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MAREX-NA Update, Great news, Feb 11,1999

Mir Amateur Radio Status:  Feb 11, 1999

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

Great News From Energia:
MAREX-NA was selected as one of the independent clubs chosen to develop
Amateur Radio projects for the Russian Modules of the International Space
Station.  One of the 4 Russian antenna feed-through ports in the Russian
Service Module is being reserved for a MAREX-NA project.
We are still in the process of reviewing which specific project will be
More details later.

APRS/MIR School Club Roundup
On Tuesday February 9 the SSTV system was activated instead of the PMS.
The reason this mix-up occurred is because the MAREX-Russia team at Energia
was not properly informed of the MIREX APRS experiment.  It is very
important that all experiments are properly coordinated between MAREX-NA
and MAREX-Russian/Energia with sufficient lead times for all approvals and
to inform the crew of the planned changes.  The Mir crew was Not aware of
the APRS Test.  Normally APRS is not allowed to be used on the Mir Personal
Message System, because the extra load of packets blocks the Message
traffic to the Mir crew.  Message Mail traffic to the Mir crew always has
First priority.  However when properly planed in advance, other tests can
sometimes be accommodated.

Current Schedule for Packet PMS and SSTV:
The Mir crew did not have time to switch on the SSTV last weekend, so they
turned on the system for a few hours on Tuesday February 9.

The crew will be keeping both projects on 145.985 FM Simplex for the next
few months.
We do not have access to the 70cm antenna at this time and we do not have
Power supplies to run both projects simultaneously.

Only one project will be active at a time, either the Packet PMS or the
The crew will, as time permits, turn on one system then after a period of
time, switch
over to the other system.    These changes are only made during the crew

free time.
It is not possible to develop an exact schedule announcing the times for
each project.
The people wanting to use Packet and SSTV will just need to be a little
and patient.
And I know the world appreciates all of the hard work they have invested.

SSTV Receiving Software:
There are several SSTV software and hardware decoders on the market.  Some
you can buy
while others are shareware.
If you are just starting, you may want to try a software version first.
I am currently using Pasokon TV Lite for my DOS computer and W95SSTV with
my Win95
system.  Both systems are easy to use and produce good results.

Web pages, SSTV software pages.

John Langner , Pasokcon and others


Mir School Schedules:
MAREX-NA is still running School schedules with the Russian Space Station
Mir.  The next batch of school schedules have been submitted to Energia for
their review.  Occasionally when the  Mir crews have free time, Energia
allows us to set up these pre-arranged school schedules.  Over the next 4
months we expect to run school schedules in the USA, Canada and Australia.
MAREX-NA currently has a back log of schools waiting for Mir schedules.  We
are not currently looking for  any more schools in the USA at this time.
Note: During school schedules days, the SSTV system will usually be active.
This allows the Mir crew to see the children they are talking with.

Third-Party-Traffic limitations:
Some countries have radio laws barring Third-Party-Traffic via Amateur
Radio, which means, you can talk unless you have a license, Even if there
is a licensed person with you.  That’s why most of the MAREX-NA schools
schedules are with countries which have flexible Third-Party-Traffic laws.
In many countries, all it takes to get a Temporary Third-Party-Traffic
waiver is just a letter or short phone call to the national radio
authority.  In the USA it is a lot more difficult.  Five (5) years ago one
of the big USA radio clubs started the process of getting
Third-Part-Traffic waivers for Mir.  They were partially successful and
were able to get a waiver for the Americans on Mir, but not for the Russian
crew members of Mir.  This partial Third-Party-Traffic agreement actually
made things  worse.

Copy of Memo from 1997

To:       Selected Radio clubs
From:          Miles Mann WF1F
Subject:  Mir and Third Party
Date:          Feb 19, 1997

Hello everyone:

The new temporary Third-Party-Traffic agreement  for Licensed American
astronauts on board the Russian Space Station Mir, is great, but we are
experiencing some problems with “backlash”.

