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Weekend MIR report from EU

Hi MIR fans

During all this weekend, 14 orbits were over Europe.
I was able to monitor all them, and only on 4 I didn't 
heard Jean Pierre doing QSO's! Outstanding!!!
It's even more than outstanding if you think the amout
of work he has to do, and the efford he does to work
all hams he can.

Radio work:
Unfortunatly the "pile-up" don't help him at all,
and only a person with strong motivation would keep
one doing QSO's in such unpleasant circustancies.
I've seen experienced HF operators on Dx'peditions
going QRT, or insulting the crowed. JP never done it!
He ask's for silence, for cooperation, but never gave up!
He knows he has a limited window and he does the impossible
to maximize the number of stations he can work per orbit.
Particulary during this weekend, when many stations knew
this was their "last chance", he had to put to pratice
all he has learned (the hard way) during the past months.
So, on several orbit's he swithched beetween frequencies.
During one orbit (Aug 14, 1432-1441z) I heard him on 4 
different frequencies! But on most ocasions he switched
beetween 145.985 and .940! Today at 13.20 ('till 1321z)
he switched beetween that 2 frequencies everytime he did a qso!  
Another method he used to control the pile-up was to do
a "blackout" to all stations until he worked a particular
one. Yesterday he got the "last 2" from a GI station, and
before he got the full call, he said NO to (at least) 6 stations.
Of course all this is very tiring, and he his no "super ham"!
Today, beside the usual demands for silence and discipline,
for the first time he said "Sometimes it's desesperating
and I have no pleasure". It's very sad...

He said they were planning to close "the module" (Priroda, I think)
until the end of next week, but he expects to keep hamradio station  
working on the "other module" (Core, for sure).
On several ocasions he said his return to earth is scheduled
to happen next 28th.

Only one pic was heard yesterday (during last orbit), but
today he sent several. The first 2 were at 1008-1015z, and 
the image was his ride home (Soyuz ship). The next orbit
(1145-1151), unexpectedly spent the full pass on 145.940,
and sent 3 pic's to his french friends! I didn't heard
any other activity.

With all said above, there is no doubt he was the most
active space ham ever! I also want to stress his strong 
personality and determination! Only that can push him 
doing the tremendous job he has done for ham radio since
he arrive on MIR. 

Unfortunatly I will not be able to follow his last days on space. 
By coincidence, I scheduled my "travel holidays" during this period. 
Hopefully I'll monitor some activity with my HT :) on CU (Azores Is.)
See you in 2 weeks.

Best 73 
F.Costa, CT1EAT
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