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ISS Status Oct 26, 2000

ISS and Mir status report

October 26, 2000

By Miles Mann WF1F,
MAREX-NA (Manned Amateur Radio Experiment, North American Division)

The first full time crew is scheduled to be launched to ISS on October
31, 2000.
The three man crew will consist of Commander Bill Shepherd, a U.S.
astronaut; Soy Commander Yuri Gidzenko, a Russian cosmonaut; and Flight
Engineer Sergei Krikalev, a Russian cosmonaut.  (Sergei is the most
experienced when it comes to Amateur Radio operations).

For more information on this mission please check the NASA web pages.

ISS visibility:
The NASA web page has a program which will calculate the potential for
being able to visually see the ISS as it passes over your city.  They
have a listings for many different cities and countries.

ISS Amateur Radio Access:
The 2-meter voice and packet station has already been delivered to the
International space station.  It has been estimated that it will require
the ISS crew 2 hours to unpack and install the amateur radio station. 
The time line for this project is only one hour, so a little adjustment
needs to be done to fit the task into the time line.  At the present
time, there is no official public start time for the amateur radio
station from ISS.

A formal request is being processed through channels to ask for the
equipment to be turned on sometime during mid November 2000 by the ISS
crew.  Part of the reason for the early start date is to celebrate 12
years of amateur radio activity from the Russians in space.  November 8,
2000 marks the 12 year anniversary of Amateur Radio activity from the
Russian Space Station Mir.  It all began 12 years ago, when Mir flight
engineer Musa Khiramanovich Manarov U2MIR made the first two way 2-meter
contact from the Russian Space Station Mir to Leo Labukin UA3CR. At the
time of the contact, Leo Labutin, was visiting the Amsat convention in
Washington DC. That first contact ushered in a whole new chapter in
accessible Amateur Radio satellite access.

Ground Station Link:
What will you need to Hear the ISS Amateur Radio 2-meter Station.
That's a tricky question because there are good orbit pass and poor low
orbit passes.  On a good 45 degree orbit pass, since the ISS is only 250
miles high, you will be able to hear the 2-meter signal from the space
station with a very small antenna (0 dBd  to  minus 12 dBd (rubber
duck)).  During a very low orbit passes under 20 degrees you may need a
much larger antenna.
The Amateur Radio station on ISS will be transmitting in the satellite
2-meter band (ITU 144.000 - 146.000 mc).  The exact frequency will be
announced at the last minute.  The ISS transmitter power output is
approximately 3 watts, into a vertical antenna rated at minus 3 dBd.  I
do not have the coax loss values at this time.  This combination of
power and antenna gain will provide an ERP rating of  approximately 1.5
watts.  The 1.5 watt value is not that bad, I was able to hear the
RS-17/18 satellites from my car antenna (minus 3dBd) and those
satellites were only running 0.5 watts.  If you only have a zero dBd
gain antenna and a police scanner you will still be able to hear the ISS
on some good orbits.
(note:  if your antenna is rated in dB rather than the correct dBd
value, subtract 3 to convert the dB value to the correct dBd rating)

Suggested receiving station:
Casual listening for ISS and Mir
2-meter vertical or scanner antenna (0 dBd or better)
Police scanner or amateur radio with the ability to receive in the 144 -
146 mc or MHz range, FM mode.  Antenna cable should be a low loss RG-8
style cable less than 100 feet long (RG-213 best choice).  You will not
need to mount the antenna very high, just try to get above the roof
ridge line if possible.  And of course you will need to find / buy a
satellite tracking program.  I recommend the InstantTrack 1.5. It's a
simple easy to use program which can be purchased from Amsat.

The Mir Station is currently unmanned and all of the amateur radio
equipment is turned OFF.  The new crew headed by Pavel Vinogravd has
just competed retraining on the Amateur Radio Packet Email system and
Slow Scan TV systems (SSTV) The next manned mission to Mir is scheduled
for January/February 2001.  The January mission will be a short 2-3 week
mission.  I was informed the tentative radio plan is to run Packet Email
for one week and SSTV the second week. (power supply load limitations
prevent both projects from being active at the same time).  The
frequency for both projects will be the same 145.985 FM simplex for Mir
Packet and SSTV.
Last week there was a successful Progress cargo rocket docking with
Mir.  The Progress will use its engines to raise Mir into a higher

The Mir station is having a funding problem.  A decision will be made in
November to either extend Mir for another year or to splash Mir into the
pacific ocean in February 2001.  Of course I hope will fly until 2002
and see the completion of the Destination Mir program. 

Mir Survivor a.k.a. Destination Mir:
NBS says, that they are still planning on continuing with the planned TV
show Destination Mir.
I have been checking the official Destination Mir web page, but have not
seen any good details on the program at this time.
The shows producer Mark Burnett is in Australia filming the Outback
version of survivor which will air right after superbowl Sunday in
January 2001.

Copyright 2000 Miles Mann, All Rights Reserved.  This document may be
freely distributed via the following means - Email (including
listservers), Usenet, and World-Wide-Web.  It may not be reproduced for
profit including, but not limited to, CD ROMs, books, and/or other
commercial outlets without prior written consent from the author. 
Images received from the MAREX-NA SSTV system on the Russian Space
Station Mir are considered public domain and may be freely distributed,
without prior permission.

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