Emergency Radio Frequencies Preppers Must Know (2022)

Emergency Radio Frequencies Preppers Must Know (1)

The ability to communicate post-disaster is absolutely essential if you want to make the most informed, and safest decisions that you can. Emergency communications not only help you to know impending weather, find resources, and avoid dangerous areas, but they also help you know where loved ones are at, or even allow you to call out for help should find yourself in some dangerous predicament.

You don’t need a tricked-out communication system (though that’s nice) to meet meet your communication prepper needs. You can start with a few simple products, some knowhow, and build from there as your interests or needs change.

It can be confusing to know just where to turn the dial to during a disaster if you’re new to emergency communications, however. You may have a radio, but knowing how to use it to its fullest potential is quite another matter. So, in order to help with this process, below are all of the emergency radio frequencies that I know.

I would encourage you to add more to the list in the comments section so we can update this post accordingly over time.

(Video) What frequencies do you need to program into your emergency radio

I would also encourage you to print this article off to keep should you need it some day down the road. Store it with your communication equipment.

CB Radio

Citizens’ Band (CB) radio is particularly popular with truckers, hikers, and campers. It not only is incredibly easy to use, but it’s a relatively easy form of disaster communications to break into. Part of the reason is due to the fact that there is no license required to receive or transmit. That’s nice.

Emergency Radio Frequencies Preppers Must Know (2)

I highly recommend that you get your family a CB radio and a disaster communications plan set into place so that you can still communicate without your phones or internet post-disaster. You can buy the classic CB radio for around $100.

CB radio operates off of 40 distinct channels, and pretty much every CB radio out there will have access to all 40 of these channels. Keep in mind that Channel 9 is distinctly reserved for the Emergency/REACT channel. As far as I know, it’s the only channel that is distinctly reserved.

Keep in mind that anything you say on CB radio frequencies can be heard by anybody else within range, so it is not a source of private conversation. There is also a lengthy list of “10 codes” that people use on CB radios. You will want to familiarize yourself with those.

(Video) Prepper calling/meet up radio frequencies

CB Radio Abbreviations

REACT – Radio Emergency Associations Communications Teams. These are volunteers throughout the country who monitor this channel to assist in emergency situations. They often work at public events, disasters, and other emergency situations to provide valuable communications services.

  • Channel 3 (26.985 MHz) – Prepper CB Network (AM)
  • Channel 4 (27.005 MHz) – The American Preppers Network (TAPRN)
  • Channel 9 (27.065 MHz) – Universal CB Emergency/REACT channel
  • Channel 13 (27.115 MHz) – Typically used within campgrounds and marine areas
  • Channel 15 (27.135 MHz) – Used by Californian truckers
  • Channel 17 (27.165 MHz) – Used by Californian truckers headed east/west
  • Channel 19 (27.185 MHz) – Main trucker channel
  • Channel 36 (27.365 MHz) – Survivalist network
  • Channel 37 (27.375 MHz) – Prepper 37 USB

Freebanding CB Radio

Freebanding is the act of utilizing the frequencies in-between the different CB channels. Oftentimes, you may need a CB radio with “freeband operation” in order to even tune in to these channels. Freebanding offers improved privacy over the typical 40 channels (simply because less people use it), but it by no means will give you a private conversation. Anybody within range can listen to what you say through freebanding CB channels.

  • 27.3680 – Prepper network
  • 27.3780 – Prepper network
  • 27.4250 – Prepper network

Ham Radio

Emergency Radio Frequencies Preppers Must Know (3)

While it requires a license to transmit, ham radio will allow you a range and breadth of communication that is not available post-disaster via other methods. You can get started in ham radio with a simple $25 Baofeng UV-5R, but I would highly recommend investing the money to get something a little more user friendly as your first ham radio. I made that mistake.

A better option for many would be something like Midland’s Dual Band Amateur Two-Way Radio. It can be used in the home or mounted in your vehicle. It has more power and is generally a better overall product, but the Baofeng is more portable. You could stick it in your bug out bag.

There is quite a steep learning curve with ham as well. The quintessential guide to learning ham radio (and passing the license exam) is the ARRL Ham Radio License Manual.

