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International Shortwave Broadcast Bands Frequencies

Best Shortwave Bands and Expected Characteristics for Reception

The information below will give you the shortwave band characteristics you can expect for each band.
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 schedule.

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 time!

The International Shortwave Bands and Frequencies:

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 times...!!!!!!

13 meters -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.

15 meters -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 best.

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 15.000mhz.

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 listen.

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 mode.

49 meters - 5900-6300 kHz - Good year-round night band; daytime reception is lacking.

60 meters - 4750-5100 kHz - Mostly used locally in tropical regions, though usable at night. Time stations are clustered around 5000 kHz.

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 chart below.

90 meters -3200-3400 kHz -Mostly used locally in tropical regions, with limited long-distance reception at night.

120 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 down.

The ham radio bands can be a very interesting source of shortwave listening at other times also.
A receiver that has the ssb modes, USB AND LSB is almost always required. Ham radio operators don't use the AM mode very often.

The Ham Radio HF bands in a nutshell:

  Band (meter) MHz Time to listen (may vary)
HF 160 1.8 - 2.0 night - very noisy in summer time (lots of static)
80 3.5 - 4.0 night and local during day - close range in daytime
40 7.0 - 7.3 night and local day - also good during daytime
30 10.1 - 10.15 CW and digital signals only
20 14.0 - 14.350 world wide day and night depending on conditions
17 18.068 - 18.168 world wide day and night      "          "        "
15 21.0 - 21.450 primarily a daytime band       "         "         "
12 24.890 - 24.990 primarily a daytime band       "         "         "
10 28.0 - 29.70 daytime during sunspot highs - sometime into night

(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.
See below for 60 meter mode information.

The new 60 meter ham band:
This ham band is usually better at night.
Upper side band mode only and is shared with U.S government stations.

Channel Center

Tuning Frequency
Tune your receiver at or near this frequency

5332 kHz

5330.5 kHz

5348 kHz

5346.5 kHz

5368 kHz

5366.5 kHz

5373 kHz

5371.5 kHz

5405 kHz (common US/UK)


(To convert to Mhz just put a decimal point to the right of the "5" and then read as Mhz.
Example 5368kHz = 5.368Mhz)
(Communications and good reception on the hf bands is highly dependent on the condition of the ionosphere, your antenna, your location, the time of day and the quality of your receiver)

NOTES: You can build your own shortwave antennas!.....click here for shortwave antenna plans!

Shortwave receptions tips! <<< More info here.

The best "tip" for good shortwave listening is to have a highly recommended shortwave receiver!
We have carefully selected some of the best selling and very popular shortwave receivers below.
Don't skimp on a good receiver, buy the best you can afford.

Good radio listing fun can also be had using a "scanner" radio on the VHF  and UHF public service bands. You can hear police, fire, rescue, ham radio, local weather, business, public utilities and so much more. Check out the highly recommended scanner radios by clicking the ad banner below!

See the line of AOR high end receivers and some great scanner radios!



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