Boycott Watch
December 12, 2006
Swatch Is Not Placing Ads On Non-Commercial Radio
Summary: An old email is re-circulating, causing confusion and panic for no reason.
   Preface: Ham Radio, a.k.a. Amateur Radio, operators are radio experts who value their non-commercial radio hobby, as well as protective about the radio spectrum bandwidth entrusted to them internationally. Amateur Radio is a highly advanced and technical hobby which includes satellite and television transmission options for the purpose of advancing technical knowledge and to create a pool of communications specialists in the event of an emergency. Amateur Radio operators were instrumental in the rescue efforts of 9/11 by creating an instant backbone of emergency communications when cell phones were not functioning.

   An email is circulating claiming the Swatch Company wants to place ads on non-commercial Amateur Radio satellites, but the email is actually from 1999, and someone re-sent it after it had been long forgotten about, causing panic among some. The boycott calls in the emails are obviously unwarranted

   The following is the original email and the 1999 end of story report from the American Radio Relay League which proves this story is old. Boycott Watch considers this story debunked. (Names, phone numbers and other information has been removed to protect people. AMSAT reports also contributed to the story)
Start Of Old Email:
Open letter to the amateur community

Dear editors, Loop readers, list readers, and assorted amateur friends,

Over the past week I have received an incredible response to my query in the Hudson Division's Hudson Loop newsletter about a curious advertisement on the Swatch web-site. To help advertise their new brand of "Swatch time" watches, they appeared to be launching a satellite which would broadcast the voice messages of web readers into space and back to earth over radio on the frequencies from 145.800 to 146.000 MHz.

Thanks to the excellent researching skills of Stephan A***, K2***, and Rick L***, N1***, I've discovered that Swatch in cooperation with the Russian space authorities have decided to use the two meter Amateur band for direct advertising via the "Beatnik" satellite (a mini-Sputnik and AMSAT-FR project formerly to be known as RS-19) across the entire world.

According to AMSAT-France, during the construction of the satellite, the Russian space center had made a separate commercial contract with the Swatch watch company to put its messages on the satellite. This was done in spite of AMSAT objections and contractual agreements with them not to put commercial advertising content in the digital messages. AMSAT-FR couldn't back out of their own contract and had to forward the parts on to the space center.

Riley H***, K4***, is doing his best to crack down on unlicensed and unbecoming operations within the jurisdiction of the FCC, but soon an egregious violation of the non-commercial status of amateur radio will begin taking place just a few miles above our heads when our two meter band is filled with advertisements for the latest Swatch watches.

Bernard P***, F6***, writes that we should do our best to ignore the satellite and not do anything to assist Swatch, such as tracking and publishing the Keplerian elements of this rogue mini-sat. I completely agree, but I believe it's necessary to go even further than that.

Just as we've successfully done in response to Little LEOs and APCO proposals in the past, it's time for amateur operators around the world to let Swatch AG and the Russian space program know just how precious our bands are to us. The first step is a comprehensive boycott of Swatch products. If you were considering the purchase of a Swatch watch for you or someone else, please take a moment to consider some of the other watch manufacturers who are not stealing away ham frequencies.

Next is to write a letter off to the Swatch company explaining why you made your purchase decision away from their products, and how you feel about this intrusion on the amateur bands. Use this address from their web-site registration as a starting point. If anyone knows the name of particular individuals within Swatch that the letters could be personally addressed to, please let me know. Swatch AG Jakob-Stampfli-Strasse 94 2504 Bienne CH

As I understand it, the Russian space center will be able to upload voice data in ten message batches, so it's possible that under pressure from Swatch, they could "pull" these commercial advertisements off the ham bands at any time during the 30 day life, even while the satellite is still operational. This is all the more reason to make it clear to Swatch how strongly the amateur community feels about this issue right now! Also, if you come across any amateur's page this month containing the Keplerian data or any mention of the Sputnik-99, let them know what Swatch is doing and encourage them to remove them as soon as possible.

