WHAT TO EXPECT
FROM OUR HF AMATEUR RADIO BANDS!
A GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF
EACH HAM BAND
Amateur Radio Band
A neighbor to the AM
Broadcast band just slightly higher in frequency, 160 has very similar
conditions to what you hear on AM Broadcast, quite localized during the
day, with long distance capability at night. During the summer months the
long distances at night can be several hundreds of miles and during the
winter it can be several thousand miles.
Lots of noise created by
static crashes hinder communications in the summer months but very nice in
the winter! When there is no static, seems like you can
80 Meters is very similar to 160 meters but with greater
distances especially at night. 80 tends to be a very reliable band less
subject to variations of the sunspot cycle and is used a lot for regular
net operations and message handling and "local rag chewing".
be very noise prone in the summer static. You will meet lots of "local
yocals" and make some very good friends with the "local" gang that hang
out here. Various states and groups seem to frequent a particular
frequency so tune around.
Not actually a "Ham Band" but a cluster of 5 frequencies
or channels shared with Government users. Many restrictions apply to
technical requirements of ham transmitters and antennas. Hams are
secondary user of this band, not primary, so we must
yield to interference problems with Government stations. 60 meters
is much like 80 and 40 meters.
This is many ham's favorite band. It is always open
During the summer daytime distances of 300-400 miles and night time
distances of 1000 miles are very common. Winter days with 500 miles or
more are usual and night time conditions bring
DX intercontinental communications.This band is
shared with short-wave broadcast from countries outside of North America.
Between these interfering signals a ham with a reasonable station can work
stations worldwide if you can find a clear spot!. Not as affected by the
sunspot cycle as 20-10 meters. Many nets frequent 40 meters both day and
Check out the 1721 hf Group on
40 Meters (Just a friendly bunch of Hams who
think they are one big family! Join
A lot like 40 meters but can only be used on CW and
RTTY. No broadcast interference and has slightly longer
range than 40 meters. Daytime ranges of 1000 miles are quite
Just about all of the serious DXers hang out on 20
This can be a VERY exciting band with some of the
best DX found on any band. Around the world daytime communications are
generally possible and when the sunspot
cycle is peaking 20 can be used around the
clock! Not likely to be used for
short-range communications. The only way to work someone a few hundred
miles away would be scatter or possibly "long path". Ground wave signals
of about 50-75 miles might be all you would expect. At the bottom of the
sunspot cycle, openings to other continents are short, rare and few and
Band conditions are very
similar to 20 meters. This seems to be a very popular band when hams go
mobile and lots of fun can be expected. You will meet some of the finest
Hams in the world on 17 meters. A very cordial
A lot like 20 meters but a
bit more flakey.. More influenced by the sunspot cycle. Much less night
time activity than 20 meters but at the peak of the sunspot cycle, 15 can
provide much greater distances!
On the down side, at the bottom of the
cycle, 15 may not open for days.
Very heavily influenced by
the sunspot cycle. At the bottom of the cycle it is suitable only for very
short distance groundwave communications only, for long periods of time.
At the peak of the cycle it is capable of communications over thousands of
miles with a minimum of equipment. Another nice mobile band when
conditions are right.
This can be a
FUN band, when it is open!
This is the HF band most heavily affected by sunspots and
the sunspot cycle and it can be erratic and exciting at the same time with
lots of Dx for the qsl hunter or just as a fun band. Minimum power and
simple antennas can bring you a hundred countries in a short period of
time when the sunspot cycle is rising towards the peak. Five watts or even
less can work half way around the earth!. Ground wave coverage is 25 miles
or so. Lots of beacon stations worldwide for you DX hunters. If you can
hear beacons that run very low power on 10 Meters, there is an
opening to that part of the world.....keep
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