Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Reception reports for the ZS6WAB beacon on 40 MHz - Q1 2022

With the recent increase in sunspot numbers and the improvement on the HF bands, there has been a lot of interest in the ZS6WAB beacon on 40.675 MHz. This beacon which usually sends a message in CW is now seen as a valuable early warning system for potential openings on the 50 MHz band between Europe and South Africa.

In the first quarter of 2022, a total of 52 stations uploaded reception reports to the DX Summit DX cluster and a map of these are shown above. Outside of Europe, there are two to note. 

a) TT8SN in Chad at about 4,300kms was most likely one F2 layer hop.

b) There was a spot on the cluster  from W3PQS in the USA but unless I hear otherwise, I think it's a mistake (not counted as part of the 52). I sent W3PQS an email but got no reply. 

Europe... This is the map for Europe in more detail...

As might be expected, the majority of the stations that heard the 40 MHz signal of ZS6WAB are located in the southern half of Europe. 

As for propagation modes, it's likely TEP was involved with some F2 layer reaching as high as 40 MHz as well on this North-South path.

It was interesting to see that the signal from South Africa managed to reach OH5ZA in Finland as well, a distance of almost 9,500kms.

Top Spotters... This is a list of the top spotters on the DX cluster broken down into the number of days they heard and reported the ZS6WAB beacon on 40 MHz. 

It's interesting to note that both DK2EA and F4CXO reported hearing the 40 MHz ZS6WAB beacon on 22 days in Q1 of 2022.

Caveat... I used the DX spots from the DX Summit cluster to compile the data for this post. It's possible there were other spots which were not on this platform but other sources of information are incomplete. I do think however it gives a reasonably accurate picture of who heard the South African beacon on the 40 MHz band.

In Conclusion... First off, it's great to see so many stations in Europe active and listening on the 40 MHz band! 

I think the reception reports of this 40 MHz beacon shows just how valuable an allocation between 28 MHz and 50 MHz can be, especially for beacons. 

It would be nice if more countries allowed one off experimental 40 MHz beacons as advocated by the IARU even if an amateur radio allocation is unlikely.

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