16th January 2022: Emilio, IK0OKY reports that there was a nice opening on the 40 MHz band on the 16th of January when several amateur radio stations in & near Rome reported reception of the ZS6WAB/B beacon in South Africa.
Emilio writes..." Today, there was a 40 MHz opening from Rome area towards South Africa ZS. The ZS6WAB beacon on 40.675 MHz was heard in JN61 square from 11.15 UTC until 12.30 UTC.
The beacon was heard first from IK0FTA Sergio and then also from some other locals (IW0FFK Marco , IK0SMG Pino and myself).
I received it up to 559 on a cubical quad fractal antenna for 6m. Unfortunately no 6m QSO took place during the period that the beacon was in."
2022-01-16 12:28:24 IK0OKY (JN61ES) 40.675 CW ZS6WAB/B (KG46RC) 7508 JN61ES<TEP>KG46RC 319 now
2022-01-16 12:06:59 IK0OKY (JN61ES) 40.675 CW ZS6WAB/B (KG46RC) 7508 JN61ES<TEP>KG46RC still in
2022-01-16 11:48:38 IK0OKY (JN61ES) 40.675 CW ZS6WAB/B (KG46RC) 7508 JN61ES<TEP>KG46RC 559
2022-01-16 11:16:44 IK0FTA (JN61GV) 40.675 CW ZS6WAB/B (KG46RB) 7522 599 in jn61
Propagation: The solar flux on the day was 116 with an A index of 22 and a K index of 2-3. Considering that the beacon and the stations in Rome are equidistant from the geomagnetic equator, I presume the primary mode of propagation was TEP - Trans-Equatorial Propagation. It's probably no accident that the opening was just after local noon.
Early warming... This report I think shows the real value of the 40 MHz band as an early warning system. There is a huge gap between 28 MHz and 50 MHz bands and the 10m band will be open many many times without the propagation ever reaching 6m.
The 40 MHz band helps bridge this gap and this will become even more important as the solar flux begins to rise and the MUF goes above the 28 MHz band and into the low-VHF spectrum.
On this occasion, there was no opening on the 50 MHz band but that won't always be the case. In the future, there will be times when the reception of a 40 MHz beacon will alert VHF operators to get ready on 50 MHz and to have their beams pointing in the right direction.
1) As always, I have plenty of info on my 40 MHz page.