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Staying in Touch

Many people go sailing to get away from the UK. As a self-confessed news junkie, who believes that Radio 4 should be supplied free as a right where ever you are on the planet, I like to know what’s going on. So if, like me, you need the fix, read on.

Accessing the Internet
All Libraries in Denmark and Sweden have free access to the Internet. Usually its managed via some form of booking system, and you are restricted to about 30 minutes, however I've rarely had to wait more than about 10 minutes to get a session. For a discussion on using the Internet from the boat, seeAccessing the Internet Afloat
Terrestrial Radio and TV services disappear pretty rapidly once you sail over the horizon from the UK. Danish and Swedish radio does have the odd news summary in English, but generally only for a couple of minutes late at night. If you have a good receiver, Radio 4 can still be received on 198 kHz throughout western Denmark, and if you have a very good receiver, then somewhat further east. Radios 2 and 4 are also available on Satellite (see below). The BBC World Service is obtainable everywhere but it jumps frequencies alarmingly and without warning and keeping up with it can be like following a rabbit down a burrow.

Local terrestrial TV does have a high American/English content, but not in News. Apart from a few films, it’s mostly dire.

An alternative is to try for Satellite. The Baltic is on the edge of UK Satellite TV and officially it needs a 3.5 (yes 3.5!) metre dish (normal UK dishes are around 60 cm). Reports from Sweden indicate that in practice you will need at least a 1.5 metre dish to get anything, although you can get away with a smaller one in Denmark. Clearly, dishes of this size are not practical on a boat.

An additional problem is that BBC and ITV Channels are broadcast from the Astra 2D Satellite, which is somewhat weaker than Astra 2B, which the rest of the Sky Channels are on. The only BBC Channels on Astra 2B are Radios 2 and 4.

Pace Javelin receiverTo receive Satellite you’ll need a FTA (free-to-air) receiver or Sky Digibox. Pace make a nice little ‘Javelin’ digibox (for about £180) designed for caravans. It’s smaller than the usual black boxes and will work off 12 volts. You’ll also need a good low noise block (LNB) and a suitable dish.

You can’t simply take the Sky card out of your home receiver and take it to the boat, as the cards are ‘keyed’ to the receiver. This means you will need another subscription or get one of the free so-called ‘Solus’ cards which allows you to see free-to-air channels. Unfortunately, the BBC has recently announced that they are not going to continue to pay for these so their future is uncertain. A good source for information on all things regarding Satellite TV is Satcure


A much more reasonable proposition is to get hold of UK newspapers. These are occasionally available in Denmark and somewhat more easily in Sweden.

In the cities (Stockholm, Gothenburg) you have quite a good choice, but outside of this, the options are more limited. Interpress have a list of outlets that stock foreign papers here, or you can download the PDF file, which is a complete list, below.

Papers are usually available the afternoon following their printing day. The most available broadsheets are the European Guardian and the Telegraph. The Mail and Mirror are also fairly widely available. Sunday papers are also usually obtainable from Monday afternoon.


 Where to get your newspaper in Sweden
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