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.
> I have worked every bird several times: AO7, AO16, AO27, AO51, FO29, VO52.
> But I have never worked SO50. Tonight I had a pass DIRECTLY overhead. I
> tried the standard initiation call with 74.4 CTCSS, and then calling with 67
> Hz. Never heard a thing. In fact, I don't think I have ever heard SO50.
> I triple-checked the Doppler, turned down the squelch, turned up the RF
> gain. Not a peep. Even with only my Arrow yagi fixed at 30 degrees EL, I
> should have heard something. All I heard was the rush of static. I know
> this bird is lower orbit and smaller power out, but I should hear something,