Unproto use in packet radio through MIR

The Mir PMS (Personal Mail System) also supports the Digital repeating mode called UnProto. I am not going to get into too much detail about UnProto, for more information check Amateur radio hand books and back issues of Amateur Radio magazine.

Basically UnProto is a way of sending packet messages without requiring an acknowledgment from the other station. This mode is similar to RTTY in that, you can have several stations in one big QSO at the same time.
Set your UnProto command in your TNC, on my KAM the syntax is

Then switch to Converse mode (enter K at cmd: prompt). Now everything you type will be transmitted in UnProto Mode. If the Mir station hears your transmission, the Mir PMS Digi will rebroadcast your information with a range of over a 1000 miles.

Below is a short UnProto between a station in Massachusetts and Alabama, using the Mir Digi. The stations were arranging to meet on Oscar 13 when the Mir pass was over.

WF1F>CQ,R0MIR*/V [04/21/93  22:22:09]: <UI>:
hi Tim can you work OSCAR 13?

N8DEU>CQ,R0MIR*/V [04/21/93  22:22:30]: <UI>:
Hi miles, yes what freq?

WF1F>CQ,R0MIR*/V [04/21/93  22:22:40]: <UI>:
The UnProto mode does not guarantee you message will ever be heard, but if the Mir Digi does rebroadcast your line of text, then you can be assured that someone saw it. The line of text you send will be repeated with an Asterisk after it, "R0MIR*/". If you do not see the Asterisk, then Mir did not hear your packet.

UnProto does have its drawbacks, but it is much more efficient to use on Mir than the Direct two-way connect method. Full two-way packet connects via the Mir PMS are not recommended because they use up too much resources and excessive "Retries". Before you try Unproto on Mir, I recommend that you practice on a Terrestrial Digi first before attempting to use the Mir station for Digi-repeating. If you make a few UnProto calls and do not get any echo's back from Mir, it is probably because UnProto is turned off or because of a collision.

Occasionally the System Operators may turn off Unproto (Digi = OFF) to improve the Mail Box traffice flow. The Mail box access should always have top priority over other traffic.

Also there is a good time and a bad time to use the UnProto mode with Mir PMS.

Do not use UnProto when:
1. The Mir crew is operating in Voice mode.
2. When the Mir PMS is connected to another station that is actively sending/receiving information from the Personal Message System (PMS). Any Index packets going to the R0MIR-1 address.
The only real safe time to use UnProto, is when the Mir PMS is in its 2 minute time-out mode. This time-out is caused when the station connected to the Mir PMS is out of range and cannot log out of Mir. No one can log into PMS Mail box (R0MIR-1) until the connected station times out.
Time-outs are the best time to use UnProto. Before using UnProto, monitor Mir's down link to see who is using the PMS Mail box port "R0MIR-1". If you do not seen any Index packets from Mir PMS to the ground station using to the "R0MIR-1" port for 60 seconds, you can assume the connected station is out of range of the Mir PMS and its "UnProto time".

The shorter the Unproto sentence, the greater your success of a PMS repeat. Long sentences may get clobbered by other stations. If you are in the middle of an Unproto QSO and you see someone connect to the PMS Mail box "R0MIR-1", you should end your Unproto QSO and let the Mail box users have access to the PMS.

Good luck and lets be courteous to everyone.

Remember, Only 1 station can connect to Mir's PMS at a time, and try avoid using UnProto when someone is actively using the PMS.

If you had success please mail me. If I get some feedback I know that this web page is worth to be kept up to date.