UHF Ham Radio Bands and Frequencies

An overview or summary about the UHF ham radio bands or amateur radio frequencies, the frequency allocations and their properties.

Ham radio bands summaries includes:
Ham radio bands summaries     136 kHz LF band     HF bands     VHF bands     UHF bands    

The UHF amateur radio allocations provide an interesting environment in which to operate. They are very different to the HF ham radio bands in their character, but this means that they provide a different challenge and a different area of interest within the hobby of amateur radio.

The UHF ham radio bands are very convenient to use. Antennas can be small and amateur radio equipment for the UHF bands is compact and widely available. This means that it is easy to set up and install a station in most areas.

Anytone AT-779UV VHF UHF transceiver
Typical mobile / portable / fixed VHF UHF transceiver

How are the UHF bands used

The UHF amateur radio bands and allocations are used in a variety of ways dependent upon the interests of the particular radio amateur.

The maximum ranges available will vary considerably, but under normal conditions they may be limited to 30km or so, but this is very dependent upon the location, antenna and other equipment.

Tropospheric lifts can considerably extend the ranges achievable, and those who might be interested in operating during these 'lifts' can keep one eye on the weather to check when there might be a possibility of improved propagation conditions.

However, the bands are probably most widely used for local communications. Stations can be set up at home, in a radio shack or room, or in most places around the home.

Many people use transceivers in their car, operating mobile when they are on a journey, or they can easily be used for portable operation, or using handheld sets which are widely available.

Contacts can be either simplex - directly station to station, or they can be via one of the extensive range of repeaters which are available in many countries. These repeaters are particularly useful when operating from a poor location, or when operating mobile from a car. Repeaters are generally located in a good location which provides good coverage, therby enabling many stations to access them.

FM is often the preferred mode, although many other modes, especially digital ones, are being used increasingly.

There is also the possibility of experimenting with the various amateur radio satellites, as these bands lend themselves tot he use of directive antenans which can enable links to be established.

Also there are various exotic propagation modes such as 'Moonbounce' or EME - Earth-Moon-Earth where signals use the Moon as a reflector.

Equipment for the UHF bands

There is a good level of available equipment for these bands. The equipment also caters for all interests and budgets.

At the entry level, there are many handheld transceivers. These can provide a high level of portability and be carried in a pocket, etc. They range from the simplest transceivers offering basic functionality, up to more sophisticated devices and those from the top end manufacturers.

There is also a good level or small transceivers aimed at mobile operation. These can also be used fr fixed or mobile operation. Again, these transceivers can range in price dependent upon the specification, performance and manufacturer. Some basic models can be very affordable.

There are also some top end transceivers aimed at base station used, although as they usually run from a 12V supply, they can equally be used for portable situations as well. These tend to offer much higher levels of performance, and many of the really top end ones use software defined radio technology.

In terms of the antennas, most local operation uses vertically polarised transmission, and the antennas should reflect this. Base station antennas can use any one of a number of verticals, offering some gain, and externally mountable, etc. There is also a good selection of antennas for mobile use.

For those wanting to use other modes of operation, directive beams such as Yagi's are available. Some people may even build their own parabolic reflectors for use with propagation like Moonbounce, etc.

Overview of UHF ham radio bands

There is a number of different ham radio bands in the VHF and UHF portion of the radio spectrum. The actual allocations vary between one country and the next, and also the different radio regions. A summary of the ham radio allocations in the UK and the USA is given in the table below.

It can be seen that some bands are allocated in the USA that are not available in the UK, and vice versa. However, the table gives a good indication of some of the allocations that are available around the globe. Of the bands available the 70 Centimetre band or allocation is the most widely used and popular of the UHF ham radio allocations.

Amateur Radio Band UK Allocation
USA Allocation
70 cms 430.00 - 440.00 420.00 - 450.00
33 cms No allocation 902.00 - 928.00
23 cms 1240 - 1325 1240 - 1300
13 cms 2310 - 2450 2300 - 2310
2390 - 2450

Each of the VHF and UHF ham radio or ham radio bands has its own character. The propagation conditions combined with other factors including the size of the allocation, the availability of equipment and other similar factors means that the bands are used for different purposes and the perform in different ways. Summaries for the different ham radio allocations are given below.

Seventy Centimetres (70 Centimeters)

UK Allocation
USA Allocation
430.00 - 440.00 430.00 - 450.00

The Seventy Centimetre ham radio band is very popular for local and mobile communications like many of the lower frequency VHF bands including 2 Metres. There is an excellent network of repeaters in the UK and many other countries, enabling a good variety of contacts to be made even when only hand-held or mobile equipment is available.

Ham radio contacts can be made at distances of 30km and more with an average fixed station, and more if good antennas are used. For those wanting to make longer-distance contacts, SSB and Morse are better than FM. Although activity levels on these modes are often low, they increase dramatically during contests or when conditions are good.

Tropospheric propagation is the most commonly used way in which long-distance contacts are made, although other techniques including satellites and moonbounce can be tried. However, moonbounce is really a specialised technique.

Like 2 Metres, 70 cms has a large amount of FM operation for which channels are assigned. These have a similar method for assigning the channel designations. Although operation is not currently migrating to a channel spacing of 12.5kHz, new designations are being introduced that can accommodate this spacing. Again, the old channel designations are shown in brackets. Most repeater operation uses a 1.6 MHz spacing between input and output channels, although some are expected to use the 7.6 MHz split more commonly used on mainland Europe.

33 Centimeters

UK Allocation
USA Allocation
No allocation 902.00 - 908.00

Like the 1.25 meter ham radio allocation, the 33 centimeter band is also not available in Europe as it falls within the cell phone allocations. However within North America it is a popular band as it falls just below 1 GHz and it has some useful propagation properties.

23 Centimetres (23 Centimeters)

UK Allocation
USA Allocation
1240 - 1325 1240 - 1300

The 23 cms ham radio allocation is becoming more popular with the advent of commercially made equipment. Even so there are currently less amateur radio stations on it than on 70 centimetres.

23 cms gives plenty of scope for experimentation and it is capable of producing some surprising DX when there is a lift. Location is particularly important for DXing and as a result many stations will operate portably from local high spots for this reason. It is also found that paths across the sea are better than those across the land.

13 Centimetres (13 Centimeters)

UK Allocation
USA Allocation
2310 - 2450 2300 - 2310
2390 - 2450

There is little commercial equipment for the 13 cms ham radio band at the moment, but it is likely that this will change before too long. Currently the band is used by a number of ham radio enthusiasts and a reasonable number of contacts can be made. During contests activity increases dramatically and, like 23 centimetres, it is possible to make contacts over surprisingly long distances.

As this band is virtually a microwave band the technology which has to be used reflects this. For example, parabolic reflector or "dish" aerials are commonly used.


The UHF amateur radio or ham radio bands and allocations are widely used for local communications, and in addition to this there is a growing network of data stations and repeaters on these bands. The propagation conditions on these ham radio bands also means that contacts can often be made over surprisingly long distances - a further reason for using these ham band allocations

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