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What are the most popular amateur radio bands?

Amateur radio operators have access to a variety of frequency bands, each with unique characteristics and applications. While the popularity of a specific band may vary depending on factors such as time of day, propagation conditions, and personal preferences, some bands are generally more popular due to their versatility and reliability. Here are some of the most popular amateur radio bands:

  • 2 meters (144-148 MHz): This VHF band is popular for local communication using FM repeaters, which extend the range of handheld and mobile transceivers. Simplex (direct) communication, digital modes, and weak signal work such as moonbounce (EME) or meteor scatter are also possible on this band.
  • 70 centimeters (420-450 MHz): This UHF band is another popular choice for local FM communication, often used in conjunction with the 2-meter band. Repeaters, satellite communication, and digital modes like DMR, D-STAR, and Yaesu System Fusion are common on this band.
  • 20 meters (14.000-14.350 MHz): This HF band is popular for long-distance (DX) communication, as it typically offers reliable propagation during the day and into the evening. SSB (single sideband), CW (Morse code), and digital modes like FT8 and PSK31 are frequently used on this band.
  • 40 meters (7.000-7.300 MHz): The 40-meter band is another popular choice for DX communication, particularly during the evening and nighttime hours when the band often “opens up” for long-distance contacts. This band supports SSB, CW, and digital modes, as well as local and regional communication on the lower sideband (LSB).
  • 80 meters (3.500-4.000 MHz): This band is more suited for regional and medium-distance communication, especially during nighttime hours when the band conditions are more favorable. SSB, CW, and digital modes are used on this band, with the upper portion of the band typically reserved for digital and CW operation.
  • 10 meters (28.000-29.700 MHz): When solar conditions are favorable, the 10-meter band can provide excellent long-distance communication opportunities, even with relatively low power. SSB, CW, digital modes, and FM are all used on this band, which can be particularly exciting during periods of high solar activity.
  • 6 meters (50-54 MHz): Known as the “Magic Band,” the 6-meter band can exhibit unpredictable and sometimes dramatic propagation characteristics, enabling long-distance communication under the right conditions. SSB, CW, digital modes, and FM are all used on this band, and sporadic-E propagation can make for exciting and unexpected contacts.

These are just a few of the most popular amateur radio bands, each offering unique opportunities for communication, experimentation, and enjoyment. Keep in mind that propagation conditions, the time of day, and the specific interests of individual operators can all influence the popularity of a given band at any given time.

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