Turkey is one of the countries with the most colorful and diverse television landscape. Countless stations, ranging from national full programs to small regional channels to specialty channels, provide variety.
All of this is transmitted unencrypted over 42 degrees East. Unfortunately, the reception of the Türksats positioned here in our latitudes is sometimes a real challenge.
Türksat 3A was launched on June 12, 2008. Its intended lifespan is 15 years. The satellite has 24 Ku-band transponders that work over two beams. The Westbeam’s core footprint extends from Turkey to Central Europe and also covers Germany in its entirety. Turkey, large parts of the Arabian Peninsula and the region from Iran to Kyrgyzstan are primarily reached via the East Beam. Central Europe is served, at least according to the published supply cards, with a significantly weaker signal. Türksat 3A is also said to have a special Turkey spot beam. But this is obviously not used.
Reception of the Türksat 3A
105 free television programs are broadcast on the West Beam, only ten on the East Beam of Türksat 3A. In terms of signal strengths, there are no differences between the footprints. Probably also because there are already enormous fluctuations in the Westbeam transponders. The weakest Westbeam transponder arrives at our reception point with around 8 dB, the strongest with 17 dB above background noise. The Ostbeam transponders are around 10.5 to 12 dB in the upper midfield. Türksat 3A is considered easy to get with us. Even the eastern footprint is not a particular challenge and should be manageable in our latitudes with reasonable effort. Since Germany is not only in the center of the West but also within the East, a stable 24-hour reception is also guaranteed. The fluctuation range during the day is a modest around 1.2 dB, which means that unpleasant surprises, such as failures over several hours, are just as impossible as with normal Astra reception at 19.2 degrees East.
On February 14, 2014, Türksat 4A was launched. The satellite is designed for a period of 15 years. It has 28 Ku and 2 Ka band transponders. In the Ku-Band, Türksat 4A works over four footprints. While the Westbeam is available in the German-speaking area from a diameter of about 60 cm, we are only marginally supplied by the Eastbeam. For him, the satellite operator recommends 1.8 to 2.4 m for the southern half of Germany. The German north is already out of footprint. Two programs are distributed via an Africa beam. This cannot be seen here.
The attractive domestic versions of the major Turkish private broadcasters are broadcast via the Turkey spotbeam. In our latitudes, we have pretty little chance with him. In Linz, Upper Austria, we last managed to get at least two of these transponders on the screen two years ago – always hard at the limit of what was just feasible. Today we can barely see the transponders in the spectrum display of the reception software EBS Pro. However, their signal strength should only reach a fraction of the weakest Ostbeam transponders. Far too little to recognize the data streams, let alone evaluate them and make them visible. At best, there are little chances in perfect weather. The time of day and thus the current position of the Türksat 4A in geostationary orbit will also play a role. Occasionally it can be heard that in the southwest of Germany one or the other Turkeameam transponder occasionally comes in for a few hours from a diameter of around 1.8 m. This could indicate a regionally limited side lobe, but its practical value for permanent reception is also not given.
