Amateur radio (also called ham radio) describes the use of radio
frequency spectrum for purposes of non-commercial exchange of
messages, wireless experimentation, self-training, private recreation,
radiosport, contesting, and emergency communication. The term
"amateur" is used to specify "a duly authorised person interested in
radioelectric practice with a purely personal aim and without
pecuniary interest;" (either direct monetary or other similar
reward) and to differentiate it from commercial broadcasting, public
safety (such as police and fire), or professional two-way radio
services (such as maritime, aviation, taxis, etc.).
The amateur radio service (amateur service and amateur-satellite
service) is established by the International
(ITU) through the Radio Regulations. National governments regulate
technical and operational characteristics of transmissions and issue
individual stations licenses with an identifying call sign.
Prospective amateur operators are tested for their understanding of
key concepts in electronics and the host government's radio
Radio amateurs use a variety of voice, text, image, and data
communications modes and have access to frequency allocations
throughout the RF spectrum. This enables communication across a city,
region, country, continent, the world, or even into space. In many
countries, amateur radio operators may also send, receive, or relay
radio communications between computers and/or transceivers connected
to secure virtual private networks on the Internet.
Amateur radio is officially represented and coordinated by the
International Amateur Radio Union
International Amateur Radio Union (IARU), which is organized in three
regions and has as its members the national amateur radio societies
which exist in most countries. According to an estimate made in 2011
by the American Radio Relay League, two million people throughout the
world are regularly involved with amateur radio. About 830,000
amateur radio stations are located in IARU Region 2 (the Americas)
followed by IARU Region 3 (South and East
Asia and the Pacific Ocean)
with about 750,000 stations. A significantly smaller number, about
400,000, are located in IARU Region 1 (Europe, Middle East, CIS,
1.1 Ham radio
2 Activities and practices
3.1 Licensing requirements
3.2 Reciprocal licensing
3.4 Call signs
3.6 Band plans and frequency allocations
4 Modes of communication
4.3 Text and data
4.4 Modes by activity
5 See also
7 Further reading
8 External links
Main article: History of amateur radio
An amateur radio station in the United Kingdom. Multiple transceivers
are employed for different bands and modes. Computers are used for
control, datamodes, SDR and logging.
The origins of amateur radio can be traced to the late 19th century,
but amateur radio as practiced today began in the early 20th century.
The First Annual Official
Wireless Blue Book of the Wireless
Association of America, produced in 1909, contains a list of amateur
radio stations. This radio callbook lists wireless telegraph
Canada and the United States, including 89 amateur radio
stations. As with radio in general, amateur radio was associated with
various amateur experimenters and hobbyists.
Amateur radio enthusiasts
have significantly contributed to science, engineering, industry, and
social services. Research by amateur operators has founded new
industries, built economies, empowered nations, and saved
lives in times of emergency. Ham radio can also be used in the
classroom to teach English, map skills, geography, math, science, and
Main article: Etymology of ham radio
The term "ham" was first a pejorative term used in professional wired
telegraphy during the 19th century, to mock operators with poor Morse
code sending skills ("ham-fisted"). This term
continued to be used after the invention of radio and the
proliferation of amateur experimentation with wireless telegraphy;
among land- and sea-based professional radio operators, "ham" amateurs
were considered a nuisance. The use of "ham" meaning "amateurish or
unskilled" survives today in other disciplines ("ham actor").
The amateur radio community subsequently began to reclaim the word as
a label of pride, and by the mid-20th century it had lost its
pejorative meaning. Although not an acronym, it is often mistakenly
written as "HAM" in capital letters.
Activities and practices
The many facets of amateur radio attract practitioners with a wide
range of interests. Many amateurs begin with a fascination of radio
communication and then combine other personal interests to make
pursuit of the hobby rewarding. Some of the focal areas amateurs
pursue include radio contesting, radio propagation study, public
service communication, technical experimentation, and computer
Amateur radio operators use various modes of transmission to
communicate. The two most common modes for voice transmissions are
frequency modulation (FM) and single sideband (SSB). FM offers high
quality audio signals, while SSB is better at long distance
communication when bandwidth is restricted.
