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Mir Amateur Radio Status March 19, 1998






Mir Amateur Radio Status March 19, 1998
by Miles Mann WF1F, Mirex Director of Educational Resources

New Mirex Filter project arrives on Mir.

The Progress 38 cargo rocket delivered the new Mirex-DCI antenna filter to
the Russian Mir
space station this week.  The filter will be used to prevent interference
to the 2-meter PMS
Amateur Radio Station.  It is important to note, that the Amateur radio
station does not
cause interference, it is receiving interference.  One of the commonly used
commercial radios on Mir
is using a channel very close to the 2-meter 145.985 frequency.  When the
commercial radio is
transmitting, the Amateur Radio station is unable to receive weak signals
from hams on earth.
The Mirex-DCI filer is a custom designed antenna cavity filter which will
block the offending
signal with a combination of pass band and knotch filters.
The filter system is tentatively planned for installation in the April/May
time frame.
The Mirex team would like to thank all of the supporters of the filter
project.  It proves again
that working together, we can make it happen.
Special Thanks to:

DCI Digital Communications Inc.
SAFEX
SAREX Working Group


PMS:
Make sure you read the new commands before operating.
The Mirex APRS test last week had a few bumps, but overall went very well.
For more
details, check the Mirex and APRS web pages.

The PMS was turned off March 16 - 17.  This shutdown was required as part
of the docking procedures.
When ever there is a Docking taking place, all non essential radios are
shutdown.
On March 15, a new cargo rocket Progress 38 launched to Mir.  The rocket
docked on
March 17.

New Commands:
The new modem is a Kantronics KPC-9612 Plus, Revision 8.1.  The command set
for this TNC
is different than the previous Mir TNC.  You may want to get a copy of the
Kantronics manual for
your own review.  I have attached a list of the new Help file.  And I will
highlight some of the key changes.

List
the List command will list all messages in the mail box which your are
allowed to read.  This will include all Bulletins, traffic and any private
message address to you or sent by you.
This feature will be a big time saver.  If you type in L and get back
nothing, it means there is noting
in the mail box for YOU to read, No ALL or Bulletins messages.  The old TNC
would dump 10 messages
at a time, even it you were not allowed to read any of the messages.

RM
The Read Mine command has been added.  You now have the option of R #### or
RM to read
all messages address to your call sign.  This feature will also help reduce
your connect time.

S
The Send command has changed a little.  The letter S, defaults to a SP
format, which can
only be ready by the recipient or Sysops.

Options SR and V  are no longer supported.

New Command List

[KPC9612P-8.1-HM$]
82408 BYTES AVAILABLE
THERE ARE 37 MESSAGES NUMBERED 155-259
ENTER COMMAND:  B,J,K,L,R,S, or Help >


LL n          LIST LAST n MESSAGES
LM(ine)       LIST UNREAD MESSAGES ADDRESSED TO YOU
LO [+|-]      LISTING ORDER
LT            LIST TRAFFIC
LTn           DISPLAY LOCATION TEXT n=1-4
K(ill) n      DELETE MESSAGE NUMBER n
KM(ine)       DELETE ALL READ MESSAGES ADDRESSED TO YOU
R(ead) n      DISPLAY MESSAGE NUMBER n
RH n          DISPLAY MESSAGE n WITH HEADERS
RM(ine)       READ ALL MESSAGES ADDRESSED TO YOU
S(end) call   SEND MESSAGE TO callsign
S[B|P|T] call SEND BULLETIN, PRIVATE, or TRAFFIC

New Features of the KPC-9612 Plus

1.   Check:
This is a new feature which will help reduce the amount of idle mail box
time.  How many times did u
see the PMS fly by, and no one could log in because the connected station
was out of range?
The old PMS required 7 minutes to time out, when the connected station went
out of range.  The
new PMS has an adjustable timer.  The new system is set for approximately
70 seconds.
After you connect, if your station is idle for more than 70 seconds, the
TNC will begin disconnect from your station.

