ASK-ME 98.05.06 * Q&A by SAT-MidEast

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Hi Folks, 

Welcome to the first edition of ASK-ME, the Q&A service of SAT-MidEast.

The kick-off took a little more time as expected, hardly did questions
come in; it seemed that everybody was holding back to see how the
service would be runned.

To secure anonymity, no personal name of the writer will be used, no
e-mail addresses are forwarded without the explicit permission of the

Questions will be edited, some spelling errors will be corrected, if
detected, in order to make them more easy readable for a general public,
and to avoid simple misunderstandings.

All changes to hard- or software are recommended for test purposes only,
and performed on the equipments owners responsibility. Recommendations
are made to the best of my knowledge, and do not favour any particular
enterprise or group.

Q: Many people complain that the get interrupted signal with their 
Nokia "Mediamaster 9500"  when using C-band only. They tried many things
such as replacing the LNB, feed horn, larger dish.... nothing work
except grounding the dish by a separate wire. It seems that the D-box
has no problem with C-band but Mediamaster does have this problem. So
what you think about this issue, is it related to the connection set-up
with the analog receiver ?

A: As I wasn't aware of this problem, I searched the net, but couldn't
find any kind of answer in relation to this question. Nobody, including
myself using C-Band reception on the Mediamaster has experienced any
interruptions due to a missing ground wire.
It seems to me that more a insufficient signal strenght (SQ) is at the
bottom of this. Do check your dish alignement and remember that the
indicated signal quality on the Mediamaster should be generally higher
than 60 SQ to avoid interruptions in audio and video.

There has been also a software version on Mediamasters sold in the Gulf
area which had no direct C-Band settings. For these machines an upgrade
should be recommended, as this software has other known bugs. Take a
look at the following question for available upgrade software and where
to get it.

BTW. it is ALWAYS a good idea to have your dish grounded to the building
structure, using a heavy wire, but take care that your dish is NOT the
highest point around, otherwise the first lightning would be a quite
costly one. 

Q: I do have Nokia D-box-9500 and I do receive most of the available
digital channels in my area. My software is 2.234, so I do not have
direct access to PIDs except through the "Red Menu". I can't receive the
"Plus 21"  on Apstar 2, 76.5 East, or the British Telecom package on Hot
Bird 3.  To upgrade my software, it will cost me $230 over here and will
still face other problems since the upgrade is meant for the 9200. Is
there any new software for 9500 D-box and where could I get it ?

A: Just go to http://www.sat-soft.com and have a look on the available
software. All are good documented and you have several choices to select
If you own or have access to a reasonable fast PC running Window-95, you
will be able to upload the requested software yourself in less then 15

Q: Until 3 weeks ago I was receiving Deutsche Welle digital on 1 West
(with a Hyunday HSS100 C). It has since disappeared, I have E-mailed DW
but no response. Also the Egyptian package of 4 channels disappeared a
couple of months ago from the same satellite, the only one open
occasionally is Reuters.

A: I hardly can give you any advise other then to re-align your set-up.
There has absolutely nothing changed in the last couple of month, with
the exeption that the Egyptian package has one (feed) channel more.

I receive them here in Cairo, and have seen DW-TV and the Egyptian
package both today. They are a little difficult to receive while being
quite weak, but if you had them before you should get them now.

Q: Finally I got my Nokia and my external 0-12 volt switch, although I
discovered that it is very annoying to receive C-Band.....
One very strange thing, I was always convinced that I had a perfect
system of receving satellite signals, but I discovered from the signal
meter of the 9600 that the stongest KU signal does not reach the medium
indicator? Do you have the same ?

A: Depending on the actual signal strenght, from little to almost three
quarter of the scale is nicely red... But a signal in the middle is
actual the norm, even in Europe. If it would be stronger you had only
problems of over modulation. And remember we get in Cairo only maximum
45 dbW in the Ku-band, the indicator has its maximum over 60 dBW.

