Sharp-eyed Roger, G3XBM, has brought attention to the recent news of a new amateur allocation granted to South Africa's amateur radio community! It's just a small slice of a band but in an exceptionally interesting part of the spectrum ... 40MHz!
Amateurs have been given 'propagation studies' permission to
transmit between 40.675MHz and 40.685MHz as 'primary users' and use up to 26dBW
(400Watts) of power ... a healthy assignment.
I'm not sure where the
push for this new band has risen from but no doubt from within the amateur radio
community of South Africa ... and kudos to the SA radio authority for
establishing this unique amateur band.
Myself and others, have often
stated that an amateur allocation in the 40MHz region would be a wonderful part
of the spectrum in which to experiment. Almost midway between the two "magic
bands" (10m and 6m), the propagation opportunities of 40MHz would be most
unique and abundant.
With Solar Cycle 24 being such a weak cycle, most of North
America and particularly the western half, saw almost no F2 openings of any
significance. Absent were the all-day long bone-crushing signals from the east
coast, followed by the spotlight propagation-sweep down to South and Central
America and finally over to Japan for another few hours of ear-shattering JA
signals ... none of this for Cycle 24. Yet, in spite of the lower MUF's, I noted
dozens and dozens of days when the F2 MUF would shoot up to the high 43MHz
region and hang in for hours and hours ... just as it did on 6m in previous
Having even a small slice of spectrum at 40MHz would give
amateurs a golden opportunity to follow some exceptionally interesting
propagation trends during the next few cycles ... all predicted to be stinkers,
some saying even worse than '24'. With 40MHz supporting the F2, Es, TEP and
Auroral modes, there would be much exciting propagation to support activity in
Maybe it's time North American amateur's start talking
about a new slice of the 40MHz pie ... surely there is enough space to share.