Satellite Beam Sponsorship in Africa, Far East, Etc

I have been an Othernet supporter from way back in the Galaxy 19 Ku-band days, and have watched them grow stronger with each new initiative.

Othernet is now at a point when they require some sort of Satellite Beam Sponsorship. Many of you have asked when will Europe be up, when will China be up, when will the Middle East be up, etc.

I have discussed this off line with Syed, and he gave me the go ahead to open this dialog. The bottom line is a single satellite beam costs Othernet $10,000 per month which Othernet is paying for. Do the math, and you’ll see the future will be very expensive as he opens up the world.

So sponsorship is needed. Who might that be? Your ideas are welcome here. With every organization that might want to participate, there are down side problems. For example, religious short wave broadcasters wanting to get into the satellite world bring potential ideas some of won’t be happy with. The same is true of the news media or commercial ventures all of whom are going to want something broadcast some of might object to.

So let’s get this discussion started. Ken


I think there is huge potential, but there’s issues to address: The first is the experimental / availability one. If someone is going to put a decent sized dent in $10k a month, and then spend $10ks or $100ks on receive hardware, they need to know its going to work 24/7 and not fail because ‘someone is fiddling with it’ - ie experimenting! There’s a slight disconnect between hobbiest development and commercial reliability!

I’m also a little surprised by the costs- space segment has dropped maybe 40-60% in the last year, I was hoping costs would be more in the $2k range, but I’m no expert!


I always wondered what the cost was which is why I asked Syed for some specifics.

It is valuable for us to know the magnitude of the current costs. Ken

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Well, Ken, as you know, I’m a relative newcomer.

I think there are basically three big markets:

  1. Those people with money and Internet service available.
  2. Those people with money, but not Internet service available., and
  3. Those people with no money and no Internet service available.

Well of course, there’s people like me :smiley:
4) No money and Internet service available.

I think the market for Othernet is #2. They have a limited amount of money and the Internet has not made it to their part of the world. Would they be satisfied with receiving data and radio broadcasts?

What are the answers to…

  1. Why? Why do they want this kind of service? What’s in it for them?
  2. If there’s a reason for it, how much would they be willing to contribute?

Knowing this, we can probably find some organization that may be willing to subsidize parts of the costs.

  1. What’s in it for them?


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For the right application, the ‘huge’ costs of $120k a year would be trivial - it’s just finding that right application. For example some sort of national tsunami / adverse weather system that did not rely on ground based infrastructure (phone masts or powered fibre lines) would consider those costs trivial… it’s just a case of finding that use, and then piggybacking ‘our’ usage on the back of that!

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The Australian Government is reconsidering its decision to abandon ALL Shortwave Radio into Asia Pacific.

It has called for submissions on Shortwave options to send out Australia’s message to adjoining counties and areas.

It has also requested alternative technologies. i.e. satellite etc.

I wrote a very brief submission and at the end I suggested theOuternet $100 satellite receiver,would be an excellent emergency option.

I suggest others should write in as well. YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE AUSTRALIAN TO SUBMIT.



can I please have a look at your submission so that I can write something similar (I’ll let you read it for your comments before I send it in)…?
Is Syed aware of this…?
Luigi M

Submission to Radio Australia Shortwave.

Philippines Shortwave Radio reception.

Currently as a English Speaking Australian living in the Philippines Shortwave Radio is very important to me.

In Philippines Local English speaking radio and English speaking terrestrial Television availability is limited.

In Philippines International Shortwave radio is “somewhat” usable.
BBC approx 3 Hrs in Morning from Singapore.
BBC 3hrs in Evening from Singapore.

BBC Reception quality in this Sunspot cycle varies. The 125 KWatt transmissions are hard to listen too sometimes. The 250 kW transmissions are clearer and sometimes can be clear enough be considered as a FM radio station.
The BBC Shortwave frequencies in SE Asia sometimes have foreign language shortwave broadcasts coming over the top of them. This is very annoying.

BBC World English Shortwave Programming is the regular BBC World News and also they have a news hour type of News round up. Quality of Journalism and news service I would say is excellent.

       New Zealand  shortwave Radio

In Philippines The New Zealand shortwave Radio is available 24hrs but under current sunspot activity is very hard to hear.

The NZ 125 Kwatt signal is just too weak to reach the Philippines in anything outside of ideal atmospheric reception conditions.

NZ News Presented is good, but is New Zealand centric. Programming is New Zealand centric and production quality is good.

       Palau Religious Channel.

1500km from Philippines. This station is very clear.

Is a 24/7 Religious station with USA presenters mainly.

       China International Shortwave

In Philippines China International Shortwave in English is easily received.

