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Mir Amateur Radio 10 years on the Air





10 Years of Amateur Radio activity from the Russian Space Station Mir.
by Miles Mann WF1F
November 5, 1998

November 1998 marks the 10 year anniversary of Amateur Radio activity from
the
Russian Space Station Mir.  It all began 10 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.

Since that date 10 years ago, a lot has changed.  The Mir station has grown
from 2 modules to 6 modules.
The station has been visited by over 60 long time crew members and another
50+ short term visitors.  And it is sad to say, but we may be retiring the
Mir space station in late 1999, after over 13 years of service.

The Amateur Radio equipment on Mir has also been upgraded several times.
The SAFEX club in Germany, provided most of the initial equipment to the
Energia MAREX-RU Cosmonaut Amateur Radio Department.  Sergej Samburov the
chief of the  department, is owned a lot of credit for making Amateur Radio
Satellite access simple and affordable.  And for getting all of the
projects on Mir.

The MIREX and MAREX-NA clubs then took over the daily support activities
and continued to upgrade the equipment.  Over the past 8 years we have been
able to keep the Mir Personal Message System (PMS) on line and active for
over 90% of the time.  The MAREX-NA team has recently delivered their third
project to Mir the new Slow Scan TV system (Scheduled for activation in
December 98).

The Mir PMS has done what no other satellite has done before.  It made
Satellite Access  simple and affordable.
Now for the first time, people with a HT and zero gain antenna could talk
to an Astronaut or a Cosmonaut in space.
The packet mail system was kept simple.  Everyone could afford a $99.00 TNC
and a low power radio
needed to access the PMS mail box on Mir.
The down link signal from Mir was over 45 watts.  This made it the most
powerful Amateur Radio Satellite ever flown. (Note: some satellites have
more powerful transponders, but the power is dissipated across a 120k+
band)

The Results of the Mir Amateur Radio experiment have exceed all
expectations.  Thousands of new Amsteur Radio Satellite fans are logging
into their first satellite each year, and that satellite is the Mir
Personal Message System.  Over the past 8 months the Mir PMS has been
handling over a 1000 message a month to the Mir crew.
On many occasions, the Mir PMS has been used to pass critical information
to the Mir crew.  And has been used to make Telephone-patches between the
crew members and their families.  The list of uses of the Mir PMS would
take too long to list at this time.

It is impossible to count how many people have logged into the PMS or
talked to the Mir crew members over the past 10 years, but it is safe to
say that the Mir Amateur Radio experiment is the Most Popular Amateur Radio
Satellite in the world.  And  the Mir Amateur Radio experiment has probably
had more users than All Amateur Radio Satellites combined.

I would like to thank all of the people responsible for helping the Mir
Amateur Radio experiment be a success including:

Musa Khiramanovich Manarov U2MIR
Leo Labukin UA3CR.
Sergej Samburov RV3DR
and all of the Mir Amateur Radio supporters.


The Future:
The MAREX-NA team is actively working to Keep Amateur Radio Satellite
Access affordable.
With your support we can make the International Space Station (Alpha) just
as successful as the
Mir Amateur Radio Experiments.

Ahead warp factor 7

WF1F

Web Page information

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

http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Hangar/7355/sstv_proj.htm

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

     http://www.ik1sld.org/mirex.htm  OR
     or
     http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Lab/3431/mirex.htm



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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