Specific Shortwave Frequencies
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Guide to Shortwave Radios
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 RadioShack Guide to Shortwave Radios

Specific Shortwave Frequencies

AM Band

The AM band is between 520 kHz and 1720 kHz and is used for commercial radio broadcasts.

FM Band

The FM band is between 87.5 MHz and 108 MHz and is used for commercial radio broadcasts.

Longwave Band

The 150 to 519 kHz range is known as the longwave band. Most stations in this range serve as beacons for aircraft and marine navigation by continuously transmitting their call letters. Reception for this range is best between 6:00 PM and midnight (your time).

Some ships also use this range, with 500 kHz set aside as an international distress and emergency station.

Most stations in this range use Morse code on continuous wave (CW), although some use voice transmission on AM for weather broadcasts.

Aircraft Frequencies

Aircraft on international routes sometimes use shortwave. Most transmissions are in SSB (Single SideBand), although you can still hear some MW (Medium Wave) transmissions. Here are some bands where you might hear aircraft communications.

4,650 to 4,750 kHz 13,200 to 13,360 kHz
6,545 to 6,765 kHz 15,010 to 15,100 kHz
8,815 to 9,040 kHz 17,900 to 18,030 kHz
11,175 to 11,400 kHz

Amateur Radio Frequencies

Amateur radio operators in the US operate mostly in LSB (Lower Side Band) mode. Morse code operators are generally found in the lower areas of each band. The amateur radio operators with the most advanced classification are found in the upper areas of each band.

Tuning to the amateur radio frequencies can be interesting and helpful, because amateur radio operators often broadcast emergency information when other means of communication break down. Portions of these bands are set aside for continuous wave (CW) Morse code communication or for single sideband (SSB) voice communications, as shown below.

Band CW (kHz) SSB (kHz)
160 meters 1800 to 1840 1840 to 2000
80 meters 3500 to 3800 3800 to 4000
40 meters 7000 to 7150 7150 to 7300
30 meters 10,100 to 10,150  
20 meters 14,000 to 14,200 14,200 to 14,350
17 meters 18,068 to 18,110 18,110 to 18,168
15 meters 21,000 to 21,250 21,250 to 21,450
12 meters 24,890 to 24,930 24,930 to 24,990
10 meters 25,000 to 28,300 28,300 to 29,700

Note: These ranges are not precisely observed everywhere in the world.


International Commercial Frequencies

International commercial broadcasts are found in the following shortwave bands. Programs (often in English) usually contain news, commentaries, music, and special features reflecting the culture of the broadcasting country. Reception for this range is best between 6:00 PM and midnight (your time).

Band   Frequencies (kHz)
120 meters * 2300 to 2495
90 meters * 3200 to 3400
75 meters * 3850 to 4000
60 meters * 4750 to 5060
49 meters 5900 to 6200
41 meters ** 7100 to 7350
31 meters 9400 to 9990
25 meters 11,600 to 12,100
21 meters 13,500 to 13,870
19 meters 15,100 to 15,800
16 meters 17,480 to 17,900
13 meters 21,450 to 21,750
11 meters 25,600 to 26,100
* These bands are reserved for stations in tropical areas.
** Interference is heavy in the 41 meter band (7100 to 7300 kHz) because amateur radio operators and international stations share this range.

Ship and Coastal Station Frequencies

Most transmissions from ships and coastal stations use single sideband (SSB) and continuous wave (CW). You can hear these transmissions in the following bands:

2000 to 2300 kHz * 12,330 to 12,420 kHz
4063 to 4139 kHz 13,107 to 13,200 kHz
4361 to 4438 kHz 16,460 to 16,565 kHz
8195 to 8181 kHz
* The Coast Guard and small boats use this band, with 2182 kHz set aside as the international distress and emergency channel.

Time Standard Frequencies

The following frequencies announce the exact time of day at specified intervals.

WWV in Fort Collins, Colorado

CHU in Canada

2500 kHz
5000 kHz
10,000 kHz
15,000 kHz
20,000 kHz

7335 kHz

VGN in Australia

4500 kHz
12,000 kHz

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