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Don’t go running for your TV warranty if the picture turns to static or even goes blank between Feb. 29 and March 12.

The trouble is likely to be a seasonal “sun outage,” in which the sun’s radiation muscles out the satellite signal that got in its way.

“It takes place both spring and fall of each year and affects all satellite communications, including, obviously, AFN,” said Capt. Michelle Lai, operations officer with AFN-Korea in Seoul. “The program interruptions are characterized by complete loss of signal for as much as several minutes.

“The radiation basically overpowers the broadcast signal, causing the disruption,” Lai said.

Theoretically, she said, it can happen anywhere in the world, depending on the sun’s position and that of a satellite signal making its way through space at a given moment.

“It could be affecting the Korean stations, it could be affecting any other international media source, for that matter,” Lai said.

For AFN viewers, it’s only those programs fed by satellite from the United States — shows such as Oprah, ESPN Sports and others — that might go static or blank, Lai said.

“We actually receive six channels from the U.S., and those are what would be impacted,” said Lai. “Anything produced locally would be fine.”


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