In times where I am unable to get any other English speaking Shortwave channel I listen to the China International radio.

The reception quality from 2000km to 3000km away on the 500 KWatt transmissions can be and is very clear most of the time.

The news and stories are some what repetitive. There news is mainly about China.

The announcers are very professional and production quality is good.

The more I listen to China International radio the more I am getting used to it.

       In the Philippines Radio Australia was very good and I listened to it a lot.

Signal strength was stronger than Radio New Zealand but not as strong as BBC from Singapore. From Memory I think Radio Australia worked better at night.

I liked the Australian Music and the Australian News.

I found some of the stories on Radio Australia to be slightly long winded but one radio station cannot please every one, all of the time.

       Return of Radio Australia to South East Asia.

Australia is not in Isolation in Asia. Our ability to get our MESSAGE out to the people of SE Asia is incredibly important.

The ability to string up a long wire antenna and a cheap Shortwave radio and receive Australia’s message is absolutely essential to every one is Asia.

We lost this when we shut down Radio Australia.

It is not something you can measure in listener ratings. Like CNN people listen to Shortwave when there is a problem or situation.

Listening to Shortwave in remote areas is totally anonymous and easy to do. Internet does not have that flexibility.

In the age of FAKE News on the Internet, Shortwave news broadcast is the Golden standard for getting your message out.

Think, Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, Bali Bombing,
If you need to get a warning out to all Australians living in remote parts of Asia Shortwave is a very powerful way…

If we have a major Cyclone, Earthquake event in the SE Asia. How will we send information?, into those SEVERELY Damaged geographic areas. IF ALL THE MOBILE PHONE AND SATELLITE equipment is damaged.

Shortwave is the immediate and smart solution. Minutes after the storm has passed people can string up an antenna and start receiving life saving evacuation information.

Bringing back Radio Australia Shortwave will also allow Australian programming to once again be available to all shortwave listeners in Asia.

Shortwave plus DRM.

I fully believe that we have to have Shortwave. Everyone has a shortwave receiver somewhere and they are cheap to buy.

But I also believe that new technology needs to be implemented as well.

If Radio Australia could be broadcast on Digital Radio Mondale then I would buy the necessary equipment.

Clarity of transmission is very important to me. Filipinos and other Asians are used to an American accent so when transmitting the less familiar Australian accent we need all the clarity we can get.

If we did transmit DRM I believe we still will need to have a transfer period of maybe 5 years were AM Shortwave and DRM are transmitted at the same time.

       Shortwave Alternatives. Outernet

Outernet is a very low cost, one -way satellite receiver and satellite data casting service. Utilizing low cost equipment (less than $100 - 150 US) and No satellite Dish needed. It works by sending a LORA spread spectrum signal over a conventional TV satellite beam.

These low cost receiver devices with WiFi hot-spots could be extremely effective in Cyclone ravaged parts of the world…

A simple solar powered Outernet receiver unit mounted on a pole could allow all survivors to link their android mobile phone to the WiFi hotspot and download lifesaving survival information in real time.

Currently the K-Band Outernet service is available in test mode in the USA but S/E Asia could easily be added.

Previously Outernet ran on L-Band worldwide but was shut done due to high L-Band transmission costs. The L-Band service (Inmarsat) was slowish but worked well and could utilize mobile antennas.

Last year I E Mailed and wrote several letters to Radio Australia CEO Dr. David McCluskey asking if he would allow Othernet to rebroadcast their RSS news feeds (as I did successfully with the BBC). I got no reply - - and was very disappointed as L-band was working back then.

In any case, Radio Australia has several great RSS feeds that would work well on Othernet and certainly benefit the citizens of Australia - - especially in the out back. Naturally, now, we also need a satellite link over Australia. So the problem has grown. Ken


Has anyone considered a hybrid approach ? Signal source distributed by internet / satellite to nearest edge, then from there by conventional radio to areas without coverage by conventional radio or other land based means? With the advent of things like the Pi receivers would be reasonably cheap.

I’ve been looking for alternatives since I bought my first Outernet kit about 2 years ago which failed to work at all. Since then I have started IMI ( Internet Marconi Initiative ) and have been working to source and assemble simple Pi kits to this end.

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Sounds interesting. Can you please share a bit more info on the IMI and any ongoing efforts? Google didn’t turn up anything.

@Abhishek Delchi,
Is this related to this project?

This article says that this is NOT an Internet inclusion project and goes to name several:

Alliance for an Affordable Internet (A4AI)
World Economic Forum Internet for All (I4A) initiative
The Internet Society, and
The IEEE Internet Initiative.

Maybe we can “hitch a ride” on one of these large inclusion projects?