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ISS/Mir news (channels programing steps)

ISS and Mir status report
October 30, 2000

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

The first full time crew is scheduled to be launched to ISS on October
31, 2000.  The docking of the Soyuz rocket to the ISS will take place on
November 2, 2000.  This first ISS mission will last approximately 4
months.  The three-man crew will consist of Commander Bill Shepherd, a
U.S. astronaut; Soyuz Commander Yuri Gidzenko, a Russian cosmonaut; and
Flight Engineer Sergei Krikalev, a Russian cosmonaut.  (Sergei is the
most experienced when it comes to Amateur Radio operations).

For more information on this mission please check the NASA web pages.

ISS visibility:
The NASA web page has a program, which will calculate the potential for
being able to visually see the ISS as it passes over your city.  They
have a listings for many different cities and countries.

Amateur Radio Equipment delivered:
The 2-meter voice and packet station has already been delivered to the
International space station.  It has been estimated that it will require
the ISS crew 2 hours to unpack and install the amateur radio station. 
The time line for this project is only one hour, so a little adjustment
needs to be done to fit the task into the time line.  At the present
time, there is no official public start time for the amateur radio
station from ISS.

International Space Station Call signs:
The ISS is keeping the international flair by hosting several amateur
radio call signs from around the world.  So far the ISS has three calls
signs from three different countries, Russia, USA and Germany. Also each
of the crewmembers of expedition 1, has their own personal Amateur Radio
call sign.

William Shepherd, Expedition commander, KD5GSL
Yuri Gidzenko, Soyuz commander (unknown)
Sergei Krikalev, flight engineer, U5MIR 
Russian Module call sign:	RZ3DZR
Other club call signs issued: NA1SS and DL0ISS

Ground Station Link:
What will you need to Hear the ISS Amateur Radio 2-meter Station.
That's a tricky question because there are good orbit pass and poor low
orbit passes.  On a good 45 degree orbit pass, since the ISS is only 250
miles high, you will be able to hear the 2-meter signal from the space
station with a very small antenna (0 dBd  to  minus 12 dBd (rubber
duck)).  During a very low orbit passes under 20 degrees you may need a
much larger antenna.
The Amateur Radio station on ISS will be transmitting in the satellite
2-meter band (ITU 144.000 - 146.000 mc).  I have listed a frequency
chart below.  The ISS transmitter power output is approximately 3 watts,
into a vertical antenna rated at minus 3 dBd.  I do not have the coax
loss values at this time.  This combination of power and antenna gain
will provide an ERP rating of  approximately 1.5 watts.  The 1.5-watt
value is not that bad, I was able to hear the RS-17/18 satellites from
my car antenna (minus 3dBd) and those satellites were only running 0.5
watts.  If you only have a zero dBd gain antenna and a police scanner
you will still be able to hear the ISS on some good orbits.
(note:  if your antenna is rated in dB rather than the correct dBd
value, subtract 3 to convert the dB value to the correct dBd rating)

Suggested receiving station:
Casual listening for ISS and Mir
2-meter vertical or scanner antenna (0 dBd or better)
Police scanner or amateur radio with the ability to receive in the 144 -
146 mc or MHz range, FM mode.  Antenna cable should be a low loss RG-8
style cable less than 100 feet long (RG-213 best choice).  You will not
need to mount the antenna very high, just try to get above the roof
ridgeline.  And of course you will need to find / buy a satellite
tracking program.  I recommend the InstantTrack 1.5. It's a simple easy
to use program, which can be purchased from Amsat.

ISS frequencies:
The Amateur Radio frequencies for ISS have been posted.
Worldwide downlink for voice and packet: 145.800
Worldwide packet uplink: 145.990
Region 1 voice uplink: 145.200
Region 2 & 3 voice uplink: 144.490

You will need to dig out the manual for your radio and program in the
following frequency combinations.  Note that some of the older FM mobile
and Walkie-talkie HT style radios over 15 years old may have some
difficulty in saving these combinations into memory.  The channels
listed below will help you compensate for the speed of the space
station, called Doppler.  If the smallest channel step your radio
supports is 5k, then only program in channels 2, 5 and 8.  If your radio
supports the smaller 2.5k channel step, then program in all channels
listed.  After you have determined your smallest channel step supported
by your radio, then program in the channels.  You can either use the
procedures for storing ODD-Splits or you can reprogram your repeater off
set for each of the channels and then save the new combination in a new
memory location. This channel procedure has been successfully used on
the Mir Amateur Radio program for years and is the choice of usage for
school schedules (you do not want to fiddle with VFO's during a
10-minute pass).  I also recommend you program in all channels, no mater
what part of the world you live in.  The World Map ISS location display
used by the ISS crew is not located next to the Amateur Radio station. 

Voice operations Region 2 & 3 (North and South America and Pacific)
Chan	Receive	Transmit	Offset (Meg)
1	145.802.5	144.488.5	-1.314
2	145.800.0	144.490.0	-1.310
3	145.798.5	144.492.5	-1.306

Packet operations Regions 1, 2 & 3 (Europe, North and South America and
Chan	Receive	Transmit
4	145.802.5	145.988.5	+0.186
5	145.800.0	145.990.0	+0.190
6	145.798.5	145.992.5	+0.194

Voice operations Region 1 (Europe)
Chan	Receive	Transmit
7	145.802.5	145.198.5	-0.604
8	145.800.0	145.200.0	-0.600
9	145.798.5	145.202.5	-0.596

Usage Example:
Lets assume ISS is approaching for a good 10 minute over head pass,
running Packet.  When ISS comes over the horizon the Doppler frequency
error will initially be 3.5k plus 145.990 = 145.993.5.  This means the
frequency ISS will appear to be transmitting on is 145.993.5.  Set your
radio to channel #4 for the first 3 minutes of the pass.  Then for the
next 3 minutes use channel #5 and for the last three minutes use channel
#6.  Follow the same procedure for Voice operations.  Since we are using
the Mode FM, we do not have to have our Transmit and receive frequency
exactly on frequency. We can be off frequency 1-2khz and still get
reliable Voice and Data.  The MAREX-NA team has been using this
procedure for 10 years with excellent results.

The Mir Station is currently unmanned and all of the amateur radio
equipment is turned OFF.  The new crew headed by Pavel Vinogravd has
just competed retraining on the Amateur Radio Packet Email system and
Slow Scan TV systems (SSTV) the next manned mission to Mir is scheduled
for January/February 2001.  The January mission will be a short 2-3 week
mission.  I was informed the tentative radio plan is to run Packet Email
for one week and SSTV the second week. (Power supply load limitations
prevent both projects from being active at the same time).  The
frequency for both projects will be the same 145.985 FM simplex for Mir
Packet and SSTV.
Last week there was a successful Progress cargo rocket docking with
Mir.  The Progress will use its engines to raise Mir into a higher

The Mir station is having a funding problem.  A decision will be made in
November to either extend Mir for another year or to splash Mir into the
Pacific Ocean in February 2001.  Of course I hope will fly until 2002
and see the completion of the Destination Mir program. 

QSL card:
A QSL card is a post card, which you can request to confirm you made a
two-way or heard the crew on the Amateur Radio band.  The QSL procedure
for ISS is under development, please check the AIRSS web pages for the
latest updates and QSL procedures for ISS.

Copyright 2000 Miles Mann, All Rights Reserved.  This document may be
freely distributed via the following means - Email (including
listservers), Usenet, and World-Wide-Web.  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 Mir are considered public domain and may be freely distributed,
without prior permission.

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