Radiotelegraphy using Morse code, also known as "CW" from "continuous
wave", is the wireless extension of landline (wired) telegraphy
Samuel Morse and dates to the earliest days of radio.
Although computer-based (digital) modes and methods have largely
replaced CW for commercial and military applications, many amateur
radio operators still enjoy using the CW mode—particularly on the
shortwave bands and for experimental work, such as earth-moon-earth
communication, because of its inherent signal-to-noise ratio
advantages. Morse, using internationally agreed message encodings such
as the Q code, enables communication between amateurs who speak
different languages. It is also popular with homebrewers and in
particular with "QRP" or very-low-power enthusiasts, as CW-only
transmitters are simpler to construct, and the human ear-brain signal
processing system can pull weak CW signals out of the noise where
voice signals would be totally inaudible. A similar "legacy" mode
popular with home constructors is amplitude modulation (AM), pursued
by many vintage amateur radio enthusiasts and aficionados of vacuum
Demonstrating a proficiency in
Morse code was for many years a
requirement to obtain an amateur license to transmit on frequencies
below 30 MHz. Following changes in international regulations in
2003, countries are no longer required to demand proficiency. The
United States Federal Communications Commission, for example, phased
out this requirement for all license classes on 23 February
Modern personal computers have encouraged the use of digital modes
such as radioteletype (RTTY) which previously required cumbersome
mechanical equipment. Hams led the development of packet radio in
the 1970s, which has employed protocols such as
AX.25 and TCP/IP.
Specialized digital modes such as
PSK31 allow real-time, low-power
communications on the shortwave bands.
EchoLink using Voice over IP
technology has enabled amateurs to communicate through local
Internet-connected repeaters and radio nodes, while IRLP has
allowed the linking of repeaters to provide greater coverage area.
Automatic link establishment (ALE) has enabled continuous amateur
radio networks to operate on the high frequency bands with global
coverage. Other modes, such as FSK441 using software such as WSJT, are
used for weak signal modes including meteor scatter and moonbounce
Fast scan amateur television has gained popularity as hobbyists adapt
inexpensive consumer video electronics like camcorders and video cards
in PCs. Because of the wide bandwidth and stable signals required,
amateur television is typically found in the 70 cm
(420–450 MHz) frequency range, though there is also limited use
on 33 cm (902–928 MHz), 23 cm (1240–1300 MHz)
and higher. These requirements also effectively limit the signal range
to between 20 and 60 miles (30–100 km).
Linked repeater systems, however, can allow transmissions of VHF and
higher frequencies across hundreds of miles. Repeaters are usually
located on heights of land or tall structures and allow operators to
communicate over hundreds of miles using hand-held or mobile
transceivers. Repeaters can also be linked together by using other
amateur radio bands, landline, or the Internet.
NASA astronaut Col. Doug Wheelock, KF5BOC,
Expedition 24 flight
engineer, operates the NA1SS ham radio station in the Zvezda Service
Module of the International Space Station. Equipment is a Kenwood
Amateur radio satellites can be accessed, some using a hand-held
transceiver (HT), even, at times, using the factory "rubber duck"
antenna. Hams also use the moon, the aurora borealis, and the
ionized trails of meteors as reflectors of radio waves. Hams can
also contact the
International Space Station
International Space Station (ISS) because many
astronauts and cosmonauts are licensed as amateur radio
Amateur radio operators use their amateur radio station to make
contacts with individual hams as well as participating in round table
discussion groups or "rag chew sessions" on the air. Some join in
regularly scheduled on-air meetings with other amateur radio
operators, called "nets" (as in "networks"), which are moderated by a
station referred to as "Net Control". Nets can allow operators to
learn procedures for emergencies, be an informal round table, or cover
specific interests shared by a group.
Amateur radio operators, using battery- or generator-powered
equipment, often provide essential communications services when
regular channels are unavailable due to natural disaster or other
Many amateur radio operators participate in radio contests, during
which an individual or team of operators typically seek to contact and
exchange information with as many other amateur radio stations as
possible in a given period of time. In addition to contests, a number
Amateur radio operating award
Amateur radio operating award schemes exist, sometimes suffixed
with "on the Air", such as Summits on the Air, Islands on the Air,
Worked All States and Jamboree on the Air.
