A hybrid carrier frequency offset estimator that uses data-aided and non-data-aided signal processing techniques to produce multiple candidates for the carrier frequency offset within a return channel receiver in a DVB-RCS system using turbo coding and quadrature phase shift keying (QPSK) data modulation. In this system, the invention is employed to estimate signal distortion caused by carrier frequency offset so that this particular source of signal distortion can be removed to improve the ability of the receiver to maintain synchronization in low signal-to-noise conditions. This, in turn, allows the receiver to meet the DVB-RCS performance target, measured in terms of packet loss ratio, in low signal-to-noise ratio conditions and in particular for burst-mode data transmission with a short data packet size.
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