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HAM BAND INFORMATION
FOR THE TECHNICIAN CLASS HAM NEW
TO 10 METERS
Introduction To HF and the 10 Meter
Also includes some suggested 10 Meter Ham
by Don Butler, N4UJW
In 1988, I was first
licensed as a Tech Plus operator during the peak of the 11 year
solar cycle. My excitement of having the new "Ticket" and the
privilege of being able to operate on the 10 meter ham band using
voice and the thrill of not only talking around the area on 2
meters but around the world on HF was overpowering. I had
wanted my ham license for over 40 years......and now I had
I "cut my teeth" in Ham Radio on the 10 meter HF ham band
using an old Yaesu FT-107 that I had found on the used market from a
local ham shop along with a homebrew 10 meter inverted V dipole I
had built attached to a wooden fence about 15 feet in the air to the
top of it.
I set myself a goal to try to
work as many countries and states in one year's time.
would have it, by the last day of that goal, I had worked over 100
countries and all 50 U.S. states in casual part time operating.
Alaska was my last state on the list...finally! All on 10 meter
Being a Ham since 1988, I can relate to your excitement
now that you have been authorized to have as much fun as I did back
Have fun on 10 meters and don't let your excitement
of ham radio die!
Go further.....you can do
73 Don ~
10 Meter Fun for the
that you have been authorized your new FCC privileges on the 10
Meter HF band, you can refer to this page for useful
information to help you to start your fun and excitement on 10 Meter
This page contains
the 10 Meter Band Plan with your authorized frequencies, equipment
info including some suggested 10 meter ham radios, simple antennas,
modes of operation, band edge limits, operating hints, operating
procedures, propagation info, DX chasing hints and
Technician Plus classes:
band edges are:
28.000mhz thru 28.500mhz
tempted to go outside them except only to listen! You will be
illegal if you transmit out of your authorized frequency
28.000 - 28.300 MHz: CW, RTTY/Data--
Maximum power 200 watts PEP
28.500 MHz: CW, Phone--
voice band center and used as the "calling" frequency.
Maximum power 200 watts PEP
frequencies in Mhz
suggested operating frequencies by "Gentlemen's
QRP CW calling
Automatically controlled data
Beacon link below
QRP SSB calling frequency
(QRP = 5
watts or less)
for Technician Class hams:
For a station having a control
operator who has been granted an operator license of Novice Class,
Technician Class, or Technician Plus Class:
||ITU Region 2
||Sharing requirements, see §97.303,
paragraph Part 97 rules|
Part 97 Download below|
Part 97 Download below|
Amateur Radio Band Chart DownloadSection 97.101(b) of the FCC Rules states that "Each station
licensee and each control operator must cooperate in selecting
transmitting channels and in making the most effective use of the
amateur service frequencies. No frequency will be assigned for the
exclusive use of any station.
(Effective Feb 23,
Always refer to FCC Part 97 rules
" No one "owns"
It's good Amateur
practice--and common sense for any operator, regardless of
mode, to check to see if the frequency is busy prior
to transmitting. It is so easy to transmit "(insert your
callsign....Is the frequency in use?)" Transmit it 2 or 3 times
and wait for a reply. Remember, when the band is really open, your
signal may be heard around the world, so listen intently for a
reply....none heard....the frequency is most
likely yours! Try again!
If you are there first, other operators
should make an effort to protect you from interference to the extent
possible, given that 100% interference-free operation is not a
realistic expectation in today's congested Ham bands. It is also a
violation of FCC rules to intentionally
interfere with another Amateur station! If you can hear
the other station, odds are he can also hear
use good common sense and good manners while you're on Ham radio!
