Mir Amateur Radio Status: March 8, 1998

by Miles Mann WF1F,

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

Mir's Random Radio Schedule:

One thing we learned a long time ago, is the Mir crews have the right to change their plans when ever they need to make adjustments. This means, that the crew can and will shutdown the Amateur Radio equipment when ever there is a need to do so. Or the crew will change the radio schedules to suite their needs.

 This past weekend is a good example. On Friday, there was No Amateur radio activity (Friday is usually a Packet day) On Saturday, there was some SSTV activity And on Sunday, Packet and SSTV were both turned off and Jean-Pierre was active on Voice.

Does this mean there is a Problem? Not at All.

Part of the reason Packet was turned off, was because French cosmonaut Jean-Pierre Heignere had some free time and he wanted to talk on Voice. He turned off the packet PMS, so he could hear people better.

 Common reasons for Shutting down the Amateur Radio equipment on Mir.

  1. Docking Missions: Whenever there is a docking or undocking taking place, the orders are to turn off all unnecessary radio equipment.
  2. Electrical maintenance: Routine maintenance requires that power is sometimes shutdown while the crew is working on the electrical system.
  3. Power conservation: Some experiments require huge amounts of power (crystal ovens)
  4. Eclipse: During periods of long eclipse, it is sometimes necessary to conserve power.
  5. Navigation computer problems: in 1997 a worn-out navigation computer forced several emergency power shutdowns. The computer has been replace and working great for the past 2 years.

 Amateur Radio equipment shutdowns are command and there is no reason to worry if you do not hear your favorite satellite for a few days.

 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 16, 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 him self and the rest of the Mir crew.

 Current Schedule for Packet PMS and SSTV:

The SSTV system was active Saturday March 6 and Monday March 8.

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

Equipment Pictures:

I am looking for Pictures of the Amateur Radio equipment currently on the Russian Space Station Mir.

I have searched a few of the NASA archives, with limited luck. Most of the equipment shots I have received from other sources. This week I received a nice shot from Tony VK5ZAI. The picture shows Astronaut Andy Thomas talking on the 2-meter station from the Pirioda module on Mir. In the back ground you can see good shot of the MAREX-MG DCI filter. The filter was needed to keep the Mir 143 MHz commercial radio from De-sensing the 2-meter station.

Current inventory list of amateur radio hardware on Mir:

SUFAX II Repeater (Icom)

Kenwood TM-733 (for PMS)

Kenwood TM-V7A (for SSTV)

Packcom TNC (old PMS modem)

Kantronics KPC-9612 (current PMS modem)

If you do find a good shots taken from Mir of the Amateur radio hardware, please send the JPG or GIF to my E-mail address. The best pictures will be posted to the MAREX-MG web page.


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 (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.

 Miles WF1F

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