History of Sweden Calling DXers

Sweden Calling DXers #2316




Journalists here in Sweden are deeply concerned after a car bombing last week, directed against two reporters who have written extensively about neo-Nazis. One was injured, along with the couple’s 8 year old son. Last Saturday journalists demonstrated in Stockholm against what they said was the reluctance of the police and politicians to deal with the problems of increasing violence from neo-Nazis and other extremist and racist groups. (TT) There’s been widespread criticism of the head of the Swedish Security Police, Anders Eriksson, for his remark that such groups do not pose a threat to national security. Critics have asked how democracy can survive if the press is under threat? Industry Minister Björn Rosengren has criticised what he says is the secret police boss’s nonchalant attitude. 

Journalist Anders Falenius of the Stockholm daily Expressen has himself received neo-Nazi threats. Speaking to Radio Sweden’s Bill Schiller in today’s program, he says he believes the situation is going to get worse. 


A new study has taken a look at the Swedish media’s coverage of the first two weeks of the war in Kosovo.  How impartial was the treatment of NATO’s bombing? The findings were discussed by journalists, military experts, and academics at a seminar here in Stockholm.  Our reporter Karin MacLennan was there, and her report is in today’s program. 


Sweden was the second country in Europe to start over the air broadcasts of digital television. But unlike Britain, which was first, the Swedish system is off to a sluggish start since it’s launch on April 1st. According to reports, only 250 terrestrial digital subscriptions have been sold so far. One reason may be the low number of channels, just 10, compared to 30 in the British system. And few of the commercial stations granted digital licences have started broadcasts yet. 

But now the regulatory authorities have opened applications for four more digital channels, of which at least three will have national coverage. (TT) But still no suggestion to follow the British example with subsidized set-top boxes. 

On the other hand, digital cable TV is widely developed here. Telia, the largest cable operator in the country, has offered up to 60 digital channels in its systems  for a year and a half now. Of Telia’s 1.3 million cable subscribers, 1.1 million have access to digital cable. So far there are 30,000 digital cable subscribers. (“Aftonbladet”) 

That compares to Britain, where  Cable and Wireless launched the very first digital cable network, in Manchester, last Thursday. Other parts of northwest England and the London area will follow before the end of this year. Two other British cable operators, NTL and TeleWest, also plan to offer digital cable before the end of 1999. Unlike the Swedish systems, however, Cable & Wireless is offering full Internet access, almost 130 channels, and a telephone service. (Michael Murray and “What Satellite TV”) 

After many delays, Telia is supposed to start rolling out Internet access this month, but homeowners and landlords will have to pay for the upgrading of building networks for two-way traffic. Telia does not offer telephone service, because the company is also Sweden’s former monopoly national telephone company, and would be competing with itself. However, on June 23 the European Commission ordered phone companies to legally separate from their cable TV activities, saying this would promote competition in local phone service as well as high-speed Internet access. The new directive increases pressure on Telia to sell off its cable networks. Meanwhile, the same day, the Swedish regulatory authorities announced a proposal which would force Telia to offer competing telephone companies equal access to subscribers’ phones. (Reuters and TT) 

While the Swedish parliament has approved the planned merger between Telia and its Norwegian counterpart Telenor, the European Commission is still studying the proposal. It had been expected that the EU would approve the merger in late June (after all, the merged Telia/Telenor would still be tiny compared to the earlier proposal to merge Deutsche Telekom and its Italian counterpart). But on June 15 the commission announced it is taking up to an extra four months to investigate. Commissioner Karel van Miert says that the main reason is Telia’s refusal to sell its cable networks. In an interview van Miert said Telia had first accepted the condition, but the company’s board had then rejected it. (TT) 


There are some unusual problems facing the cable television system in one Swedish community. Residents in the northern Swedish town of Örnsköldsvik suddenly lost their cable TV pictures recently, when engineers investigated they found out that the problem was caused by an army of black ants. The little bugs had built a nest underneath the power cables to the distribution center, and when they scurried around they short-circuited cables, disrupting the TV pictures. Engineers are baffled about how to get rid of the creepy crawlies, they say they can’t spray antkiller on the wires, because they could short-circuit and then cause even more damage. (TT) 


