Article - Satellite Earth Station
With the installation of the ground station in Emeq Ha'ela among the Jerusalem hills in 1972, Israel entered a new age - the age of satellite communication.
The operation of this station provides Israel with hundreds of additional telephone channels to foreign countries, as well as international facilities for telegraph and telex. Photo transmission has been facilitated, as has contact between computers, and Israel television is able to receive live television broadcasts from abroad and transmit them to every TV set in the country, through the Ministry of Communications' transmitter.
The variety of services, their range and number, certainly have had a considerable effect on economic, commercial and cultural life, and on Israeli society as a whole.
Israel, through its Ministry of Communications, was admitted to membership in the International Union for Satellite Communication (INTELSTAT) soon after the organization was founded in 1964. Every country belonging to the union owns a share of it, whose size and value are determined in accordance with that country's communications traffic in relation to total world international satellite communications traffic.
The ground satellite station in Emeq Ha'ela made available to the public 400 telephone channels in addition to the 128 carried by the submarine cable between Israel and France. If required, the existing antenna system can provide up to about a thousand voice channels.
The ground station and its saucer-shaped antenna 30 meters in diameter transmits international telephone calls (and also telegrams and telex, computer data and television broadcasts) to INTELSTAT Satellite No. 4 which hovers at a fixed place over the Atlantic at an altitude of 36,000 kilometers. The satellite receives the calls and directs them as required to ground stations in North and South America and Europe, which then channel the calls through direct communication lines to national and local telephone networks and thence to the subscriber's home.
The importance of the ground station, however, is not in the extent and quantity of communications media which it provides. Besides being the only way of transmitting television broadcasts overseas, satellite communication also permits the expansion of services to the press and radio, and gives a tremendous impetus to research and development.
Via the satellite, universities and other institutions can make use of giant computers abroad, of types not yet operating in Israel. The satellite arrangement also permits transmission of data between ultra-rapid computers.
Israel's growing international trade and increasing exports, as well as the enormous technological development now taking place, necessitate contact with scientific and research institutions all over the world. The social and family connections which many Israelis have with residents of other countries likewise make demands on communication facilities. And as a result of Israel's special geopolitical situation, all communications with foreign countries are at present exclusively in the intercontinental, long range category. For all these reasons, Israel's entry into the satellite communication field is of vital importance.
The ground station for satellite communication, because of the large number of communication channels it provides, also enables the Ministry of Communications to give the Israel telephone subscriber the service of direct and automatic international dialing. This service simplifies and improves the process of obtaining overseas connections.
The stamp is symbolic, depicting an antenna, satellite and rainbow. Inscribed on the stamp is: "Ground Station in the Ha'ela Valley." The tab inscription is: "Their voice goes out through all the earth" (Psalms 98: 4).