(Video) Monitoring Emergency Radio Frequencies and Scanning

If you really want to get into the nitty-gritty, you can learn how to bounce signals off of the ionosphere, off of the moon, or even off of meteor showers. That takes a bit of study to figure out how to do, however. If you’re of a more technical/engineering mindset, you shouldn’t have any problem figuring any of this out. Keep in mind that night is typically a time of better reception quality.

You’ll also want to know some ways to find important ham radio frequencies beyond what I have below.

Ham Radio Abbreviations

NOAA is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a government operated administration that sends out broadcasts every five minutes 24/7 relating to hurricane, storm, solar flare, nuke, and other emergency information.

FEMA is the Federal Emergency Management Association. They are one of the frontline government agencies to respond to any large scale disaster with medical care, triage, shelter, food, and other forms of humanitarian aid.

  • 34.90 – Nationwide National Guard frequency during emergencies
  • 39.46 – Inter-department emergency communications by police
  • 47.42 – Nationwide Red Cross channel during humanitarian aid missions
  • 121.50 – International frequency for aeronautical emergencies
  • 138.225 – Disaster relief channel used by FEMA
  • 154.265 – Used by firemen during emergencies
  • 154.28 – Used by firemen during emergencies
  • 154.295 – Used by firemen during emergencies
  • 155.160 – Used by various agencies during search and rescue operations
  • 155.475 – Emergency communications for police
  • 156.75 – International maritime weather alerts
  • 156.80 – International maritime distress channel. All ships at sea are required to monitor this channel.
  • 162.40 – NOAA
  • 162.425 – NOAA
  • 162.45 – NOAA
  • 162.475 – NOAA
  • 162.50 – NOAA
  • 162.525 – NOAA
  • 162.55 – NOAA
  • 163.275 – NOAA
  • 163.4875 – A National Guard emergency communications frequency
  • 163.5125 – Military National Disaster Preparedness frequency
  • 168.55 – Emergency and disaster frequency used by civilian agencies of the federal government
  • 243.00 – Military aviation emergencies
  • 311.00 – US Air Force flight channel
  • 317.70 – US Coast Guard aviation frequency
  • 317.80 – US Coast Guard aviation frequency
  • 319.40 – US Air Force frequency
  • 340.20 – US Navy aviator frequency
  • 409.625 – Department of State national communications frequency
  • 462.675 – Emergency communications and traveler assistance in General Mobile Radio Service

High Frequency Emergency Nets

There are different tiers of ham radio licenses, and to transmit via high frequency (HF), you’re going to need a specialized license. If you have a HF radio, these are some potential stations that you may want to check in on:

High Frequency Emergency Net Abbreviations

ARES – The Amateur Radio Emergency Service. A nationwide group of HAM radio volunteers with specialized training in emergency communications that provides communications services during emergencies.

(Video) Preppers, Know Your Radio Frequency Landscape.

RACES – Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service. HAM radio volunteers who have registered with RACES to work with their state during various types of disasters. They are only called up after RACES has been activated.

SATERN – Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio. Salvation Army workers with emergency comms and message handling training that help the Salvation Army to coordinate its humanitarian aid efforts during and post-disaster.

