Mir Amateur Radio Status: December 3, 1999

By Miles Mann WF1F,

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

Paper work vacation:

Hi everyone, I took some time off from writing the Mir status reports for a while. We have been concentrating on the next series of projects.

Mir Status:

The Russian Space Station Mir is currently un-manned and is flying on remote control. The tentative plan, is to send a new crew to the Mir Station in March 2000. When the new crew moves into Mir, the Packet and SSTV station will be re-activated.


The MAREX-MG Group is currently working on our next generation of Slow Scan TV for the International Space Station. Work on the SSTV project is well under way. The MAREX team is actively testing the SpaceCam1 SSTV software on H.F. We want to make sure the SpaceCam1 software is compatible with all existing SSTV software system. You may listen for some of the MAREX-MG team experimenting on 20 meters around 14.230 and 14.235.

The initial MAREX-MG project will be a Slow Scan TV system similar to what we had installed on the Russian Space Station Mir. The MAREX-MG MIR SSTV was a hardware version, which was built around the TASCO SSTV system and a Kenwood TM-V7A transceiver. The new MAREX-MG ISS SSTV system (SPACECAM1) will be a PC (laptop) software based system, with more features than the previous Mir SSTV System.

The original Mir SSTV system was designed to be very simple for the Mir crew to use. However the simplicity came with a few limitations. After 9 months of use on board the Russian Space Station and over 20,000 images transmitted, the Mir crews came up with several suggestions for the next generation of SSTV for the International Space Station.

Mir Crew Suggestions:

1.They wanted to be able to automatically save images received from Earth on a PC disk for viewing at a later date.

2.The ability to transfer images from a Digital Still Image camera into the SSTV system (SLIDE SHOW mode Live Camera or pre save Disk images).

3.The ability to automatically repeat the same image many times (BEACON mode).

The new MAREX-MG SSTV SPACECAM1 system for ISS will have all of these features and more.

The hardware configuration of the SSTV system will consist of a VHF/UHF transceiver, a Russian Lap-Top PC and an Audio isolation switch box. And will support both USB cameras and composite RS-170 video input connections.

Tentative ISS Amateur Radio Installation Schedule:

A few stations have asked the question, When will the ISS go on line with Amateur Radio operations. We'll, it's hard to put the installation dates into exact month and days, howeverhere is an approximate run down, based on information from our weekly discussions with the engineers at RSC Energia.

These dates are approximate dates, and are subject to change.

The February/March Shuttle STS-101 may carry the first parts of the Amateur radio projects.

These part may include: Transceivers, Antennas and TNC. The Shuttle STS-101 will only visit the ISS for a few days and there are not expected to be any Amateur Radio activities from the Shuttle or ISS until much later in the year.

The International Space Station will become manned full-time around March/April 2000, with the Russian launch of a flight which is being called 2R.

Launch Date: March/April 2000

Launch Vehicle: Russian Soyuz Rocket

Elements: Soyuz; Expedition 1 Crew

Crew : Commander Bill Shepherd; Soyuz Commander Yuri Gidzenko; Flight Engineer

Sergei Krikalev. Part of the reason for the delay in installing the Amateur Radio projects, is because the antennas for the project must be installed by a Space Walk (EVA). There are 4 external antenna ports on the Russian Service module. One or more of these ports are going to be shared with the Amateur Radio experiments. Sometime during the late summer or fall of 2000, the Amateur Radio antennas will be installed on the outside of the Russian Service Module.

So, some time during the summer or fall of 2000, the International Space Station is expected to be active on the Amateur Radio bands.

What projects will be active on ISS:

At the present time, there are plans for 1200 baud AX.25 Packet and the MAREX-MG SSTV SPACECAM1 system, both projects are similar to the projects used on the Russian Space Station Mir. These projects have proven to be very popular and affordable to most people around the world. Many more projects are in the planning stages. And there are more antenna ports for more projects in the future. The current ISS antenna installation calls for antennas to support most amateur radio satellite bands from H.F. to SHF

We will be only limited by our imagination.


For more information on the assembly of the International Space Station, check out the NASA web page, at WWW.NASA.GOV


Mir QSL Update:

QSL Manager Information:

Please provide the following information with your QSL or SWL card.

Return Name and Address, country, ZIP

Date and time of your contact, In UTC format

Signal report (Best guess, optional)

Radio Station and Antenna (optional)

The Russian address supports all Mir contacts, including SWL, Two-way voice or Packet connections (R0MIR), including the Sputnik Satellites

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.

Note: We are currently out of QSL cards for Mir. The MAREX-MG team has designed a new Mir QSL card and we have sent the card to MAREX-RU for final approval. We hope to send the final card to the printers in December 1999. I would like to thank you all for being patient on getting your QSL cards. We hope to begin shipping the new cards in Q1 2000.

Sergej Samburov

PO Box 73

Korolev-10 City

Moscow Area, 141070, Russia


The California address is also out of QSL cards. They will be restocked when the new

QSL card order is completed.

The CA address is only handling QSL cards for the call sign R0MIR and R0MIR-1

No SSTV-SWL (Short Wave Listener) cards will be issued at this address.

No Sputnik-SWL cards

Dr. Dave Larsen - N6CO/K6MIR

PO Box 311

Pine Grove, California



Please include a SASE (Business Size Envelope) and two IRCís for international. If you are sending an IRC, Please make sure it is dated 1999, as the post office won't accept IRC's dated over 1 year old.

Make sure the cancel stamp is in the right place on the IRC.

"Green Stamps" (USA ONLY) are appreciated for covering additional costs.


Tracking Mir:

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.