SAT Observations 96.11.28

A news release from Cairo, Egypt, located at 30.3 North - 31.15 East
- Satellite and Transponder Observations in C- and Ku-Band,
- Commented from the Middle Eastern perspective.

- Astra, Eutelsat Superbeam and Skandinavian Reports.
- D-Box Info, DF-1 Reports and daily Feed Listings.

- ORBIT confirms Disney
- RTL 7 started promo txm
- BHT again dissapeared
- Minor Amos changes
- Nilesat TV System
- Thuraya Communications System

Today, after some short news stories and txpr up-dates, the promised
info's gathered at the TELECOMP exhibition from 25-28 November in Cairo,
still more to follow...

ORBIT confirms Disney Channel launch date
The Orbit Satellite Television & Radio Network and Walt Disney
Television International announced today that The Disney Channel will be
launching on the Orbit service April 2, 1997.  The channel, created
exclusively for Orbit by Disney, will provide quality family programming
to viewers in 23 countries across the Middle East and North Africa.  As
with all of Orbit's channels, the newest addition will be available on
an a-la-carte basis to network subscribers.

The Disney Channel will be specifically tailored to the region's tastes
and interests, featuring world famous Disney productions complimented by
additional acquired programming.

Mohammed Basrawi, Orbit's Vice President of Programming, commented:  The
addition of the Disney Channel to our network further proves our total
commitment to bringing the world's best programming and entertainment to
viewers and their families all across the Arab world- now, the magic of
Disney joins the world of Orbit. 

Exclusive to the Orbit Network, the Disney Channel will provide
subscribers with a service dedicated to family entertainment in the
Arabic language - 24 hours a day.

HOTBIRD 1, 13 East, SATCO-DX: http://www.satcodx.com/hotbird.html
On txpr 14, 11.492 GHz, V, started RTL 7 (Polski) today with a
promotional txm. Stereo sound on 7.02 - 7.20 Mhz. No sound carrier on
6.60 MHz.

EUTELSAT II-f2, 10 East, SATCO-DX: http://www.satcodx.com/e2f2.html
BHT - Bosna i Hercegovine TV ceased again on txpr 37, 11.575 GHz, H.
The problems are not over yet, as it seems. On screen messages,
announcing a change to 11.080 GHz, H (EbS) on 28 November did not come
true. I could not not find BHT on any txpr or other satellite yet, maybe
they are on a superbeam txpr ?

AMOS 1, 4 West, SATCO-DX: http://www.satcodx.com/amos1.html
During the night, the txpr 4U, 11.510 GHz, V, shows a black screen,
whereby txpr 1U, 1,  11.005 GHz, V, has the normal test card. During
broadcast times both channels show Israel Channel 2.

Txpr 4L, 11.4676 GHz, V, normally in the evening showing Israel channel
1, the yesterday absent sound carrier on 6.60 MHz reappeared with TV
sound, the carrier on 7.20 MHz with Radio Kol was switched off.
During daytime the above txpr shows a test card with "IBA CNCT CH1",
during this afternoon a feed could be observed followed bu a test card
saying "NARK IS 257423", whereby I assume IS stands for Israel and the
number is a local telephone number.

Txpr 3, using the middle frequency of 11.159 GHz, V, was also used for a
feed with sound on 6.60 GHz.

Txpr 6L, 11.653 GHz, V and 6U, 11.699 GHz, V were again active, at
times, with an empty carrier without sound.

In the capital city of Cairo, Egypt, the state-run E.R.T.U. (Egyptian
Radio and Television Union) has begun to implement their plans to
establish the first single country-owned satellite in the Arab region.
Egypt began it's first legal steps in establishing the Nilesat Project
in January of 1995.

Egyptian President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak and the Minister of
Information  Dr. Safwat El Sherif approved the US $158 million contract
with Matra Marconi for a complete solution in 1996.

Matra Marconi Space is producing in cooperation with Alcatel Telecom the
first Egyptian satellite for a launch end 1997 and deployement of the
system on 7 degrees West. 

The package consists of: 

 Produktion of two Nilesat units, of which one is launched by
Arianespace, the other satellite stays on earth as a spare, in case of
any unfortunate mishab during launch or deployment.
 Installation of two earth stations, one near Cairo, the other in the
Alexendria area.
 Launch and deployment of the Nilesat 1, including on board testing of
all electrical systems.
 Training and development of local system engineers
 Insurances and eventual replacement of failing units prior to handover

The Nilesat will feature 12 active transponder with an EIRP of 47.3 dbW
up to 53 dbW in the center of the beam. Downlink frequencies wil be in
the DBS band from 11.700 GHz to 12.500 GHz, using a transponder
bandwidth of 33 MHz. The estimated lifespan of the satellite is 12
years. In the beam center dishes from 45-60 cm can be used.