The top of a tower supporting a
Yagi-Uda antenna and several wire
antennas, along with a Canadian flag
A handheld VHF/UHF transceiver
Radio transmission permits are closely controlled by nations'
governments because radio waves propagate beyond national boundaries,
and therefore radio is of international concern. Also, radio has
possible clandestine uses.
Both the requirements for and privileges granted to a licensee vary
from country to country, but generally follow the international
regulations and standards established by the International
Telecommunication Union and World Radio Conferences.
All countries that license citizens to use amateur radio require
operators to display knowledge and understanding of key concepts,
usually by passing an exam. The licenses grant hams the privilege
to operate in larger segments of the radio frequency spectrum, with a
wider variety of communication techniques, and with higher power
levels relative to unlicensed personal radio services (such as CB
radio, FRS, and PMR446), which require type-approved equipment
restricted in mode, range, and power.
Amateur licensing is a routine civil administrative matter in many
countries. Amateurs therein must pass an examination to demonstrate
technical knowledge, operating competence, and awareness of legal and
regulatory requirements, in order to avoid interfering with other
amateurs and other radio services. A series of exams are often
available, each progressively more challenging and granting more
privileges: greater frequency availability, higher power output,
permitted experimentation, and, in some countries, distinctive call
signs. Some countries, such as the
United Kingdom and Australia, have
begun requiring a practical assessment in addition to the written
exams in order to obtain a beginner's license, which they call a
In most countries, an operator will be assigned a call sign with their
license. In some countries, a separate "station license" is required
for any station used by an amateur radio operator. Amateur radio
licenses may also be granted to organizations or clubs. In some
countries, hams were allowed to operate only club stations.
An amateur radio license is valid only in the country in which it is
issued or in another country that has a reciprocal licensing agreement
with the issuing country. Some countries, such as
Syria and Cuba,
restrict operation by foreigners to club stations only.
In some countries, an amateur radio license is necessary in order to
purchase or possess amateur radio equipment.
Amateur radio licensing in the United States
Amateur radio licensing in the United States exemplifies the way in
which some countries award different levels of amateur radio licenses
based on technical knowledge: three sequential levels of licensing
exams (Technician Class, General Class, and Amateur Extra Class) are
currently offered, which allow operators who pass them access to
larger portions of the Amateur
Radio spectrum and more desirable
(shorter) call signs. An exam, authorized by the Federal
Communications Commission (FCC), is required for all levels of the
Amateur Radio license. These exams are administered by Volunteer
Examiners, accredited by the FCC-recognized Volunteer Examiner
Coordinator (VEC) system. The Technician Class and General Class exams
consist of 35 multiple-choice questions, drawn randomly from a pool of
at least 350. To pass, 26 of the 35 questions must be answered
correctly. The Extra Class exam has 50 multiple choice questions
(drawn randomly from a pool of at least 500), 37 of which must be
answered correctly. The tests cover regulations, customs, and
technical knowledge, such as FCC provisions, operating practices,
advanced electronics theory, radio equipment design, and safety. Morse
Code is no longer tested in the U.S. Once the exam is passed, the FCC
issues an Amateur Radio license which is valid for ten years. Studying
for the exam is made easier because the entire question pools for all
license classes are posted in advance. The question pools are updated
every four years by the National Conference of VECs.
Prospective amateur radio operators are examined on understanding of
the key concepts of electronics, radio equipment, antennas, radio
propagation, RF safety, and the radio regulations of the government
granting the license. These examinations are sets of questions
typically posed in either a short answer or multiple-choice format.
Examinations can be administered by bureaucrats, non-paid certified
examiners, or previously licensed amateur radio operators.
