Mir Amateur Radio Status: Feb 26, 1998
by Miles Mann WF1F,
MAREX-MG (Manned Amateur Radio Experiment, North American Division)
Current Schedule for Packet PMS and SSTV:
People from around the world received many good land shots from Mir last week. The images of the Great Lakes were great. We even got a few shots of the new Mir crew. Then on Feb 21, the SSTV began to send bad images. This has happened once before. We think the problem could be related to a radiation hit or a loose cable to the camera. For some reason the video encoder does not get a new image. The encoder just sends the old image over and over again. Each time the old image is sent, there is more noise (colors) in the image. Power-cycling the SSTV system usually solves the problem. And on one occasion we were able to reset the SSTV system remotely. The crew will do their best to keep the SSTV system active on weekends and packet PMS operational on weekdays. 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 enough Power supplies to run both projects simultaneously.
Only one project will be active at a time, either the Packet PMS or the SSTV. The crew will, as time permits, turn on one system then after a period of time, switch over to the other system. Sometimes there will be special occasions in which the crew may turn on SSTV on a different day to show the world some event, such as meeting the new Mir rew. 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 understanding 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.
Mir School Schedules:
On Thursday Feb 25, the Schencksville School in Schnecksvill Pennsylvania had the privilege of talking to three crewmembers of the Mir station. Cosmonauts Jean-Pierre Heignere, Sergei Avdeyev and Ivan Bella all took turns answering questions during a prearranged school schedule. Due to a lack of a third-party agreement between the USA and Russia, only the FCC licensed Amateur Radio operation Tom Daniels N3CXP got the opportunity to talk to the Mir crew (the students were not allowed by FCC rules to talk directly to the crew). The 60 plus students near by were still very excited to hear all of the questions and answers.
Special thanks to all of the groups who helped out with this project:
Dave Larsen at MIREX
and the Crew of the Russian Space Station Mir
Over the next 4 months we expect to run school schedules in the USA, Canada and Australia. MAREX-MG currently has a backlog 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.
Mir Crew Members:
The current crew consists of:
SOYUZ TM-28 arrived at Mir on August 16. Mir Soyuz TM-28 crew consisted of Sergei Avdeyev, Gennadiy Padalko.
The new crew arrived on February 20, the are:
Viktor Afanasyev, with French astronaut Jean-Pierre Heignere and Slovak Ivan Bella.
When the 10-day crew change is over, Gennadiy Paldalko and Ivan Bella are returning to earth. The French cosmonaut Jean-Pierre Heignere and Viktor Afanasyev will stay on Mir with Sergei Avdeyev. 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 continuously. Jean-Pierre mission will last approximately 3-6 months. Energia informed me that the French Cosmonaut Jean-Pierre did receive training on the MAREX-MG SSTV project, and is planning on using it during this Mission.
Web Page information:
The new MAREX-MG SSTV web is under construction but is now ON line check it out.
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 1999 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-MG SSTV system on the Russian Space Station Mir are considered public domain and may be freely distributed, without prior permission.
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