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An interesting post, but I think you got something backward and missed
one point.

At 04:23 PM 12/15/98 EST, you wrote:

"... Isn't it time to put our efforts into the future and let go
>of the past -- and the Mir?"
I think we should put the future into our efforts.

The future of ham radio is the next generation of operators. We need to
involve them in our journey.

Last November I was asked to be the control op for a Mir school contact. 
We moved my antennas to the roof of the school and with other hams trained
twenty students to run tracking computers, telebridge contacts with Goddard 
Md., power point displays,ect ect. 8 computers 20 kids + the 14 students
asking questions. One of the students (11yrs old )had a ham license. I asked
Pat Kilroy if we could name Douglas as control operator of record. Mirex &
Sarex heartily agreed and for a month and a half we trained 5& 6th graders
to run not a telebridge phone contact but a real uplink from the school.
We wanted this to be something the students did, not adult hams.
My 9 year old son Sean had helped me on Mir contacts at home by running the
Az El antenna points and he was asked to join the school team on a pass that
would involve a flip over. One day while I was reading an Email Sean saw his
name on a message from Goddard Space Flight as antenna control operator.
Reality set in as he realized this was real and he was involved. That night
he told me he wanted to get his ham license before he turned 10 and before
the Mir School contact. Each night he studied in his room with the light on
and passed his Novice & then his Tech. Four days later two hams, 11yr old
Douglas Cockran KC2CJT (control operator) & 9 yr old Sean Emer KC2DIJ and
26 fellow students each with a through knowledge of their specific jobs made
a successful contact with Andy Thomas on Mir. Along the way they uncovered
problems, found solutions,and discovered an impressive capability in

It took 2 1/2 years from the time of application for this handful of
students to be touched by the magic of actually being part of the space program.

Last Saturday Sean & I were again listening for the SSTV sig on uhf when
near the end of the pass we heard it on VHF. When those lines of picture
started rolling down the screen you should have seen the excitment in this room.
It is Magical. We worked every pass that whole weekend and each picture was
as great an experience as the first. The effect was the same as with the
students on the school contact. But this didn't take two years to happen.

And herein lies the point you are missing. Mir showed the world how two
enemies can work and live together, and now in her last days is offering
amature radio a way to excite and personally involve a new generation in the
magic of radio.

You've read the messages coming in here. Ham's sticking speakers up to sound
cards with HT's and verticles pulling down clean pictures, Ham's inviting
reporters into the shack to experience the magic. Kids passing pictures
around in class. 

With any kind of regular SSTV transmission schedule from Mir we can contact
science teachers and have students "learn and do". All around the world hams
will have the ability to involve members of their community in a very
rewarding experience.

We know it works great on VHF, when they bring it up on UHF we will again
have a chance to evaluate its performance there. What we learn now from Mir
will give impetus to an enhanced amateur program on the ISS which even now
includes SSTV. A regular schedule of transmissions from Mir will enable
both the press and the public time to embrace this earth bound connection to
the space program. Good press and public reaction now can only help the teams
coordinating our presence on ISS. Forward looking manufacturers can help by
offering inexpensive UHF radios with discrete VFO tuning and FM
discriminator meters.

UHF may not be so bad in the long run. With two days of testing under our
belts lets see where we go...together.

Let go of MIR Bill?.....hmmm, I think she's got more to teach us both here
on earth and on the ISS.

Hope to see you at Dayton again this year,
Best Regards

Al Emer, N2YAC





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