Last modified on 27 June 2016, at 17:52

Amateur radio frequency allocations

The amateur radio service is allocated a number of "bands", or frequency blocks in the electromagnetic spectrum. This is administered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States, and by various equivalent bodies, per international treaties, in other countries. The bands are commonly named in terms of wavelength rather than frequency (under the formula frequency*wavelength=300[1]) because, in the early days of radio, wavelength was the preferred way of characterizing this.

While the FCC is legally charged with administering the amateur service, almost all tasks, including administration of licensing tests, are actually done by volunteers.

License classes

The license classes are as follows, with increasingly comprehensive written examinations. There is no longer a Morse code test for any class:

  • Novice
  • Technician
  • General
  • Advanced
  • Extra

Notes on the table

"CW" ("continuous wave") generally means plain Morse code. "Phone" generally means Single Sideband voice transmission, though it includes plain AM, FM, and phase modulation. "RTTY" means various forms of Teletype transmission. "Digital" includes a variety of computer-generated data formats, with various modulation techniques.

The "CW part" includes plain CW as well as RTTY and digital. The "phone part" includes voice and image.

Except as noted, CW itself is permitted anywhere in the band—the "CW part" or the "phone part", though it is generally used only in the "CW part".

Except as noted, Extra-class licensees may uses any frequency; other classes have restrictions as shown.

Except as noted, power output is limited to 2000 Watts.

Novice and Technician licensees may use only the frequencies, power, and modes listed.

The bands

Name CW part (MHz) Phone part (MHz) Class restrictions Notes
160M 1.800-2.000 1.800-2.000 Adv & Gen have same rights as Extra; no Novice or Tech
80M 3.500-3.600 3.600-4.000 Adv: no CW below 3.525, no phone below 3.700; Gen: no CW below 3.525, no phone below 3.800; Novice and Tech may use 3.525-3.600, CW only, 200 Watts
60M none Approx 5.3 MHz, See notes Adv & Gen have same rights as Extra; no Novice or Tech Very special: upper sideband SSB phone only, 50 Watts, exactly 5 channels, with suppressed carrier at 5.3305, 5.3465, 5.3665, 5.3715, and 5.4035
40M 7.000-7.125 7.125-7.300 Adv: no CW below 7.025; Gen: no CW below 7.025, no phone below 7.175; Novice and Tech may use 7.025-7.125, CW only, 200 Watts
30M 10.100-10.150 none Adv & Gen have same rights as Extra; no Novice or Tech 200 Watts
20M 14.000-14.150 14.150-14.350 Adv: no CW below 14.025, no phone below 14.175; Gen: no CW below 14.025, no phone below 14.225
17M 18.068-18.110 18.110-18.168 Adv & Gen have same rights as Extra; no Novice or Tech
15M 21.000-21.200 21.200-21.450 Adv: no CW below 21.025, no phone below 21.225; Gen: no CW below 21.025, no phone below 21.275; Novice and Tech may use 21.025-21.200, CW only, 200 Watts
12M 24.890-24.930 24.930-24.990 Adv & Gen have same rights as Extra; no Novice or Tech
10M 28.000-28.300 28.300-29.700 Adv & Gen have same rights as Extra; Novice and Tech may use 28.000-28.300 for CW and 28.300-28.500 for USB phone, 200 Watts
6M 50.000-50.100 50.100-54.000 All classes except Novice have these rights
2M 144.000-144.100 144.100-148.000 All classes except Novice have these rights
1.25M 222.000-225.000 222.000-225.000 All classes have these rights, but Novices are restricted to 25 Watts Also, digital message forwarding in 219.000-220.000, not Novice
70 cm 420.000-450.000 420.000-450.000 All classes except Novice have these rights
33 cm 902.000-928.000 902.000-928.000 All classes except Novice have these rights
23 cm 1240.000-1300.000 1240.000-1300.000 All classes have these rights, but Novices are restricted to 1270.000-1295.000 and 5 Watts

Additionally, the following microwave bands may be used in all modes and by all classes except Novice:

  • 2300-2310 MHz
  • 2390-2450 MHz
  • 3300-3500 MHz
  • 5650-5925 MHz
  • 10.0-10.5 GHz
  • 24.0-24.25 GHz
  • 47.0-47.2 GHz
  • 76.0-81.0 GHz
  • 122.25-123.0 GHz
  • 134.0-141.0 GHz
  • 241.0-250.0 GHz
  • 275 GHz and up

See also

References

  1. Frequency in MegaHertz, wavelength in Meters, precise number is 299.792458, which is the Speed of light in meters per microsecond.