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Re: SO-50 eludes me

I hope no one changes the tone requirement on SO-50.  If you listen to  
AO-51 passes over the USA and compare it to an SO-50 pass you will  
know why - lack of QRM (as well as lack of users - but that's the same  
on most birds anyway).

SO-50 is similar to working simplex terrestrially, except that you  
hear your downlink.  There is no constant carrier as in the other FM  
birds as you mentioned.  That does make it more difficult to tune,  
however (and again, not knowing the history of this bird), I'm sure it  
conserves battery power and transmitter life.  I will take a guess and  
say that the 'turn on' code actually turns on the primary receiver,  
which again would conserve it's life.

I rarely need to 'turn on' the transponder, even though I'm pretty  
much at the southernmost part of the USA.  I frankly don't think it's  
a big deal to turn on a PL tone, if we are able to comprehend  
everything to make a satellite qso, then turning on a PL tone should  
be child's play.

However I must say, IMHO, SO-50 has the best audio of all the FM birds  
put together.  It sounds like a local repeater to me.  However it does  
appear to pretty much require selecting polarization.  My system is  
circularly polarized, and this is the only bird that I can't work from  

I also agree with you about wishing something could be done to  
increase activity on SO-50; but I won't limit that statement to just  
one of the birds we have available.

73 de W4AS

On Nov 28, 2008, at 8:38 AM, Bill Dzurilla wrote:

> Unless you are working full duplex and you can hear your own  
> downlink, you will not hear a peep on SO-50 unless someone answers  
> you.  This is because, unlike the other FM birds, SO-50 does not  
> transmit a carrier unless something is being transmitted.  I assume  
> this is done to save battery power.  Try a weekend afternoon pass,  
> when there usually are at least a couple of stations on.
> I do not know for the life of me why they require the 74.4 hz tone  
> to turn on the transpoder.  They could use the normal 67 hz tone for  
> triggering.  I'm sure this is one reason why this bird is  
> underused.  Do we have any contacts with the support team to suggest  
> a change?
> This sat is not as strong as AO-51 but I've worked it many times  
> with just an HT and an Arrow antenna.  But it can be frustrating  
> without full duplex.  You send the 74.4 hz burst and, since you  
> don't hear a carrier, you don't know if you have failed to turn on  
> the transponder or if you have and just no one else is around.
> I wish something could be done to increase activity on SO-50.
> 73,
> Bill NZ5N

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