Mir Amateur Radio Status: April 6 1998
By Miles Mann WF1F,
MAREX-MG (Manned Amateur Radio Experiment, North American Division)
RS-19 Ready for Launch
Progress rocket M41 was launched from Baykonur on April 2, 1999. The cargo rocket docked with Mir on April 4. The rocket contains the typical supplies, Food, Water, fuel and some lizards for biological studies. The RS-19 satellite is also on M41.
There have been a few changes in the current owner ship of the RS-19 satellite. I suggest you read the ARRL Letters from April 2, 1999.
During my call with Energia this week, they stated, they do not believe the RS-19 project will violate any rules regarding commercial activity on the Amateur Radio bands. There seems to be some confusion on this topic. I would ask that people please refrain from E-mails on this topic until everyone has had time to discuss the issues in a proper forum. There will be official meetings between Energia and Amsat-Russian to discuss the issues.
After RS-19 arrives on Mir, it will be stored inside Mir until the next Space Walk (EVA) tentatively scheduled for April 16. The tentative date for the next EVA is April 16, 1999. During the EVA two crewmembers (Viktor Afanasyev and Sergei Avdeyev) will exit the Mir station. The RS-19 satellite will be hand launched some time during the EVA. The third crewmember (Jean-Pierre Heignere) will stay inside the pressurized section of Mir and will help coordinate the EVA activities by monitoring the radio transmission and closely following the crew progress. Shortly before the RS-19 launch, Jean-Pierre Heignere will turn off the Amateur Radio PMS project and change the frequency of the Mir's Kenwood TM-733 to145.815. He will use the Amateur Radio to monitor the signal of the RS-19 satellite. If the satellites signal checks out Good, the RS-19 satellite will be launched. The actual launch will probably take place while Mir is in radio range of Russian Mission control.
The new Sputnik 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 would be 7 seconds long, with a 7-second pause. There is the ability to change the message every 24 hours.
Anyone with a simple 2-meter receiver or scanner should be able to hear the voice recordings being played by Sputnik.
Tentative launch date for Sputnik, April 16, 1999
Listening for Sputnik:
Sputnik is operating close to the frequency 145.815. Of course the frequency will appear to drift due to normal Doppler effects.
Because of Doppler shift, the signal may appear anywhere between 145.811 - 145.818 (I rounded a little). When Sputnik first comes in range for its 10 minute pass, the initial frequency plus Doppler will be approximately 145.818 (145.815 TX freq., plus 3.5k Doppler shift).
When Sputnik is directly over head, the frequency will be approximately 145.815. Then as Sputnik passes away and nears the horizon, the frequency will be approximately 145.812 (145.815, minus Doppler 3.5k).
If you have an FM receiver which can tune only in 5k Channels, try to listen for Sputnik on 145.820 at the beginning of the pass, then step down to 145.815 and 145.810 towards the end of the pass. Sputnik can be heard with most receivers, FM, CW or SSB.
I do not have accurate web page information for the Rs-19 project at this time.
The 100-mw beacon can be heard in FM, CW or SSB modes. Give it a try and if you hear the Beep Beep Beep of the Sputnik satellite, you can send away for a special Short Wave Listener SQL card.
Please use one of the following QSL managers and follow the directions for that Manager.
All Mir contacts, SWL, Two-way voice or Packet connections (R0MIR), including 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 out side of the envelope with Amateur Radio Call signs visible.
QSL Information for SWL (Short Wave Listener)
PO Box 73
Moscow Area, 141070, Russia
For Two-way contacts with Mir ONLY. Just for the call sign 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, California
Please include a SASE (Business Size Envelope) and one or more IRC for international.
If you are sending an IRC, please make sure it is dated 1998, as my post office will not accept IRC dated over 1 yr. old.
Note: Dave Larsen MIREX / N6CO is not handling SWL cards for Sputnik, please use the other address
Interference from Amateur Radio equipment on Mir?
In a recent memo on the Internet, there was some speculation indicating a possible interference problem cause by the Mir Amateur Radio 2-meter Stations to Mir commercial radio receivers. The Mir Amateur Radio station does not cause any interference to the any of the commercial radio equipment on the Russian Space Station Mir. The Russian Space Station Mir operates multiple transmitters and receivers just below the 2-meter band. Because of the close proximity of the antennas for all of the transmitters and receivers, we did have a problem with one of the commercial transmitters de-sensing the 2-meter Amateur Radio station. This interference problem was only ONE-WAY, the commercial transmitter on 143 MHz de-sensed the Amateur Radio station on 145.985 MHz. The Amateur Radio station did not cause any problems with any of the commercial equipment on Mir.
The De-sensing problem would prevent the PMS from operating while the commercial transmitter was active. After SAFEX informed the MAREX-MG team about the problem, we designed a filter which was built by the DCI corporation. The special MAREX-MG filter was installed on the 2-meter Mir station in 1998. The filter incorporates a very narrow 2-meter pass band 4-cavity filter, plus a special notch filter designed to block out the commercial transmitters on 143 MHz. The filter is attached to the antenna cable going to the Mir 2-meter Amateur Radio station. I have seen pictures of the filter installed, and I hope to have the pictures posted to the MAREX-MG web page in a few weeks. Ever since the MAREX-MG DCI filter was installed, the user of the PMS can now use the PMS while all of the commercial transmitters are active. Before the filter was installed, Energia stated that they had NO reports of the Mir Amateur Radio equipment causing any problems to the commercial equipment. Now with the extra Pass band DCI filter installed, there is an additional 20+ dB of pass band attenuation in-line with the 2-meter transceiver. Again, there are no valid reports from the Mir crew or Energia that the Amateur Radio station has ever caused any interference with the operations on board Mir.
The MAREX-MG DCI filter project was a joint project between multiple clubs. The MAREX-MG team created the whole project and delivered flight ready hardware. After we proved there was a need for the filter, three other clubs joined in to help the project. The AMSAT-NA, SAREX-WG and SAREX teams, then provided substantial support in testing the hardware to verify the hardware was Flight-Quality. After passing all tests the DCI filters were then fully documented by SAREX. The SAREX team then delivered the MAREX-MG DCI filter units to Russia.
Mir's Random Radio Schedule:
During the docking of the next cargo rocket, you can expect the Amateur Radio projects to be temporally shutdown during the docking procedures.
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.
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 out side of Mir. The dual band antenna will give us access to 2-meters and 70 cm.
In the Priroda module, we only had access to the 2-meter antenna. The Priroda Module 2-meter access limitations and the power supply limitations caused a little confusion to the a few hams, which 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.
New Mir Crew Members:
The current crew consists of:
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.
PMS Status (Personal Message System):
The PMS activity was a little intermittent last week.
Current Schedule for Packet PMS and SSTV:
Activity was very sporadic. The Mir crew said, they prefer to make voice contacts, and do not spend much time reading packet mail.
The crew will do their best to keep the SSTV system active on weekends and packet PMS operational on weekdays.
MAREX-MG Web Page:
For more information about MAREX-MG and out past, present and future project, please visit
our new home page:
For current tracking data, try the CelesTrak web page at 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 World-Wide-Web. 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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