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Mir Amateur Radio status: October 28, 1998, 2 new projects fly

Mir Amateur Radio Status:  October 28, 1998

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

The Crew of the Russian Space Station Mir now have a new supply of fresh
food and two new
Amateur Radio experiments.  The Progress 40 cargo rocket was launched into
orbit on October
24 1998 and docked with the Mir Station on October 27th.  The crews first
priority will be
to sample some of the fresh food (fruits, vegetables, etc.) and make sure
it passes the
taste test.  Then later after they are full, they may have time for the
more important
stuff such as the two new Amateur Radio experiments. (Note: for the people
with out a
sense of humor, I was joking about the unpacking order, Amateur Radio is a
low priority

The PMS was temporarily shutdown this week in preparation for the docking
of the Progress
cargo rocket.  The PMS has been on line over 80% of the time over the past
few months.
The crew does have to shutdown some of the Amateur Radio experiments
periodically (docking,
EVA, etc.). Whenever there is a docking taking place, all un-required radio
 equipment is
turned OFF.  The docking procedure is completely controlled by remote radio
It is important to minimize any possibility Radio Frequency Interference
problems. After
the crew has completed there other high priority post docking work, the
crew will begin
to turn on the optional experiments.  The PMS should be back on in a few

The PMS system consists of the following hardware:
Kenwood TM-733 Dual Band transceiver
Kantronics KPC-9612 (running at 1200 baud)
Larsen Dual band mobile antenna (2m/70cm)
Frequency/Mode: 145.985 FM Simplex

The number of message handled by the Mir PMS over the past 7 months have
been amazing.
The PMS has received over 8000 mail messages in just 7 months.  That is
over 1000 messages
a month.  Does anyone know how many mail messages go though the PACSATs in
one month?
With the large amount of traffic going through the PMS you can see why the
crew does not
have much time to respond to the mail they are getting.  However they do
find some spare
time in there off hours to read the mail and occasionally respond.  Please
understanding if you do not get a personal response.

For more information about the PMS and operational procedures, please check
the how to work Mir articles I wrote and published in the web pages below.
And remember,
the PMS system is designed to support only 1 user at a time.  All others
patiently wait for the person using the mail box to log out <<D>> before
you attempt
to connected to the PMS.  The only active log-in port is R0MIR-1,  the
other port
R0MIR is a dead port and should not be used.

Progress 40: Docked
The Mir supply rockets are called Progress rockets.  Every 4-8 months a new
Cargo rocket is launched to Mir to bring new supplies to the crew. The
Progress 40
cargo rocket has docked and is being unloaded by the Mir crew.  The rocket
contain the typical supplies, Food, water, fuel and equipment to support
the on-going
experiments on Mir.  The  real exciting cargoes are the two new Amateur
experiments that were delivered to the Russian Space Station Mir.

The Amsat-France Sputnik RS-17-2  also called Spoutnik-41 arrived on the
Space Station Mir this week.  For more information about this project,
please check
out the Amsat-France Web page.


The MAREX-NA Mir SSTV (Kenwood/Tasco) has also arrive on the Russian Space
Station Mir.

What is SSTV, Slow Scan Televisions:
It is a way of sending snapshot images over a radio.
Anyone with an existing SSTV system will be able to decode the Robot-36
format color images.
If you do not have an SSTV system, you will be able to down load the images
 of the web.
For additional information about the SSTV project, check out our web page
listed below.

The SSTV Experiment is currently being reviewed for an activation date.
The exact
date of activation has not been chosen at this time.  A lot of preparation
work needs
to be done to move the existing PMS and reconnect the two systems to share
the same
antenna.  All of the components required to complete the job should already
 be on the
Mir station.  As soon as I have an activation date, the information will be

The IARU has suggested operational frequency for the SSTV system of 437.975
 FM Simplex.
This frequency was chosen to be compatible with all of the existing Amateur
equipment on Mir.

The short story about the project:
The SSTV project first began with a phone call from Farrell Winder in May
Shortly after that call MAREX-NA team began working on designing and
building a flight
quality SSTV system that could be used on board the Russian Space Station
began working out the details with Moscow.  By April 1998 four flight ready
were in the final stages of testing and a tentative launch date had been
In June of 1998 Miles Mann went to Star City in Russian and delivered three
 of the SSTV
systems.  Miles gave the Mir crew hands on training with the equipment
before they
left Earth for the Mir station, and the rest is history.
A detailed story about the events leading up to the flight of the MAREX-NA
SSTV system
will be published at a later date.

