Amateur radio contact ...Pipe Creek to MIR

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Promise was anchored West of Thomas Cay, Pipe Creek, Exumas. It was too rough to go diving, I was caught up on my e-mail, and the boat was more-or-less clean. It was play time with the satellite communication toys. I finally got the up doppler, down doppler, split, and CTCSS tone right and was able access the 70 cm (435 Mhz) voice repeater on MIR. In an early evening pass I had a couple of very short contacts with hams in the US and went to my bunk with a feeling of accomplishment. The best was yet to come. About 2:30 am, I got up to check the anchor and switched on the computer to see what satellites were up. MIR was just overhead, heading South, so I 'kerchunked' it and it came back "RRØDL repeater" in its computer voice. I ID'ed 'W4AVO/C6A' and was about to shut down when a loud, very accented, voice said "QRZ, what station please?". I gave my call again and received the reply: "This is RØMIR, the Space Station Mir". Valeri and I had a nice short chat but too soon it was "dah sveezhdahnyag, George" and he was gone over the hill.

Here is the computer track of MIR that night. The circle over the Bahamas is its 'footprint' at 02:24:43 EST. The dark line is the solar terminator and shows morning twilight over the Canaries and Cape Verde Islands. The white curve is MIR's suborbital path.

Here is the antenna that was used for this contact. It is manually rotatable in azmuth and elevation. This the same antenna that is used for the 70cm downlink for the pacsat digital satellites on Promise.