Ham Radio Questions and Answers

| Standard ITU Phonetics | Frequency Chart for Major Ham Radio Bands |
| Which Band is Right For You | Common Q Signals | RST | Formulas for Electronics |

Standard ITU Phonetics


The Major Ham Radio Bands

Frequency Range

Meter Band

1800 to 2000 kHz160 meters
3500 to 4000 kHz80 meters
7000 to 7300 kHz40 meters
10100 to 10150 kHz30 meters
14000 to 14350 kHz20 meters
18068 to 18168 kHz17 meters
21000 to 21450 kHz15 meters
24890 to 24990 kHz12 meters
28000 to 29700kHz10 meters
50 to 54 MHz6 meters
144 to 148 MHz2 meters
222 to 225 MHz1.25 centimeters
420 to 450 MHz70 centimeters
902 to 928 MHz33 centimeters
1240 to 1300 MHz23 centimeters
Bands from 160 to 10 meters are known as high frequency (HF) bands.
The 6, 2, and 1.25 meter bands are known as the very high frequency (VHF) range.
All ham bands above 70 centimeters are known as ultra high frequency (UHF) bands.

Choose The HF Band That's Right For You

The text for the description of the following bands is plagiarized from the book "All About Ham Radio" by Harry Helms AA6FW. Copyright © 1992 by High Text Publications, Inc., San Diego, CA, 92121. Library of Congress catalog number: 92-070472. The AA6FW discription just couldn't be beat!

160 meters

The band begins just 200 kHz above the upper end of the AM broadcast band, and it is very similar in propagation. Daytime propagation is via ground wave and is generally limited to 100 miles. At night, sky wave propagation takes place over typical distances of a few hundred miles in summer to thousands of miles during the winter. This band offers better sky wave propagation during years of low sunspot activity.

80 meters

This band has propagation very similar to 160 meters, although sky wave propagation is usually better. Quite a few hams have worked over 100 countries here, and DX contacts of a few thousand miles are common in winter. This band is also better for sky wave propagation during years of low sunspot activity.

40 meters

This is a transition band with many interesting characteristics. During summer days, it offers reliable communications over 300 miles or so. On winter days, this range can be extended to over 500 miles. Night communications at distances of well over 1000 miles are common, with better conditions during winter frequently allowing intercontinental communications. Unlike 160 and 80 miters, most communications here are via sky wave. The main problem with this band is the interference from powerful international shortwave broadcast stations located outside of North America. If you operate on frequencies without such QRM, however, this is a terrific band for reliable night communications throughout the United States and Canada. Forty meters is better for communications during years of low sunspot activity, although the improvement is not nearly as dramatic as on 160 and 80 meters.

30 meters

This band is much like 40 meters, although it is limited to CW and RTTY communications and does not suffer interference from international broadcasting stations. This band offers better day and night range than 40 meters, and is an especially good choice for the reliable daytime range out to about 1000 miles or so. This band is usually better at times other than the peak of a sunspot cycle; the increased ionospheric absorption of low frequency signals can reduce the strength of signals on this band.

20 meters

This is the main band for DXers. During years of low sunspot numbers, there are frequent daytime openings of several thousands of miles. During years of high sunspot activity, the band is often open around the clock to some distant part of the world! During the summer, there are often good evening openings to the west (where the sun is still shining) or to areas to the east where sunrise is taking place. Communications on 20 meters is normally via sky wave, although direct wave communications within a few dozen miles is possible. This holds true for 17, 15, 12, and 10 meters as well.

17 meters

This band is very similar to 20 meters, although daytime openings are fewer during years of low sunspot numbers.

15 meters

This band is also much like 20 meters, although it is much more influenced by the sunspot cycle. At the minimum of a sunspot cycle, this band may not open even during the daytime. At the peak, 15 meters is often better than 20 meters for DX communications.

12 meters

This band is heavily influenced by the sunspot cycle. During years of low sunspot numbers, it is good only for local direct wave communications. During years of high sunspot activity, this band is open d;uring the daytime for DX communications over several thousands of miles. It is also located to the west during the evening hours. When the MUF is just above this band, low powered stations using simple antennas are capable of worldwide communications with ease!

