SPINO STATION HISTORY AND MISSION

The experimental station at Spino d'Adda (30 km E-S of Milano, see MAP) was conceived and projected before 1970 as the site for radio propagation and radio-climatology studies and for the communication experiments, all in frequencies over 10 GHz.

The site itself (the terrain and small building in open country) was purchased in 1974 by Politecnico di Milano. It was then equipped with satellite terminals, the meteorological radar, radiometers and systems for data acquisition and processing. It became operative in 1976 as the main terminal of SIRIO satellite experiment.

Geography: the cross indicates Spino location,
the circle potential radar range (80 km),
the rectangle an effective observation area.

For three decades the station was run under the guidance of CSTS - Centre for Space Telecommunications, established in 1971 through the convention between the CNR and the Politecnico di Milano, with the research mission in characterization of the radio channel, transmission of information, and signal processing in satellite communication systems. Since 2001 the CSTS is a part of larger CNR Institute - IEIIT.

The station equipment and operation were financed jointly by ASI and CNR. The facilities were technically operated by the TELESPAZIO (Telecom Italy). The activity focused on propagation experiments and studies up to Extremely High Frequencies (EHF). Several experiments of communications and transmission over satellite in new frequency bands were carried on.

The large international satellite experiments and measurement campaigns run at Spino were:

The meteorological radar, radiometers and meteorological sensors have been extensively used for the characterization and modelling of millimetre radio wave propagation, as well as in the studies of electromagnetic scattering and interference in radio system. The powerful emergency supply unit installed in 1990 ensures the continuous data acquisition performed by computer systems (upgraded along the years).

Since 2001, the end of ITALSAT measurements campaign (lasted ten years, involving more than ten European organizations, coordinated by CSTS through the CEPIT group), the large satellite terminals were thought to be reused in new projects , such as STENTOR, DAVID et al. Due to changing funding priorities and/or unsuccessful launches of new satellites the reuse of the equipment remains still open matter.

Currently (2005) the fully active equipment of the station is represented by the meteorological radar, a battery of radiometers and the meteorological sensors (mainly rain-gauges).

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