Denmark is moving forward with plans to follow Sweden and Norway’s example banning television advertising aimed at children under the age 12. A Ministry of Culture official says the new legislation could come into effect in 2001. Sweden is expected to try to extend its own regulations to other European countries, when it assumes the EU presidency in 2001. (Reuters) 

A Stockholm court has ruled that an animated film with stuffed animals, advertising breakfast cereal, cannot be considered to be aimed at children under 12. The Swedish Consumer Ombudsman had sought to stop the commercial channel TV4 from showing the commercial, for violating the Swedish law against TV advertising aimed at children. But the court says the cereal is intended to be eaten by adults, who it regards as the intended audience for the film with the stuffed animals. (TT) 


The shopping channel Quantum 24 has stsarted on Thor 2 (1 degree West) on 11.389 GHz in clear MPEG-2. (“LyngSat Updates”) 

Norway’s NRK 1 and NRK To are no longer in the clear on 12.322 Ghz (in MPEG-2). (“Transponder News”) 


Denmark’s P2 radio has started broadcasts on Intelsat 707 (which shares 1 degree West with Thor 1/2) in D2-MAC on 11.679 GHz. (Richard Karlsson in “Aftonbladet”) 


Disney’s Scandinavian Broadcasting System is planning on starting two new cable TV channels to Denmark: TV Danmark 1 and The Voice TV. The existing TV Danmark will change it’s name to TV Danmark 2. The Voice TV will compete with MTV. (The Voice is a Danish radio station.) (Richard Karlsson in “Aftonbladet”) 


The Nordic service of Canal Plus will be starting a third channel, Canal Plus Blå (Blue), on September 1. This digital pay channel will only be available by satellite, and will complement the other two Nordic Canal Plus channels offered to each country, with a shorter broadcast schedule. It will carry more sports, making up for the void left behind when Canal Plus closed down SuperSports when it took over the old FilmNet. (Frank Östergren in “Aftonbladet”) (Although there are no indications the French are interested in the American sports, baseball and American football, which were carried by the previous channel.) 



As we’ve reported before, after the Kurdish Med-TV lost its licence in Britain for inciting pro-PKK violence in Turkey, it has been replaced by a Kurdish channel called CTV (Cultural Television). This is important to Radio Sweden, because we are a sound channel on this Hot Bird transponder….we mention this because of the following Reuters story: 

(Reuters) Kurdish guerillas broadcasting to southeast Turkey from a London-based satellite television station said ‘new wars’ would begin if rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan were hanged. Cemil Baylik, a commander of Ocalan’s Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), was speaking on Kurdish language Cultural TV on June 11.   

Is CTV about to follow in the footsteps of Med-TV? Will Radio Sweden retain its satellite channel? Watch this space. 


Eutelsat has succeeded in bullying (editor’s choice of word) SES into giving it access to the second Astra position at 28.5 degrees East. Eutelsat, which has around 10 orbital positions of its own, has been demanding access to 28 degrees East as well, but the International Telecommunications Union recognized SES’s prior claim. There are also 2 Astra satellites already operating from that position, plus another from SES’s part-owner Deutsche Telekom. Eutelsat has staked its claim on brief tests from new satellites (after Astra had already begun using the position) before moving them elsewhere. But now Eutelsat and SES have reached an agreement to share the position, in which SES has 10.700-11.200 and 11.700-12.500 GHz, while Eutelsat will use 11.200-11.700 and 12.500-12.700 GHz. SES will also use 12.500-12.750 GHz, for transmissions outside of Europe.  

