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By | September 26, 2001

      Demand for news prompts capacity scramble

      Mike Fallon Interspace Monitoring

      The tragic events of September 11 brought about the biggest ever satellite event when just about every TV broadcaster desperately clamoured for satellite capacity to feed actuality back to their viewers.

      Within minutes of the first airliner slamming in to the World Trade Centre in Manhattan the four major US networks, ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox were all being fed over satellite links for internal US and external downlinks and live video of the second aircraft crashing into the WTC minutes later were beamed live around the World. The CBS breakfast show, which is available daily on 12364MHz horizontal, SR 19837, FEC 7/8 in clear MPEG-2/NTSC via PAS 3R at 43 degrees West, immediately cut to coverage of the event as did Fox News, 12573MHz horizontal, SR 19846, FEC 3/4 also on PAS 3R and MSNBC on 11521MHz horizontal, SR 5350, FEC 7/8 on Telstar 12 at 15 degrees West. ABC, which under normal circumstances is not received in Europe, appeared on 12544MHz vertical, SR 6618, FEC 3/4 in clear MPEG-2/NTSC. Fox News is also being relayed in free-to-air MPEG-2 on Astra at 19.2 degrees East, 11436MHz vertical in clear Pal and via Eurobird at 28.2 degrees East, 11508MHz horizontal, SR 27500, FEC 2/3 in clear MPEG-2 (making it available to Sky Digital customers by going to the ‘Add Channels’ and entering the parameters – the channel does not appear in the Sky EPG). In an unprecedented move all of these networks later agreed to pool video material from the scenes of devastation in New York, The Pentagon in Washington and from the location near Pittsburgh where the fourth aircraft crashed.

      Feed traffic went haywire from this point with just about every free transponder in use. See below for a breakdown of some of the feeds from the US and related traffic on September 11 and the ensuing days.

      PAS 9 (58 degreesW): 3955MHz horizontal, SR 6109, FEC 3/4 – ABC News feeds from NYC and Washington.

      PAS 3R (43 degreesW): 12544 MHz horizontal, SR 6110, FEC 3/4 – ZDF Washington Bureau with varied feed traffic.

      Telstar 11 (37.5 degreesW): 11542MHz horizontal, SR 6000, FEC 3/4 (Viacom stream) – Real time feed of CBS.

      NSS K (21.5 degreesW): 11462 MHz vertical, SR 6111, FEC 3/4 – n-tv Germany; 11489 MHz horizontal, SR 5632, FEC 3/4 – Sat 1 Germany feeds from Washington; 11492 MHz horizontal, SR 5632, FEC 3/4 – TVE Espana; 11498 MHz horizontal, SR 5632, FEC 3/4 – CBS feeds and TVE Espana. ABC News President Bush speech; 11508 MHz horizontal, SR 5632, FEC 3/4 – Live shot of The Pentagon plus CBS and ABC feeds; 11522 MHz horizontal, SR 5632, FEC 3/4 – Feeds in Arabic for MBC from Washington; 11525 MHz horizontal, SR 5632, FEC 3/4 – Fox News feeds; 11559 MHz horizontal, SR 5632, FEC 3/4 – Reuters correspondent on the roof of Reuters building in Manhattan with live (frantic) report immediately after the second aircraft hitting the WTC. NBC/CNN feeds from New York. GMTV from NYC.ABC Australia from NYC. Live inserts for BBC World, BBC News 24, BBC1 and BBC Breakfast; 11591 MHz, SR 20145, FEC 3/4 (GlobeCast NY, 3 feed streams) – Live relay of Pentagon press briefing for ABC News. Live relay of Fidel Castro speech. Live reports in Arabic from NYC and Washington for MBC.

      Eutelsat W2 (16 degreesE); 11133 MHz horizontal, SR 5632, FEC 3/4 – TV9 second hop feeds from the US; 12525 MHz horizontal, SR 5632, FEC 3/4 – Live report from a special church service in memory of those who lost their lives in the US for Sky News; 12555 MHz horizontal, SR 5632, FEC 3/4 – Real time relay of the Palestine Satellite Channel.

      Eutelsat W1 (10 degreesE); 11060 MHz horizontal, SR 6111, FEC 3/4 – Live report on aircraft/airport security from Frankfurt Airport;11591 MHz vertical, SR 4200, FEC 3/4 – Report in Turkish from a USAF airbase in southern Europe for CHA Haber.

      Over the weekend of September 21/22 the emphasis shifted from the United States to Pakistan and Afghanistan and the media arrived in Islamabad, Peshawar and Karachi in force. Flyaway uplinks were set up in the grounds of a hotel in Peshawar, close to Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan, and on the roof of another hotel in Islamabad. The usually very quiet Europe*Star 1 at 45 degrees East was lit up with constant eastbound and westbound feed traffic for a wide range of world broadcasters. CNN is using the Islamabad rooftop location with 11471 MHz vertical, SR 5632, FEC 3/4, VPID 308, APID 256, ID:’CNN ISLAMABAD – NTL CODEC 1′ in clear MPEG-2/NTSC for regular relays for the US domestic version of CNN and CNN international with correspondent Tom Mintier and others. APTN have two streams active 24 hours a day courtesy of NTL from the same location on 11556 MHz vertical and 11565 MHz vertical, SR 5632, FEC 3/4, VPIDs 308, APIDs 256, ID:’UKI44 NTL ENC 2′ and ‘UKI44 NTL ENC 1’. Many of the feeds here are for NHK Tokyo and TV Asahi. When these streams are not carrying traffic colour bars are displayed with ‘APTN ISLAMABAD. NTL UKI 44. Co-Ord Tel:+92 300 856773. MCR Tel: +92 300 856773′. BBC News is using Globecast facilities from the same rooftop location on two streams. These are 11657 MHz vertical and 11666 MHz vertical, SR 5632, FEC 3/4, VPIDs 308, APIDs 256, ID:’PATH 1 PAL 2Audio’ and ‘PATH 2 2Audios’. Constant live relays can be found on these frequencies for BBC News, BBC News 24, Breakfast, BBC World and Newsnight. When quiet both streams show this caption; ‘GlobeCast Islamabad. Path 1 BBC IFB +447980717051. Path 2 Reuters +873 762320561. Co-Ord +92 032 04506743’. ABC and CBS have streams from Islamabad on 11535 MHz vertical and 11544 MHz vertical respectively in MPEG-2/NTSC. The Peshawar uplink can be found on 11684 MHz vertical, SR 5632, FEC 3/4, VPID 33, APID 34, ID:’Service 2′ with regular feeds for KBS Seoul, Korea, NHK Tokyo, CBS Canada, CNN Turk plus many others. A live feed from a press conference given by the Bahrain leader, Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, on the current crisis used 12605 MHz vertical, SR 5632, FEC 3/4, VPID 513, APID 256, ID:’UKI 685 Sky News 420′ on September 17 at 13:25. After the feed the stream cut to colour bars overlaid with ‘Reuters Brussels’.

      Europe*Star 1 and most other satellites are likely to be very lively for some time to come as the situation in the East worsens.

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