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Re: SO-50 under-utilized over North America

Hi John!

> SO-50 isn't that hard to work if you have a good antenna (such as an Arrow).
> It uses the same frequencies as AO-27, except it requires a PL of 67 Hz on
> the uplink and SO-50 doesn't transmit unless it recieves the PL.  It does
> need to be turned on once per pass (e.g. one transmits briefly with a PL of
> 74.4 Hz), but it is likely that one of the 'regulars' will do that for you,
> on transcontinental passes at least.  If there aren't many people on, it
> can be challenging to find the bird with a hand-held antenna, so it really
> would help if it got more use.  If you're east of the Mississippi, you'll
> be especially welcomed on transcontinental SO-50 passes.  Feel free to ask
> me questions via e-mail.

I think it's fair to say that any activity on SO-50 anywhere in North
America would
be a good thing.  It could be a good way to get a portable satellite
station set up
for the other FM satellites.   If you can hear and work SO-50 with its
lower transmit
power and other quirks, you'll be in good shape for AO-51 and
(hopefully, if it comes
back) AO-27.   SO-50's passes will never be as predictable as AO-27 or AO-51
since it's not in a sun-synchronous orbit, but periodically it has
nice passes that fill
in where AO-27 would normally be - or between the AO-51 morning and evening
passes, like it is now for us in North America.

There was a nice SO-50 pass crossing over North America last Thursday
(28 July),
around 2035 UTC, where exactly one other station showed up.  It was a
new satellite
op, Bob K5AOK in New Mexico, and we ended up chatting for most of the
pass as he
was getting his station set up for SO-50.  I'm hoping to hear him on a
couple of SO-50
passes today, including one in about 10 minutes or so.  Maybe not east of the
Mississippi River, but someone who is interested in this part of our hobby.

73 from the hot and humid desert!

Patrick WD9EWK/VA7EWK - Phoenix, Arizona USA
Sent via amsat-bb@amsat.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author.
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