  • 03808.0 – Caribbean weather information
  • 03845.0 – Gulf Coast
  • 03862.5 – Mississippi Area Traffic
  • 03865.0 – West Virginia Emergency
  • 03872.5 – Hurricane information
  • 03873.0 – West and Central Gulf ARES/Louisiana ARES, Mississippi ARES
  • 03910.0 – Central Texas Emergency/Mississippi ARES/Louisiana Traffic
  • 03923.0 – Mississippi ARES, North Carolina ARES
  • 03925.0 – Central Gulf Coast Hurricane, Louisiana Emergencies
  • 03927.0 – North Carolina ARES
  • 03935.0 – Central Gulf Coast Hurricane, Louisiana ARES, Texas ARES, Mississippi ARES, Alabama Emergencies
  • 03940.0 – Southern Florida Emergency
  • 03944.0 – West Gulf Emergency
  • 03950.0 – Hurricane Watch/Norther Florida Emergency
  • 03955.0 – South Texas Emergency
  • 03960.0 – North East Coast Hurricane
  • 03965.0 – Alabama Emergency
  • 03975.0 – Georgia ARES/Texas RACES
  • 03993.5 – Gulf Coast health and welfare/South Carolina ARES/South Carolina RACES
  • 03995.0 – Gulf Coast Weather
  • 07225.0 – Central Gulf Coast Hurricane
  • 072332.0 – North Carolina ARES
  • 07235.0 – Louisiana Emergency/Central Gulf Coast Hurricane
  • 07240.0 – American Red Cross/US Gulf Coast Disaster/Texas Emergency
  • 07242.0 – Southern Florida ARES
  • 07243.0 – Alabama Emergency/South Carolina Emergency
  • 07247.5 – Northern Florida ARES
  • 07248.0 – Texas RACES
  • 07250.0 – Texas Emergency
  • 07254.0 – Northern Florida Emergency
  • 07260.0 – Gulf Coast West Hurricane
  • 07264.0 – Gulf Coast health and welfare
  • 07265.0 – Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio (SATERN)
  • 07273.0 – Texas ARES
  • 07275.0 – Georgia ARES
  • 07280.0 – Louisiana Emergency
  • 07285.0 – West Gulf ARES (day)/Louisiana ARES (day)/Mississippi ARES/Texas ARES
  • 07290.0 – Central Gulf Coast Hurricane, Gulf Coast Weather/Louisiana ARES/Texas ARES/Mississippi ARES
  • 14222.0 – Health and Welfare
  • 14245.0 – Health and Welfare
  • 14265.0 – SATERN
  • 14268.0 – Amateur Radio Readiness Group
  • 14303.0 – International Assistance and Traffic
  • 14316.0 – Health and Welfare
  • 14320.0 – Health and Welfare
  • 14325.0 – Hurricane Watch
  • 21310.0 – Health and Welfare (Spanish)
  • 28450.0 – Health and Welfare (Spanish)

Maritime US VHF Channels

If you are near the coast or oceangoing, these are a few of the frequencies that you may want to keep handy.

ChannelShip Transmit MHzShip Receive MHzUse
06156.300156.300Inter-ship Safety
13156.650156.650Inter-ship navigation safety
16156.800156.800International Distress, Safety, and Calling

Final Frequency Thoughts

This is by no means going to be an exhaustive list of all the emergency radio frequencies out there, but it should give you a fairly good start. Many localities will have their own emergency frequencies that you are going to want to take note of to further refine your emergency communications prepping. For example, Alaska, California, The Rockies, and various other geographical regions are going to have not only their own weather stations, but they’re own forms of tornado watches, fire watches, avalanche watches, and the like.

If you would really like to delve into more emergency radio frequencies in your area, I highly recommend checking out the following sites:

In addition, you’re probably going to want to keep a copy of the ARRL Repeater Directory on-hand at all times if you are truly wanting to be prepared for a disaster situation. This book will give you all of the information you need for repeaters in your area, perchance the power ever goes down and you’re not able to use your phone or the internet to figure out what repeaters are around you.

(Video) FREE Radio Frequency Guide For All

I hope this article has helped you expand your knowledge on prepper communication gear and strategies.

Are there other frequencies that you know about that didn’t make our list? Do you have other tips for emergency communications?

Let us know in the comments!


What frequencies are used for search and rescue? ›

The SAR-IF is a Very High Frequency (VHF) simplex radio communications channel located in the land mobile band at 149.080 MHz.

What is the most used ham radio frequencies? ›

The most popular is the 144-MHz (2-meter) band. That's where you'll find a lot of ham radio operators as well as local public safety calls. If you want to hear the civilian aircraft frequencies, you'll want to look for a radio that has the 118 to 136 MHz air band.

What kind of radio should you have in an emergency? ›

The federal government recommends including a battery-powered or hand-crank radio with NOAA weather access and alerts in your emergency kit. Radios designed for emergencies are specifically tuned to find not only AM and FM radio, but they're also able to access NOAA weather channels.