I'll be maintaining a web site concerning the latest news in this problem at http://***.org/swatch-protest, which will start with this letter. More news will be posted here and placed on the web site as I hear about it. If you have any information, please feel free to e-mail me at ***@***.edu or ***@***.org, or call me at (555) 555-5555 at any time.

Please forward this message as necessary so that we can inform as many amateur operators worldwide as possible about this problem. 73 and good luck, Rob C***, KC2*** ***@***.edu
Start Of Debunking
As posted at:

ARLS002: ARRL Advises Swatch to Cancel "Beatnik" Launch
ARLS002 ARRL Advises Swatch to Cancel "Beatnik" Launch

Space Bulletin 002 ARLS002
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington, CT April 7, 1999
To all radio amateurs

ARLS002 ARRL Advises Swatch to Cancel "Beatnik" Launch

The ARRL has weighed into the burgeoning controversy over messages gathered by the Swatch watch company and programmed for transmission on 2 meters from the mini-Sputnik satellite. In a fax today, League Executive Vice President David Sumner, K1ZZ, suggested to Swatch Group CEO Nicolas E. Hayek that the Swiss firm cancel the launch of the "Beatnik" satellite and use a commercial satellite for its project instead.

"The Amateur Radio community must stand against the 'Beatnik' satellite because it represents such an undesirable precedent," Sumner said. He proposed that Swatch cancel the launch, planned for April 16 from the Russian Mir space station, and fulfill its commitment to transmit messages from space using excess capacity on a commercial satellite.

Over the past week, an increasing number of voices from among the amateur community have been raised in protest against plans for the mini-Sputnik to transmit messages related to the Swatch company's campaign to establish the "Swatch Beat" as a new "global concept of time." Via its Web site, Swatch reports it has solicited more than 5000 messages--including voice and text files--for possible transmission on the new satellite. Messages selected for use were supposed to include a reference to the "beat" theme.

Sumner pointed out that international regulations define the amateur service as one engaged in by "duly authorized persons interested in radio technique solely with a personal aim and without pecuniary interest." He told Swatch that canceling the launch and owning up to its mistake would "go a very long way toward repairing the damage that has been done to your company's image."

Swatch has acknowledged the amateurs' complaints and has included several on its Web site. It also has opened an e-mail comment box to gather opinions on "Should we send your messages into space?" But the company says the messages the satellite will send "are not advertising and do not contain the brand name Swatch." The company asserts that its campaign also provides "a great opportunity for Amateur Radio to gain an even wider audience." The company has promised to post the "final list" of messages sent for transmission by the satellite.

AMSAT-France has distanced itself from the soon-to-be-launched mini-Sputnik. AMSAT-France President Bernard Pidoux, F6BVP, has apologized for AMSAT-France's role in the situation and called on AMSAT organizations to refrain from describing the satellite's messages and to discourage listening "to this nonamateur-compliant satellite using our amateur band." AMSAT-France had contracted with AMSAT-Russia--with help from the Russian Space Flight Control Center (SCSC)--to build the RF and electronics modules for the new satellite. AMSAT-Russia was responsible for building the satellite frame, integrating the electronics, and programming the messages the satellite would transmit on 2-meters, Pidoux said.

After the contract was signed, Pidoux said, AMSAT-France found out that the SCSC had made a separate commercial contract with Swatch to put its "beat" messages on the satellite. AMSAT-France protested, citing contract provisions prohibiting "direct advertising" on the air, but it completed its part of the contract to avoid a lawsuit, Pidoux said.

AMSAT-Russia President Eugene Labutin, RA3APR, said the Space Flight Control Center signed the Swatch contract "under the name of AMSAT-R" and did not inform AMSAT-Russia what they were doing. He apologized on behalf of AMSAT-Russia.

The new Sputnik-99 satellite arrived on Mir aboard a Progress rocket April 4. It will carry a 100-mW transmitter and transmit on or about 145.815 MHz. The satellite will have an approximately 30-day life span. It will be able to transmit up to 10 different voice messages in addition to digital messages and telemetry. Data will include battery voltage and internal temperature.

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