A much better indictor for Signal Quality (SQ) you have to enable
yourself in the (yellow) SERVICE MENU. Here is how to get there:

*	Go to Installation -> OK
*	Select: System Settings (do NOT click OK)
*	Enter your PIN NUMBER: (Factory settings are 1234 or 0000) 
*	Now the SERVICE MENU appears like a miracle....
*	Select page 4 ->  TEST FUNCTIONS
*	and change the setting from SIGNAL INDICTOR from OFF to ON

Leave the menus, and in the display you have now the actual signal
indicator. A signal with a strenght lower than 60 SQ is disrupted,
normal is 100-120 SQ

Q: I have found a site at BELGIUM selling IRDETO cams for the 9600, I
doubt very much on this news please tell me what are your impressions
because you are my reference in this field.

A: Please send me the URL and I check it out....I would like to have one

Q: Of course I didn't got any signal from ASTRA 1G, maybe I will change
my whole system for that reason.....

A: Why change ? The channels on Astra 1G are as strong as Hot Bird 1 in
Cairo !

Q: Will the channels of Nilesat reach us ? as they are in the Ku-Band, I
guess they are far away

A: No they will not, and you will not miss too much. It will be mainly
local programming on the satellite, hardly international channels.

Check the footprint map for the Nilesat 101 on my website. (URL below)

Q: Why they did not consider the C-band spectrum for this satellite ?

A: As the satellite was build as a country specific digital satellite,
the focus was on a high EIRP within Egypt, to reduce dish sizes. In
Egypt you will be able to receive the Nilesat with a 30-40 cm dish,
whereby any kind of C-Band microwaves would require at least 180 cm.

Q: I live in Kuwait. I was wondering if it's possible to receive the 4
Hot Bird satellites. I'm interested in the digital channels that are in
the clear.
In your opinion, do I need a solid dish, maybe 16 foot? or is 14 foot
fine for Kuwait. I'm also interested in acquiring a digital receiver, if
you can recommend a good one.

A: The reception of the Hot Birds 2, 3, 4 and 5 widebeams, as well as
mainbeam of the upcoming new Eutelsat "W" series is excellent in Kuwait,
KSA and the Gulfstates up to Muscat, Oman. These satellites feature all
a manufactered spot on the Middle Eastern Gulf Area.

For a detailed picture of the footprint look at:

HB Widebeam: http://www.eutelsat.org/icones/about/foot_big3.gif
W-Series: http://www.eutelsat.org/icones/about/big_w241.gif

The size of a dish is always determined by two things:

1) How much money you are willing to spend ?
2) What is legally allowed in your receiving area ?

Then buy just the biggest dish you can afford and is allowed, you will
never regret it. The quality of extreme reception is determined by the
size of the dish and of lesser importance by the quality of your LNB.

At the present time it is still a good guess to go for a Nokia
Mediamaster. There are newer, better models coming onto the market, but
they are seriously not yet recommendable for the consumer market.

You have for yourself to determine what type you would like to buy, as
there is still not a single IRD model calable of fitting all required
CAM's (Conditional Access Modules). On the market are the MM 9600 which
fits the VIACCESS PCMCIA card-module, and a Cryptoworks PCMCIA Module,
but most local Pay-TV programming is coming in IRDETO code, for which
you would need an MM 9200 with the equivalen IRDETO CAM.

Be aware that still no IRD can be recommended with analogue and
positioner components, however I expect this to change in this year.

Q: What dish size do we need in order to receive the french channels
from Astra 1G on Cyprus ?

A: As I receive them much more to the south with a solid 240 cm dish, I
would say for digital reception would a dish between 240 and 300 cm be
suffcient. Don't expect wonders however, it should be a dedicated
Ku-dish, a combination with a C-Band LNB would reduce the submitted LNB
power drastically.

If you want to receive analogue channels from the Astra system you have
to come up with a much larger dish for consumable audio and video.

Q: I have an inquiry related to a story that went in SAT-ND early in
October last year in which it was revealed that the exiled Saudi
Islamist leader, Ossama Ben Laden and an exiled Egyptian leader Ayman
al-Zawahri had contracted a Dutch channel for five years to broadcast
their material for ten hours a day, starting in December. This broadcast
would reach Europe and the Arab world.

