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The MAREX Group

Mir Amateur Radio Status:  Dec 28, 1998


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

Several people have been asking who/what is MAREX-NA.

I will try to explain and keep it short.

The club has been around since 1991, however the name has changed a few
times over the past 8 years.
It all began in 1991  when Dave Larsen (N6CO/N6JLH) and Miles Mann (WF1F)
a club called MAREX (Mir Amateur Radio Experiment).
The original goals were:
Coordinate School schedules with the Russian Space Station Mir (first in
October 1991 Billerica Mass).
Provide Mir crew with live on orbit assistance with the SAFEX Amateur Radio
Projects.  And additional training as needed.
Upgrade hardware as required.
Train the public to use the Mir Personal Message System and encourage
people world wide to be come interested in the abilities of Amateur Radio
Satellite systems.

In 1994 Dave Larsen spear-headed a project to replace the TNC on Mir.  The
original TNC had suffered a battery failure which caused frequent long down
This was MAREX

’s first project to go into Space.

In early 1996, the Energia Radio club, which manages all Amateur Radio
projects on the Russian Space Station Mir, said they liked the name of our
club and wanted the name.  So, we gave the Energia club the name MAREX.
And we changed our name to MIREX (Mir International Radio Experiment).  The
word International is more in keeping with the spirit of the club, we did
not think of our selves as a USA only club.  We wanted to help the world
get affordable access to Amateur Radio Satellites.

In November 1996 MIREX was invited to the first Amateur Radio International
Space Station meeting in Houston Texas.  MIREX was instrumental in getting
the representatives from Energia to come and sign some agreements.  Energia
also took the lead in offering Antenna feed thought port access on the ISS
for Amateur Radio projects.
One of the main goals of the meeting was to form a coordinated management
organization, called
ARISS (Amateur Radio International Space Station).  The goal was to have
one group coordinate
all projects and manage all of the project on ISS.
It looked good on paper, but did not meet all of our expectations.
Today ARISS will be responsible for managing the projects on the American
side of the ISS and the MAREX-Russian group will be responsible for
managing and selecting all of the projects located inside the Russian
modules of ISS.
The MAREX-Russian group has designed into the Russian modules, six (6)
Amateur Radio antenna ports for use by many proposed Amateur Radio
projects.  There are no antenna ports located on any of the American ISS

In May 1998 the MIREX club was forced to split in to two clubs.
The MIREX side with Dave Larsen still acts as QSL manager and has some PMS
operator duties.
The engineering team formed a new group called MAREX-NA (Manned Amateur
Radio Experiment, North American Division).
Our duties include:
School schedules with Mir and ISS (to date over 60 school schedules world
wide have been completed)
Provide Mir crew with live on orbit assistance with the Amateur Radio
Projects on Mir and ISS.  And additional training as needed.
Upgrade hardware as required.
Train the public to use the Mir Personal Message System and encourage
people world wide to be come interested in the abilities of Amateur Radio
Satellite systems
Design and deliver new projects for Mir and ISS.
The MAREX-NA engineering team has been responsible for designing and
delivering three projects to the Russian Space Station Mir.

1997  DCI Filter project.  A special filter to allow the PMS to be
functional while the Mir commercial transmitters were active.  The SAREX
and AMSAT-NA clubs both helped a great deal with this project.  The SAREX
team performed all of the flight safety certification testing, and
documentation’s.  The project was delivered to Mir in the Spring of 1997.

1997 Kantronics KPC-9612 Modem upgrade.   A new modem with more memory and
remote sysop control was installed on Mir and made active to the public on
February 14, 1998.
The SAREX team provided assistance in delivering the hardware to Russia for
the September 1997 cargo truck launch.

1998 Our biggest project to date was the new Slow Scan TV system.  The
system uses off the shelf technology which was available at the design
time, except for the innovative auto controller module which was
designed/developed by Hank Cantrell (W4HTB). Four complete SSTV systems
were build, three of which were delivered to Russian in June 1998 by Miles
Mann, who also trained the cosmonauts in the operations of the equipment
shortly before they departed Earth for Mir.  The initial testing of the
project have been great.  Over 2000 SSTV images have been sent from Mir to
earth are showing up on everyone’s web pages.
See our web page for more details.
The SSTV project was not supported by any of the major radio clubs.

The Future of MAREX-NA:
MAREX-NA has been selected as the official spokesman organization for the
Energia’s ISS Amateur Radio programs.  MAREX-NA will working closely with
MAREX-Russia to select and design Amateur Radio projects to truly make ISS
and World wide resource.
Our goals will also include:
Keep it Simple
Keep it Affordable to the public
Keep it Educational
And lets have some fun while we are learning about space and the world we
live in.

Partial list of MAREX-NA Engineering Staff
Miles Mann WF1F
Henry Cantrell W4HTB
Boris Garber (not a amateur radio operator)
Don C. Miller W9NTP
Chris Scott  WB9NEQ
 Farrell Winder W8ZCF
John Langner, W2OSZ

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

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.
Images received from the MAREX-NA SSTV system on the Russian Space Station
are considered public domain and may be freely distributed, without prior

Miles WF1F