Tuesday, 7 April 2015

New Band For ZS Hams

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 cycles.

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 this region.

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.


Anonymous said...

That is VERY exciting news! What ever happened to the WARC proposal for a 41 mHz amateur band in Regions 2 & 3??? It seemed to die at some point & I've heard little talk amongst VHFers about this possibility since. With much of the 30-50 mHz spectrum once used by commercial 2-way users now abandoned, surely a worldwide 200-300 kHz chunk of spectrum could be re-assigned to amateurs. Now us hams need to gently coax some ZS VHF ops to try "cross-band" 10 meter CW


Steven Epperson said...

Those are rc hobby frequency in the us.. there are some frequencies in the 49mhz range that would be great to realocate

Steve McDonald said...

Steven....I don't see any RC frequencies in this part of the spectrum. There already are some at 49MHz. A lot of the commercial FM that used to be in the 40MHz region has now moved to VHF/UHF. I don't think it's a matter of not having enough space for a small ham band...more likely the problem is getting through all of the red tape to make it happen.

Biff said...

My friend OM Willem Badenhorst ZS6WAB has made the first ZS TO ZS contact on 40.675mhz on Sunday 16 August 2015 between Ian Roberts, ZS6BTE in Johannesburg and Willem near Polokwane using FSK441 at a distance of 288 km. ZS6WAB is equipped with a 3 element Yagi and 100 Watts. They are looking for more ZS QSO's, so I'll have to build another antenna.



Steve McDonald said...

Thanks Biff! You boys are fortunate to have this great part of the spectrum. It would be wonderful to see a worldwide amateur allocation up here someday. Good luck with your experiments.

73 / Steve