Thursday, June 24, 2010

Which is the proper way to describe the 75/80-meter band?

Q Mike Usas, N8KXI, asks, “Which is the proper way to describe the 75/80-meter band? I’ve heard it called 75 or 80 meters by both old and new hams. Is it 75, 80 or both?”

A You’ve asked a good question. The answer falls into that gray area of Amateur Radio slang. For those who may be new to the hobby, the idea of using 75 or 80 meters to refer to the same band can be confusing.

Technically speaking, a wavelength of 80 meters corresponds to a frequency of 3750 kHz. A wavelength of 75 meters corresponds to 4000 kHz. When hams kick these numbers around in conversation they are usually referring to either the phone or CW/data segments of the band. When they say “75 meters” they are talking about everything from 4000 down to 3750 kHz—the phone portion of the band. When they mention “80 meters,” they’re usually discussing the band segment from 3750 kHz down—CW/data.

Of course, like anything else in common language, the terms are often interchanged, depending on who is speaking! For example, many hams simply say “80 meters” when they mean anywhere in the band.

From QST May 1999