History of Sweden Calling DXers

Sweden Calling DXers #2305



WORLDDAB–The World DAB Forum, which brings together broadcasters, network providers, and equipment manufacturers, has just held its Annual General Meeting here in Stockholm. The Forum’s project office is headquartered at the World Radio Network in London. Their representative at the Stockholm meeting was Simon Spanswick, who tells us in today’s program that DAB has crossed a threshold…

DIGITAL BUS/SHOW–Now that the receivers are finally showing up on the market, public broadcaster Swedish Radio recently sent a Digital Radio trailer and bus around the country, primarily to meet local radio-TV retailers, journalists, and not least SR’s own personnel. The 8 week tour started on September 1st, and visited 28 communities from north to south. The tour wound up back in Stockholm in time for the WorldDAB Forum and last week’s Digital Show, where both digital radio and TV were on display.

Radio Sweden’s domestic network program “Lunchbreak” broadcast live from the show. Digital Radio was first invented to solve the problem of interference and fading among the skyscrapers of downtown areas. In today’s program you can hear “Lunchbreak” host Keith Foster talking to Swedish Radio’s DAB Information Co-ordinator, Ann-Cathrine Mattson, and Joakim Larsson from Sony.

Besides the interviews in today’s MediaScan program, you can also hear (and see) stand-up comedienne Anna-Lena Brundin, Katarina Hägg from Nokia, Richard Bertilson from Pioneer, and Michael Sjöblom from Akai.

DTT–When Digital Terrestrial Television starts here in Sweden at the turn of the year, Nokia says their set-top boxes will cost about SEK 5000 (about USD 650). Senda AB, the public company responsible for the project, estimates that within a year about 100,000 households will have bought boxes. (TT)

SVT24–A Telia spokeswoman at the Digital Show told Radio Sweden that Telia Kabel will be carrying Swedish Television’s new 24 hour news channel SVT 24, which otherwise is to be one of the main attractions for DTT. The only question is whether it will be part of the analog basic tier or just on digital cable. This depends on which channels the Swedish Ministry of Culture will be requiring cable operators to carry.

THOR–Animal Planet and Discovery are testing on Thor 3 in MPEG-2 on 12.456 GHz. (James Robinson)

CANAL DIGITAL–Canal Digital is now inserting Scandinavian commercials in its relays of CNN International, Sky News, Discovery, and the Cartoon Network. (Canal Digital)

INTELSAT–The MPEG-2 version of TV Danmark on Intelsat 707 on 11.014 GHz is now coded in Conax. (Richard Karlsson, “Aftonbladet”)

FINLAND–Finland’s YLE is asking its listeners to send in recollections of YLE external broadcasting over the years. The first YLE shortwave transmission was on June 2, 1938, so like Radio Sweden, Radio Finland is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. The best entries will be awarded shortwave radios. The closing date is February 15, and entries can be in Finnish, Swedish, English, German, French, or Russian:

YLE Radio Finland
Pb 78
00024 Yleisradio, Finland

(Juhani Niinistö, YLE Radio Finland)


LATVIA–Kinnevik’s MTG, which operates Scandinavian satellite channels TV3, TV6, TV1000, distributor Viasat, and more, has taken over the Latvian terrestrial station TV31, and has changed it to TV3 Latvia. MTG International estimates that 50 to 60 percent of the Latvian population can see the new channel. (Richard Karlsson, “Aftonbladet”)

BRITAIN–British Sky Broadcasting has offered to increase co-operation with cable operators, as the potential competitors enter the digital age. Sky Networks chief Elisabeth Murdoch says BSkyB will offer cable companies incentives to sell Sky’s premium channels. (Reuters)

Merlin Network One is now 24 hours on Astra transponder 58 (Granada Breeze, 10.847 GHz) sound 7.38 and 7.56 MHz. The station is also relayed on MW from Ascension Island on 1485 kHz. (Richard Hunt)

Programming on this BBC transmitter spin-off includes:

18:00-20:00 hrs Radio Caroline presented by Johnny Reece
20:00-22:00 hrs MediaZoo
22:00-00:00 hrs Hard Country with CMR’s Bryan Chalker
00:00-02:00 hrs Rock Radio Network

GERMANY–There are indications Rupert Murdoch is casting his eye on the German market. Murdoch may buy a 63 percent stake in the German women’s channel TM3, and might turn it into a Fox Kids Channel. This follows Nickelodeon pulling the plug on its German channel recently. The Disney Channel is planning to launch in Germany next Fall. (Curt Swinehart)