Since then I have not been able to find any trace of this channel.
Do you know anything of it?

A: I'm aware of the proposed channel, but can unfortunately tell you not
more then what has been reported. Egypt is btw. a most unlikely place to
get that kind of informataion. My investigations on the internet did
also bring no news, it seems that the project is resting at the moment,
or has at least difficulties to get its legalities in order.

I will keep on looking for info and report about it in the SAT-MidEast
weekly. Sorry not be able to be of more help.

This has been reported by SAT-MidEast on 3.October'98:

Egyptian Moslem militant leader Ayman al-Zawahri will launch a satellite
television station with Islamic fundamentalist billionaire Ossama Ben
Laden, the Egyptian newspaper al-Usbua said recently. 

Zawahri, who heads the Jihad group but lives abroad, and Ben Laden have
concluded an agreement with a Dutch company to rent a channel for five
years, the weekly newspaper said. The channel will broadcast 10 hours a
day beginning in December and will be seen in Europe and the Arab world,
the paper said. 

Zawahri's close advisor Samir Gamal Eddin will be executive director of
the channel, the paper said. According to the Egyptian security
services, Zawahri moves between several European countries. Ben Laden,
who has been stripped of his Saudi citizenship, lives in the remote
mountains of Afghanistan as a guest of the extremist Moslem Taliban

He has denied involvement in anti-US bombings in Saudi Arabia but
praised the bombers, notably for the June 1996 attack that killed 19
American servicemen in the eastern city of Dhahran. In a television
interview in May, he called for a Jihad (holy war) against US soldiers
posted in the Saudi kingdom. 

Q: Why are the Israelis the only ones to launch satellites to the west?

A: In fact their not the only ones, look at the recent launch of Nilesat
101 for Egypt, which is presently going next to Amos, to 7 degrees West.

With the same regards you could ask: why are the European satellites
(Astra, Eutelsats) all to the East ? It depends which slots have been
applied- and approved for. There are technical reasons for the sidewards
illumination of a specific target area. 

Q: I am planning to switch to digital reception of satellite TV
So could you please recommend what DVB reciver (decoder)is the best
choice (Galaxis, Nokia,..etc.) and which can serve FTA and coded
channels (Irdeto, Viaccess..etc.).

A: Unfortunately there is not a simple answer to that question.
The conditional access methods used by the various broadcaster are not
compatible and can at the present time NOT be found in one receiver.

There are however constant changes on the market, so it could be good
possible that a newer, better model will be introduced at any time.

For FTA & VIACCESS encrypted channels I would personally recommend a
Nokia Mediamaster 9600, with the fitted VIACCESS PCMCIA CA module.

For FTA & IRDETO encrypted channels I would recommend the Nokia
Mediamaster 9200, with an addtional IRDETO CA module.
For simple FTA channels I would recommend the Nokia Mediamaster 9200.

The Mediamasters from the 9200 series should be fitted with at least the
FTA 1.0 software version.
Be also aware that all of the above receivers have neither analogue or
positioning capabilites included. This new type of receiver is hardly
introduced at the present time and can not seriously be recommended.

The regional bouquets of Showtime and 1stNet can be received with
simpler receivers, presently for a relative low sum of money to be
leased from the local suppliers, who also are able to subscribe to the
required pay-tv package.

The offered receivers are however not able to receive all available FTA
channels, while certain technical limitiations are in place.
They are constructed for the MCPC (package) reception with a parental
acces code.

Q: I have a programable smartcard which can be programmed by means of a
Would you mind to help me to find out sites on the net that have the
proceedings for programming or the software for some of the valid
channels at the Middle East ?
I'm staying in Kuwait and receiving  most of the satellites in my area
the card is made by the [XxXxX]-technology and I got it from London, UK.

A: The answer is simple and short:
I'm not able and willing to give any advice on the progress of illegal

Best regards,

Henk C. Room / Cairo - Egypt
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