This document is unlikely to be of any interest to anyone but me. It's the map of frequencies of my radios at home. This map is for a radio with one hundred memories. The first digit describes the mode, and the second number describes the band. I am in IARU Region 1, so this list is restricted to those frequencies used either Region 1 or all Regions.
⟨mode⟩ + ⟨band⟩
The idea here is that the first digit of the memory number is for the mode and the second digit is for the band. This means that you can decide what mode you want to play with and scan the bands easily to see which are open and ready to communicate on. For example, if you wanted to try out JS8, you'd just scan the memories between 20 and 29 until you heard the characteristic sound of that mode.
Firstly, though, here are the HF bands in the UK with some brief notes.
- ✳️0️⃣→ 160m, 1.81-2.00MHz. aka 'top band'. Strictly speaking, an MF band. Propagation is local during the day due to D-layer absorption, but at night, particularly around sunrise and sunset, the band goes worldwide. Long distance propagation is often better than other bands during sunspot minima. In this band unexplained propagation phenemena such as chordal hop or weird blackouts can occur.
- ✳️1️⃣→ 80m, 3.5-3.8MHz. By day, the 80m band is only useful for talking to people within about 500km, again because of D-layer absorption. But at night it is possible to communicate within a much wider range which, depending on conditions, could be worldwide. Noise levels can be high even in rural areas due to distant thunderstorms.
- ✳️2️⃣→ 60m, 5MHz. ⚠️ Transmitting on 60m is off-limits to Intermediate Licence Holders! This is a relatively new band whose frequencies are only offered on a secondary basis to holders of a UK Full Amateur Licence. It's midway between the bigger 40m and 80m bands and can act as a half-way house between these when propagation isn't good on one or both.
- ✳️3️⃣→ 40m, 7.0-7.2MHz. A reliable and popular band. Whatever the sunspots are doing and whether it's winter or summer, this is a good band for long-distance as well as local communication. 40m is a popular band for low-power operation. During the day, you'd get mostly UK stations. At night, this band is excellent for worldwide communication.
- ✳️4️⃣→ 30m, 10.1-10.15MHz. Another narrow band that is contest-free. In fact it is only 50kHz wide and therefore reserved for CW (Morse) and narrowband data modes. However, the propagation has the good characteristics of both its neighbours in the 20m and 40m bands, and so is great a lot of the time and any stage in the sunspot cycle so it's worth a go.
- ✳️5️⃣→ 20m, 14.00-14.35MHz. aka 'the DX band'. This is a very popular and wide band for making contacts a long way away. If the solar conditions are good, it is often great for worldwide communication. Even if they aren't, you can get good distances on 20m during the day. Around sunrise, propagation to Australia is good, but nearby stations are likely to be in the skip zone. 20m can get busy, especially during contests.
- ✳️6️⃣→ 17m, 18.068-18.168MHz. A narrow but contest-free band with propagation properties similar to the 20m band. 17m can be quieter than the similar, and very popular, 20m band, but still offer access to much of the world if solar activity is okay.
- ✳️7️⃣→ 15m, 21.00-21.45MHz. A nice wide band which works well for long-distance communication. 15m waves propagate by reflection off the F-2 layer, so it's a good choice for intercontinental communication during the day, especially during solar maxima. In the morning you are likely to hear Asia, and in the afternoon, the USA.
- ✳️8️⃣→ 12m, 24.89-24.99MHz. A much quieter, contest-free band that you can switch into from 15m or 10m and send out a CQ or two to see who's listening. Sporadic E becomes possible on this band, especially during the summer.
- ✳️9️⃣→ 10m, 28.0-29.7MHz. A really wide band, but one that is particularly dependent on sunspot activity. If there's a sunspot maximum on, then the band can open up worldwide. On top of that, this band sees sporadic E propagation. When that's active, you can hear and send strong signals around Europe. Given how affected this band is by sunspots, properties can be a bit chaotic. Waves propagate best during local daylight hours. CB radio is not far away on the dial in the 27MHz band (11m) and this band is good for mobile operation too, only with longer range!
Other guides to and descriptions of the HF bands:
Which band for which antenna?
I have moved the antenna information to another page.
FT8 is a communication protocol optimised for making contacts ('QSOs') with other stations even when the signal is very weak. You can use it to contact other stations even in challenging propagation conditions, high noise, low power or poor antenna setups. Only the bare essentials for making a contact are included - callsigns and signal strength reports are exchanged, and it's goodbye. This is not a chat mode. However, it's fun to see how far aware the responses are coming from and to check on a reporter map site to see who has heard you. The software required is either WSJT-X or its fork JTDX.