You represent the United States in other countries that hear your
expect from the 10 meter band
The 10 meter ham band can be very
exciting with worldwide communications or more down to earth with
just local QSO's. It mostly depends on the 11 year solar cycle and
whether we are at the bottom, peak or on the way back
When the cycle is at it's peak, worldwide
propagation prevails with very minimum power levels required. At
times, 5 watts SSB can get you into Australia, the Far East, Europe
and many other countries or just around the
Even with minimum
conditions at the bottom of the 11 year cycle there are random
periods of "sky wave" propagation that are caused by temporary
Ionospheric conditions. Some of these conditions are caused by
Ionized particles that randomly occur as "clouds" in the upper
atmosphere that reflect radio waves on 10 meters.
"10" can be a
fantastic challenge or just plain easy as eating a piece of pie. If
you're up for a challenge, then the 10 meter band is for you. If you
like pie.......then 10 is also for you. It has something for all. Be
WHAT IS ALL THIS STUFF
put, "sky wave" is when radio signals are reflected
back towards the earth from the ionosphere. This reflection can
occur more than once between the earth and the ionosphere between
stations. Sort of like light beams bouncing off several mirrors
aimed properly at various angles relative to the ground and each
other. Some operators call this "skip" propagation and wherever
these signal returns to earth, they can be heard by a receiving
operator. "SHORT SKIP" on ten meters is usually around 500 miles or
less and normal skip propagation "Sky Wave" can vary from a
thousand to several thousand miles and around the earth.
During the height of a sun spot cycle,
signals can be heard both near and far for a large part of the 24
hour day. It is not uncommon to be talking to your friend 10 miles
away at 9:15PM and with stations in Australia or New
Zealand in a "roundtable" discussion or at 10:00 PM Japan may join
in. Times vary from day to day and depend on lots of
During the peak of the cycle, there seems to
be a predictable pattern with Sky Wave.
Early in the morning stations
from the East...around Noon
afternoon and night mixed with the Australia, South and Central
America then Westerly towards the Far East and if you have
stayed up all night logging all that DX until the sun comes up, the
pattern repeats all over again! It follows the sun. Go here for in
depth propagation information.
Ground Wave (How far can I
Ten meter ground
wave (direct) propagation is much more predictable than "sky
wave". Local contacts up to 40 or 50 miles or more can be
expected 24 hours a day and is very useful for
local communication. The higher the antenna, the better.
Using ground wave on 10 meters is much like 2 meter
operation using repeaters without the repeaters. Strictly
station to station. Comunications are more effective if both stations are
using the same polarity with their antennas. Vertical to
vertical, horizontal to horizontal. Cross polarization will work at
very close range.
YES! There are several 10 meter FM repeaters
located on the upper portion of the band in some
areas......BUT....YOU ARE NOT AUTHORIZED TO TRANSMIT THERE. You are NOT authorized to transmit FM on any ham band
below 6 meters without a General class license or
Remember 28.500mhz is the upper band limit for
Technician class operators. The repeaters on 10 meters are much
higher than your band limits. You get access to these frequencies if
you are a General class or higher! This should give you some
incentive to upgrade your
license to General.
Upgrade to General Class with the General
Class License Manual!
Action on 10
Lots of 10 meter buffs love to
set up schedules, (skeds), on certain hours and days of the week
with other 10 meter operators around their area or around the world
during the peak of the solar cycle and just "chew the rag" in
roundtable discussions that last for hours depending on band
Local "drive time" sessions on 10 are frequent
in metro areas using mobiles and base stations.
antennas goes on using the 10 meter band
because their size is not as large as the lower HF bands. The 10
meter band can be a very good learning ground in the experimentation
of building antennas and polishing your on the air skills for a higher class
When the band is
"up" you may wonder what part of the world you could contact. This
is where a good list of 10 meter beacons is extremely
Using known beacon frequencies, you can tune
your receiver to one of the beacon frequencies for a
particular part of the world and if you can hear it, the band is
usually in good enough condition to that part of the earth at that
time for you to be able to make contacts.