The ease with which an individual can acquire an amateur radio license
varies from country to country. In some countries, examinations may be
offered only once or twice a year in the national capital and can be
inordinately bureaucratic (for example in India) or challenging
because some amateurs must undergo difficult security approval (as in
Iran). Currently only
North Korea do not issue amateur radio
licenses to their citizens, although in both cases a limited number of
foreign visitors have been permitted to obtain amateur licenses in the
past decade. Some developing countries, especially those in Africa,
Asia, and Latin America, require the payment of annual license fees
that can be prohibitively expensive for most of their citizens. A few
small countries may not have a national licensing process and may
instead require prospective amateur radio operators to take the
licensing examinations of a foreign country. In countries with the
largest numbers of amateur radio licensees, such as Japan, the United
States, Thailand, Canada, and most of the countries in Europe, there
are frequent license examinations opportunities in major cities.
Granting a separate license to a club or organization generally
requires that an individual with a current and valid amateur radio
license who is in good standing with the telecommunications authority
assumes responsibility for any operations conducted under the club
license or club call sign. A few countries may issue special licenses
to novices or beginners that do not assign the individual a call sign
but instead require the newly licensed individual to operate from
stations licensed to a club or organization for a period of time
before a higher class of license can be acquired.
Amateur radio international operation
Reciprocal Agreements by Country
CEPT Member Nations
IARP Member Nations
Members of CEPT and IARP
Canada Treaty, CEPT and IARP
A reciprocal licensing agreement between two countries allows bearers
of an amateur radio license in one country under certain conditions to
legally operate an amateur radio station in the other country without
having to obtain an amateur radio license from the country being
visited, or the bearer of a valid license in one country can receive a
separate license and a call sign in another country, both of which
have a mutually-agreed reciprocal licensing approvals. Reciprocal
licensing requirements vary from country to country. Some countries
have bilateral or multilateral reciprocal operating agreements
allowing hams to operate within their borders with a single set of
requirements. Some countries lack reciprocal licensing systems.
When traveling abroad, visiting amateur operators must follow the
rules of the country in which they wish to operate. Some countries
have reciprocal international operating agreements allowing hams from
other countries to operate within their borders with just their home
country license. Other host countries require that the visiting ham
apply for a formal permit, or even a new host country-issued license,
The reciprocal recognition of licenses frequently not only depends on
the involved licensing authorities, but also on the nationality of the
bearer. As an example, in the US, foreign licenses are recognized only
if the bearer does not have US citizenship and holds no US license
(which may differ in terms of operating privileges and restrictions).
Conversely, a US citizen may operate under reciprocal agreements in
Canada, but not a non-US citizen holding a US license.
Many people start their involvement in amateur radio by finding a
local club. Clubs often provide information about licensing, local
operating practices, and technical advice. Newcomers also often study
independently by purchasing books or other materials, sometimes with
the help of a mentor, teacher, or friend. Established amateurs who
help newcomers are often referred to as "Elmers", as coined by Rodney
Newkirk, W9BRD, within the ham community. In addition,
many countries have national amateur radio societies which encourage
newcomers and work with government communications regulation
authorities for the benefit of all radio amateurs. The oldest of these
societies is the
Wireless Institute of Australia, formed in 1910;
other notable societies are the Radio Society of Great Britain, the
American Radio Relay League, Radio Amateurs of Canada, Bangladesh NGOs
Network for Radio and Communication, the
New Zealand Association of
Radio Transmitters and South African Radio League. (See
Amateur radio organizations)
Amateur radio call signs
An amateur radio operator uses a call sign on the air to legally
identify the operator and/or station. In some countries, the call
sign assigned to the station must always be used, whereas in other
countries, the call sign of either the operator or the station may be
used. In certain jurisdictions, an operator may also select a
"vanity" call sign although these must also conform to the issuing
government's allocation and structure used for Amateur Radio call
signs. Some jurisdictions require a fee to obtain such a vanity
call sign; in others, such as the UK, a fee is not required and the
vanity call sign may be selected when the license is applied for. The
FCC in the U.S. discontinued its fee for vanity call sign applications
in September 2015.
Call sign structure as prescribed by the ITU consists of three parts
which break down as follows, using the call sign ZS1NAT as an example:
ZS – Shows the country from which the call sign originates and may
also indicate the license class. (This call sign is licensed in South
1 – Gives the subdivision of the country or territory indicated in
the first part (this one refers to the Western Cape).
NAT – The final part is unique to the holder of the license,
identifying that station specifically.