What is the best emergency communication? ›

Wide Area Radio Communication is the most reliable form of communication you can turn to during an emergency. The latest wide area technology allows two-way radios to reach as far as 300 miles. You won't have to worry about radio lines tying up, as cell phone lines tend to do during an emergency.

What is the mayday frequency? ›

The FAA and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Enforcement Bureau are investigating the misuse of the frequency 121.5 MHz, according to the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA). Commonly known as the “Mayday” frequency, it is dedicated for use in emergency and distress situations.

What are the common frequencies for distress? ›

In the radiotelephone mode (for voice communication): VHF-CH16 (156.8 MHz), 2 182 kHz, 4 125 kHz, 6 215 kHz, 8 291 kHz, 12 290 kHz, 16 420 kHz. In the DSC (digital selective calling) mode: VHF-CH70 (156.525 MHz), 2 187.5 kHz, 4 207.5 kHz, 6 312 kHz, 8 414.5 kHz, 12 577 kHz, 16 804.5 kHz.

Can you use a ham radio in an emergency? ›

Ham radio operators can provide voice and data communication in these scenarios. Ham radio operators may be used remotely at auxiliary command posts, emergency shelters, evacuation sites, emergency operations centers, medical facilities, police and fire stations, and public works sites.

How far will a 50 watt ham radio transmit? ›

They assume a 5 watt handheld, 50 watt mobile, 5/8 wave mobile antenna with 6 dB gain and 5/8 wave, 6dB gain omnidirectional base antenna at 50′. Urban Environment – Around 1/2 – 1 mile from handheld to handheld, up to 2 miles mobile to handheld, and up to 5 miles or more, base to mobile, with base antenna at 50′.

What are Freenet frequencies? ›

Freenet VHF Channel 1 - 149.0250 MHz - Family/Prepper Calling Channel. Freenet VHF Channel 2 - 149.0375 MHz - Simplex Repeater, Cross-band repeater and/or VoIP Internet links. Freenet VHF Channel 3 - 149.0500 MHz - Prepper Survivalist Emergency Analog Calling and Tactical Channel. Freenet VHF Channel 4 - 149.0875 MHz.

Is a weather radio the same as an emergency radio? ›

A weather alert radio automatically responds when it receives an emergency alert, even if you aren't listening to it. To receive alerts, a weather band radio must be turned on, like when you're listening to music, and tuned to the local weather station.

Do I need a shortwave radio for emergency? ›

At a minimum, you should keep on hand the following: One self-powered (hand-crank) radio with AM/FM and emergency flashlight. If you live in the US, this radio should also include the NOAA weather radio frequencies. One capable digital portable shortwave radio with SSB (single-side band) mode.

Is shortwave radio good for emergency? ›

There are several options for emergency communications that are inexpensive and easy to use. Shortwave lets you listen to emergency broadcasts, talk locally, and even communicate around the world. It is relatively inexpensive and easy to get the equipment you need to stay informed during an emergency.

What communication do Preppers use? ›

During an emergency, you may need to rely on alternative forms of communication such as amateur radio, family band radios, satellite phones, landlines, voice over internet protocol (VOIP), social media, or old fashioned hand-written notes.

What kind of radio is SHTF? ›

Are you Ready For SHTF? The TR-590 Emergency Two-Way Radio Is! The TR-590 makes for the perfect SHTF handheld in times of every day emergencies, natural disasters, civil unrest, or even U.S. elections!

Will CB radios work after an EMP? ›

The best option would be investing in a radio (short and long wave) like this CB radio here or a HAM radio, or both. Paired up with your more basic walkie talkie for short range communication, you should do just fine with communicating after an EMP.

What is a 7700 squawk? ›

The third emergency code is Squawk 7700. This code is used to communicate all emergencies onboard a flight, and is perhaps the best-known example. Depending on the nature and severity, crews may conduct checks before formally declaring an emergency.

What is the spoken emergency signal? ›

In radiotelephony, the spoken word for distress is "MAYDAY", and it should be used at the commencement of the first distress communication. The distress signal indicates that a person or station sending the signal is: threatened by grave and imminent danger and requires immediate assistance; or.

