Mir / Shuttle School Schedule STS-84 --- May 19, 1997
Mir - Atlantis Docking
Hellenic American School, Lowell Massachusetts


Antenna Installation
Antenna Installation
Miles WF1F, on the Logan Lift with a few antenna sections. The Life made installaton very easy.

Hi Everyone:
I would like to thank all of the people who helped out with the Hellenic American School schedule in Lowell.

The Schedule ran from 9:11 - 9:20 am Monday may 19, 1997.
Charlie Precourt the shuttle pilot was on frequency and on schedule. Dave larsen in California made the initial contact on 2-meters and relayed by telephone to the school.
Dave, Miles and Charlie chatted by phone patch counting down the time until Mir came in range of the School in Lowell.

Signals in CA were good, however signals in Lowell were bad. It was a combination of several factors Tropo Ducting Polarity And Poor Mir orientation.

Other Radio stations on the east coast monitoring the pass reported similar problems.
I do not have an exact count of questions answered, but it was between 3-5.
When Charlie realized signals were failing, he began to announce the children's names and give the answers (Charlie had a list of questions in his pocket before launch).

During the 10 minute pass, signals were good for 3 minutes and poor the rest of the pass.

We are planning on editing the tapes and posting the data in wave files later this month.

Station setup
Antenna gain 12 bBic +
Coax loss, less than 2 db
RF power 350 watts
ERP over 2400 watts.

Antenna System
Antenna System
Jerry Muller K0TV, posting next to the temporary antenna setup. A pair of cophased KLM-22M, with a Kenpro AZ/EL rotor. Picture taken from the Gym roof of the Hellenic School, Lowell Mass.

Group Shot - The Mirex Install team
Group Shot
Back Row left to right:
William Davis K1WD, Mike Catalanotti N1YHW
Middle row:
Bob Wallace W1HH, Mike K1LJN
Dawn Catalanotti, Jerry Muller K0TV
Front Row
Gary KD1TR, MaryBeth N1FER
Miles WF1F, Peter KD1IV

School 01

School 02

From   : Miles Mann
Sent   : Saturday, May 24, 1997 7:19 PM
To     : Precourt, Charles J
Subject: Thanks Charlie

Dear Charlie:

Thank you for taking time from our busy schedule to talk to the children at the Hellenic school in Lowll from the Mir Space Station.
I am sorry the radio signals were very weak.  We built a super-station at the school with a large antenna array  and lots of power (3kw ERP). But mother nature stepped in and fooled us.
It appears there was a large Tropo-Inversion layer ducting over the New England area.  This inversion layer made it easy for our Line-of-site radios to talk beyond the horizon from Boston to New Jersey. 
However this rare atmospheric event blocked most of our signals from going up to your satellite.
For the first 3 minutes, we could tell you were transmitting and could hear some of your transmission.  Then when you were over head, our antenna system was able to punch trough for two questions. 
Then your signals faded out.
Fortunately, I had contacted another school in Pennsylvania.  They were also affected by the Tropo, but were able to copy much more of your information than I could.
Later this month, Ill make a transcript and WAV files from tapes of both schools and send the data to the school.
Even  though we did not get all of the questions answered, I am sure the children were not disappointed.
Take care, and look forward to the next school schedule.

G.  Miles Mann WF1F  MIREX Director of Educational Resources

To     : Miles Mann
Subject: RE: Thanks Charlie

Thanks again for your note and for all your work on putting this together.  I am so glad that at least a couple of kids got their questions through.  If it was just the tropo inversion then I guess we have a good worry was the docked vehicles were in an inertial hold attitude that may have rotated the antenna out of a good orientation ...
We had good comm with someone out in Ca I think it was who you were working with...but by the time we got over Mass our attitude had changed relative to the earth and it may have contributed to the problem....In any event i'm looking forward to chatting with Terry and hearing how the kids reacted to it all. 
Tell them all Hi for me and that I'll be in touch...
Super job!


times since 17 Jan 2000.