Reception check: KCTV’s new satellite feed

A couple of weeks ago I reported that satellite monitors had found a new feed of Korean Central Television on Intelsat 21, a satellite above the Atlantic that covers all of the Americas and west Europe.

Today I had a chance to check it out.

Technical details of Korean Central Television's feed to the Americas and west Europe (Photo: North Korea Tech)

Technical details of Korean Central Television’s feed to the Americas and west Europe (Photo: North Korea Tech)

The feed is being broadcast in standard definition PAL. That isn’t quite as good as the high definition feed KCTV recently switched to for its Asia satellite broadcast, but it’s far superior to the quality of clips currently being uploaded by North Korean news sites.

Intelsat 21 was putting in a strong signal to my dish, even though it appears low in the sky from California.

Signal level of Korean Central Television's feed (Photo: North Korea Tech)

Signal level of Korean Central Television’s feed (Photo: North Korea Tech)

Stable reception should be possible with a dish of 1.8 meters or larger. I was using a 1.2-meter dish and reception was good, but it wasn’t free of occasional signal break up, as you can see in the clips I recorded.

Here’s Monday’s programming schedule. This was recorded at around 1130 Pyongyang time, which is much earlier than the 1500 local time that programming normally begins. KCTV usually airs a full day schedule on weekends and public holidays.

If you need more details about reception, see my previous post for a map showing the coverage area.

Here’s a propaganda song:

And here’s another:

8 Comments on "Reception check: KCTV’s new satellite feed"

  1. Hello Martin,

    nice to see that KCTV is now finally available in Americas, and that you can successfully tune in. 1,2m dish is very small for C-Band. So it must be a strong signal. I hope the channel will stay on that satellite for long time.

    • Martyn Williams | May 12, 2015 at 03:48 |

      Yes, unfortunately, my larger dish can’t see Intelsat 21. I got this one working to see if it was possible to receive it. I’m glad it worked, but it remains difficult in California because it’s only about 11 degrees above the horizon.


    Did they ever leave? If not, someone might wanna tell LyngSat…

    • Martyn Williams | May 12, 2015 at 03:47 |

      They didn’t leave. Lyngsat currently lists the channel as “MPT Testcard,” which it is for most of the day. The confusion probably comes because KCTV is on air overnight in the US, so people just see the testcard during the day and assume the channel is not there.

      • The Koreans should -instead of airing a testcard- repeat their daily program via this satellite after closedown. So it could be viewed in Americas at daytime too.
        Also a good idea would be the addition of the “Voice of Korea” radio channel with its broadcasts in english, french and many other languages. Via Thaicom two radios can be received additional to the TV signal.

  3. Funny how on Youtube national music is considered “propaganda”. Western world should also remember to use that word on our own propaganda when it’s drip-fed to poor people who haven’t a clue.

  4. I’m curious, does KCTV air ANY foreign TV shows at all?

    • Martyn Williams | May 21, 2015 at 14:53 |

      I’m not sure of the current situation, but KCTV would sometimes air the odd Russian movie, according to previous reports. A couple of years ago a new channel started that aired Chinese, Russian and English language programming, but little has been obtained about it. It’s basically all national propaganda on the main channel, which is the only one available via satellite.

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