Radio spectrum: Wikis


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ITU Radio Band Numbers


Radio spectrum refers to the part of the electromagnetic spectrum corresponding to radio frequencies – that is, frequencies lower than around 300 GHz (or, equivalently, wavelengths longer than about 1 mm).

Different parts of the radio spectrum are used for different radio transmission technologies and applications. Radio spectrum is typically government regulated in developed countries, and in some cases is sold or licensed to operators of private radio transmission systems (for example, cellular telephone operators or broadcast television stations). Ranges of allocated frequencies are often referred to by their provisioned use (for example, cellular spectrum or television spectrum).[1]



Band name Abbr ITU band Frequency
wavelength in air
Example uses
subHertz subHz 0 < 3 Hz
> 100,000 km
Natural and man-made electromagnetic waves (millihertz, microhertz, nanohertz) from earth, ionosphere, sun, planets, etc
Extremely low frequency ELF 1 3–30 Hz
100,000 km – 10,000 km
Communication with submarines
Super low frequency SLF 2 30–300 Hz
10,000 km – 1000 km
Communication with submarines
Ultra low frequency ULF 3 300–3000 Hz
1000 km – 100 km
Communication within mines
Very low frequency VLF 4 3–30 kHz
100 km – 10 km
Submarine communication, avalanche beacons, wireless heart rate monitors, geophysics
Low frequency LF 5 30–300 kHz
10 km – 1 km
Navigation, time signals, AM longwave broadcasting, RFID
Medium frequency MF 6 300–3000 kHz
1 km – 100 m
AM (medium-wave) broadcasts
High frequency HF 7 3–30 MHz
100 m – 10 m
Shortwave broadcasts, amateur radio and over-the-horizon aviation communications, RFID
Very high frequency VHF 8 30–300 MHz
10 m – 1 m
FM, television broadcasts and line-of-sight ground-to-aircraft and aircraft-to-aircraft communications. Land Mobile and Maritime Mobile communications
Ultra high frequency UHF 9 300–3000 MHz
1 m – 100 mm
Television broadcasts, microwave ovens, mobile phones, wireless LAN, Bluetooth, GPS and two-way radios such as Land Mobile, FRS and GMRS radios
Super high frequency SHF 10 3–30 GHz
100 mm – 10 mm
Microwave devices, wireless LAN, most modern radars
Extremely high frequency EHF 11 30–300 GHz
10 mm – 1 mm
Radio astronomy, high-frequency microwave radio relay
Terahertz THz 12 300–3,000 GHz
1 mm – 100 μm
Terahertz imaging – a potential replacement for X-rays in some medical applications, ultrafast molecular dynamics, condensed-matter physics, terahertz time-domain spectroscopy, terahertz computing/communications


  • In theory, any portion of the electromagnetic spectrum may be used for information-carrying, so that there is no upper or lower limit to the frequencies of radio transmission.
  • Above 300 GHz, the absorption of electromagnetic radiation by Earth's atmosphere is so great that the atmosphere is effectively opaque, until it becomes transparent again in the infrared and optical window frequency ranges.
  • The ELF, SLF, ULF, and VLF bands overlap the AF (audio frequency) spectrum, which is approximately 20–20,000 Hz. However, sounds are transmitted by atmospheric compression and expansion, and not by electromagnetic energy.
  • The SHF and EHF bands are sometimes not considered to be a part of the radio spectrum, forming their own microwave spectrum.

Named frequency bands


Broadcast frequencies:

  • Longwave AM Radio = 148.5 – 283.5 kHz (LF)
  • Mediumwave AM Radio = 530 kHz – 1710 kHz (MF)
  • Shortwave AM Radio = 3 MHz – 30 MHz (HF)

Designations for television and FM radio broadcast frequencies vary between countries, see Television channel frequencies and FM broadcast band

Amateur radio frequencies

The range of allowed amateur radio frequencies varies between countries. The article Amateur radio frequency allocations lists frequencies allocated for amateur radio use.



Band Frequency range Origin of name
HF band 3 to 30 MHz High Frequency
VHF band 30 to 300 MHz Very High Frequency
UHF band 300 to 1000 MHz Ultra High Frequency

Frequencies from 216 to 450 MHz were sometimes called P-band: Previous, since early British radar used this band but later switched to higher frequencies.

L band 1 to 2 GHz Long wave
S band 2 to 4 GHz Short wave
C band 4 to 8 GHz Compromise between S and X
X band 8 to 12 GHz Used in WW II for fire control, X for cross (as in crosshair)
Ku band 12 to 18 GHz Kurz-under
K band 18 to 27 GHz German Kurz (short)
Ka band 27 to 40 GHz Kurz-above
V band 40 to 75 GHz
W band 75 to 110 GHz W follows V in the alphabet
mm band 110 to 300 GHz

EU, NATO, US ECM frequency designations

Band Frequency range
A band 0 to 0.25 GHz
B band 0.25 to 0.5 GHz
C band 0.5 to 1.0 GHz
D band 1 to 2 GHz
E band 2 to 3 GHz
F band 3 to 4 GHz
G band 4 to 6 GHz
H band 6 to 8 GHz
I band 8 to 10 GHz
J band 10 to 20 GHz
K band 20 to 40 GHz
L band 40 to 60 GHz
M band 60 to 100 GHz

Waveguide frequency bands

Band Frequency range [3]
R band 1.70 to 2.60 GHz
D band 2.20 to 3.30 GHz
S band 2.60 to 3.95 GHz
E band 3.30 to 4.90 GHz
G band 3.95 to 5.85 GHz
F band 4.90 to 7.05 GHz
C band 5.85 to 8.20 GHz
H band 7.05 to 10.10 GHz
X band 8.2 to 12.4 GHz
Ku band 12.4 to 18.0 GHz
K band 15.0 to 26.5 GHz
Ka band 26.5 to 40.0 GHz
Q band 33 to 50 GHz
U band 40 to 60 GHz
V band 50 to 75 GHz
W band 75 to 110 GHz
Y band 325 to 500 GHz

See also



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