Many countries do not follow the ITU convention for the numeral. In
United Kingdom the original calls G0xxx, G2xxx, G3xxx, G4xxx, were
Full (A) License holders along with the last M0xxx full call
signs issued by the City & Guilds examination authority in
December 2003. Additional Full Licenses were originally granted to
(B) Licensees with G1xxx, G6xxx, G7xxx, G8xxx and 1991 onward
with M1xxx callsigns. The newer three-level Intermediate License
holders are assigned 2E0xxx and 2E1xx, and the basic Foundation
License holders are granted call signs M3xxx or M6xxx.
Instead of using numbers, in the UK the second letter after the
initial ‘G’ identifies the station’s location; for example, a
callsign G7OOE becomes GM7OOE when that license holder is operating a
station in Scotland. Prefix "GM" is Scotland, G or GE is England (the
‘E’ may be omitted), and "GW" is Wales. More information is
available from the UK Radio & Media Licensing Authority (Ofcom)
In the United States, for non-vanity licenses, the numeral indicates
the geographical district the holder resided in when the license was
first issued. Prior to 1978, US hams were required to obtain a new
call sign if they moved out of their geographic district.
In Canada, call signs start with VA, VE, VY, VO, and CY. Call signs
starting with 'V' end with a number after to indicate the political
region; prefix CY indicates geographic islands. Prefix VA1 or VE1 is
Nova Scotia, VA2 / VE2 is Quebec, VA3 / VE3 is Ontario,
VA4 / VE4 is Manitoba, VA5 / VE5 is Saskatchewan, VA6 /
VE6 is Alberta, VA7 / VE7 is British Columbia, VE8 is the
Northwest Territories, VE9 is New Brunswick, VY0 is Nunavut, VY1 is
Yukon, VY2 is Prince Edward Island, VO1 is Newfoundland, and VO2 is
Labrador. CY is for amateurs operating from
Sable Island (CY0) and/or
St. Paul Island (CY9), both of which require Coast Guard permission to
access. The last two or three letters of the callsigns are typically
the operator's choice (upon completing the licensing test, the ham
writes three most-preferred options). Two letter callsign suffixes
require a ham to have already been licensed for 5 years.
Canada can be requested with a fee.
Also, for smaller geopolitical entities, the numeral may be part of
the country identification. For example, VP2xxx is in the British West
Indies, which is subdivided into VP2Exx Anguilla, VP2Mxx Montserrat,
and VP2Vxx British Virgin Islands. VP5xxx is in the Turks and Caicos
Islands, VP6xxx is on Pitcairn Island, VP8xxx is in the Falklands, and
VP9xxx is in Bermuda.
Online callbooks or callsign databases can be browsed or searched to
find out who holds a specific callsign. An example of an online
callbook is QRZ.COM. Non-exhaustive lists of famous people who hold or
have held amateur radio callsigns have also been compiled and
Many jurisdictions (but not in the UK & Europe) may issue
specialty vehicle registration plates to licensed amateur radio
operators often in order to facilitate their movement during an
emergency. The fees for application and renewal are usually
less than the standard rate for specialty plates.
In most administrations, unlike other
RF spectrum users, radio
amateurs may build or modify transmitting equipment for their own use
within the amateur spectrum without the need to obtain government
certification of the equipment. Licensed amateurs can also use
any frequency in their bands (rather than being allocated fixed
frequencies or channels) and can operate medium to high-powered
equipment on a wide range of frequencies so long as they meet
certain technical parameters including occupied bandwidth, power, and
prevention of spurious emission.
Radio amateurs have access to frequency allocations throughout the RF
spectrum, usually allowing choice of an effective frequency for
communications across a local, regional, or worldwide path. The
shortwave bands, or HF, are suitable for worldwide communication, and
the VHF and UHF bands normally provide local or regional
communication, while the microwave bands have enough space, or
bandwidth, for amateur television transmissions and high-speed
The international symbol for amateur radio, included in the logos of
many IARU member societies. The diamond holds a circuit diagram
featuring components common to every radio: an antenna, inductor and
In most countries, an amateur radio license grants permission to the
license holder to own, modify, and operate equipment that is not
certified by a governmental regulatory agency. This encourages amateur
radio operators to experiment with home-constructed or modified
equipment. The use of such equipment must still satisfy national and
international standards on spurious emissions.
