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[jamsat-news:805] * SpaceNews 06-Apr-98 *

* SpaceNews 06-Apr-98 *

BID: $SPC0406


                          MONDAY APRIL 6, 1998

SpaceNews originates at KD2BD in Wall Township, New Jersey, USA.  It
is published every week and is made available for non-commercial use.

To permit maximum participation by schools and students in a joint MIR
communicatons experiment, the MIREX team has authorized a special MIREX
School Day test on April 27th 1998 between 1000 and 2300 UTC.  The purpose
of the test is to improve the understanding of students about the Space
Station and demonstrate the factors involved in space communications using
amateur radio.  Of the many schools to participate, even schools for the
deaf and disabled will be able to experience the event through their
computer displays.

There is no limit to the number of stations that can participate, since any
amateur radio station at any school in the world may monitor the downlink of
the test.  All stations will be able to capture and log communications from
both MIR itself and the other schools authorized to transmit.   Due to the
limited capacity on the uplink, however, the number of stations authorized
to transmit will be limited to under 100 per footprint area.  In general,
only schools and other youth group demonstrations will be authorized to
transmit.  For planning purposes, schools intending to transmit should
send Email to wb4apr@amsat.org including the following brief information:

        1) Callsign and Point of contact
        2) School Name or affiliation
        3) Number of students that might participate
        4) Equipment used at the School (power and antenna type)

After the test, the MIREX team would like to hear about any media coverage
or any interesting observations or special events at your site.

To allow the maximum probability of success on each orbit, schools will
transmit via UI frames and the experiment will proceed in phases.  As each
phase is successfully accomplished, then additional complexity may be added
to the experiment.  This phased approach makes sure that everyone gets an
equal chance of success without congestion while allowing for additional
capacity if it exists.

The MIR packet system will downlink a brief BULLETIN once every 3 minutes.
Each school should expect to capture these bulletins at some time during
the pass.

Concurent with the Bulletin Phase, the next objective is for each transmitting
school to successfully relay a position/status report via MIR and for all
other schools to receive them.  A position packet will look something like

    W3ADO>GGggGG,R0MIR*:]k[ US Naval Academy. 75 Students 35w. Hi MIR!

Here, the GGggGG is the stations grid square which is sufficient to locate
the school to within about 3 miles.  The ]k[ is the map ICON for a school.
Stations may transmit these single packets at about a one-a-minute rate
until successful.  Once they see their position in the downlink, then they
should stop sending their position.

After each school has captured one full page of position packets (16
stations) from other schools, indicating others are being successful and
their station is hearing the downlink, then the authorized schools may send
a single message packet to any other station.  For each additional page of
16 positions that each school captures, it may send additional packets up
to a maximum of 5.

A special version of packet software called MIRMON has been donated for
unlimited use during this experiment.  MIRMON will capture all position
reports, bulletins and messages and give schools a consistent display of
the event.  The software may be downloaded and further test details as well
as a replay of the last such experiment are available on the Naval Academy
MIREX WEB page at the following URL:


Schools with at least a 2m FM 25 watt transceiver, an omni-directional
antenna, and a conventional TNC should be successful.  Individual hams
wishing to participate are welcome to monitor the test in RECEIVE ONLY,
or to visit a school and set up a demonstration to qualify to transmit.
This means all stations should be manned and not operated unattended.

Even schools without current ham radio equipment can monitor the event
via the live Web pages above and also at www.mirex.net.  The MIREX Team
is trying to find dedicated ground stations, at least one per continent,
that can link their receiver to a growing MIREX network.  Currently there
are feeds in the Eastern USA, Mexico, and Spain under construction.  To
see the combined feed from these stations, browse the web site above or
telnet to www.mirex.net.  For school info contact Bob at: wb4apr@amsat.org.

[Info via Dr. Dave Larsen, N6CO -- MIREX President]

On a pass at 0800 UTC on 27-Mar-98, the FO-29 spacecraft command station
detected two bit errors in the satellite's On Board Computer (OBC) while
attempts were made to switch the satellite into mode JD 1200.  Resetting
the computer and reloading software will take a while, so the satellite
will remain in Mode JA until further notice.

[Info via Kazu Sakamoto, JJ1WTK]

Comments and input for SpaceNews should be directed to the editor (John,
KD2BD) via any of the paths listed below:

WWW       : http://www.njin.net/~magliaco/
INTERNET  : kd2bd@amsat.org, magliaco@email.njin.net

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