→ 1.840MHz USB; → 3.573MHz USB; → 5.357MHz USB; → 7.074MHz USB; → 10.136MHz USB; → 14.074MHz USB; → 18.100MHz USB; → 21.074MHz USB; → 24.915MHz USB; → 28.074MHz USB.
JS8 is a mode that's all about doing keyboard-to-keyboard messaging under weak signal conditions. FT8 is a robust digital mode, and JS8 builds on top of it by adding a keyboard messaging interface so that amateur radio operators can chat via keyboard even under challenging conditions. The software, JS8CALL, is a fork of WSJT-X but adapted for message passing. The protocol and software provide a message inbox, a heartbeat to keep track of when users are online, and routing of messages via intermediate stations.
👀 A detailed guide to operating with JS8 on this station is available.
→ 1.842MHz USB; → 3.578MHz USB;  blank; → 7.078MHz USB; → 10.130MHz USB; → 14.078MHz USB; → 18.104MHz USB; → 21.078MHz USB; → 24.922MHz USB; → 28.078MHz USB.
Before FT8 and JS8, a lot more people were using modes based on phase shift keying. They allow keyboard-to-keyboard communication, teletype-style. They were made popular with the fldigi suite. Of all these modes, PSK31 is the most popular, but PSK63 is used in contests. Modes with higher numbers are usually used for sending files. There are two flavours of modulation, binary and quadrature, but binary — BPSK31 — is much more popular.
→ 1.838150MHz USB; → 3.580150MHz USB;  blank; → 7.040MHz (and up) USB; → 10.142150MHz USB; → 14.070150MHz USB; → 18.100150MHz USB; → 21.080150MHz USB; → 24.920150MHz USB; → 28.120150MHz USB.
WSPR is for people interested in understanding propagation paths for low-power signals. The message is even more spartan than for FT8. It transmits the station's callsign, its grid locator, and the transmitter power. Stations around the world report the reception of the signal to the internet. This reporter network is called WSPRnet and it shows operators how far their signals went on a map (and a backup map). WSPR operates in a narrow 2.5kHz bandwidth with signals with a signal-to-noise ratio as low as -28dB. That is, the noise can be 630 times more powerful than the signal, and the message will still get through. It's good for incredibly weak signals.
→ 1.8366MHz USB; → 3.5686MHz USB;  blank; → 7.0386MHz USB; → 10.1387MHz USB; → 14.0956MHz USB; → 18.1046MHz USB; → 21.0946MHz USB; → 24.9246MHz USB; → 28.1246MHz USB.
Analogue modes and CW
5️⃣✳️→ Slow-scan television
Slow-scan television (SSTV) or 'narrowband television' is about transmitting and receiving still pictures. There are many modes for this within SSTV, e.g. Robot, Martin and Scottie. You choose a picture you like, add some text like
CQ SSTV 2E0RLZ to make it into a CQ, and send it out around the world. It's shitposting images, for the pre-internet world.
 blank; → 3.73MHz LSB;  blank; → 7.165MHz USB;  blank; → 14.230MHz USB;  blank; → 21.340MHz USB;  blank; → 28.680MHz USB.
- See whether you can get your television pictures to end up on sites like CQSSTV.com.
- SSTV at the signal identification wiki;
- SSTV by satellite from RS0ISS (though this is really VHF);
- MultiScan 3B, the software I use for this;
6️⃣✳️→ SSB voice centres of activity
Voice traffic (sometimes called 'telephony') takes place across these bands, but there's usually a centre of activity to start at and kind of tune around. We're not really interested in contesting traffic here, more the kind of signals where people could be having 'normal' conversations. However, some bands don't make this distinction, and other modes just have 'all modes' in most segments, so I've just done my best to choose a starting point for exploration.
- 160m: [1.840, 2.000]MHz = 1.920 ± 0.080MHz;
- 80m, excluding contesting: [3.650, 3.700]MHz = 3.675 ± 0.025MHz; including contesting: [3.600, 3.800]MHz = 3.700 ± 0.100MHz;
- 60m, the whole band: [5.2585, 5.4065]MHz = 5.3325 ± 0.074MHz;
- 40m, excluding contesting: [7.100, 7.130]MHz = 7.115 ± 0.015MHz; including contesting: [7.060, 7.200]MHz = 7.130 ± 0.070MHz;
- 30m has no voice mode segments;
- 20m, excluding contesting: [14.300, 14.350]MHz = 14.325 ± 0.025MHz; including contesting: [14.125, 14.350]MHz = 14.2375 ± 0.1125MHz;
- 17m, all modes: [18.120, 18.168]MHz = 18.144 ± 0.024MHz;
- 15m, all modes: [21.151, 21.450]MHz = 21.3005 ± 0.1495MHz;
- 12m, all modes: [24.940, 24.990]MHz = 24.965 ± 0.025MHz;
- 10m has quite a lot of FM allocation, but outside of this there is an 'all modes' segment: [28.320, 29.000]MHz = 28.660 ± 0.340MHz.
