As you probably know I do like a satellite…. I’m still very green and haven’t been that enthusiastic lately either.. but I have recently tried SO-50 again… and do you know what is the most shocking/sad thing…. its like going back to 1981 and the legalisation of CB in the UK where every man and his dog had a CB and you could only talk to the strongest signal as long as your signal to them was also their strongest received signal. Here is me thinking that the amateur radio operator who has been taught all about good practice, and what not to do etc would have been a different animal when it comes to etiquette.
SO-50 is regularly operated by people with too much power (not all, I cant tar everyone with that brush), most especially at weekends because we all have that little extra bit of spare time – during a pass recently an obviously QRO op was calling and calling but not hearing the people responding to him and he was therefore on the wrong downlink freq but by being high power was messing with everyone else’s chances of a QSO – I believe our licences state that the output power used should be no more than required to complete the QSO – SO-50 in my limited experience needs no more than 5w (or even less, i’ve had a QSO with 2.5w) and please, LISTEN!!! If you are semi duplex and hear nothing you should stop transmitting – you are obviously not listening on the correct downlink frequency.
So, if you are reading this and you happen to be one of those that use more than 5w/10w on SO-50 (I do accept that other satellites do need a little more oomph, but not much!) please try 5w, it would make the QSO more of an achievement – also, why not try just LISTENING for a few passes too…. If you are calling and calling and you hear nothing then you are quite obviously not on the correct receive frequency – SO-50 very rarely has a time when no one is about, just think for a second, if you are calling (especially using more than 5w) and you hear nothing you could be destroying someone else’s chances of a QSO!
I’m no expert (obviously, being a noob) and haven’t been playing radios let alone satellites for very long, however I know that I’ve made a transatlantic QSO on FO-29 with 5w and a homebrew antenna – do you really need 50/100w for an SO-50 inter-European QSO?