Beacons are operated, usually around the clock with the
transmitter always on and never in receive, by Amateurs from all
over the world and are mostly very low powered
CW only signals containing the ID of the station transmitting
and sometimes small bits of info about the station. If you have
studied Morse code enough to understand at least the callsign of the
beacon, then you have identified it to a particular location on the
planet! Some beacon stations from different parts of the world are
on the same frequency, this is another reason why you need to learn
Morse code to identify the station, hence, it's location! Beacon
stations are usually automated....don't try to contact the
beacon...it does not hear you!
Here is an excellent source
of up to date HF beacon information: (It is off site, please return
here when done)
WORLDWIDE HF BEACON LIST
operating on 10 meters
Radios ~ Antennas
I really can not recommend any particular brand or
model Hf radio or antenna for you. There are just too many variables
One item of interest is that you should consider that
there are usually two types of rigs available to you....all solid
state......or tube types with some hybrids containing both still
If memory serves me, there are no longer any "all
tube" types being produced. Solid state electronics, surface mount
technology (SMT) and microprocessors have taken over newer ham radio
Used HF rigs can be had in
both...solid state or tube types. Prices vary according to market
demand and can be as inexpensive as around $150 to $200.00 for an
oldie in fair condition but working. Get a seasoned ham to help you
check them out.
My old Yaesu FT-107 is one of the first all
solid state rigs and is very easy to repair. All components in it
are large and easy to replace with normal techniques. No SMT devices
in it! All standard size components and no microscopes required to
Tube type rigs are usually much easier to
repair especially if you have the training...but tubes produce lots
of heat, are expensive to replace when they burn out and the
physical size of the radio is huge in most cases but they are
built like a tank and will last for years if well
Newer solid state rigs as a
general rule are smaller, lighter, very difficult to repair by the
average non-technical ham and more difficult to use with large
fingers, but offer many more "bells and whistles" in their
functions. The operator manuals sometimes can be difficult to
understand due to language translations, loaded with pages, and
the multifunction menu driven controls can be frustrating to some
The bottom line with buying a rig is that both solid
state and tube types have good and bad points...it's simply your
choice to make.
With radios, (transceivers, rigs), the best thing
for you to do is to stick with a known name brand such as
Kenwood, Yaesu, Icom, Alinco, Ten-Tec and a few others out there
that have excellent reputations. New or used is strictly your
choice based on your buying habits, bank account, etc.
many good used transceivers out there from individuals, ham dealers,
website auctions, estate sales, etc. Let the buyer beware! Shop
around and ALWAYS try to get some sort of warranty to go with it if
possible. Unless you have seen and heard the rig operate with your
own eyes and ears.....be careful about putting out that hard earned
money to a "stranger". This is just common sense.
done your research and have almost decided on a particular brand and
model......look at reviews by other hams who have owned it...check
out the Product reviews on eham.net.
New and Used Ham
You can spend literally
thousands dollars for a brand new top of the line transceiver with
gold plated bells and whistles and get an operator's manual the size
of the New York city telephone directory that comes with it! It's
sole purpose is to get your signal to the same location as the old
used "boat anchor", that may be hard to get parts or repair, for a
couple of hundred dollars versus thousands! There are numerous
models and brands to chose from that are less expensive under
$1000.00. It all depends on the extras that you want to pay for that
you may not want or need. Remember, your station IS NOT A COMMERCIAL
BROADCAST STATION! All of those fancy bells and whistles may just
get in your way and slow down your learning and operating time.
Many have a very difficult menu driven operating system with many
submenus to deal with just to make simple changes!
New Ham Radios on the "Cheap"!
Easier on your bank account.....
One good inexpensive and simple way to get on the air on 10 meters with
VOICE on the ssb mode without going the high priced "do it all" type
radios route mentioned above is to use mobile type radios
designed for the upper hf ham bands only.
