How does DS1's communications system work?

What is the Ka-Band?

To funnel more data through a smaller antenna, or to pack the data using less transmitter power, engineers look to higher radio frequencies. The newest frequency band being considered for deep space communications, known as Ka-band, is four times higher frequency than the currently used X-band. This technology experiment on DS1 consists of a very compact, rugged device that amplifies the Ka-band signal produced by the transponder before it is transmitted through the spacecraft's antenna.

New experimental facilities at the DSN's complex in Goldstone, California, will receive DS1's Ka-band transmissions, helping evaluate not only the performance of the onboard systems, but also the utility of this new solar system "channel." The theoretical predictions for the improvement in the speed of data transmission, the susceptibility to bad weather at the receiving stations, and the new receivers themselves all will be characterized so that future missions can use this new capability with confidence.

What is frequency?
What are radio waves?
What could go wrong with communications?
What interferes with radio waves?
How is data put on radio waves?

What is bandwidth?
Why is a small bandwidth important?
How are frequency and wavelength related?

What is the small deep space transponder?
What frequency is the Ka-band subcarrier?