History of Sweden Calling DXers

Sweden Calling DXers #2313



HOT BIRD–We have good news about the satellite transponder that carries Radio Sweden to Europe. The TV station there has been the Kurdish channel Med-TV. But on April 23rd Britain’s Independent Television Commission revoked the station’s licence for inciting violence in Turkey. However, our future on that channel is safe, as last Thursday a new station called CTV popped up on the transponder. 
That’s Hot Bird 4, on 10.853 GHz, and Radio Sweden sound is on 7.38 MHz. 

ENPS–The Swedish Broadcasting Corporation, of which Radio Sweden is a part, is getting a brand new company-wide computer system. It’s called ENPS, which stands for Electronic News Production System, and was developed for the BBC by the Associated Press news agency. Mindy Leigh, the BBC’s head of Editorial Development for the system was here recently, and you can hear our conversation about ENPS in today’s program. 

ENPS is being rolled out slowly at Swedish Broadcasting’s stations around the country. Here in Stockholm we won’t be seeing it for several months. But the system has been online at the studios in Sweden’s second city, Gothenburg, since March. One of the producers there working with ENPS daily is Anneli Malmborg, and on the line from Gothenburg, she told us  how the system is working out. 

DTT–Concerning SVT’s estimate that 50,000 terrestrial digital decoders have been sold so far, Per Alarud comments “I really doubt that there are 50,000 decoders for DTV here in Sweden. I’ve been using a Nokia 9600 (digital satellite receiver) for about 1 and a half years now…watching ZDF, MDR, RAI and about 180 other channels can never compete with one new (SVT24) station on the terrestrial network”.  (Per Alarud) 

Considering, as Per says, the only new channel in DTT so far is SVT24, which is also carried on Telia’s digital cable networks and as part of the Canal Digital satellite package, SVT’s estimate does seem rather optimistic! 

MORE DTT–The Swedish government is planning to start a fourth terrestrial TV network, for digital television. This follows the launching of the country’s first national digital network on April 1 (which consists so far of only SVT1, SVT2, SVT24, and some regional SVT stations). A number of international stations have unofficially expressed interest is taking part, including CNN, the BBC, and MTV. They would have to operate through Swedish subsidiaries, and the government likes the idea, because it would force them to operate under Swedish law, which forbids advertising aimed at children, and any ads for tobacco or liquor. Allocations could be made as early as this Summer. (“Dagens IT”) 

The weird thing about this story, which has been repeated by Swedish Television news, and the “Public Access” newsletter, is the statement that this would be Sweden’s fourth terrestrial TV network. SVT1, SVT2, and TV4, plus the existing first DTT network equal four. One more would be five. 

NORWAY–The Norwegian Labor Party wants to take the profits from Telenor’s impending merger with Telia to build a DTT network. The Norwegian parliament is to make a decision in June, and reportedly there is a majority in favor of a digital TV project. (“Vision” via “Public Access” newsletter) 

SIRIUS–Eros TV has moved transponders on Sirius 2 (5 degrees East) from 12.245 GHz (in MPEG-2) to 11.727 GHz (in PAL). (“LyngSat Updates”) 


YUGOSLAVIA–After the Yugoslav government pulled the plug on the independent radio station B92, it has returned to the cyber-waves, with a 24 hour live broadcast .

(“Wired News”) 

The United States promised on May 14 not to interfere with Internet access for some of Yugoslavia’s citizens, saying they need the worldwide computer network for reliable news coverage. Earlier, Loral Space and Communications had said it might be forced under a trade embargo against the Milosevic regime to cut tranmissions into Yugoslavia from one of its satellites. The satellite serves at least two of Yugoslavia’s major Internet providers. (AP) 

RUSSIA–The radio station “Baltik-plus” in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad (in between Poland and Lithuania) has stopped relays of the Voice of America and Deutsche Welle, as a protest against the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. (RTS “Radio & TV News”) 

SPORTS–The German sports channel DSF has been given permission by the BLM to continue analog broadcasts until the year 2002. (Richard Karlsson in “Aftonbladet”) 

The French sports channel AB Sport has changed its name to Pathesport. (Richard Karlsson in “Aftonbladet”) 

The Spanish soccer team FC Barcelona is starting its own digital TV channel in the Fall. (Richard Karlsson in “Aftonbladet”) 

BSKYB–British Sky Broadcasting says it now has 550,000 Sky Digital subscribers. Of these, more than 212,000 are completely new, while the remainder are analog subscribers who’ve switched to digital. BSkyB says it will close down its analog service from the Astra position at 19 degrees East on December 31, 2002. (Richard Karlsson in “Aftonbladet”) 

Sky has reportedly offered the ITV financial incentives in a new attempt to persuade it to put its channels on Sky Digital. In a confidential letter, Sky guarantees it will compensate ITV for any shortfall in anticipated tax savings if it fails to attract 2.5 million subscribers by the end of 2001. (“What Satellite TV”) 

BSkyB has also launched a pre-emptive strike against its DTT rival ONdigital by announcing it will give away Sky Digital decoders. But BSkyB is still requiring that its own people install systems, and continues to charge GBP 40 for the installation. This comes as ONdigital has announced it will be giving away its decoders for free during the month of May, to customers buying a TV worth at least GBP 200 (the price of the decoder) and a minimum subscription package. (Reuters and Michael Murray) 