What does Pan-Pan mean? ›

In English, it is sometimes pronounced as /pɑːn/ PAHN and sometimes as /pæn/ PAN. A three-letter backronym, "possible assistance needed" or "pay attention now" derives from pan. Maritime and aeronautical radio communications courses use those as mnemonics to convey the important difference between mayday and pan-pan.

What is the frequency for distress safety and calling? ›

1) The carrier frequency 4 125 kHz is used to supplement the carrier frequency 2 182 kHz for distress and safety purposes and for call and reply. This frequency is also used for distress and safety traffic by radiotelephony.

What are the two frequencies that commonly used for distress urgency and safety? ›

Very High Frequencies (VHF)

Channel 16, which is set at 156.800 MHz, is for Distress, Urgency and Safety communication. Channel 70, set at 156.525 MHz, if for routine VHF DSC (Digital Selective Calling) watch.

What are the two most commonly used for designated frequency in distress situation for urgency and safety communication? ›

Channel 16, which is set at 156.800 MHz, is for Distress, Urgency and Safety communication. Channel 70, which is set at 156.525 MHz, is for routine VHF DSC (Digital Selective Calling) watch. Communication channels are set put above and below Channel 16 to avoid any interference on Channel 16.

How do I send SOS through ham radio? ›

To send a distress call should you ever need to:

Use the most suitable band for calling Mayday or SOS, considering time of day and propagation conditions. Whether locally on VHF/UHF or more distant HF distress calls, call “Mayday-Mayday” with ID. Wait for a response, then repeat until someone replies.

How do you say thank you in ham radio? ›

TNX: Thanks - this ham radio abbreviation is widely used for Morse / CW transmissions.

How far can ham radios transmit? ›

The maximum range of a ham radio is about 6430 kilometers (4000 miles). Ham radios are able to transmit farther than CB radios because they use more bandwidth and higher power levels.

What ham radio has the longest range? ›

UHF or Ultra High-Frequency Ham Bands is also known for its shorter wavelengths. Most of the time, it can communicate over 30 miles of distance. These kinds of frequencies work better indoors since their wavelengths are more concise. Also, they can easily penetrate concrete walls, as well as steels.

How far can 900 MHz travel? ›

The lower frequency radio waves of 900 MHz radios provide greater penetration through walls, trees and other obstacles, making it optimal for most non-line-of-sight applications. A typical AW900xTR Radio using high powered AW-15 15dbi antenna can go distances of up to 1500 feet with buildings and/or trees in the way.

How far can an 8 watt ham radio transmit? ›

Most airband radios are 5 - 8 watts and typically have a range of around 200 miles.

What frequency does Walmart use? ›

Walmart and Sam's Club use a two way radio, made by Motorola Solutions, model Motorola RDM2070D, which is exclusive to Walmart and Sam's Club. The Motorola RDM2070D is preprogrammed on MURS frequencies with most channels using CTCSS tone 21/4Z/136.5Hz.

Who can use MURS frequencies? ›

MURS is licensed by rule. This means an individual license is not required for an entity to operate a MURS transmitter if it is not a representative of a foreign government and if it uses the transmitter in accordance with the MURS rules outlined in 47 C.F.R. Part 95 Subpart J.

What is the best frequency for two way radios? ›

How to Select the Right Two Way Radio Frequency
  • VHF (Very High Frequency) at 136-174 MHz. Best Suited For: Outdoor applications where maximum range is required with little to no obstructions and typically used for rural two way radio systems. ...
  • UHF (Ultra High Frequency) at 403-470 MHz. ...
  • 900 MHz Onsite.

Do hand crank radios really work? ›

Hand Crank Radio - YouTube

What is the best emergency crank radio? ›

The Midland ER310 E+Ready Emergency Crank Weather Radio is our top choice because of its overall build quality and impressive feature set, which includes loud weather alerts, a bright flashlight, and a decent-sized battery with multiple ways to charge it. The Kaito Voyager KA500 is another well-rounded option.

Can you listen to NOAA on ham radio? ›

Baofeng UV-5R Listen To NOAA Emergency Channels - YouTube

How long will a hand crank radio last? ›

The radio charges via the built-in solar panel, a USB adapter, or the hand crank; AAA batteries can add some supplemental power. Fully charged, it will reliably offer up to 10 hours of radio time.

