New Band For ZS Hams

Sharp-eyed Roger, G3XBM, has brought attention to the recent news of a new amateur allocation granted to South Africa's amateur radio community! It's just a small slice of a band but in an exceptionally interesting part of the spectrum ... 40MHz!

Amateurs have been given 'propagation studies' permission to transmit between 40.675MHz and 40.685MHz as 'primary users' and use up to 26dBW (400Watts) of power ... a healthy assignment.

I'm not sure where the push for this new band has risen from but no doubt from within the amateur radio community of South Africa ... and kudos to the SA radio authority for establishing this unique amateur band.

Myself and others, have often stated that an amateur allocation in the 40MHz region would be a wonderful part of the spectrum in which to experiment. Almost midway between the two "magic bands" (10m and 6m), the propagation opportunities of 40MHz would be most unique and abundant.

With Solar Cycle 24 being such a weak cycle, most of North America and particularly the western half, saw almost no F2 openings of any significance. Absent were the all-day long bone-crushing signals from the east coast, followed by the spotlight propagation-sweep down to South and Central America and finally over to Japan for another few hours of ear-shattering JA signals ... none of this for Cycle 24. Yet, in spite of the lower MUF's, I noted dozens and dozens of days when the F2 MUF would shoot up to the high 43MHz region and hang in for hours and hours ... just as it did on 6m in previous cycles.

Having even a small slice of spectrum at 40MHz would give amateurs a golden opportunity to follow some exceptionally interesting propagation trends during the next few cycles ... all predicted to be stinkers, some saying even worse than '24'. With 40MHz supporting the F2, Es, TEP and Auroral modes, there would be much exciting propagation to support activity in this region.

Maybe it's time North American amateur's start talking about a new slice of the 40MHz pie ... surely there is enough space to share.
Steve McDonald, VE7SL, is a regular contributor to and writes from British Columbia, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

One Response to “New Band For ZS Hams”

  • Joe Cro N3IBX:

    I think think it would be marvelous to be able to transmit and receive in the 40MHZ band segment and wish those involved the very best of luck there. I would be very interested to find out how propagation is compared to 10M and 6M.
    Best regards and luck on the new band!
    Joe Cro N3IBX

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