Shortwave Radio Bands

Shortwave bands are frequency allocations for use within the shortwave radio spectrum (the upper MF band and all of the HF band). They are the primary medium for applications such as marine communication, international broadcasting, and worldwide amateur radio activity because they take advantage of ionospheric propagation to send data around the world. The bands are conventionally stated in wavelength, measured in meters. Propagation behavior in the shortwave bands depends on the time of day, the season, and the level of solar activity.

International broadcasting bands

The band frequencies below are derived from multiple sources, and different radios can have different numbers. Most international broadcasters use amplitude modulation with a stepping of 5 kHz between channels; a few use single sideband modulation.

The World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC), organized under the auspices of the International Telecommunication Union, allocates bands for various services in conferences every few years. The last WRC took place in 2007.

At WRC-97 in 1997, the following bands were allocated for international broadcasting:

Band Frequency Range Remarks
120 m 2300 - 2495 kHz tropic band
90 m 3200 - 3400 kHz tropic band
75 m 3900 - 4000 kHz shared with the North American amateur radio 80m band
60 m 4750 - 5060 kHz tropic band
49 m 5900 - 6200 kHz  
41 m 7200 - 7450 kHz shared with the amateur radio 40m band
31 m 9400 - 9900 kHz Currently most heavily used band
25 m 11,600 - 12,100 kHz  
22 m 13,570 - 13,870 kHz substantially used only in Eurasia
19 m 15,100 - 15,800 kHz  
16 m 17,480 - 17,900 kHz  
15 m 18,900 - 19,020 kHz almost unused, could become a DRM band
13 m 21,450 - 21,850 kHz  
11 m 25,600 - 26,100 kHz may be used for local DRM broadcasting


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