WARNING! There are
many out there on the used market designed specifically for 10/12
meters or 10 meters only for sale, but a word of warning warning, warning, no, that is not a
typo....when you get a used "10 meter" radio from an
unknown individual or CB shop on the web, you may be getting a
radio that was specifically butchered to put it on 11 METERS
Many are butchered so badly that they are
worthless as a ham band transceiver! Freebanders and other "CB"
operators and other "mod shops" are notorious for modifications that
are usually not reversable without a large repair bill to get them
back on their intended 10 meter ham band...You should be especially
cautious if you find "bargins" from CB shops on the internet who may
be attempting to get them out of their store before the FCC finds
them.....many if not most, are illegal to sell,
advertise or even market to CB'ers in the U.S. by FCC
LAW!...they are not certified by the FCC for use on the 11 meter
band to begin with and if you happen to have one that has been
modified to operate on 11 meters in your possession....you may have
to explain to the FCC why you have it!!!!........so you have been
By FCC rules, you, as a licensed ham radio operator,
are allowed to use most any type of radio transmitter under your
license class restrictions as long as it meets the rules and
regulations of Part 97 which you fall under.
One excellent source of brand
new 10/12 meter ham radio transceivers that are perfectly
legal on the ham bands, (within your license class) are the Ranger
series RCI-2950DX and the RCI-2970DX
models which get good reviews and are very popular. They can be
purchased online for HUNDREDS of dollars less than the multiband,
multimode, full blown hf radios costing an arm and a leg. You can
even get them with up to 150 watts of
if your interested in getting on 10 meters voice and save hundreds
of dollars at the same time....then check out the suggested 10 meter
ham radios by Ranger and other good brands at the link
Selling 10 Meter Radios on Amazon.com!
Build your own....this says it
in a nutshell!
You don't learn anything about antennas by buying
one except that as a comparison, homebrew antennas will most
likely outperform that whizz bang store bought over
priced conductor of RF and will be many times less
I realize that some of you that are new to Ham radio
may not have the experience to build a suitable antenna for 10
meters but the more simple types like dipoles or verticals are very
easy to build from materials you may already have laying around or
that can be purchased locally from Lowes, Home Depot or a hardware,
electrical or plumbing supply store. MOST ARE MADE FROM
If you feel like saving some money that could be put into
your station equipment, then check out the HF section of the
antenna project page on this site.
You are on Hamuniverse.com by the way....see...I snuck in a
commercial on you! Also look around the VHF side of the page. There
are a few there that can be modified to work on 10 meters
Look for dipole types or verticals that can be
easily used on 10 meters and have fun building your own! Later,
after some experience under your belt, you can get into Yagi's
(beams). When you use homebrew antennas you will get the
satisfaction of knowing that your signal is coming from something
that YOU built and you saved some money in the process!
Comparing antenna sizes between 2 meters
and 10 meters!
When you operate on 2
meters, one wavelength is about 80 inches long.
At 10 meters, an antenna that is one wavelength long
is about 33 feet long!
About 5 times as large.
ON THE AIR!
Some simple operating procedures
for 10 meter voice!
One major difference between HF and the higher bands
like 2 meters and above is the fact that FM (which takes up more
spectrum) is not allowed on HF except in the higher class license
portion of 10 meters which you are not authorized.
voice mode is the primary voice mode used on HF for voice
communications due to the much more narrow bandwidth of the signal
and the efficiency of SSB. AM is sometimes used on the lower HF
Remember....you are now on HF...not VHF or
Unlike FM, the SSB voice mode is very different and a
bit more difficult AT FIRST to tune if you have never used it. It is
a communications mode, not Hi Fi Stereo like FM Broadcasting! Don't
expect it to be crystal clear like a good FM 2 meter signal. The
bandwidth of SSB voice transmitters is much less than good FM.
Just selecting a frequency with your VFO and expecting it to "be
on frequency" every time may not work in all cases due to variances
between some ham transceiver calibrations.
It is not a channelized mode. It is a variable
frequency mode meaning that you can adjust the transmitter frequency
continuously without interruption from one end of the ham band to
the other. Your receiver tracks the transmitter frequency so you are
listening and transmitting on the same frequency. (as long as both
are operating properly and are aligned to factory specifications)
The term VFO stands for Variable Frequency Oscillator.
