Mir Amateur Radio Status: March 29, 1998

by Miles Mann WF1F

MAREX-MG (Manned Amateur Radio Experiment, North American Division)

Mir's Random Radio Schedule:

As most of you know the MAREX-MG SSTV system has not been active for the past three weekends. I am not aware of any specifice problems. I contacted MAREX-RU at Energia in Korolev last week to discuss the issues (MAREX-MG has a weekly telecom with MAREX-RU regarding many MIR and ISS amateur radio space topics) I was informed the MAREX-RU team is currently spending all of their efforts in preparing the AMSAT-France RS-19 satellite for launch in April. Members of the Energia MAREX-RU team are going to Balkonor Russia to install the RS-19 project this week. The Energia MAREX-RU team would not have time to run Mir School schedules or discuss SSTV plans with the Mir crew until they return from the launch site. (The MAREX-MG schools scheduled for March were rescheduled for May).

The Mir crew is in the process of moving the Personal Message System (PMS) and the MAREX-MG SSTV Amateur Radio equipment from the Priroda Module to the MIR-CORE or Base-Block module. It appears the PMS has completed the move and is back on line. The PMS is physically much smaller than the SSTV unit, which makes it easier to find a good Non-Grounded mounting loacation. The metal case of the PMS modem and the Power Supply, can not touch the metal walls or frames of the Space Station. The walls and frames are at a different ground potential, and if they touch the wrong hardware, you can get a high current loop. A ground Loop knocked out one Amateur Radio power supply on Mir about 5 years ago. The SSTV unit requires more room and it may take the crew a little time to find a good mounting location for its installation.

This move will give the crew better access to the Amateur Radio Equipment and it will give us access to the Mir-Core Antenna. The Mir-Core antenna is a Larsen-Dual band mobile antenna, mounted outside of the Mir. The dual band antenna will give us access to 2 meters and 70 cm. In the Priroda Module 2 meter access limitations and the power supply limitations caused a little confusion to a few hams, who did not understand the hardware limitations of the project. I still expect all operations, SSTV and packet to stay on 145.985 FM simplex, until we are able to run both projects simultaneously. Since we only have enough power to run one project at a time, there is no reason to use the 70cm band at this time.

The Mir Core module is where the crew spends most of their time, this means there will be more opportunity to see and hear the Mir crew from the new location. During the move, we can expect some down time for the Amateur Radio Station. I would like to ask everyone to please be patient. I will publish new information as it arrives.

Feed back from the public:

From Eric: I don't think we have any right to complain if one mode or another is not there when we want it to be, it is simply the luck of the draw. What's there is there so be happy with that.

73... Eric VK2KUR

Thank you for your comments Eric.

How to Work the Crew on Voice:

The Mir crew has been given intructions on how to work the crowds on phone/voice links. However the Mir crew members are NOT Contesters and they do not know how to handle large groups of people calling them at the same time. You will need to be very patient and listen. If you follow a few very simple procedures you can not only increase your chance for success, you can also increase the chances of the crew being more active on Vooice.

1. The Mir crew has been asked to use the term CQ when they are finished with the contacts.

2. The have been requested to use callsigns frequently in the exchange. Example: AA10AAA from R0MIR, Hello.... AA10AA, THANK YOU FOR THE CALL 73, R0MIR CQ

The Mir crew reserves the right to use any format they wish when using voice.

Here is what you can do to make it easier for the Mir crew.

1. Listen, do not transmit until you hear the crew say CQ.
2. When you hear CQ, say your callsign twice and nothing else.

Correct Example: AA10AAA AA10AAA
Bad Example: AA10AAA hi this is Joe from Boston Mass calling Mir, do you hear me.

Keep your transmission short and simple. After Mir has acknowledges your callsign, then you may continue. Suggested format: AA10AAA R0MIR, Hello Sergej, how is your Mission this week OVER.

