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Report: US military jammed HotBird 8 satellite in January 27 March 2007

Posted by foray in jamming, satellite broadcasting.
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In a warning to international broadcasters that the US will not hesitate to interfere with what it perceives as enemy satellite signals, its military reportedly blocked the transmissions of the HotBird 8 transponder on 23 January.

According to an article in the Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger, the attack on Eutelsat’s HotBird 8 lasted 24 hours and was an attempt to interfere with the signal of the Iraqi militant-broadcaster al-Zawraa. The problem was, HotBird 8 doesn’t carry the al-Zawraa signal. It does however transmit the signal of another Iraqi channel called al-Zahra. Was it all a blunder?

Instead of affecting al-Zawraa, several other signals were blocked including the transmissions of the French news agency AFP and Swiss news agency SDA. One of the unintended casualties, religious broadcaster SAT-7, was left puzzled, telling its viewers:

Since 11:00 hours (Cyprus time) on 23rd January, the SAT-7 Arabic channel has faced technical problems with its signal on the Hot Bird 8 transponder. It began as picture interference, the kind that occasionally occurs during bad weather (video freezing, pixilation and losses in sound) but by 16:30 the signal was gone completely, as was the signal of the other TV channels sharing our transponder – Abu Dhabi, Syria, Yemen, Al-Zahra, Al-Baghdadia, Telepace, etc.

and:

On 25 January SAT-7 had to cancel its weekly live broadcast from Lebanon, because an unknown source was jamming SAT-7’s signal. The broadcasts were jammed for 24 hours on the 23-24 January, then for three hours on the 25th and for a few minutes on the 26th.

The jamming came from an Arab country, but SAT-7’s satellite provider Eutelsat has not been able to identify the source. All the channels sharing the same transponder as SAT-7: Abu Dhabi, Syria, Yemen, Al-Zahra, Al-Baghdadia, Telepace, etc. were also jammed.  SAT-7 does not expect the problem to reoccur.

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