Upper or Lower sideband?
On HF starting with
the 160 meter band and continuing thru 40 meters, the LSB mode is
used by gentlemen's agreement except 60 meters (USB
Beginning with 20 meters, the USB mode
is used up thru the higher bands.
Here again, by gentlemen's
agreement. There is no FCC regulation that states that you must
use one or the other of the SSB modes on any band with the exception of 60 meters. Both
stations, yours and your contact, must be on the same mode to
communicate. You can't be on USB and your contact on LSB or the
other way around.....just won't work! (Actually there is a way to do
it but not practical for most hams with limited budgets using
different transmitters and receivers).
A good way to learn to tune SSB (single side band)
is to practice by just playing around the lower HF bands (listening
only of course) like 20 meters in the USB mode. If your antenna is a
monoband antenna for only 10 meters, you may still hear the stronger
stations on the lower bands. Put your receiver on 20 meters. If you
have a "clarifier" control which allows you to fine tune the
receiver...TURN IT OFF.
Just tune your VFO across a station
using USB mode and tune his voice until it becomes more natural
sounding. You will notice that at some times the voice will tune
from a high pitch "Donald Duck sounding" to a lower pitch or vice
versa depending on whether or not you are going up in frequency or
down in frequency with your VFO. Stop at the point where the voice
is the MOST natural sounding to you.....now your receiver and
transmitter are on his frequency plus or minus the accuracy of your
ears and understanding that you may not know exactly what his voice
sounds like in person. You will get used to the way sideband sounds
when tuning and you will get to the point where the voices sound
perfectly normal by fine tuning the VFO. Remember, ham radio is not
broadcast quality, it is communications quality.
Now that you have practiced tuning SSB, your antenna is
in the air and you have tuned it to perfection ...homebrew
hopefully...and you have fired up the rig, the band selector is set
for 10 meters, USB mode, clarifier off, volume up......your VFO is
set to 28.4mhz.....you listen.........nothing......you adjust the
VFO up and down the voice portion.......still nothing but background
noise, hiss and static!
Don't get alarmed....remember you are on 10 meters.
This band is full of surprises and may be open and everyone is
doing the same as you.....listening. This is no joke...it happens
very often, or it could be "dead", meaning that the ionosphere is
resting for another bombardment of 10 meter operators!
should happen to be in the downside of the 11 year cycle as
referenced above in this article, you have a choice......just keep
CALL CQ! (Means "calling
any station' and internationally recognized on
On HF, it is proper procedure to listen first for
several seconds to make certain that the frequency is NOT in use.
Then get on the air and ask "Is the frequency in use?" several
times.....saying your call sign at the end..........hearing no
response...then call "CQ CQ CQ.....CQ CQ CQ........CQ CQ CQ" say
your callsign phonetically slowly, ie, NOVEMBER FOUR UNIFORM JULIET
WHISKEY.....(Please don't use my callsign...HEE HEE), just insert
yours and then unkey....listen for someone to come back to your
If the 10 meter band wizards are with you, someone
may answer your call!
discouraged if they don't....just keep trying.....then when you
least expect it...........you may hear your call sign coming back to
you from another ham from around the world or around the block!
Don't be shy....this is what you have been waiting for.....go back
to him with his call sign and again identify your
station...say OVER and wait for his response. PLEASE DON'T SAY
OVER, OVER, OVER, OVER....THIS SOUNDS LIKE A BROKEN RECORD and
wastes your time and theirs.
remember that if we are at or near the bottom of the 11 year
cycle, band conditions can only get better and better over the next
upward swing of the cycle, peak out, and then start back down in the
continuation of the cycle. As this article is written, 2007, we
are at the bottom and starting back up!