The word OVER is a little outdated, but it does help the Mir crew tell when you have completed your transmission. Since Mir has a Radio-Range of 1500 miles (2000 kilometers), it is possible that part of your transmission may be stepped on. However, if we all follow these simple steps, it will be easier for the Mir crew and they may be more inclined to be active on Voice.

Good luck and have some fun.

RS-19 Ready for Launch: RS-19 is another in the line of successful mini sputnik type satellites.

Sputnik RS-19 is on its way to Balkonor to be installed in the next Progress cargo ship. The tenative date for the Progress launch is April 2, 1999. I do not have a confirmed date for the hand launching of the RS-19 spunik from Mir at this time.

The new Spunik can be heard on 145.812/815 (Adjust for Doppler). Listen closely and you will hear the up to 10 messages, repeated in multiple different languages. I was informed that each message will be 7 seconds long, with a 7 second pause. There is the ability to change the message every 24 hrs.

Anyone with a simple 2 meter receiver or scanner should be able to hear the voice recordings being played by Sputnik.

For more information about this project, please check out the Amsat-France Web page and follow the links to the Sputnik http://www.ccr.jussieu.fr/physio/fb6bvp

Reminder, RS-19 has not been launched at this time.

Mir QSL Information: Please use one of the following QSL managers and follow the directions for that manager.

This address is for the SWL cards for the Sputnik RS-19 Amsat-France project:

QSL manager RS18
14 bis rue des Gourlis
92 500 Rueil-Malmaison

Send an self address envelope and 1 IRC. The size should be at least 10.5 x 15 cm.


All Mir contacts, SWL, Two-way voice or Packet connections (R0MIR), incuding the new Sputnik Satellite RS-19

Envelopes should be well sealed and do not include cash. Send a SAE (Self Addressed Envelope) and one or two IRC coupons (which can be purchased at major US post offices). Do not make any notes on the outside of the envelope with Amateur Radio Callsigns visible.

QSL Information for SWL (Short Wave Listener)
Sergej Samburov
PO Box 73
Korolev-10 City
Moscow Area, 141070, Russia


For Two-way contacts with Mir ONLY. Just for the callsign R0MIR and R0MIR-1. No SWL (Short Wave Listener) cards will be issued at this address:

Dr. Dave Larsen - N6CO/K6MIR
PO Box 311
Pine Grove, CA 95665 USA

Please include a SASE (Business Size Envelope) and one IRC> for international. If you are sending a IRC, please make sure it is dated 1998, as my post office will not accept IRC dated over 1 year old.

Note: Dave Larsen MIREX / N6CO is not handling SWL cards for Sputnik, please use the other addresses.


New Mir Crew Members:

The current crew consists of:

Current Crew
SOYUZ TM-29 arrived at Mir on February 20, 1999. Mir Soyuz TM-29 crew consisted of French cosmonaut Jean-Pierre Heignere, Viktor Afanasyev and Slovakian Cosmonaut Ivan Bella.
On February 28, some of the crew returned to earth, they were: Slovak Ivan Bella and Gennadiy Paldalko. Gennadiys mission lasted approximately 6 months (August 16, 1998 - February 28, 1999)

The remaining crew consists of:

The French cosmonaut Jean-Pierre Heignere, Cosmonaut Viktor Afanasyev, Cosmonaut Sergei Avdeyev. Sergei mission began August 16th, and is expected to last a total of 9-11 months.

This will make the Mir crew 27 a three man crew. Energia informed me that the French Cosmonaut Jean-Pierre did receive training on the MAREX-MG SSTV project, and he has already sent a few SSTV images of himself and the rest of the Mir crew.

Current Schedule for Packet PMS and SSTV: No activity last weekend due to hardware move.

The crew will do there best to keep the SSTV system active on weekends and packet PMS operational on weekdays.

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 as shareware.

The best place for current satellite position date (kep) data is at the Celes Trak 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 ROM's, 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 permsision.

Miles WF1F

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