International Shortwave Broadcast Bands
Best Shortwave Bands and Expected
Characteristics for Reception
The information below
will give you the shortwave band characteristics you can expect for
The highlighted shortwave bands in the list below are
the most popular and easiest bands to receive with a good receiver and
antenna. Band conditions change from day to day and hour to hour but using
this information below will help you to plan your shortwave listening
Good shortwave band conditions depend
on the peculiarities of the ionosphere at the instant in time and the
band you are listening to.
We also suggest some highly
popular shortwave receivers that will make shortwave listing a fun past
The International Shortwave Bands and
11 meters 25.67-26.10 MHz -Very
little broadcasting activity in this band. Day reception tends to be poor,
night reception nonexistent. This band could be used for daytime 'single
hop' regional coverage, but very few broadcast transmitters and antennas
function in this band. Not to be confused with the Citizen's Band 11-meter
allocation, which in most countries runs from 26.965 MHz to 27.405 MHz.
The 11 meter CB band as it is called, is used by unlicensed radio
operators and the FCC has a difficult if not impossible time of
"policing" the band, so you are warned that very foul
language can and will be heard.....you could consider the CB band
as the R and X rated radio band at
-21.45-21.50 MHz -Somewhat shaky day reception, very little night. Similar
case to 11 metres, but long distance daytime broadcasting keeps this band
humming in the Asia-Pacific region.
-18.90-19.02 MHz - Seldom used.
16 meters -17.48-17.90 MHz -Day
reception good, night reception varies seasonally, with summer being the
19 meters -15.00-15.825 MHz -Day
reception good, night reception variable, best during summer. Time
stations such as WWV
are clustered around 15 MHz. Listen on
22 meters -13.57-13.87
MHz - Similar to 19 meters; best in summer.
25 meters -11.50-12.05
MHz - Generally best during summer; said to be ideal during the
period before and after sunset.
31 meters - 9250-9995
kHz - Good year-round night band; seasonal during the day, with best
reception in winter. Time stations are clustered around 10 MHz. WWV can
usually be heard well on 10.000Mhz. Set your clock accurately using WWV
time signals! Just tune them in using the AM mode and
41 meters - 7100-7350
kHz - Reception varies by region – reasonably good night and
day reception, but few international broadcast transmitters in this
band are targeted to North America. You'll also hear lots of U.S.
Amateur Radio Operators, mostly LSB
49 meters - 5900-6300
kHz - Good year-round night band; daytime reception is
60 meters - 4750-5100
kHz - Mostly used locally in tropical regions, though usable at
night. Time stations are clustered around 5000
75 meters - 3900-4050 kHz - Mostly used in
Eastern Hemisphere, not widely received in the Americas except for the
Amateur radio portion of the band. (3900 to 4000kHz). U.S Amateur
Radio Frequencies, usually LSB single sideband mode, can be heard from
3.500Mhz thru 4.000Mhz. This is considered the 75/80 meter band. See the
90 meters -3200-3400 kHz -Mostly
used locally in tropical regions, with limited long-distance reception at
meters - 2300-2495 kHz - Mostly used locally in tropical
regions, with time stations clustered around 2500 kHz. Not technically a
shortwave band; resides in the upper reaches of the medium wave band.
Tuning in between these bands
above can be an adventure, with many government stations, pirate
broadcasts, long range military aircraft, and commercial planes,
ships and shore stations.
The Ham (Amateur Radio) bands.
Mixed between the
shortwave bands above are many hf ham radio bands where you can hear ham
radio operators from all over the world conversing back and forth. You can
sometimes hear emergency communications going on from all parts of the
world. During major disasters, ham radio operators are some of the first
to get the needed communications out to the world when local power goes
The ham radio
bands can be a very interesting source of shortwave listening at other
A receiver that has the ssb modes, USB AND LSB is
almost always required. Ham radio operators don't use the AM mode very
Ham Radio HF bands in a nutshell:
||Time to listen (may vary)|
||1.8 - 2.0
||night - very noisy in summer time (lots of
||3.5 - 4.0
||night and local during day - close range in
||7.0 - 7.3
||night and local day - also good during
||10.1 - 10.15
||CW and digital signals only|
||14.0 - 14.350
||world wide day and night depending on
||18.068 - 18.168
||world wide day and
||21.0 - 21.450
||primarily a daytime
||24.890 - 24.990
||primarily a daytime
||28.0 - 29.70
||daytime during sunspot highs - sometime into
(Helpful tuning hints)Tune the 160 thru 40 meter
bands in the lower side band mode (lsb) for voice.
Tune the 20 meter
thru 10 meter bands in the upper side band (usb) mode for voice.
below for 60 meter mode information.
The new 60 meter
This ham band is usually better at night.
band mode only and is shared with U.S government stations.