At about 09:00 UTC this morning, I noticed that I was hearing FT8 signals on 28 MHz from Denmark. Later, I heard the OZ7IGY beacon on 50.470 MHz so I knew that the Sporadic-E conditions were well above 40 MHz.
I listened on 40.071 MHz and eventually heard the OZ7IGY beacon down in the noise. The distance was 1390 kms.
In terms of equipment, I was using a Yaesu FT-817 and a simple indoor 2 element beam in the attic for 50 MHz. The beam is pointing roughly 120 deg where as the OZ beacon is at 65 degrees so it is some bit off. I suspect on 40 MHz, it may be behaving as a shortened dipole so it certainly wasn't optimal.
I also noticed that the noise level on the FT817 seemed to drop off as I tuned below 45 MHz so I suspect it might not be the most sensitive on 40 MHz. Still though, the signal was heard which was a positive step.
The signal itself alternates between a morse code ID and a digital PI4 signal which almost sounds like someone playing a bugle! :o)
The beacon has an erp of 10 watts on 40 MHz and the website is http://www.oz7igy.dk/
Now that there is an allocation in Ireland, hopefully we might hear a few more signals on the 8 metre band.