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-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [ARES-RACES] Amateur operators to boycott Swatch AG
Date: Sat, 3 Apr 1999 21:25:57 -0500 (EST)
From: Rob Carlson <rcarls2@gl.umbc.edu>
Reply-To: Rob Carlson <rcarls2@gl.umbc.edu>
Organization: University of Maryland Baltimore County
To: 2m@qth.net, ares-races@qth.net

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 Anderman, K2SMA, and
Rick Lindquist, N1RL, 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 Hollingsworth, K4ZDH, 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 Pidoux, F6BVP, 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://rob.carlson.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 rcarls2@umbc.edu or kc2aei@amsat.org, or call me at (410) 455-3192 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 Carlson, KC2AEI
rcarls2@umbc.edu

--
Rob Carlson, KC2AEI | rcarls2@umbc.edu | http://rob.carlson.org






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