Amateur radio operators are encouraged both by regulations and
tradition of respectful use of the spectrum to use as little power as
possible to accomplish the communication. This is to minimise
interference or EMC to any other device. Although allowable power
levels are moderate by commercial standards, they are sufficient to
enable global communication. Lower license classes usually have lower
power limits; for example, the lowest license class in the UK
(Foundation licence) has a limit of 10 W.
Power limits vary from country to country and between license classes
within a country. For example, the peak envelope power limits for the
highest available license classes in a few selected countries are:
2.25 kW in Canada, 1.5 kW in the United States,
1.0 kW in Belgium, Luxembourg,
Switzerland and New Zealand,
750 W in Germany, 500 W in Italy, 400 W in Australia,
India and the United Kingdom, and 150 W in Oman.
Output power limits may also depend on the mode of transmission. In
Australia, for example, 400 W may be used for SSB transmissions,
but FM and other modes are limited to 120 W.
The point at which power output is measured may also affect
United Kingdom measures at the point the antenna is
connected to the signal feed cable, which means the radio system may
transmit more than 400 W to overcome signal loss in the cable;
Germany measures power at the output of the final
amplification stage, which results in a loss in radiated power with
longer cable feeds.
Certain countries permit amateur radio licence holders to hold a
Notice of Variation that allows higher power to be used than normally
allowed for certain specific purposes. E.g. in the UK some amateur
radio licence holders are allowed to transmit using (33 dBw)
2.0 kW for experiments entailing using the moon as a passive
radio reflector (known as Earth-Moon-Earth communication) (EME).
Band plans and frequency allocations
Amateur radio frequency allocations
International Telecommunication Union
International Telecommunication Union (ITU) governs the allocation
of communications frequencies worldwide, with participation by each
nation's communications regulation authority. National communications
regulators have some liberty to restrict access to these bandplan
frequencies or to award additional allocations as long as radio
services in other countries do not suffer interference. In some
countries, specific emission types are restricted to certain parts of
the radio spectrum, and in most other countries, International Amateur
Radio Union (IARU) member societies adopt voluntary plans to ensure
the most effective use of spectrum.
In a few cases, a national telecommunication agency may also allow
hams to use frequencies outside of the internationally allocated
amateur radio bands. In Trinidad and Tobago, hams are allowed to use a
repeater which is located on 148.800 MHz. This repeater is used
and maintained by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), but
may be used by radio amateurs in times of emergency or during normal
times to test their capability and conduct emergency drills. This
repeater can also be used by non-ham NEMA staff and REACT members. In
New Zealand ham operators are authorized to use one of
the UHF TV channels. In the U.S., amateur radio operators providing
essential communication needs in connection with the immediate safety
of human life and immediate protection of property when normal
communication systems are not available may use any frequency
including those of other radio services such as police and fire and in
cases of disaster in Alaska may use the statewide emergency frequency
of 5167.5 kHz with restrictions upon emissions.
Similarly, amateurs in the
United States may apply to be registered
Military Auxiliary Radio System
Military Auxiliary Radio System (MARS). Once approved and
trained, these amateurs also operate on US government military
frequencies to provide contingency communications and morale message
traffic support to the military services.