The Nilesat covers with 47.3 dbW an area from Madrid/Spain in the
North-West, towards Rome/Italy, slightly downwards to Athens/Greece,
South Turkey (Antalya), Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Iraq, Jordan, the whole
of the Saudi Arabian peninsula, down to Ethiopia, Khartoum/Sudan and
then back to the Atlantic Ocean, covering the whole of Lybia and

The centered 53 dbW EIRP covers just Algers in the west, then quite
narrow to the east, covering Tunis, Tripolis and Bengazi, then in Egypt
itself the beam is widening up to the south, covering Alexandria and
Cairo to Assuan, then crossing the Red Sea covering the whole of Saudi
Arabia, leaving out Yemen, Oman and the United Arab Emirates, then going
up to Bagdad/Iraq, then back to the west over Damascus, Syria, slightly
touching Cyprus and further to the west only covering Sicilie/Italy.

A coverage map is made available to SATCO-DX and will most probably be
published soon. In exeptional cases I will be able to submit a copy of
the GIF file per E-Mail attachement on request. The final retrieval URL
will be announced in an upcoming news letter.

All 12 active txpr will be used solely for MPEG-2, DVB compliant
transmissions, no analogue broadcasts are planned. Beside the 6
transponder reserved by Egypt's ERTU itself, the ART (Arab Radio &
Television) has opted for transponder capacity, as did the Showtime
Network (Dubai) who intends to switch services for Egypt from the
Panamsat 4 to the Nilesat after a succesful deployment.

One last interesting aspect of the Nilesat Project is the fact that the
7 degeesr west satellite parking spot has been reserved since 1977 by
Egypt through the International Space Communications Organization. The
problem with this is, the parking spot is only held for twenty years and
then becomes vacant for other countries to bid on. Hence, Egypt must not
delay the project any longer nor have any other set backs or they risk
losing their parking spot and throwing the whole project away. 

The ERTU (Egyptian Radio & Television Union) plans to transmit all eight
local channels on two transponders, several new specified channels for
education, sports and general information are in the planning stages.
All public broadcasting will be in the clear. Commercial broadcaster are
able to use the Nilesat, but programming has to be conform the local and
Islamic laws, and will therefore be controlled.

Low-cost IRD's (Integrated Receiver/Decoder) will be locally produced,
in cooperation with a not-yet-named non-Egyptian company, for free sales
to the main stream TV viewers. In how far these IRD's will be compatible
to other digital broadcasts is unknown at the present stage of planning.

A larger satellite programme, known as Thuraya was announced by
mid-1996. Under a ambitious $600m-$800m project, it will include the
supply of two satellites, launchers and ground receiving stations for
mobile communications services. The project will be implemented by an
international company in partnership with Etisalat, the Emirates
Telecommunications Corporation. Etisalat is a major telecommunications
supplier in the Gulf region, operating 650,000 public telephone and
120,000 mobile lines in use, as well as over 200,000 pagers. Each month
the company installs 10,000 new public lines and 5,000 mobile lines. 

The Thuraya mobile satellite system, ordered by the Etisalat, is
designed to secure VSAT, data and mobile phone connections in an area
covering from the west of Spain and Marocco to the east, covering India
and Pakistan. To the south the upper third of the African continent
including Ethiopia, to the north covering the south of France, a little
upwards covering Italy, the Balkan, Turkey, then south-eastwards to

The satellite itself contains a huge single reflector of approximately
200 square meters, 16 by 12 meters, in oval shape, concave, and
manufactured out of a wafer structure, during launch rolled up in a
circular form, outside the satellite's basic structure. A quite
impressive scaled model was presented at the exhibition.

The presented mobile phone units for this system were produced by
Ericsson Telecommunications.

* Thuraya (phonetic Soraya) is an Arabic female name and means also
"Chandelier", e.g. the huge crystal ones, hanging from the ceiling. (Ed)

Best regards,

Henk C. Room / Owner Sat-MidEast / Cairo - Egypt

For details check: http://www.intouch.com/~hcroom/
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