First of all, if you’re planning on making your 100 points via SO-50, have a backup plan. I’m confident you can do it with the right equipment, skill, and perfect alignment of celestial bodies. Last year I made a middle-of-the-night SO-50 contact when I was on a road trip with my family. It took all of 10 watts and the Arrow pointed right at SO-50 to make the contact. It can be done but don’t plan on using a handheld, especially one that is only half duplex. Rule out the boneheaded FT-60R advise!!! Also, pick your passes. Don’t expect a mid-USA pass to be easy. A lot of stations will be trying. Go for a far west or far east pass.
Secondly, you need to be making contacts on the birds right now. Do not wait until the weekend before field day. Work several passes on the birds you intend to operate on Field Day and preferably working them at the actual site you will be operating from on Field Day. At minimum, know your equipment!
It’s pretty obvious who are the people trying to brute force a contact on Field Day. They either:
- Won’t shut up. (keep repeating their call or CQ FD)
- Run so much power the bird’s transponder is crippled
- Don’t run a tone of 67 Hz when they transmit on SO-50’s uplink. QRM city!!!
- Many other LID-like scenarios I’ve griped about in the past.
Test your gear now. I don’t give a hoot if it all worked well last year. Try it. Make contacts. Get familiar again with the birds if you are not a regular operator. And don’t give me any crap about being on the birds since Sputnick was around either. Even “experienced” operators need practice, myself included.
Yes, I have practiced what I preach. I made several contacts over Memorial Day weekend. I made contacts on VO-52, FO-29, AO-7, and SO-50.