Conventionally, LSB is used at frequencies below 10MHz and USB at frequencies above. The exception is the 5MHz band, for which the RSGB recommend use of the upper sideband. Therefore:
→ 1.920MHz LSB; → 3.675MHz LSB; → 5.3325MHz USB; → 7.155MHz LSB; → blank; → 14.325MHz USB; → 18.144MHz USB; → 21.3005MHz USB; → 24.965MHz USB; → 28.660MHz USB.
7️⃣✳️→ QRP (low power) Morse
These frequencies are typically used for transmitting Morse at low power. Morse is great at this. You can use a solar panel to make a tiny 5W station which can happily communicate with other continents. It is the original low power mode. There are of course other frequences for Morse chatter, but these are the ones dedicated to low power.
→ 1.836MHz CW; → 3.560MHz CW;  blank; → 7.030MHz CW; → 10.106MHz CW; → 14.060MHz CW; → 18.086MHz CW; → 21.060MHz CW; → 24.906MHz CW; → 28.060MHz CW.
8️⃣✳️→ FISTS Morse
The FISTS CW Club 'supports the use, preservation and education of Morse code'. I don't know Morse code myself, but these frequencies are the ones they use. Software like fldigi can decode Morse transmissions, so occasionally I listen in on these frequencies in the CW mode and try to decode them.
→ 1.818MHz CW; → 3.558MHz CW;  blank; → 7.028MHz CW; → 10.118MHz CW; → 14.058MHz CW; → 18.085MHz CW; → 21.058MHz CW; → 24.908MHz CW; → 28.058MHz CW.
9️⃣✳️→ AX/25 Packet
Some of these bands have frequencies worldwide but which are discouraged in the UK by RSGB band plan.
 blank (not used);  3.595MHz LSB (3.590-3.600MHz);  blank;  blank (not used);  14.094 LSB (not used on 30m, so we borrow a range from 20m);  14.105 LSB (14.089-14.112MHz, but not 14.099-14.101 which is reserved for beacons). As well as being the midpoint of the second segment, this is the frequency of the well-known Network 105, mostly used for point-to-point communications;  blank;  21.110MHz LSB (21.100-21.120MHz);  blank;  28.135MHz LSB (28.120-28.150MHz).
- I am a member of Cambridge and District Amateur Radio Club. They hold CDARC club nets on HF every Sunday at 10:30. The frequency is either 3.655MHz LSB or 7.0875Hz LSB.
- This map could include RTTY, and maybe JT65;
- If n is the number of a CB radio channel, then 27.59125 + 0.01n is the frequency in MHz at which that channel can be heard. Generally speaking, these channels use frequency modulation, so the channels don't appear on this memory map. However, the use of SSB is now permitted. Some channels: 9 (27.68125MHz) is the emergency channel; 14 (27.73125MHz) is the calling channel; 19 (27.78125MHz) is the truckers' channel and secondary calling channel. Ten-codes are used on CB radio.
Sites you might want to use when radiofurtling
- Where is locator square X? Karhukoti.
- Which locator square am I in? WhatsMyLocator. Our station is usually located in grid square IO81.
- Where are my signals being picked up? the PSK reporter map.
- What obstructions are between me and place X? HeyWhatsThat path profiler.
- Who holds callsign X? qrz.com.
- What are the current propagation conditions? If you are considering which one to try now, you can quickly check the current conditions to see which bands are open. Going into a little more detail, HAP charts from the Australian Bureau of Meterology are a clear and detailed way to find the best frequency to use to contact a particular mobile station given its location. There is a HAP chart for London and a bunch of other HF prediction tools to explore if you want much more detail. Besides these, there's the other HamQSL charts; Shortwave listening conditions (with solar data from HamSQL); monthly long-term prediction from the UK; VOACAP, the Voice of America Coverage Analysis Program.. Forecasts of propagation conditions are available from Steve G0KYA.
- We are radiofurtling outside today. Will there be a thunderstorm? Blitzortung map for the UK and Ireland.
- I can't be bothered to set up the antenna and other equipment. Make a cup of tea, stay inside and play around on WebSDR, then. There are web-accessible SDRs near-ish us (on a continental scale at least) in Stafford, Farnham and Goonhilly, all on various bands.
- I can't work out how to use this radio. Have a look at the manual.
- I can't get data modes to work. Essex Ham have a guide to troubleshooting data problems. Something we initially missed is checking that the radio's ALC is not being triggered from sending too much audio.