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Mir Amateur Radio status Jan 24, 1999

Mir Amateur Radio Status:  Jan 24, 1998

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

Current Schedule for Packet PMS and SSTV:
The Mir crew had time to switch on the SSTV this weekend and left it
running all day Saturday
and Sunday.  Station all around the word has access to some very good
pictures, looking out
from the Prioida module window.

The SSTV picture quality will be directly affected by the amount light and
the angle of the sun light.  The PictureTel Flip-Cam has a built in
Auto-IRS to automatically adjust the light input.  However, sometimes there
can be still too much or too little light.  When there is too much light,
the image will become blurry. When there is no sun at all, you will see a
dark screen with a few random specks of color.
As Mir flies around the world, the lighting conditions will be constantly
changing.  Mir will spend approximately 50% of it time in the sun light.
Window pictures fall in to three basic categories.
Sun on Mir and Earth (Best pictures)
Sun on Mir only (Sometimes good shots of sun sets against the solar panels)
NO Sun at all. (Black images, with a few random color spots)

If you decode some of these No Sun Black images, don

ít worry , there is
nothing wrong with your equipment.  There is just No sun to light up the
scene.  Most tracking programs will tell you
if the satellite, Mir is being Lit by the sun.  Use your tracking program
to help you predict which
pictures will be good ones.  You should also make a note of where Mir was
located just as the
Morse code ID begins.

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 crews
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.

Current proposed SSTV and Packet Schedule:
Both the SSTV and PMS projects have developed a good following.
Since it is not possible this month to run both projects simultaneously at
this time,
a reasonable schedule needs to be developed.
MAREX-NA  has submitted a proposal to Energia to time share between the to
the following schedule.
The PMS will run on weekdays Tuesday through Friday, and the SSTV will be
from Saturday through Monday and Holidays.  We will call this the 3-4
All Schedules are subject to change, based on crew work load.

Ease of SSTV access:
With the advent of PC sound cards and Shareware software, it is much easier
for people
from all around world to experiment with Slow Scan TV.  Anyone with a DOS
and up, can build an inexpensive SSTV system.
The system are so easy that we expect thousands of SWL (Short Wave
Listeners) to
become involved in monitoring for SSTV signals from Mir.  SSTV has the
of becoming more popular that Mir Packet.

Mir PMS packet has been the most popular Amateur Radio Satellite mode in
the world for
the past several years.  We want to continue with Mir PMS packet as much as
The 3-4 schedule will still give all of the existing and future packet
users plenty of access
time for satellite packet experimentation.
The 3 days of SSTV will give Millions of new unlicensed stations around the
world something new to experiment with and actually see their results.
Web pages from around the world are now displaying a selection of the 3000
images sent from
Mir to Earth.  Many schools have begun to install SWL SSTV systems.  I
think everyone will
benefit from the 3-4 sharing schedule.

The SSTV system will be in Down link mode 99% of the time.  The uplink test
was just a limited
to a few tests to prove the Uplinking of images work, and it does seem to
work good..  We are going to formally schedule SSTV uplink days later in
February 99.  The reason for the delay is to continue the train the crew on
SSTV procedures and to develop
SSTV uplink rules for Ground stations around the world.
Specific uplink days will be chosen in advance so that most parts of the
world will be able to participate.  Example, one day may be set aside for
North America, another day for Europe and Australia, etc.

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 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.  (Sergei and Gennadiy both received
training on the MAREX-NA SSTV system in Star City).

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 (Kepí) 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