The agreement also covers the broadcasting arc between 16 and 21.5 degrees East, and some industry sources have speculated that SES may have given in because it needs higher power levels at 19 degrees than those originally allocated. Eutelsat says one result will be to allow free-to-air broadcasters to access BSkyB’s installed base of digital decoders in Britain. (Richard Karlsson in “Aftonbladet” and “Interspace” via Curt Swinehart) 

Eutelsat has announced plans to launch a digital radio package in co-operation with Deutche Telekom. The new package is to launch before the end of the year, and will consist of up to 30 radio stations. They will be carried on the Eutelsat DTAG transponders at 13 degrees East on 11.054 and  11.604 GHz. Possible stations in the package include: RSH, Energy Muenchen, 89 Hit FM, RS2, Radio FFN, and Spree Radio 105.5. (SATEURO.COM) 


The head of an independent television company will become the new director general of the British Broadcasting Corporation. The Beeb’s board of governors has chosen millionaire TV producer Greg Dyke. The Conservative opposition has criticised the selection, as Dyke once contributed GBP 50,000 to the ruling Labour Party, and once ran as a Labour candidate in local elections. Dyke, who is currently head of the independent TV company Pearson, is to severe all links with Labour. (AP) 

The BBC has denied reports that it is thinking of including advertising on its public funded TV services. According to reports in “The Financial Times”, the suggestion to include advertising was put before a government-appointed panel that is studying the corporation’s funding. (SATEURO.COM) 

BBC World Service Television is reportedly facing major budget cuts, because it has not been commercially successful. There is now a possiblity that the British Foreign Office will increase the current grant to the World Service, to help support the TV service. (SATEURO.COM) World Service Television operates two channels, the 24 hour news channel BBC World, and BBC Prime, which carries classics from the BBC entertainment archives. Both channels duplicate domestic channels, BBC World is virtually identical to BBC News 24 (the two simulcast at night), while BBC Prime carries the same shows as UK Gold. The BBC could probably save a pile by combining the duplicated services. 


France’s Canal Plus is to launch a 24 hour news and information channel this Fall. The new channel will rival that of the TF1-owned LCI. The new “i-television” will be part of the CanalSatellite digital platform, and plans are to launch on November 4th. (SATEURO.COM) 


Rupert Murdoch, 40 percent owner of British Sky Broadcasting, has ruled out the speculated merger between BSkyB and the French-based Canal Plus. Murdoch says he does not want Sky to become a political football for French politicians. (“What Satellite TV”) 


The newly remarried Mr. Murdoch has also had himself appointed chairman of British Sky Broadcasting, in a move to thwart any potential power challenge. BSkyB’s board voted Murdoch as the replacement for Jerome Seydoux, who is standing down, after his French film group Pathe sold its 17 percent stake in BSkyB to French media and utilities group Vivendi. This is because Vivendi also owns 34 percent of Canal Plus. Vivendi said July 2 that it wants two seats on the BSkyB board, and says it does not intend to be a “passive” shareholder. (Reuters) 


Three new MTV channels have launched to Britain, as part of Sky Digital: MTV Extra, MTV Base, and VH-1 Classic. These started on Astra 2A transponder 10 on July 1. (James Robinson and “What Satellite TV”) 

Sky Radio is planning broadcasts to Germany, using cable, satellite, and shortwave (!). (Richard Karlsson in “Aftonbladet”) 

The Digital Broadcasting Company has been testing on Astra’s second position at 28 degrees East on 12.109 GHz. DBC is launching 12 channels of PPV films via Sky Digital. (SATEURO.COM) 


The operator of UK Living and Bravo, Flextech (owned by TCI) is in talks with British Sky Broadcasting and Granada to buy out the GSkyB satellite channels Granada Breeze, Granada Plus, and Granada Men and Motors. There is speculation that UK Gold and Granada Plus may merge. (SATEURO.COM and “What Satellite TV”) 


Following the popularity of free Internet access from companies like Dixons, Tesco, WH Smith, and the Mirror and Sun newspapers, AOL Europe has announced that it could launch a free Internet service in the United Kingdom this August.  
BSkyB has also launched a free ISP service, available to all and not just to subscribers. (Reuters and the “Daily Express” via Michael Murray) 


Midnight Blue has replaced Playboy Channel PPV on Astra 2A on 12.226  
GHz in MPEG-2. (“Transponder News”) 

The German language WRN 3 has closed down its service on Astra 11.436 GHz (Sky Moviemax), and is now using 11.612 GHz (German MTV), audio 7.38 MHz. (Richard Karlsson in “Aftonbladet”) 


A Polish package has started on Eutelsat W3 (7 degrees East) on 11.175 GHz in MPEG-2. The line-up includes TVP1 and TVP 2 (both encoded), and TV Polonia (in the clear). (“LyngSat Updates” and Richard Karlsson in “Aftonbladet”) 