Benefits to the public:
The public wants to see a string of success stores on a regular basis.  The
project last winter was a very successful project and generated a lot of
world wide.  These successful projects help keep people interested in
Amateur Radio
Satellite experimentation.  It challenges their curiosity and gets worked
into school
curriculums.  Many schools around the world would tune into the Beep, Beep
of Sputnik
RS-17-1 and listen.

The MAREX-NA SSTV experiment will also generate a lot of positive interest
in school
educational programs.  Now for the first time school children will not only
 able to
hear the crews talking during school schedules, but the students will be
able to see
some of the 720 images per day coming from Mir.  Web pages around the world
store the best images for schools to log into and view.  Many schools are
add Amateur Radio equipment to the schools so the can down load and display
images live.

The success of the Mir Amateur Radio and other Russian Satellite projects
has been
very good for Amateur Radio and Amsat.  Over 75% of the new Amateur Radio
operators started their operations by using a Russian sponsored satellite.
  Most of
those people began by using the Russian Space Station Mir Personal Message
The Mir SSTV system will help keep the people interested in Amateur Radio
while MAREX-NA and other clubs build new projects for the International
Space Station.

Mir Amateur Radio Experiment- North American Division Engineering Team

Gregory "Miles" Mann WF1F
Chelmsford Massachusetts
MAREX-NA Director of Engineering.
Coordinated the Design efforts of the Mir SSTV project, including funding,
acquisition and Mir crew training in Star City Russia.  Also designed and
two other projects to the Russian Space Station Mir.  The Kantronics
KPC-9612 Modem
upgrade and the DCI Filter projects.

Henry Cantrell W4HTB
Bowling Green, Kentucky
MIR SSTV Project- Designed Auto Controller

Boris Garber (not a amateur radio operator)
Bowling Green, Kentucky
Provided translation into Russian technical documentation

Don C. Miller W9NTP
Waldron, IN
Intergration of all the different pieces equipment into a working module
and to take
part in all tests such as terrestrial, airborne and satellite relays
through several
amateur satellites.

Chris Scott  WB9NEQ
Bowling Green, Ky.
Assisted Hank Cantrell in testing the Slow scan unit in an aeronautical
 In particular he flew the airplane while ground stations recorded
 quality.  Tranmsission simulations have determined that stations with a
zero gain
 antenna system should be able to decode several imags a day.

 Farrell Winder W8ZCF
  Cincinnati, Ohio
Project originator and design integrator.

John Langner, W2OSZ
Chelmsford, Mass
Testing and evaluation

MAREX-NA sponsor List:

Kenwood Communications Corporation:
Provided the Kenwood TM-V7 Transceivers for the project

Apple Computer:
Provided the light-weight camera modules

Parrelex controllers cards were used to automate the SSTV picture cycles
and Morse code ID

PictureTel Corporation:
Provided test facilities and support funding.

Provided the SSTV controllers and support.

Mir Crew Members:
The current crew consists of:

Current Crew
SOYUZ TM-28 arrived at Mir on August 16. Mir Soyuz TM-28 crew consisted of
Sergei Avdeyev,
 Gennadiy Padalko and Yuri Baturin.  (Sergei and Gennadiy both received
training on the
 MAREX-NA SSTV system in Star City).

Mir Visibility:
Mir will be visible in the morning skies over North America most of this
  It will appear as a bright star moving very fast.  The best viewing times
 between 1 - 3 hours before your local sunrise. Use your own tracking
program or
 search the web for visibility listings.

The Russian Service module of the International Space Station (ISS also
 unofficially Alpha) will contain 4 antenna feed-through ports dedicated
for Amateur Radio Antenna Access.  The Russian Docking Adapter will also
 2 antenna feed-through ports dedicated for Amateur Radio Antenna Access.
 the first ISS crew arrives, they will already have ports to use for
Amateur Radio.
  Ports 1,2 and 3 are tentatively planned for 144,435, 1200 mc, and port 4
for HF
 (10, 15 and 20 meters).  Ports 5 & 6 will be for UHF and SHF bands.  The
first module,
 Zarya is scheduled for launch on a Russian Proton rocket Nov. 20 from the
 Cosmodrome, Kazakstan.

Now the fun begins, and the designing of projects to use the ISS antenna
ports is
 under development.  We will publish more details as they become available.

Web Page information

For information about the MAREX-NA SSTV project, check the web page at:


For general information about some of the Mir Projects, check the web page

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

Copyright 1998 Miles Mann, All Rights Reserved.  This document may be
freely distributed via the following means - Email (including listservers),
Usenet, and WorldWideWeb.  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.

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Miles WF1F

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