SO-50's eleventh birthday

Now known as SO-50, Saudisat 1C is a Saudi Arabian picosatellite that was launched by a Dnepr rocket from Baikonur at 17:00 UT on 20 December 2002.

SO-50 features a "Mode J" FM amateur repeater operating on a 2M uplink and a 440 downlink.

Most hams already own the necessary equipment to work SO-50,

It is preferable to work SO-50 in true, full-duplex mode - so you can hear the downlink as you transmit. This means - for most - using a second radio or the Kenwood TH-D72A and its true full-duplex capability. The new Puxing PX-UV973 is currently being tested in this mode, too, to see how it works on the satellites.
— Clint Bradford, K6LCS

SO-50's repeater is available to amateurs worldwide, and it uses a 67.0 Hertz PL tone on the uplink. SO-50 also has a 10 minute timer that must be armed before use. If you know the satellite is there - but there is nothing heard - you may need to shoot it a PL tone of 74.4 to turn it ON!

The repeater consists of a miniature VHF receiver with sensitivity of -124dBm, with an IF bandwidth of 15 KHz. The receive antenna is a 1/4 wave vertical mounted in the top corner of the spacecraft. Its UHF transmitter is a mere 250 mW, and downlink antenna is a 1/4 wave mounted in the bottom corner of the spacecraft and canted at 45 degrees inward.

"Hams just with Technician licenses can work the satellite," Clint continues. "We are talking about weak signals from 500 miles away - so improving both your TX and RX antennas is critical for success on this satellite." Plans for making tape measure beams and other inexpensive, high-gain antennas are also on his Web site.

"Do not forget to accommodate for the Doppler phenomenon on the 440 receive side."

Complete details - including frequency chart and sources for knowing when the satellite will be over your area -