Eutelsat II-F4 has replaced Eutelsat II-F2 at 10 degrees East. Eutelsat II-F2 is moving to 12.5 degrees West, where it will replace Eutelsat I-F5. (“LyngSat Updates”) 

Maharishi Open University has ceased digital broadcasts on Hot Bird 5 on 12.520 GHz. (Richard Karlsson in “Aftonbladet” and “LyngSat Updates”) 

The Dutch BVN TV has begun digital broadcasts on Hot Bird 3 on 12.476 GHz. Analog broadcasts on 11.280 Ghz on Hot Bird 1 are going to close down. (Richard Karlsson in “Aftonbladet”) 

Israel is testing on Hot Bird 5 on 11.027 GHz in MPEG-2. There are rumors that an Israel International TV will be starting soon. (Richard Karlsson in “Aftonbladet”) 

The Yugoslavian Pink TV is to start regular digital transmissions from July 15th. Tests are currently on Hot Bird (13 degrees East) on 12.476 GHz. However, the channel says regular transmissions will be on Eutelsat II-F4 (10 degrees East). Pink TV will offer the best of Yugoslavian entertainment, such as talk shows, specialized music, and specialist movies in the Serbian language. Pink Radio will transmit on the same transponder. (“Satelit TV Video” and SATEURO.COM) 


According to “Satelit TV Video”, NATO bombs destroyed the following TV or radio stations in Yugoslavia: the center housing RTV Kosava, RTV Pink, SOS Channel, TV BK, and Radio S-Belgrade; the RTS buildings in Belgrade and Novi Sad; the facilities of Radio Television Novi Sad in Sremska Kamenica; and the TV RTS studio in Pristina (severely damaged). Forty-four TV transmitters were also destroyed in the bombing. (“Satelit TV Video”) 


The Serbian RTS Sat has started on Israel’s Amos 1 (4 degrees West) on 11.421 GHz in clear MPEG-2. (“LyngSat Updates”) Eutelsat stopped carrying RTS on May 26th. 



CNN is starting a 24 hour news channel in Turkish, to be called CNN Turk. It’s expected to launch at the beginning of September. (SATEURO.COM) 


Qatar’s Al-Jazeera Television is a bit too outspoken for the Arab world, apparently using Western style free speech to spread fundamentalist and anti-Western ideas. The channel has been banned in Kuwait after an Iraqi caller in a phone-in show insulted the Emir of Kuwait (for being too liberal towards women’s rights and for letting Western forces into his country to drive out the Iraqi occupation). Palestinean leader Yasser Arafat has complained to Qatar’s representative to the Palestinean authority about a series of interviews with the leader of the militant Islamic group Hamas.  

Bahrain has promised to bring up the question of the controversial channel at the next meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council. Qatar has also received complaints about Al-Jazewera from Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and Jordan (which closed the station’s local office for three months last year for a program in which King Hussein was accused of conspiring with Israel). Exiled opposition figures, guest speakers, and callers speak freely on Al-Jazeera’s live shows, criticising governments, policies, and even Qatar itself. (AP) 


The Palestinian Satellite Channel has started on Arabsat 2A (26 degrees East) on 12.060 GHz, in clear MPEG-2. The Palestinian Satellite Channel has replaced the Jordan Satellite Channel on NSS K (21.5 degrees West) on 11.927 GHz, in clear MPEG-2, on the North/South America beam. (“LyngSat Updates”) 


The Jordan Satellite Channel has started on Aransat 3A (26 degrees East) on 11.938 GHz in clear PAL. ART Iqra has started on 11.767 GHz in clear MPEG-2. Arab News Network ha started on 12.034 GHz in clear MPEG-2. (“LyngSat Updates”) 


The Voice of the People from Syria can be heard on Eutelsat W2 on 11.572 GHz on 7.56 MHz. Qatar TV has begun broadcasts in MPEG-2 from Hot Bird 4, on 12.654 GHz. (Richard Karlsson in “Aftonbladet”) 