It seems our international partners on Mir, do not fully under stand the
international laws imposed on Amateur Radio operators.  In attempting to go
by the “Letter of the law”, we are inadvertently snubbing the non-American
cosmonauts on board Mir.

During John Blahs series of 8 SAREX school schedules in January 97, over 80
students had the chance to talk directly to Astronaut John Blahs on Mir.
However, did any of the 80 SAREX students ever ask Commander Valery Korsan
or Aleks any questions?

Because of the existing Third-Party-Traffic rules, only Licensed American
operators can talk to the Russian crew members. Sure we, know all of the
rules, but it appeared to the Mir Commander, that the American students
were not interested in talking to him or any of the other crew members on
Mir.  Attached is a copy of a message sent from Valery Korsan, Commander of
Mir crew #22, to Dr. Dave Larsen N6CO.

14-Feb-97  18:11:36  CONNECTED to R0MIR-1
Logged on to R0MIR's Personal Message System

You have mail waiting.

Msg # Stat  Date     Time  To     From   @ BBS  Subject
  232 P     00/00/00 00:00 N6CO   R0MIR         inf

R 232
Stat   : PR
Posted : 00/00/00 00:00
To     : N6CO
>From   : R0MIR
@ BBS  :
xID    :
Subject: inf

  Hi Dave!
  Jerry decided [to make ] his voice contacts with  school skid with NASA.
  We can to speak with students but they want to speak with Jerry only why?
  Tnx for news,vectors,keps. Tell hello Tana from us.
  Best wishes.73 de R0MIR.


I have also had several conversations with the Commander trying assure him
the students do want to talk to everyone.  I even sent him more details
about the problem via packet.
Commander Korsan”
“We can to speak with students but they want to speak with Jerry only why?”

“WHY” is the big problem.  Even with explanations we may end up having the
our international partners feel like they are being snubbed.  And this is
definitely not the desire of the Amateur Radio experiment.

The MAREX-NA group does specifically schedule time with the Non-American
crew members of Mir.  We get around the Third-Party-Traffic problem, simply
by making sure that anyone who talks, has an Amateur Radio License.  But I
do not consider this to be a permanent solution, it is just a temporary
work-around.  We all need to find a better solution to allow greater access
to the Mir crews, without causing an international incident.

End of Memo
Here are my two suggestions:

1.   Get a broader Third-Party-Traffic agreement in place between Russian
and the USA to allow Third-Party-Traffic with anyone one on Mir  and the
International Space Station (independent of country of origin).  Since Mir
is planning on being in orbit until the year 2002, we will have a lot more
opportunities for linking up schools with the Russian Space Station.

2.   Get a formal Third-Party-Traffic agreement in place between Russian
and the USA to allow TP with the whole country of Russian, including Mir
(all Amateur Radio Bands)

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.
The new crew will be arriving the Week of February 20-25
(I do not have the correct spellings of the crews names at this time).
The crew will consist of three cosmonauts, including one French Cosmonaut.
When the 10 day crew change is over, Gennadiy Paldalko and one of the new
cosmonauts will be returning to earth.  The French cosmonaut will stay on
Mir for approximately 3 months.  This will make the Mir crew 27 a three man
crew.  Sergei Avdeyev will stay on board Mir for an extra three months,
bringing his mission time up to approximately 9 months in space
Energia informed me that the French Cosmonaut did receive training on the
MAREX-NA SSTV project, and is planning on using it during this Mission.

Web Page information:
The new MAREX-NA SSTV web is under construction but is now ON line
check it out.


SSTV in the new:
There is a good story about the MAREX-NA SSTV project on the MSNBC web.

Note: there is a minor typographical error in the article.  The total cost
of the MAREX-NA
SSTV project was less than $25,000 US dollars.
MAREX-NA is the most efficient Independent Amateur Satellite club in the

Tracking Mir

The best way to track satellites is to get access to a good satellite
tracking program.
There are numerous programs on the market, both for sale and share ware.

The best place for current satellite position date (Kep’) data is at the
CelesTrak web page http://celestrak.com/

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