2.   Remote SysOp access
This is a big time saving feature.  Before, if we needed to get any
parameter changed, it always required the
intervention of the Mir crew.  To schedule crew time, required expensive
phone calls and faxes to Moscow. The crew time is very precious, and the
Amateur Radio station should not be intrusive into their schedules.
This feature is already being used to fine tune the TNC settings.

3.   More memory
The old modem had 13k of memory for Mail storage.  The new modem has 100k
of memory just for Mails messages.

4.   Dual speed support.
This modem supports both 9600 and 1200 baud data rates.  The 1200 baud rate
will be the primary rate.
The 9600 speed will be reserved for special testing at a later date.
Mirex believes that the Mir Station is the best place for beginners around
the world to experiment.  Mir is
the most popular Amateur Radio Satellite in the world.  The reason for it
success is because Mir is so easy
to use.  2-meter FM Mono Band 1200 baud packet is very easy to use and
inexpensive to implement.
When we do start testing 9600 baud, it will be only for short published
duration?s.  We will always bring
the system back to 1200 baud FM Mono Band for the rest of the world.

5.   Software Adjustable Audio Levels.
With the new Kantronics KPC-9612 Plus, we have the ability to remotely
adjust Packet Audio levels
in the TNC.  Here is where you can help.  If you have a service monitor and
are able to monitor the Mir Packet.
I would be interested in hearing from professionals who can analyze the
packet signal coming from Mir.
The  goal is to fine tune the Packet down link audio level to the best
level.
The system was tuned in the lab, however, the radio on Mir may be slightly
different than the Kenwood TM-733 used during the setup.

Limitations:
It is still a Single User Mail box.  Only one (1) station can connect to
the PMS mail box at a time.
The call sign R0MIR goes to the Keyboard port which is not used.  Think of
the keyboard port
as a big bit bucket in the sky.
The call sign R0MIR-1 goes into the Single user mail box.  All stations
must wait until the station
connected to the mail box logs off.


Mirex would like the stations monitoring the PMS to please be patient while
we make adjustments.

Mir Crew Members:
The current crew consists of:

Mir 25 (New arrivals)
Talgat Musabayev RO3FT
Nikolai Budarin  RV3DB and R4MIR.
Frenchman Leopold Eyharts (depart feb 19 )

Shuttle schedule:
The next shuttle docking Mission is currently scheduled for May 28, 1998

Sputnik RS-17/1 QSL cards
MAREX RV3DR said, they have received over 350 QSL cards from the
November/December
RS-17/1 Sputnik Mission.  They will be sending out the special Sputnik QSL
cards in the April/May time
frame.

Sputnik RS-17/2  A new version.
Did you know there was a Sputnk-2 on Mir?  The RS-17/2 Mission is
tentatively scheduled to fly
around the end of the year (1998).  The existing Mir satellite has the same
functionality
as the one which was flown last winter.  However, it has been decided to
perform an in space
upgrade to the RS-17/2 satellite on Mir.  The crew will replace the Battery
and the control
boards and install a new system with Voice Announcements.  The new system
will play
pre recorded messages in French, Russian and English.  I do not have any
more details at this time.


Check out the Proposed SSTV project.
Please check out the Mirex web pages for pending and proposed Mirex
projects.

MIREX has created an Internet Web page containing information regarding Mir
and the various Amateur Radio experiments proposed for the space station.
The pages are still "under construction", but some good information can be
gathered from what has been put together so far.  URLs include the
following:

     http://www.ik1sld.org/mirex.htm  OR
     http://www.ik1sld.org/mirex

     http://www.geocities.com/~ik1sld/mirex.htm  OR
     http://www.geocities.com/~ik1sld/mirex

Some stations have had problems using the some of the URL aliases, if so,
try the long
version of the home page address

     http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Lab/3431/mirex.htm



Miles WF1F








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