Copyright © 1999-2011 by Harold Melton KV5R. All Rights Reserved.
Understanding Shortwave Antennas: Page 4
The shortwave spectrum is divided into bands. You need a basic familiarity with this to use a shortwave radio effectively. The shortwave spectrum is about 25 times larger than the AM broadcast band (.55 - 1.7), so you need to know what is where, and when.
The bands are called “Meter” bands and are identified by their approximate wavelength in meters.
- M = Meter
- Ham = Amateur
- BC = Broadcast
- P = Popular, somewhat congested band with many stations
|1.8-2.0||160 M Ham||Late Night|
|2.3-2.4||120 M Bc||Late Night|
|3.2-3.4||90 M Bc||All Night|
|3.5-4.0||80/75 M Ham||All night|
|4.75-5.07||60 M Bc||All Night|
|5.9-6.2||49 M Bc, P||All Night|
|7.0-7.3||40 M Ham||Eve, Night, Morn|
|7.1-7.4||41 M Bc (foreign)||Eve, Night, Morn|
|9.4-9.9||31 M Bc, P||Morn, Day Eve|
|10.1-10.15||30 M Ham||Morn, Day, Eve|
|11.65-12.05||25 M Bc, P||All day|
|13.6-13.8||21 M Bc, P||All day|
|14.0-14.35||20 M Ham||All day|
|15.1-15.6||19 M Bc, P||All day|
|17.55-17.9||16 M Bc, P||All day|
|21.0-21.45||15 M Ham||All day|
|21.45-21.85||13 M Bc||Not used much|
|25.67-26.1||11 M Bc||Not used much|
|26.965-27.405||11 M CB||Lots of noise|
|28.0-29.7||10 M Ham||All day, sometimes|
Notice that 40 meter ham and 41 meter broadcast overlap. This is a big problem we are working to fix in the next international radio conference.
As you can see, the broadcast bands starting at 5.9, 7.1, 9.4, 11.65, 13.6, 15.1, 17.55 are the main place where most all your shortwave broadcast listening will be concentrated. Note, however, that some stations fall slightly outside of these ranges, so make sure to tune above and below them. Also, band edges, and broadcasters’ frequencies, change from time to time. So, it pays to keep fresh frequency schedules. Search the internet for “shortwave shedule” and you’ll find plenty. Locate one that you like, and that has fresh data. Shortwave listening magazines, and their web sites, are also good sources.
Most Amateur communications uses single-sideband. You need an SSB-equipped radio, or one with a “BFO” control, to receive them.