International amateur radio frequency allocations
ITU Region 1
ITU Region 2
ITU Region 3
135.7 kHz – 137.8 kHz
472 kHz – 479 kHz
1.810 MHz – 1.850 MHz
1.800 MHz – 2.000 MHz
80 / 75 m
3.500 MHz – 3.800 MHz
3.500 MHz – 4.000 MHz
3.500 MHz – 3.900 MHz
5.3515 MHz – 5.3665 MHz
7.000 MHz – 7.200 MHz
7.000 MHz – 7.300 MHz
7.000 MHz – 7.200 MHz
10.100 MHz – 10.150 MHz
14.000 MHz – 14.350 MHz
18.068 MHz – 18.168 MHz
21.000 MHz – 21.450 MHz
24.890 MHz – 24.990 MHz
28.000 MHz – 29.700 MHz
50.000 MHz – 52.000 MHz1
50.000 MHz – 54.000 MHz
70.000 MHz – 70.500 MHz
144.000 MHz – 146.000 MHz
144.000 MHz – 148.000 MHz
220.000 MHz – 225.000 MHz
430.000 MHz – 440.000 MHz
430.000 MHz – 440.000 MHz
(420.000 MHz – 450.000 MHz)3
902.000 MHz – 928.000 MHz
1.240 GHz – 1.300 GHz
2.300 GHz – 2.450 GHz
3.400 GHz – 3.475 GHz3
3.300 GHz – 3.500 GHz
5.650 GHz – 5.850 GHz
5.650 GHz – 5.925 GHz
5.650 GHz – 5.850 GHz
10.000 GHz – 10.500 GHz
24.000 GHz – 24.250 GHz
47.000 GHz – 47.200 GHz
75.500 GHz1 – 81.500 GHz
76.000 GHz – 81.500 GHz
122.250 GHz – 123.000 GHz
134.000 GHz – 141.000 GHz
241.000 GHz – 250.000 GHz
Some administrations have authorized spectrum for amateur use in this
1 This is not mentioned in the ITU's Table of Frequency Allocations,
but individual administrations may make allocations under Article 4.4
of the ITU Radio Regulations. See the appropriate Wiki page for
2 HF allocation created at the 1979 World Administrative Radio
Conference. These are commonly called the "WARC bands".
3 This includes a currently active footnote allocation mentioned in
the ITU's Table of Frequency Allocations. These allocations may only
apply to a group of countries.
Radio spectrum · Electromagnetic spectrum
Modes of communication
See also: List of amateur radio modes
Amateurs use a variety of voice, text, image, and data communications
modes over radio. Generally new modes can be tested in the amateur
radio service, although national regulations may require disclosure of
a new mode to permit radio licensing authorities to monitor the
transmissions. Encryption, for example, is not generally permitted in
the Amateur Radio service except for the special purpose of satellite
vehicle control uplinks. The following is a partial list of the modes
of communication used, where the mode includes both modulation types
and operating protocols.
Amplitude modulation (AM)
Sideband Suppressed Carrier (DSB-SC)
Modulation Equivalent (AME)
Frequency modulation (FM)
Phase modulation (PM)
Amateur Television (ATV), also known as Fast Scan television
Slow-Scan Television (SSTV)
Text and data
Most amateur digital modes are transmitted by inserting audio into the
microphone input of a radio and using an analog scheme, such as
amplitude modulation (AM), frequency modulation (FM), or
single-sideband modulation (SSB).
Continuous Wave (CW), usually used for Morse code
Automatic Link Establishment (ALE)
AMateur Teleprinting Over Radio (AMTOR)
Digital mobile radio
Hellschreiber, also referred to as either Feld-Hell, or Hell
Discrete multi-tone modulation
Discrete multi-tone modulation modes such as Multi Tone 63 (MT63)
Multiple Frequency-Shift Keying (MFSK) modes such as
FSK441, JT6M, JT65, and
Packet radio (AX.25)
Automatic Packet Reporting System
Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS)
31 baud binary phase shift keying: PSK31
31 baud quadrature phase shift keying: QPSK31
63 baud binary phase shift keying: PSK63
63 baud quadrature phase shift keying: QPSK63
Spread spectrum (SS)
Modes by activity
The following "modes" use no one specific modulation scheme but rather
are classified by the activity of the communication.
Internet Radio Linking Project (IRLP)
Low Transmitter Power (QRP)
Satellite (OSCAR – Orbiting Satellite Carrying Amateur Radio)
DX Century Club
International Amateur Radio Union
List of amateur radio magazines
List of amateur radio organizations
List of amateur radio software
Maritime mobile amateur radio
Prosigns for Morse code
Piracy in amateur and two-way radio
Worked All Continents
Worked All Zones
^ "General Regulations Annexed to the International Radiotelegraph
Convention" (PDF). International Radiotelegraph Convention of
Washington, 1927. London: His Majesty's Stationery Office. 1928.
^ Sumner, David (August 2011). "How Many Hams?". QST. American Radio
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