| 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
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
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
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
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
SB SPACE @
ARLS002 ARRL Advises Swatch to Cancel "Beatnik" Launch
QST de W1AW
Space Bulletin 002 ARLS002
Newington, CT April 7, 1999
To all radio amateurs
SB SPACE ARL ARLS002
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
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.
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.