The advice already given is far more knowledgable that I could give, but I do have the experience of a novice trying to figure it out.
Originally Posted by Kami-the-Trout
1. Don't worry about your safelight. My emulsion takes 1 minute of a 1watt red LED set on the emulsion iteslf to fog.
2. I think you will find the contrast satisfying even with a slower dump. My contrast is more dependent on the quality of coating than the makeup of the emulsion. ( I guess, to be technical, that would be Dmax, rather than contrast, I find my emulsion similar to the Arista Ortho Lith film when developed in continuous tone developer. I find the quality of the coating has far more to do with the final print than anything else)
3. I've tried PE's SRAD and a few others. They all take pictures, my advice is to pick one and get some practice coating it and making reproducible results.
4. While others cite shorter lifespans, I've left coated plates in room temp for over a month with no discernable difference in the quality of the neg and I use no preservative. I don't think preservative is critical.