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L band
Frequency Range IEEE: ~1 – 2 GHz
NATO: 40 – 60 GHz

ITU Radio Band Numbers


L band refers to four different bands of the electromagnetic spectrum: 40 and 60 GHz (NATO), 1 to 2 GHz (IEEE), 1565 nm to 1625 nm (optical), and around 3.5 microns (infrared astronomy).


NATO L band

The NATO L band is defined as the frequency band between 40 and 60 GHz (5–7.5 mm).

IEEE L band

The IEEE L band (20-cm radar long-band) is a portion of the microwave band of the electromagnetic spectrum ranging roughly from 1 to 2 GHz.[1][2] It is used by some communications satellites, and for some terrestrial Eureka 147 digital audio broadcasting (DAB). The amateur radio service also has an allocation between 1240 and 1300 MHz (23-centimeter band). The L band refers to the frequency range of 950 MHz to 1450 MHz. It is the result of the downconversion of the received downlink satellite signals (C, Ku or Ka) by the LNB (Low-noise block converter).

Military use

In the United States and overseas territories, the L band is held by the military for telemetry, thereby forcing digital radio to in-band on-channel (IBOC) solutions. DAB is typically done in the 1452–1492-MHz range as in most of the world, but other countries also use VHF and UHF bands.


The Global Positioning System carriers are in the L band, centered at 1176.45 MHz (L5), 1227.60 MHz (L2), 1381.05 MHz (L3), and 1575.42 MHz (L1) frequencies.

Telecommunications use

GSM mobile phones operate at 800–900 and 1800–1900 MHz. Iridium Satellite LLC phones use frequencies between 1616 and 1626.5MHz[3] to communicate with the satellites

Digital Audio Broadcasting (Earth Orbital)

WorldSpace satellite radio broadcasts in the 1467–1492 MHz L sub-band.

DAB L band usage

The following blocks are used for T-DAB (terrestrial) broadcasts:

Block Center Frequency
LA 1452.960 MHz
LB 1454.672 MHz
LC 1456.384 MHz
LD 1458.096 MHz
LE 1459.808 MHz
LF 1461.520 MHz
LG 1463.232 MHz
LH 1464.944 MHz
LI 1466.656 MHz
LJ 1468.368 MHz
LK 1470.080 MHz
LL 1471.792 MHz
LM 1473.504 MHz
LN 1475.216 MHz
LO 1476.928 MHz
LP 1478.640 MHz

The following blocks are used for S-DAB (satellite) broadcasts:

Block Center Frequency
LQ 1480.352 MHz
LR 1482.064 MHz
LS 1483.776 MHz
LT 1485.488 MHz
LU 1487.200 MHz
LV 1488.912 MHz
LW 1490.624 MHz

Note: Canada uses slightly different central frequencies for L-band DAB while in many European countries DAB is limited part of Band III due to television and mobile two way radio using the rest.

Physics issues relating to band use

The band also contains the hyperfine transition of neutral hydrogen (the hydrogen line), which is of great astronomical interest as a means of imaging the normally invisible neutral atomic hydrogen in interstellar space. Consequently parts of the L-band are protected radio astronomy allocations world-wide.

Optical communications L band

L band is also used in optical communications to refer to the wavelength range 1565 nm to 1625 nm.

Infrared astronomy

Atmospheric windows in the infrared. The L band is the transmission window centred on 3.5 microns

In infrared astronomy, the L band refers to an atmospheric transmission window centred on 3.5 microns (in the mid-infrared).

Other Microwave bands

The microwave spectrum is usually defined as electromagnetic energy ranging from approximately 1 GHz to 100 GHz in frequency, but older usage includes lower frequencies. Most common applications are within the 1 to 40 GHz range. Microwave frequency bands, as defined by the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB), are shown in the table below:

L band 1 to 2 GHz
S band 2 to 4 GHz
C band 4 to 8 GHz
X band 8 to 12 GHz
Ku band 12 to 18 GHz
K band 18 to 26.5 GHz
Ka band 26.5 to 40 GHz
Q band 30 to 50 GHz
U band 40 to 60 GHz
V band 50 to 75 GHz
E band 60 to 90 GHz
W band 75 to 110 GHz
F band 90 to 140 GHz
D band 110 to 170 GHz

Footnote: P band is sometimes incorrectly used for Ku Band. "P" for "previous" was a radar band used in the UK ranging from 250 to 500 MHz and now obsolete per IEEE Std 521, see[1] and [2]. For other definitions see Letter Designations of Microwave Bands


  1. ^ "The Electromagnetic Spectrum and the Color Light Spectrum".  
  2. ^ McBride, Donald (2006-03-01). "Electromagnetic Frequency Spectrum".  
  3. ^

See also

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