EUTELSAT–AFRTS has moved its TV and radio channels from Eutelsat II-F2 11.169 GHz to Hot Bird 4, on 10.775 GHz. The II-F2 transponder closes on November 14. (Richard Karlsson, “Aftonbladet” and “LyngSat Update”)

Canal Plus Poland has started on Hot Bird 3 on 12.460 GHz in MPEG-2/Mediaguard, with Canal Plus Bialy, Canal Plus Zolty, Canal Plus Nebieski, PolSat, PolSat 2, EuroSport Polska, and Planete. (“LyngSat Update”)

RAI Uno-Tre (in MPEG-2) have have moved on Hot Bird 2 from 11.804 GHz to 11.766 GHz. (“LyngSat Update”)

The Optocomp Polish package on Hot Bird 3 12.322 GHz has ceased. (“LyngSat Update”)

Fashion TV L’Original has replaced Fashion TV Hommes on Hot Bird 3 on 12.245 GHz in clear MPEG-2. (“LyngSat Update”)

Eutelsat W2 has been testing at 2 degrees East. (“LyngSat Update”)

RADIO–Xtra Music is launching its digital music service in December on Astra transponder 82, using MPEG-2/Cryptoworks. Receivers will cost GBP 400 plus VAT, while subscriptions will be GBP 30 a month (GBP 20 for former DMX subscribers). (James Robinson)

Meanwhile, the winner in the DMX-MCE survival contest, Music Choice Europe, has announced it will now be included as a stand-alone branded channel over any broadcast platforms deployed by The Fantastic Corporation. Fantastic’s current customers include: BT, Telecom Italia, Deutsche Telekom, and Astra-Net. These can provide MCE to their subscribers with PCs connected to high-speed networks, by cable modem, ADSL or digital satellite. (Business Wire)

Radio Voyager has begun digital transmissions on Hot Bird 1 on 11.242 GHz. The Voice of America has begun using the 7.56 MHz subcarrier of Sky Sports 3, on 11.671 GHz on Astra 1B. (Richard Karlsson, “Aftonbladet”)

WCBS radio (which pulled the plug on its RealAudio transmissions more than a year ago) can now be heard on satellite in Europe, if you can reach PAS-1 at 45 degrees West. The digital signals are on 11.637 GHz (SR 26470, FEC 3/4). (“SatellitFax” via Richard Karlsson, “Aftonbladet”)

EURONEWS–Beginning in April 1999, Euronews will broadcast only in MPEG-2. The digital signal will replace the analog transmission on Eutelsat II-F1 (which itself is being replaced by Hot Bird 5), and will be on Hot Bird 3. With the switch to digital, Euronews plans to add more languages. (Richard Karlsson, “Aftonbladet”)


AFRISTAR–October 29 saw another breakthrough in Digital Radio, the orbiting with Ariane of the AfriStar satellite from WorldSpace, which will provide dozens of radio channels across Africa. The Worldspace receivers are to be made by such companies as JVC, Panasonic, Hitachi, and Sanyo (not Sony as we originally reported), and are expected to sell for USD 200 each. While this is far less that the current costs of DAB receivers, critics say it, and additional subscription costs will still be too steep for much of the target audience in Africa. (Reuters)

Adam Anthony of Fleishman-Hillard, representing WorldSpace Corporation, responds to this comment:

“The WorldSpace system will be free. WorldSpace is considering offerng select “pay per view” options sometime in the future–like stock quotes–but listeners will be able to receive WorldSpace programming with just the purchase of a receiver.”

Unfortunately this revolutionary new technology is also incompatible with DAB. We’ll have more about both in the next edition of MediaScan in two weeks.

