Sunday, May 22, 2022

ICOM SHF Microwave Project for the 2.4 GHz & 5.6 GHz bands

In 2021, ICOM announced that they were developing a transceiver for the microwave bands. At the time, it seemed like a highly unusual but welcome development.

See the Addendum at the bottom of the post for updates...

In April of 2022, they announced more details. They write... "Under the theme of “ICOM SHF Project – Super High Frequency Band Challenge –”, we started to develop a new amateur radio available for use in the 2.4 GHz and 5.6 GHz bands.

Icom engineers are working hard to research and develop a number of never cleared challenges within the SHF band, such as large cable loss and higher frequency stability requirements. The ultimate goal is to bring it to the market as a new radio product. Icom is striving to bring to you a new era in fun and possibilities of an SHF band amateur radio, which to date has had high technical and equipment hurdles to overcome, and we hope to make these bands more attractive and active so that anyone can easily operate on them. We are developing an epoch-making SHF band amateur radio that no one has never imagined before."

The microwave radio is essentially a box that this designed to be fitted at the top of a mast or roof of a house. This will keep any coax losses to an absolute minimum.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Opening on the 40 MHz band between the USA and Chile - 18th May 2022

There was an interesting opening on the 18th of May 2022 when the FT8 signals from the US experimental 40 MHz station WM2XEJ in Georgia were heard by CE3SOC in Chile.

The path distance was 7562kms.

Log on the PSK Reporter website...

 Rcvr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
WLO/S32 8m FT8 561 km 20:36:26
WLO/O5 8m FT8 561 km 20:30:45
CE3SOC 8m FT8 7562 km 19:29:26
WLO/S11 8m FT8 561 km 17:00:59

With the solar flux on the increase and more openings on the higher 50 MHz band, it's probably not such a great surprise that there was an opening between North and South America at 40 MHz.

It is however nice to see more interest in the band from amateur radios stations in South America and hopefully we'll see many more reports.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Opening on the 40 MHz band between Slovenia & South America - 16th May 2022

Borut, S50B in Slovenia reports that on the 16th of May 2022, his FT8 signal on 40.680 MHz was heard for the first time in South America!

The map above shows the path from S50B to PY2XB in Brazil (~10,000kms) and LU5FF in Argentina (~11,300kms).

Borut's 40 MHz was also heard by EA8BFK in the Canary Islands (3095kms) on the 11th and the 17th of May.  I don't know if the path to EA8 was open on the 16th but it does suggest the F2 layer propagation might be reaching as high as the 40 MHz band on north-south paths on a regular basis.

As there have been reports of recent openings on the higher 50 MHz band from Europe to South America, it should be no great surprise that there was an opening on the lower 40 MHz band.

I'd suggest however that this shows how valuable the 40 MHz band is to radio amateurs and to those interested in propagation research. Signals on the 40 MHz band give an early warning of potential openings on 50 MHz as the Maximum Usable Frequency (MUF) will often be just below 50 MHz. If someone hears a 40 MHz signal then at least they know what direction an opening might be likely.

It's also good to see some of the radio amateurs in South America getting interest in the 40 MHz band. It will be interesting to see if they report on any openings to the experimental stations on the 40 MHz band in North America.


1) As always, plenty of info on my 40 MHz page.

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Irish Trans-Atlantic 144 MHz beacon EI2DKH stops transmitting - May 2022

It was announced this week that the Irish trans-Atlantic 144 MHz beacon EI2DKH has ceased transmissions.

Operated on behalf of the Irish Radio Transmitters Society (IRTS) by Tony Baldwin, EI8JK, the EI2DKH beacon transmitted JT65B on 144.488 MHz with a CW identification on every even minute.

The beacon was established in early 2015 with the hope that the 2m signal would be heard across the North Atlantic in either Canada or the United States.

The beacon’s power output was 75 W to an array of 5 element Yagis at 60 meters above mean sea level and beaming due west from Sheeps Head in IO51dn.

As can be seen from the map, this was in the far south-west of Ireland and just over 3,000 kms from Newfoundland, Canada.

In its seven years of operating, there were no 2m reports from across the Atlantic.

In a statement on the 5th of May 2022, the beacon keeper Tony, EI8JK wrote...

"It has been pointed out that my EI2DKH beacon is perhaps not the best site. That coupled with the electricity cost for running it 24/7, I have decided to not run the Trans-Atlantic beacon this year.

If there is an EI/GI amateur with a good site on the west coast who would like to take it over, I would willingly supply the 4 antennas, splitter and pre-amp.

Sorry to disappoint.

73, Tony, EI8JK."

This project might be of interest to any individual or group who have access to a site which is near the western seaboard of Ireland and has an extremely low horizon to the west-north-west.

Friday, May 6, 2022

13,300km opening on the 50 MHz band between Costa Rica and Kuwait - 28th Apr 2022

Following on from a recent post about some long distance openings on the 50 MHz band, Charlie TI5CDA has been in contact to report on another recent opening between Central America and the Middle East.

On the 28th of April 2022, TI5CDA in Costa Rica completed a successful FT8 contact with 9K2NO in Kuwait on 50.313 MHz. The distance was in the region of 13,300 kms.

The solar flux on the day was 132. With the increasing sunspot numbers and the use of new weak signal digital modes, openings like this on the 50 MHz band are going to become increasingly more common, especially for those living in more southerly latitudes.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Another 50 MHz opening to South America - Tues 3rd May 2022

I was informed that there was a pretty good opening on the evening of the 3rd of May 2022 from Ireland to South America on the 50 MHz band. The map above shows the FT8 paths from Jim, EI8GS with most of the South American stations in the region of 11,000kms.

Most of the activity seems to have been around 20:00 UTC and it's possible that the opening was due to a Sporadic-E opening to the south from Ireland which then coupled into a Trans-Equatorial Propagation opening to South America.

It's just another reminder that at the moment, the Sporadic-E and TEP seasons are overlapping. 

If you're in Europe or North America then turn those beams to the south in the afternoon and evening and look for these long distance openings.