In the midst of the crisis with India over Kashmir, a partly government-owned Pakistani television network says it has temporarily stopped transmitting news from CNN and the BBC. The Shalimar Television Network says the programs were stopped last Saturday (July 3) for financial and administrative reasons, and there is no political dimension. Pakistani viewers can still see most foreign TV channels, including those from India, via cable. But STN has been the cheapest way to watch news from CNN and the BBC. (Reuters) 


Asian pay TV programmer Zee Networks is teaming up with the French-based Canal Plus to launch a digital pay TV package to India and Bangladesh. The system, which starts in September, will use Canal Plus’ Mediaguard conditional access system and Mediahighway interactive TV products. The 14 to 21 channel system will be aimed at cable operators and not directly to homes. Zee’s existing channel, Zee TV, Zee News, Music Asia, and Zee Cinema, will form the backbone of the system, and will be dubbed into Gujurati, Punjabi, and Bengali. Zee is looking for additional channels with familiar British accents (rather than American), with those from the BBC, Granada, Flextech, and Discovery of high interest. (“Multichannel News International”) 


North Korea has leased a satellite transponder on Thailand’s Thaicom satellite. While Thaicom says this is an ordinary TV transponder, the Japanese and South Korean media is apparently tying itself into knots over the conjecture that Pyongyang would use it for military purposes, specifically to control missiles. (“Bangkok Matichon” via Curt Swinehart) Either North Korea is on the leading edge of high-tech innovation, or the Japanese and South Koreans are not just a little paranoid. 


Asiasat 1 has started to move east, from 105.5 degrees East to 122 degrees East. (“LyngSat Updates”) 


Ford Motors and the radio broadcast company CD Radio have announced they will work together to give motorists access to CD Radio’s US coast to coast commercial-free music stations, starting in 2001. Ford will install CD Radio receivers in all its cars starting in 2001. The motorist will then have access to the soon-to-be-completed 100 station radio satellite system, for a monthly subscription. (“USA Today” via Michael Murray) 


The Federal Communications Commission has granted EchoStar a Special Temporary Authority to relocate the EchoStar 4 satellite from 148 degrees West to 110 degrees West. The move gives EchoStar the ability to begin broadcasting a multitude of new channels to DISH Network subscribers this Summer, including more PPV movies, additional premium movie services, and enlarged satellite programming packages. Once EchoStar 5 is launched and operational at 110 degrees, EchoStar 4 will move back to 148 degrees. (“Business Wire”) 


America Online has announced it will make a USD 1.5 billion dollar investment in DirecTV owner Hughes Electronics, giving AOL a means to offer high-speed Internet services via satellite. AOL says the partnership will accelerate growth of its AOL TV and AOL-Plus services, part of its strategy to move beyond slow dial-up phone service into faster broadband connections. The new alliance builds on the companies’ earlier agreement to develop a set-top receiver to make DirecTV/AOL TV available to consumers next year. (Reuters) 



A Russian Raduga-1 satellite and the final stage of its Proton booster rocket crashed in a remote region of Kazakstan after it failed to reach its proper orbit on July 5. Following the crash, Kazakstan suspended all launches from its Baikonur Cosmodrome. Russia relies heavily on the luanch pad, which was built when Kazakstan was still part of the Soviet Union. The Russian Space Agency says the suspension may affect the scheduled July 14 launch of a cargo flight to the space station Mir. (Reuters and AP)

Wired News reports the future of the Baikonur Cosmodrome may be in jeopardy. (“Wired News”)

Astra 1H was successfully launched with Proton June 18. It will be located at 19 degrees east. Astra 1H is the ninth SES satellite in the Astra series and the eighth to be co-located at the orbital position of 19.2 degrees East. It will partially replace Astra 1E/1F/and 1G at that position, and will also serve as a back-up. In addition to 30 transponders in the Ku-band, Astra 1H carries the world’s first commercial Ka-band payload for use over Europe. This payload is the first of its type to offer broadband interactive applications to low-cost user terminals. (“LyngSat Updates”, Richard Karlsson in “Aftonbladet”, and SES) 

The launches of Yamal 101 and Yamal 102 have been delayed from June to August. (“LyngSat Updates”) 


The launches of Telkom 1 and AsiaStar have been delayed until August. (“LyngSat Updates”)