Can shortwave radio pick up NOAA? ›

You should have at least one radio that can receive NOAA weather alerts. A shortwave radio can pick up signals around the world, but only a shortwave radio with SSB capabilities can let you listen to all of them.

Why is NOAA radio off the air? ›

We are in the process of upgrading our software and as a result, the NOAA weather radio is currently down.

Can shortwave radio pick up police? ›

Nope. Police and other services are usually on VHF (2m) and UHF (70cm) bands and using FM modulation. PL-660's coverage of VHF is limited by broadcasting frequencies (87-108 MHz) and aviation band (118-137 MHz). VHF is everything from 30 to 300MHz and UHF is everything from 300MHz to 3GHz.

How far can you communicate with shortwave radio? ›

Shortwave broadcasts can be easily transmitted over a distance of several thousand miles, including from one continent to another.

Is ham radio the same as shortwave? ›

Ham radio is limited to a specific set of licenced frequencies or bands. On the other hand, shortwave radio covers the entire high-frequency spectrum.

Are CB radios good for preppers? ›

CB radios can provide essential communication between families and Emergency Responders. Also, Channel 9 on CB is scanned by police to get emergency communications regarding accidents, medical issues, and other emergencies.

What are 5 communication systems that can be used during an emergency? ›

Top 10 Communication Methods in a Disaster Setting
  • Social Media. a. ...
  • Mobile Applications (Apps) ...
  • Cell phone. ...
  • Landline telephone. ...
  • Satellite phone (Satphones) ...
  • Two-Way radio. ...
  • Citizens Band Radio (CB Radio) ...
  • Amateur Radio (HAM Radio)

How do you communicate when the grid goes down? ›

Here are a few devices that will help you to communicate if disaster strikes and the grid goes down.
  1. Cell phone. In a disaster, your cell phone should still work okay but the network may be disrupted. ...
  2. CB radio. Tristar 777 CB radio – Author: Paul Lucas – CC BY 2.0. ...
  3. Satellite phone. ...
  4. HAM radio. ...
  5. Walkie talkie.
5 Nov 2017

Why do preppers use ham radios? ›

Preppers generally agree Ham is the best choice because: Ham is the only option where you can listen and talk to your local emergency services. Ham radio has a much wider range of frequencies than the others. CB can get quite crowded, for example, since everything happens between 26 and 27 MHz.

What is the best type of radio for survival? ›

5 Best Survival Radios for Emergencies
  • Midland ER210 Emergency Compact Crank Weather AM/FM Radio. Midland ER210 Emergency Compact Crank Weather AM/FM Radio. ...
  • RunningSnail Solar Crank NOAA Weather Radio. RunningSnail Solar Crank NOAA Weather Radio. ...
  • C. Crane CC Solar Observer. ...
  • Kaito Ka500 Voyager Emergency Radio. ...
  • Midland ER310.

What is a good survival radio? ›

The best emergency radio overall: Midland ER310

The ER310 is a weather alert radio, not just a weather band radio, which means it is able to receive emergency-band alerts automatically without you having to tune in first — a useful feature during hurricane season.

What vehicles would survive an EMP? ›

Most cars will survive an EMP attack, but the vehicle that is most likely to survive is an older model diesel vehicle with minimal electronics. For a surefire way to shield from EMP, building a faraday cage garage for your car would be a useful project.

What type of radio would survive an EMP? ›

Tube/Valve radio equipment

Vintage tube radios will likely survive an EMP, but how do you power them without mains electricity? By modern standards, valve gear is power hungry! Vacuum tube equipment is very resistant to EMP, as [it] can withstand arcing and surges with no damage.

What electronics does an EMP destroy? ›

Telecommunications equipment can be highly vulnerable and receivers of all varieties are particularly sensitive to EMP. Therefore radar and electronic warfare equipment, satellite, microwave, UHF, VHF, HF and low band communications equipment and television equipment are all potentially vulnerable to the EMP effect.

