Dedicated radio-communication system for Soekor's oil exploration along the South African coastline
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Soekor's exploration programme has moved totally offshore and expanded greatly in the past few years. Use of computers necessitated the exchange of data between offshore and land installations. At the same time the exploration programme is moving further offshore While the coastal. stations of the Post & Telecommunications can not handle the volume of traffic that the oil drills present nor the data modes. A study of the transmission requirements revealed that a minimum of one voice channel per drill must be available at all times, While Some 20M byte of data per oil drill per year will be transmitted. Facsimile will be needed at times, also as a back-up for the data systems. A study of publications revealed that only five of the eleven methods studied where viable, namely VHF-EM, satellite, HF-telephony, HF-teleprinter and HF-data. These possibilities as well as their practical implementation were studied in depth. The effect of the atmospheric conditions on the propagation of VHF-signals around the coastline was studied and 17 sites identified and evaluated from the mouth of the Orange River to Port Elizabeth in respect of coverage, accessibility, facilities and cost. INMARSAT facilities and costs were evaluated as well as HF-systems. Finally a system was designed consisting of HF-telephony, separate "packet" HF radio data system, satellite telephony back-up and satellite high speed data as well as a limited VHF system. The entire system is complemented by marine telephony and telegraphy equipment. On-going system guidance in the form of propagation predictions is provided. Some existing equipment was used, While R950 000 has been spent to date on additional equipment.