AFN gradually restoring TV service in Pacific in wake of satellite failure
January 22, 2005
The full slate of American Forces Network television programming resumed at some bases in Japan on Thursday afternoon, according to an AFN Pacific official in Tokyo.
On Jan. 15, the INTELSAT804 satellite over the Pacific Ocean used by AFN suffered a “major electrical failure onboard,” according to AFN officials.
Many viewers in Japan had limited, three-channel AFN television service again Monday, thanks to AFN’s Direct-to-Sailor satellite system and equipment, and technical assistance from Americable Japan at several Navy installations.
As of Thursday afternoon, Yokota Air Base and Misawa Air Base had full service restored, said Keith Lebling, detachment chief at AFN Pacific in Tokyo.
The Sasebo Naval Base AFN detachment and AFN on Okinawa still were conducting tests Thursday, and Lebling said it was probable that full service would resume in those places Friday.
Iwakuni Marine Corps Air Station, Lebling said, will require some additional equipment, but may resume the full slate of programming “in the next couple of days.”
Other Pacific locations are to continue with the limited DTS programming until the end of the month, when new satellite configurations are completed.
“The reason some bases have all the programming back, or will have it back Friday, is because they are ‘full-service detachments’ who have large satellite dishes that can be turned and tweaked to catch the new satellite configurations designated by AFRTS (American Forces Radio and Television Service),” Lebling said.
The satellite failure affected all of mainland Japan, Okinawa, South Korea and other Pacific installations from Diego Garcia to Alaska, Lebling said shortly after the satellite failed.
Viewers at facilities still receiving the limited DTS programming can access an alternate broadcast schedule at: http://myafn.dodmedia.osd.mil/tv/assets/Dts15Jan.xls.
Lebling expressed gratitude to Americable Japan personnel for the assistance they provided immediately following the satellite malfunction in establishing the limited three-channel DTS lineup.
“We were able to help with some spare satellite dishes we had and other necessary equipment,” said James Smith, an Americable Japan official. “Americable made the determination to use our own spare equipment to restore the AFN DTS signal” at Navy installations including Yokosuka Naval Base, Negishi, Ikego and Atsugi Naval Air Facility.
“They were just great and really stepped up. They gave us extra bandwidth and made extra dishes available. They reacted very quickly and generously,” Lebling said.