What is the best type of ham radio? ›

Best ham radio: 9 top rated for quick communication
  1. Yaesu FT-891 HF (best for in-car) ...
  2. Kenwood Original TH-D74A (best functionality) ...
  3. BaoFeng UV-5R 65-108 (best for beginners) ...
  4. Greaval UHF VHF (best ham kit) ...
  5. BTECH Mobile UV-50X2 (best mobile) ...
  6. BaoFeng BF-F8HP (best battery life) ...
  7. Xiegu G90 (best with detachable display)

What ham frequency can I use without a license? ›

Almost all GMRS radios also support FRS frequencies, which can be used without a license. Channels 8-14 on a typical 22 channel consumer radio reserved exclusively for FRS. These channels can be used license-free, but are limited to a half watt of transmit power and will have limited range.

What frequencies can a ham technician license use? ›

Not only can Techs operate on all VHF and UHF ham radio frequencies from the 6-meter band up through the millimeter-wave bands, they also can operate on HF (high-frequency) bands, which also are known as the shortwave bands.

What do you listen to on ham radio? ›

Many portable Ham radios can listen to NOAA and commercial FM stations, as well. Plus, you get the huge bonus of picking up and talking with your local emergency services (fire, police, medical, etc.).

What is the longest range ham radio? ›

The maximum range of a ham radio is about 6430 kilometers (4000 miles). Ham radios are able to transmit farther than CB radios because they use more bandwidth and higher power levels.

How far will a handheld ham radio transmit? ›

You can realistically get about 2-18 miles (3-29 kilometers) of range with a handheld Ham radio unless you have a particularly powerful base station with a large antenna, in which case your range can be hundreds of miles.

How much does a decent ham radio cost? ›

Depending on the options you select, it costs around $1000. If that's too much for your budget, you could buy a less feature-rich, used HF radio at local hamfest for around $200. To operate HF you're also going to need some kind of antenna.

What radio frequency can civilians use? ›

The Citizens Band Radio Service (CBRS) is a private, two-way, short-distance voice communications service for personal or business activities of the general public. It also may be used for voice paging. It is authorized 40 channels between 26.965 MHz and 27.405 MHz.

Can a ham radio talk to a CB radio? ›

Generally, the answer is no. CB radios come out-of-the-box with a specific product certifications, and you are not permitted to modify the power output or any internal components of the radio. If a licensed amateur radio operator wanted to speak on a CB frequency range, the operator would need to use a CB radio.

Can an unlicensed person use a ham radio? ›

Ham radios require a license, and, more importantly, business use of ham channels is forbidden.

What is the 10 meter calling frequency? ›

The 10-meter band is a portion of the shortwave radio spectrum internationally allocated to amateur radio and amateur satellite use on a primary basis. The band consists of frequencies stretching from 28.000 to 29.700 MHz.

Is Morse Code required for ham radio license? ›

Morse code is no longer required for earning an amateur radio license in the U.S. In a statement, the FCC joined an international trend by announcing the elimination of testing for proficiency in Morse code for all amateur radio license classes.

What does CW in ham radio mean? ›

As a true ham radio fanatic, my personal favorite ham activity is yakking with other hams in Morse Code, also called CW(for continuous waves). Morse Code has a mystique to it, it is an extremely cool method with which to communicate.

Can I just listen to a ham radio? ›

You need a license to transmit on a ham radio, but not to listen. The penalties for transmitting on a ham radio without a license include seizure of equipment, fines, and civil/criminal penalties.

Can I listen to ham radio on the Internet? ›

Over 400 websites allow you to listen to ham radio online. There are two main "flavors" of technology offering this free service. WebSDR with its rudimentary user interface (UI) allows over a hundred listeners simultaneously. This means that their receiver-server can almost always accommodate an additional listener.

What is the best ham radio for beginner? ›

  • Best Handheld Ham Radios for Beginners & Survival.
  • #1. Ailunce HD1 DMR HAM Radio – Clear Winner.
  • #2. BaoFeng BF-F8HP – Best HAM Radio for Beginners.
  • #4. BaoFeng UV-82HP – Good Overall Value.
  • #5. Yaesu FT-60R – Straightforward and Robust.
  • Retevis RT82 – Great for Beginners.
  • #7. TYT MD-380 – DMR/Moto TRBO Ham Radio.
  • #8.


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