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Protecting Radio Astronomy

By Tim Hunter

Introduction The Radio Spectrum and Its Regulation

The average citizen is familiar with the radio spectrum through enjoyment of AM and FM radio, television, short wave radio, amateur radio, and the use of ancillary items, such as garage door openers, cordless phones, microwave ovens, and wireless computer networks. Radio frequency use is ubiquitous and taken for granted. However, it is not an unlimited or harmless resource that can be used at will.

The radio spectrum encompasses a very wide range of frequencies and wavelengths. For the purposes of this essay, all electromagnetic emissions beyond the infrared portion of the spectrum with wavelengths of 1000 microns (1mm) or longer will be considered part of the radio spectrum. The main portions of the radio spectrum are:

Frequency Band
10 kHz to 30 kHz Very Low Frequency (VLF)
30 kHz to 300 kHz Low Frequency (LF)
300 kHz to 3 MHz Medium Frequency (MF)
3 MHz to 30 MHz High Frequency (HF)
30 MHz to 144 MHz
144 MHz to 174 MHz
174 MHz to 328.6 MHz
Very High Frequency (VHF)
328.6 MHz to 450 MHz
450 MHz to 470 MHz
470 MHz to 806 MHz
806 MHz to 960 MHz
960 MHz to 2.3 GHz
2.3 GHz to 2.9 GHz
Ultra High Frequency (UHF)
2.9 GHz to 30 GHz Super High Frequency (SHF)
30 GHz and above Extremely High Frequency (EHF)

From by John Neuhaus, WA2JXE



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