10 meters

This is like 12 meters, only more so. During years of low sunspot activity, this band is dead for any sort of propagation by the F layer. Communications can be carried on by direct wave over distances of about 25 miles (much like the range of CB radio) and there are often sporadic-E openings of a few hundred miles similar to those found on 50 MHz. When sunspot numbers are high, daytime and early evening DX on 10 meters is spectacular! A very simple, low powered station can easily work over 100 countries that are difficult or impossible to work on 20 meters during a sunspot cycle minimum can be easily worked on 10 meters during a sunspot cycle peak.

Common Q Signals

Q Signals followed by a Question Mark
Take the form of a Question

QRGYour exact frequency (or that of ___) is ___kHz.
Will you tell me my exact frequency (or that of ___)?
QRLI am busy (or I am busy with ___).
Are you busy?
QRMYour transmission is being interfered with ___.
1. Nil;
2. Slightly;
3. Moderately
4. Severely
5. Extremely
Is my transmission being interfered with?
QRNI am troubled by static ___. (1 to 5 as under QRM)
Are you troubled by static?
QROIncrease power.
Shall I increase power?
QRPDecrease power.
Shall I decrease power?
QRQSend faster (___wpm).
Shall I send faster?
QRSSend more slowly (___wpm).
Shall I send more slowly?
QRTStop sending.
Shall I stop sending
QRUI have nothing for you.
Have you anything for me?
QRVI am ready.
Are you ready?
QRXI will call you again at ___ hours (on ___kHz).
Will you call me again?
QRZYou are being called by ___ (on ___kHz).
Who is calling me?
QSBYour signals are fading.
Are my signals fading?
QSKI can hear you between signals; break in on my
transmission. Can you hear me between your signals
and if so may I break in on your transmission?
QSLI am acknowledging receipt. Can you acknowledge
receipt (of a message or transmission)?
QSNI did hear you (or ___) on ___kHz. Did you hear me
(or ___) on ___kHz?
QSOI can communicate with ___ direct (or relay through ___).
Can you communicate with ___ direct or by relay?
QSPI will relay to ___.
Will you relay to ___?
QSTGeneral call preceding a message addressed to all
amateurs and ARRL members.
This is in effect "CQ ARRL."
QSXI am listening to ___ on ___kHz.
Will you listen to ___ on ___kHz?
QSYChange to transmission on another frequency
(or on ___kHz). Shall I change to transmission on
another frequency (or On ___kHz)?
QTBI do not agree with your counting of words.
I will repeat the first letter or digit of each word or group.
Do you agree with my counting of words?
QTCI have ___ messages for you (or for ___).
How many messages have you to send?
QTHMy location is ___.
What is your location?
QTRThe time is ___.
What is the correct time?
QUAI have news of ___.
Do you have news?


"Circle Formulas" for Electronics

Ohms Law


E=Voltage in Volts
I=Current in Amps
R=Resistance in Ohms
P=Power in Watts
I=Current in Amps
E=Voltage in Volts
E=Voltage in Volts
R=Resistance in Ohms
P=Power in Watts



AC Voltage

R=Resistance in Ohms
G=Conductance in Mhos
F=Frequency in Hertz
Wavelength in Meters
RMS=Root Mean Square value
Peak=Peak voltage in a sine wave

Time Constant

Time Frequency

Inductive Reactance

Capacitive Reactance

T=Time in Seconds
R=Resistance in Ohms
C=Capacitance in Farads
T=Time in Seconds
F=Frequency in Hertz
Xl=Inductive Reactance in Ohms
F=Frequency in Hertz
L=Impedance in Henrys
F=Frequency in Hertz
C=Capacitance in Farads
Xc=Capacitive Reactance in Ohms


Resonant Frequency

Power Factor


P=Power in Watts
T=Time in Seconds
F=Frequency in HertzPdis=Power Dissipated in Watts
Pin=Power in in Watts
PF=Power Factor
Pout=Power out in Watts
Pin=Power in in Watts

Links to Handy Ham Topics

ARRL   Check out the current question pools under the "LICENSING" link on their page, and get studying for your upgrade.
TAPR   Check out current and past information on Packet Radio, as well as other Ham resources.
Space.com   For those of us who find space fascinating.  Shuttle info, Hubble telescope info, and lots of pictures.
FCC   Keep up to date on frequency allocation issues.  Best way to navigate this site is to click on "Topical Index" and do an alphabetical search for Amateur Radio.
Ham Radio Outlet
AC6V OVER 700 AMATEUR RADIO TOPICS AND OVER 6,000 LINKS   Great reference material for DX.  Lots of information here
Ham Radio Online magazine dedicated to Ham Radio.
The Elmer's Page page to help prospective hams with their studies.