Get ready over the next
few years.....fantastic things to come from 10 meters with
conditions slowly improving as each day and month
WORKING DX! (DX = Distant
Transmitter or Transmission)
operate on 10 meters during and around the peak time of the 11 year
solar cycle, you are in for some fantastic fun working stations not
only in your local area, and the U.S., but from around the world!
The entire 10 meter band comes alive with activity sometimes lasting
into the wee hours of the night and then starting back up very early
in the morning.
If you are a DX chaser, then 10 meters is your band
during it's peak. You can talk to stations all over Europe
early with lots of English stations, Spain, etc in the
morning, South and Central America around midday and then continue
your adventures with Australia, New Zealand and the Far East, not to
mention Japan, and of course U.S. stations sprinkled all
throughout the day.
You will hear stations from other countries
that are sometimes difficult to get for other Hams and these
stations create what we call "Pileups" on HF with hundreds of other
Hams from all over trying to make contact with them at the same
time. Sounds like hundreds of people talking all at once and it is!
Most of the hams can not hear each other but they can all hear that
rare DX station. This is where operator skill, signal levels, good
antennas with good side and front to back rejection and forward gain
may come into play. A good DX operator in another country can take
control of the "Pileup" situation and ask for specific calls from
specific locations or call signs beginning with certain letters,
certain states, countries, etc. This way there is some order to this
confusion.......be patient and keep trying! YOU WILL MAKE
The preferred method of making a call when chasing
DX is to say "CQ DX, CQ DX, CQ DX" then your call sign. Or if your
looking for a contact in a particular country you can say CQ
Australia about 2 to 3 times then your call sign and the word over
if your looking for hams in Australia.
The standard "CQ" call is telling everyone listening
that you are literally calling any station. When you use "CQ DX",
this tell the local stations within your country that you are trying
for OTHER countries.
Identifying call signs from other
Identifying countries by call signs can be a
very confusing situation for the new ham on 10 meters who has been
talking just locally on 2 meters or the upper bands above 10
Other countries use prefixes in their call signs
just as we do here in the U.S. to identify the country of origin.
Here is a link to a very complete list of prefixes for other
countries that will be very helpful to you in trying to determine
which country has what prefix:
ITU COUNTRY CALL SIGN
List of Country
Prefixes Click the link, save
the page and print for later use.
Lots of DX
chasers trade QSL cards between far off stations. A QSL card is a
written confirmation of a contact between two Amateur Radio stations
in the form of a "post card" sized card with the important
information that each station would like to know about the other
station. It usually contains the station call sign, date, frequency,
signal report, time of contact, and other information about the
contact that confirms the contact between the stations and is
usually signed by the operator. You can design your own QSL cards
and have them printed up at most good printing shops or order them
in a pre-designed format over the internet. Over a period of time
you can line the walls of your shack with confirmation QSL cards
from all over the world. A word of "warning"....... this can get
expensive with the postage to other countries but can be very
rewarding in the long term years later when you look back on them
with good memories. Many worldwide friends have been made with
the exchanging of QSL cards.
Don't give up chasing that DX or those locals....keep
trying....there is only about 11 years between each solar
cycle.....so you have plenty of time...........before the next peak,
or a local could call you when the band is dead.........or if you
want more HF excitement than 10 meters can offer then there is
another option for you to pursue to get more action on
Start studying for your General Class
ticket while waiting for someone to answer your call !
After you study for a while, get on 2 meters, make a sked with
someone and meet them on 10 meters, remember they have 10 meter
privileges just like you......or.....study for your General
ticket......or study for your General ticket......hey....I'm
repeating myself when I say study for your General
Study for your General.............you are only 35 questions away!
There, I repeated
myself again.......YOU CAN DO IT!
I hope this article was of some
help to you! Good luck!
73 Don ~ N4UJW
Selling 10 Meter Radios on Amazon.com!
More good 10 Meter
information for new hams:
Procedures, tips, hints, tricks
W5JO 10 Meter
General Class License