Sunday 17th October 2021: A little bit of radio history was made today when there was a successful two way contact between S50B in Slovenia and ZS6WAB in South Africa on the new 40 MHz band.
Not only was this the first contact between Slovenia and South Africa but it was also the first contact between Europe and Africa on the new 8-metre band.
Borut, S50B reports that he worked Willem, ZS6WAB on 40.680 MHz using the FT8 digital mode...
As can be seen, the signal was quite weak at -8dB and -10dB which suggests that a contact on CW might have been possible but unlikely on SSB.
S50B writes... "I'd like to announce the first 8m, 40mhz, FT8 qso between AF-EU and South Africa and Slovenia. Mny tnx to ZS6WAB.....Juupii 🙂 73 de Borut s50b"
The key point about this contact is that it shows the 40 MHz path between Europe and South Africa is possible and in future, CW and SSB contacts may follow.
Distance: The contact was in the region of 7925kms which means by default, it also sets a new distance record for the new 40 MHz band.
Propagation Mode: If this contact was on 50 MHz, I'd probably be saying it was TEP - Trans-Equatorial Propagation. At the moment, we're getting modest East-West openings at 28 MHz further north in Europe. It stands to reason that openings from the south of Europe on paths to the South must extend well up into the low VHF region above 30 MHz.
Does the F2 MUF to the south extend up as far as 40 MHz? I really don't believe anyone can say with 100% certainty that this opening was only F2 layer or it was only TEP. The solar flux today was just 78 which isn't all that high.
Equipment: Subject to confirmation, I think S50B was using 100 watts from an ICOM IC-7100 into a 4-element Yagi as shown above.
ZS6WAB uses an old ICOM IC-706 for the 8m CW beacon with a 5-element YU7EF designed Yagi so I presume that is what was used.
|Antenna stack at ZS6WAB with the 40 MHz Yagi at the top|
Hopefully, this contact will encourage more experiments on the 40 MHz band. There is a number of new 40 MHz experimental stations in the USA and an 8m contact contact between South Africa and North America would be really interesting.
As always, if you want more information on the new 8m band then check out the links in my 40 MHz page.