ARABSAT–ART Iqra has started on Arabsat 2A (26 degrees East) in clear PAL on 12.685 GHz. (“LyngSat Update”)

“Iqra”, which means “read” in Arabic, was the first word that the archangel Gabriel is said to have spoken to the Prophet Mohammed. This Islamic “family” channel carries children’s programs, gameshows, and soap operas, but no “Western decadence” and “impropriety”. Aimed at countering the dominance of Western TV programs in the Persian Gulf, the Arab Radio and Television company is broadcasting the new channel free to dish-owners in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. The channel is the brainchild of Saudi millionaire Saleh Kamel, who owns 70 percent of Arab Radio and Television, which operates a pay cable network with six Arabic language entertainment and news channels. (AP)

NILESAT–Iraq Satellite Channel and Libya’s Jamahirya Satellite Channel have started on NIlesat 101 on 11.823 GHz in clear MPEG-2. (“LyngSat Update”)

AMOS–Joker TV has started in clear MPEG-2 on Amos-1 (4 degrees West) on 11.308 GHz. (“LyngSat Update”)

RFE/RL–The American government-backed Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty launched two controversial radio services to Iraq and Iran on October 30, from studios at an undisclosed location. Operations Director Jan Obrman said that the “Farsi Service” for Iran and “Radio Free Iraq” in Arabic will have a program mix similar to the Cold War era RFE/RL services. (Reuters)


APSTAR–TVB 8 has stopped PAL transmissions on 3.760 GHz on Apstar 2R, and has started instead in MPEG-2/PowerVu on the same satellite on 3.849 GHz. Xing He is also part of this multiplex. The Baccarat Game Channel has started in clear MPEG-2 on 3.835 GHz. (“LyngSat Update”)

ASEAN–The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is planning on launching a satellite TV channel next year, to reflect their countries’ perspectives. As determined at a meeting in Singapore at the end of October, the channel will broadcast for six to eight hours a day of programs contributed by the member countries. Programming will include news and current affairs, entertainment, lifestyle, sports, and education shows. ASEAN consists of Brunei, Burma, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Singapore International Media has been picked as the network co-ordinator, and will choose a satellite operator based on commercial and technical considerations, as long as the footprint covers all ASEAN countries. Members will be allowed to downlink and rebroadcast the channel domestically either through cable, terrestrial TV, or satellite DTH. (AP and Xinhua)

SINGAPORE–The government-owned Television Corporation of Singapore says it is consolidating all its news and business programs into a new Channel NewsAsia. The new channel, which will be launched on March 1st, will be on the air for 18 hours a day. The company believes it will be the first Asian TV station with a complete English language news program. One year after launch, the station is planned to go Asia-wide. (“Wall Street Journal”)


PBS–Combining educational content with digital technology, Intel and the Public Broadcasting System will air the first national broadcast digital television program later this month. Ken Burns’ documentary on architect Frank Lloyd Wright will be relayed to all PBS stations, and six will air a digitally enhanced verison. The trail broadcast will be on November 10 and 11th during PBS Digital Week. (“Wired News”)

TIME WARNER–The head of Time Warner, which owns the Cable News Network, says his company is in talks with CBS, ABC, and NBC about supplying them with news as CNN expands and the broadcast networks cut back. Time Warner CEO Gerald Levin made the announcement in a speech at a Boston College gathering. A spokesman for CBS confirmed that top executives from the network had been meeting with Time Warner officials about possibly merging the companies’ news operations. (Reuters)

BBC–BBC America and EchoStar Communications have signed a deal giving BBC America its first national satellite carriage in the United States. The service launched on October 28 on the DISH Network, channel 135, as part of its America’s Top 100 package. (BBC America)


ARIANE–Besides carrying Afristar on October 29, Ariane also orbited General Electric’s GE-5 satellite. This satellite, which carries 16 Ku-band transponders, will be placed at 79 degrees West. (Reuters and “Lyngemark Satellite Chart”)

The third and final test flight of the Ariane 5 rocket on October 21 was a success, putting a dummy satellite into orbit. The first Ariane 5 flight exploded, and the second launch was flawed. Ariane 5 can carry larger payloads into orbit that the current Ariane 4. (Reuters)

PROTON–A Russian Proton rocket is scheduled to carry PanAmSat-8 into orbit tonight, with a launch window starting at 04:37 hrs UTC Wednesday. The satellite, with 24 Ku-band transponders at12.250-12.750 GHz and 24 C-band transponders at 3.700-4.200 GHz, will be placed at 166 degrees East. (AP, Curt Swinehart, and “Lyngemark Satellite Chart”)

Live coverage on:

Galaxy 3R (North America–NTSC) on 4.000 GHz
PAS-5 (Americas and Europe–NTSC) on 3.840 GHz
PAS-3R (Europe–PAL) on 12.701 GHz
PAS-2 (Pacific Rim–NTSC) on 3.939 GHz.