Trans-Atlantic opening on the 40 MHz band – 18th Feb 2023

Trans-Atlantic opening on the 40 MHz band - 18th Feb 2023

Saturday 18th February 2023: Due to some interference from a CW contest on the 10m band, I stopped monitoring WSPR signals there at 14:00 UTC and had a listen on the 40 MHz band instead.

I set the radio on 40.680 MHz and using FT8, I decoded the following signals…

Txmtr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC) SNR
WM2XEJ 8m FT8 6163 km 16:08:57 -17
EI5HHB 8m FT8 229 km 14:02:57 -10
EI4GNB 8m FT8 214 km 15:32:57 -17
EI2IP 8m FT8 62 km 21:04:29 -6

WM2XEJ is located near Atlanta, Georgia and is one of the seven US stations with experimental calls for the 40 MHz band. It was my first time hearing the USA on the 40 MHz band but that is down more to my lack of monitoring, I’m sure I would probably have heard it in previous recent openings.

The path to the US station was probably via 2 x F2 layer hops. i.e. 2 x 3000kms
The other three stations were in Ireland. EI5HHB and EI4GNB are located near Dublin and about 220kms from my location. I suspect I was hearing them via F2 layer backscatter.
EI2IP is located 62kms away and I was hearing him direct.
These are the signal reports for each station (minus the many decodes of EI2IP)…

140245 -10 -0.2  703 ~  CQ EI5HHB IO63
140445 -15 -0.2  702 ~  CQ EI5HHB IO63
141815 -13 -0.2  706 ~  CQ EI5HHB IO63


153200 -17 -0.1 1806 ~  CQ EI4GNB IO63
155000 -16 -0.1 1528 ~  WM2XEJ EI4GNB -17
155030 -11 -0.1 1518 ~  WM2XEJ EI4GNB -17

160845 -17 -0.1  827 ~  CQ WM2XEJ EM83
161115 -18 -0.1  828 ~  9A5CY WM2XEJ EM83
161145 -16 -0.1  828 ~  CQ WM2XEJ EM83
EI5HHB was -10dB to -15dB and EI4GNB was -11 to -17dB. To the ear, these signals would sound very weak but audible, probably just strong enough for a marginal contact on CW.
WM2XEJ was -16dB to -18dB which is just below what is audible by ear.
Antenna… The antenna I was using for this reception report on 40 MHz was a simple CB-type vertical half-wave for 28 MHz. The take away message is that you do not need a dedicated 40 MHz antenna to listen on the band.

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