Reception of the Türksat 4A
Türksat 4A occupies the range between 11.7 and 12.5 GHz. On the vertical level, broadcasting is only through the West Beam. It provides signal strengths of around 14.5 to over 20 dB and can therefore be obtained even with small antennas. A much greater challenge awaits us on the horizontal level. It is home to all East and Turkey team transponders. Although we are already in a preferred reception area in Linz, Upper Austria, compared to most of Germany, we also have to struggle hard with individual transponders. On our 450 mm bowl, we determine signal strengths between 6.4 and 16.8 dB when the sky is cloudy. We found it particularly uncomfortable that some transponders require a slightly different antenna orientation. This allows them to gain up to over 1 dB, while others can lose up to 4 dB. While we were denied any success on the Turkey team, we could at least see all programs broadcast via the East Beam without interference. The Türksat 4A is extremely stable over the course of the 24 hours. Its fluctuation bandwidth within the eastbeam is around 1.1 dB and thus offers ideal conditions for permanent reception. However, subject to the corresponding antenna diameter. The most attractive Turkish private broadcasters come with their domestic versions through the Turkish team of the Türksat 4A. This leaves favorites such as Kanal D, Star TV and Fox unreachable for us. After all, atv, Show TV and Kanal 7 have chances because they come via the east beam of the Türksat 4A, which is at least still feasible in the south of Germany. As an alternative, several large private broadcasters offer their own European versions, on which there is usually copyright-free content to be seen instead of top-class films, series and sports. They include Euro D, Euro Star and atv Avrupa. In comparison with their original versions, it quickly becomes clear why the foreign versions of these programs do not go down very well with those who speak Turkish. In addition, the European programs from atv, Kanal D and Co. are only broadcast in SD. At least with the channels of the state Turkish television we are well supplied. They come via several east and west beam transponders from both Türksats in HD and SD and can therefore also be seen with every 90s bowl. News channels appear to be very popular in Turkey. Not only the large families of stations operate their own news channels, but also state radio. There are also a number of small news stations on air. In general, however, the question must be asked to what extent it is possible for them to report neutrally and objectively. For non-Turks, the great attraction of the 42 degrees East position is likely to be found in the countless small TV stations. They are particularly connected to their home regions and show us the country and its people, as well as their culture and customs. All you have to do is let the pictures speak. They are enough to take us into strange, unknown worlds, which we do not get to see in the various tourist strongholds during normal holidays in Turkey. After all, Turkey stands for much more than the ever-recurring political disputes with the EU. Turkey is rich in history and traditions. Here, television can also do its part to see the image that you may have of Turkey and its inhabitants in a new light.
The music channels are also an insider tip at 42 degrees East. Regardless of whether it has a folkloristic touch or follows the current pop trends, they all bring us to music pieces that we have certainly never heard of. Good pop music doesn’t just have to come from the USA or the UK. There are also many good artists in other regions of the world that are worth hearing. At least for non-Turks, the lyrics do not matter. The rhythm of the titles alone is enough to get you carried away. With the right television format, you don’t seem to take it too seriously at 42 degrees East. It is common practice, for example, that the SD versions of channels also offered in HD are simply compressed to the old 4: 3 picture format – which is equally unpleasant for private and state broadcasters. This leads to the assumption that a lot of old televisions with a 4: 3 screen are still in operation in Turkey and that one prefers to see distorted pictures in the country instead of black strips at the top and bottom. The station logos alone are usually displayed in the correct format. With these programs, the format changeover of the television is required.
65 radio programs are available via the western footprint of both Türksats alone. In addition to a broad spectrum of state channels, the many private channels in particular ensure variety. On them you can discover fresh, happy, and for us very many new, absolutely worth listening titles. The moderators also show us how to make radio. Even if you don’t understand a word, the speech melody alone reveals that the speakers are heart and soul in front of their mics. Something that we seem to miss all too often. Southern radio sounds very different from what we are used to from the local stations. Turkish TV and radio may be so interesting for us, because it comes from a region that is somehow still Europe and therefore western, but on the other hand culturally deeply Asian. All of this – enriched with local customs that differ greatly from region to region – can be found on Turkish channels. All you have to do is let the pictures speak for themselves. Alone they convey a lot of new and unknown things to us and also help a little bit to understand the Turkish mentality a little better.
Easy to impossible
Via position 42 degrees east, 198 free-to-air TV channels are broadcast via the west beam of the two Türksats. For them, antenna diameters range up to approximately 1.2 m. When the Eastbeam is received, however, it is already demanding. At least the ten programs of the Türksat 3A should still be relatively easy to get. The 24 East Beam stations of the Türksat 4A are most likely to be in the south of Germany. At least in our latitudes you have to do without the 50 channels transmitted via the Turkish team – which is painful because the most attractive private stations with their domestic versions could be seen via this coverage zone.
- Tuerksat42OST_Galerie01: © Auerbach Verlag
- Tuerksat42OST_Galerie02: © Auerbach Verlag
- Tuerksat42OST_Galerie03: © Auerbach Verlag