BRITAIN–Digital cable is finally launching in Britain. Cable and Wireless (CWC) will start digital services on its cable networks in July. Other British cable providers are expected to start programming in October. (Michael Murray) Microsoft has bought a controlling stake in Britain’s second largest cable operator, Telewest Communications. Microsoft already owns a 5 percent stake in another British cable operator, NTL, which is supposed to be starting its digital operations even before CWC. Meanwhile, CWC and Telewest are in talks about a merger. Micorsoft apparently is mostly interested in ensuring that digital networks in Europe chose a Microsoft platform for their decoders. CWC’s new platform relies on software developed by Microsoft’s rivals Oracle and Netscape. (Reuters) 

PORTUGAL–RTP Internacional has left Express 2 (14 degrees West) 4.025 GHz (PAL) and has started on Intelsat 605 (27.5 degrees West) on 3.836 GHz (PAL). RTP Africa has left Express 2 3.836 GHz (MPEG-2). (“LyngSat Updates”) 

RADIO–To Pronto has begun test transmissions on Hot Bird 5 in MPEG-2 on 11.055 GHz. This station plays Greek music. (Richard Karlsson in “Aftonbladet”) 

ASTRA–Responding to my comment last time about the new MPEG-2 version of BBC World on Astra 1F, Christian Lyngemark replies that it is indeed listed in the Lygemark Satellite Chart….just not where I was looking. 🙂 As BBC World is on 12.266 GHz, and that transponder belongs to a (mainly) encrypted digital package, you have to click on the “DIG” button to see the full line-up.

EUTELSAT–Futa TV has left Hot Bird 1, 11.280 GHz (PAL). (“LyngSat Updates”) 

RTL2 Osterreich has started on Hot Bird 5 on 11.054 GHz, in clear MPEG-2. (“LyngSat Updates”) 

Eutelsat W3 has replaced Eutelsat II-F4 at 7 degrees East. (“LyngSat Update”) 

Makedoniska TV is on Hot Bird 5 on 12.597 GHZ, sharing an MPEG-2 transponder with EuroNews. (“LyngSat Update”) 

LUCH–Correcting the report last time, Christian Lyngemark tells us that Luch 1 failed on April 12 (and not on April 1 as erroneously reported). 

PAS–Multichoice South Africa has started on PAS-7 (68.5 degrees East) in MPEG-2/IRDETO  on 11.594 GHz. The line-up includes: M-Net, SuperSport1, SuperSport2, SuperSport International, BBC Prime, CNN International, and the Discovery Channel. (“LyngSat Updates”) Multichoice South Africa also uses the C-band only PAS-4 satellite at this same position. 

NILESAT–The French TV 5 Orient has started on Nilesat 101 (7 degrees West) on 11.843 GHz, in clear MPEG-2. (“LyngSat Updates”) 

CHINA–In early May, China launched a crackdown on foreign satellite broadcasters. On May 5 State televison showed police carting away hundreds of satellite receivers and other equipment. Only tourist hotels and housing compounds for foreigners are allowed to receive satellite signals in China. However, foreign programming is widely picked up for rebroadcast by hundreds of cable television operators all over the country. The crackdown may have significant implications for Rupert Murdoch’s Phoenix Satellite Television, and Walt Disney’s ESPN, which have large Chinese audiences. (Reuters) Murdoch is notorious for pulling the plug on BBC World transmissions to China in order to avoid displeasing the Beijing regime, while Disney is on the Beijing blacklist for making “Kundun”, a film about the Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama. 

ASIASAT–All channels on Asiasat 1 switched over to Asiasat 3S on May 8. Star World North (in PAL) has left 3.960 GHz. (“LyngSat Updates”) 

INSAT–DD2 Metro has started on Insat 2E (83 degrees East) on 3.929 GHz in PAL, sound 5.5 MHz. (“LyngSat Updates”) 

FOX–The Fox Network has left Spacenet 4, and is now only on Satcom C1, on 4.080 GHz (NTSC). (“LyngSat Updates”) 

SPACENET–San Francisco’s UPN station KBHK-TV has replaced KTSF-TV on Spacenet 3R (83 degrees West) on 4.060 GHz, in clear MPEG-2. (“LyngSat Update”) 

MORE MURDOCH–After out-manuevering NBC to take a major stake in the National Geographic Channel in Europe, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp is negotiating to buy into a joint venture with the two companies, which could result in the launch of an American version of the National Geographic Channel. If the negotiations succeed, Murdoch will end up with 40 percent of National Geographic Worldwide, while NBC and National Geographic TV would have 30 percent each. (“Variety” via Curt Swinehart) 


MEXICO–Sky Mexico has left PAS-5, and is now only on Solidaridad 2. (“LyngSat Updates”) 

XHIMT and XHDF have left Solidaridad 1. (“LyngSat Update”) As reported last time, this satellite has had considerable problems, and failed on April 28, returned to operation the following day, and failed again on May 1. 

DELTA–Boeing’s new Delta 3 rocket malfunctioned shortly after liftoff on May 5, and placed the Orion 3 satellite in the wrong orbit. It was only the second Delta 3 flight. The first, eight months ago, ended in a midair explosion. (AP and Reuters)