Our story is worth telling
Axel Holstensson founded The Radio Company Luxor in Motala, Sweden. In the previous year the tomb of Tutankhamun was discovered in the Valley of the Kings outside Luxor, Egypt.
Two radio towers, made by Motala Verkstad Group, were assembled in Motala. Both radio towers are 120 meter high and had, at the time, a 140 meter long antenna between them. This was used for long wave radio communications. Motala became the radio communication capital of Sweden, and so remained for half a decade.
At the time, the majority of radio receivers were crystal receivers. Luxor made the decision to construct a radio receiver with electron tube technology. It was five times more expensive, but Luxor did not want to compromise on performance. It became a huge success, the company grew rapidly and started a new factory in Motala.
The rapid growth caused Luxor to build a new, larger factory in Motala that was ready in 1947. Luxor, along with Philips, was the market leader for radio and television in the Nordic countries for the next 30 years.
A catastrophic fire devastated 15,000 m² of the factory. This brought the Luxor radio production to a halt, thus giving the market top position to Lucky Goldstar, which became LG Electronics.
After the fire, it became obvious that the focus needed to be shifted. The radio and television market experienced tough competition from Asia. The satellites for TV distribution were expanding rapidly in the USA. At the time, the terrestrial television distribution network was poorly expanded and hundreds of thousands of people were unable to watch television. This new market turned into an interesting opportunity for Luxor and they gave five young engineers free reins to develop a satellite receiver system.
The Low Noise Blockdown Converters (LNB) was immediately considered to be the most sensitive aspect and received a lot of attention. Luxor soon became the world’s leading provider of satellite receiver systems and the company that made satellite TV a new big thing in the USA.
Nokia became the new majority owner and had an aim to streamline their operations and focus on mobile phone technology. Low Noise Block Converters was one of the business areas that was discontinued. As the business areas closed, several new entrepreneurs saw an opportunity arise.
One of the new companies emerging as spin-offs from Luxor was Swedish Microwave. The four founders had been part of the core team at Luxor focusing on satellite receiver systems. The business idea was to develop, produce, and sell Low Noise Block Converters for the satcom market. It was an instant success and the company made a profit already in its first year. The first LNB released had a Noise Figure 2.1 dB Max, and the market was thrilled.
The HEMT transistor was developed at Chalmers University in Sweden from which two of the four founders had graduated. The price was high: $500 for a single transistor, but the Noise Figure was massively improved to 1.5dB Max. The following year, Swedish Microwave was awarded "Best Company" in the city of Motala, in tough competition.
Sky's the limit! A new manufacturing site for high volume production of antennas was built, each year over 60,000 antennas were made and shipped all around the world. The OA1600 Multifocus Antenna had the capacity to receive a signal from 24 satellites (nine of them simultaneously) and it was awarded the World’s Best Antenna.
SMW-Link was released and distributed via floppy disks to thousands of customers world-wide. It was later available as a free download version online and got over one million downloads. SMW-Link is still an appreciated calculation tool used world-wide for education and installation.
LNBF was released for the consumer market with focus on high-volume production. Feed horns and a wide range of other products were released. Swedish Microwave was awarded the Development Funds Prize for extraordinary initiative and development skills. The Swedish Industry Minister, Per Westerberg, came to Motala to reward one of the co-founders for leading the way with the outstanding growth rate of Swedish Microwave.
Increased competition caused the market to suffer from price erosion. Swedish Microwave had to make another tough call to update their strategy, to adjust to the new reality. The new target was to focus on the professional satellite communication industry with a strong spotlight on the product LNB. The world’s first dual output Ku-band LNB for simultaneous reception of low and high Ku-band was released.
After some time, it became evident that Swedish Microwave had made the right strategic decision. New customers with new requirements lead to a wide range of new products in the upcoming years. To mention a few of them:
• The first PLL LNB
• The first Dual PLL LNB Ku-band to receive Low- & High Ku-band simultaneously
• The first LNA
• The first BDC
• The first Wideband with IF up to 3000MHz
A unique 2-band switchable PLL LNB Ku-band, software configurable to have customized LO’s to our customers, was released. This was a game changer for Swedish Microwave, and marked the start of products with a high flexibility being offered to the customers. The products met the DVB-S2 standard, which was important for further growth.
When the founders retired, three impelled employees acquired the company. They saw the opportunity to further develop the business with new product segments such as:
• New Ku-Multiband (Q-PLL)
• The first LNB for X-Band
• The first LNB for C-band with integrated filters for WiMAX, Radar, etc
• The world's first Dual Output PLL LNB for Ku-Band. Known world-wide today as the WDL
A new, outstanding RF engineer joined as Chief Developer. This created the opportunity to further improve the performance of the products and break new ground. The following year, his team created a lot of the products that constitute the core business of present-day Swedish Microwave.
• The First Ka-Multiband with monitor and control option was released.
• The First RF over Fiber products went into production.
• The first Q V Band LNB
Beijer Tech became the new owner of Swedish Microwave. Their philosophy is to have a decentralized business responsibility and a long-term vision, which suits Swedish Microwave perfectly. The target is set: to be the No. 1 option when choosing a supplier of professional LNB and ruggedized RF over fiber solutions.
We aim to continue to serve the global market with great products and support and thus continue the success story of Swedish Microwave!