, ADE equipment, and other components. Manual reacquisition test.
  6. Problem solving. Determining if an outage is temporary or due to equipment failure. System errors and lessages. Recovering form a power down. Acquiring a satellite manually. Using the troubleshooting flow chart. Getting detailed information from common satellite modems.
  7. Final test. Comprehensive exam covering all lessons.

Learning Objectives

  • Know the components of the terminal.
  • Know how the antenna stabilizes by moving on its axes.
  • Understand terminal operation including targeting, searching, tracking.
  • Be able to interpret front panel displays and control unit and modem LED’s for normal operation or faults.
  • Know how to systematically check the complete system for healthy operation.
  • Be able to determine if an outage is transient due to rain fade or blockage, or due to an equipment failure.
  • Know how to recover from a power outage.
  • Be able to verify that the system re-acquires the satellite after a power outage.
  • Understand how automatic beam switching operates, if equipped.
  • Be able to manually change to a different satellite, if authorized.
  • Be able to perform prescribed periodic inspections and preventive maintenance.
  • Make minor repairs.
  • Perform basic troubleshooting.
  • Understand when it is necessary to call for a service technician.


Essential courses GVF 510, 520 and 521 have been converted to HTML5 and are available for use on all device types.

We are continuing to convert the remaining courses in the Training Membership throughout 2021.

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