By golly, SO-50 is in great shape for an eleven-year old bird. According to Internet lore, she only works during the day in full sunlight and is crippled at night. Nope. SO-50 works as well in eclipse as in full sun.
I’ve said it previously here and elsewhere in my ramblings, SO-50 can be a little more tricky to work than some of our other esteemed FM transponders of the past (AO-51, for example.)
It’s trickier because the power output is a little lower, around 250mw. That’s 1/4 of a watt. Can you work a local repeater with that little power? Maybe on a high-gain antenna but not on a rubber duck.
As always, I beat the drum of having a second radio or receiver so you can hear yourself. Without a constant carrier, SO-50 is a little trickier to work at times semi-duplex. As you gain more experience, you will understand the value of this….. But it’s okay to try semi-duplex to get your feet wet and play around.
Thankfully SO-50 has a great receiver, meaning you can heard by it with modest power and equipment. The trick again, is hearing it. I highly suggest using a directional antenna such as an Arrow or Elk when trying to operate SO-50. Will an extended duck work? Sure. We all know the galactic record for working 9,000,0000,000 stations on satellites with whips goes to N5AFV. As far as I’m concerned, I’d be happy if no one else tried to come close.
- SO-50 works great – day or night.
- It can be tricky to hear. Get a good antenna. Don’t fart around with whips.
- Use full duplex.