160-Meter Band: Everything You Need to Know

If you are interested in knowing and figuring out the phenomena on which the radios work, you must have heard about the 160 Meters Band. This frequency band of the radio, also known as the top band, lies in the medium frequency ranges that are mostly licensed to amateurs only. Amateur Radio operations were allocated to this band for frequencies ranging from 1800 – 2000 kHz by the International Telecommunication Union. The 160 meters band has a frequency range more than the broadcast band (540kHz – 1600kHz) but gives similar functions and characteristics.

It is quite challenging for the operators to set up the antenna for the 160-meter band because putting a full-sized antenna on not very easy. Although there are much amateur high-frequency equipment that supports the 160-meter band, the antennas for this band range require larger land space. Due to all these complications, there are very less stations that transmit on this band range as most of them prefer to use the higher frequencies. That’s why this band range is also called the gentleman’s band. The operations done through this band frequency are usually done using the modes for HF ranges.

Since radio communication is impacted by the D-layer absorption during the day, it also impacts the working of a 160-meter band. Due to this, the communication range decreases to the circle of 75 miles only. However, since the D-layer is not active at night, the communication ranges are spread to thousands of kilometers. Therefore, it can be assumed that the 160-meter band is more efficient for radio communications during the nights. However, during the day, the performance can be increased by communicating the refracted signals through the F2 layer as done for HF bands.

It is recommended to use this band for smaller range communications, such as within a particular area and at a particular time. If this frequency range is used for long-distance communications, there are many limitations to its applications. Another complication for transmitting the communication signals is due to natural noise levels (QRN) at lower frequencies. Therefore, in two-way radios, the use of a 160-meter band is not appreciated. Additionally, this band is also criticized for its performance in the marine navigation systems  such as LORAN because the communication over this frequency range is vulnerable to different impulse noises. To deal with all these limitations, the GPS technology has effectively taken over the 160-meter band because it is not limited to the distance and noise factors.

In short, it can be said that although the 160-meter band is quite outdated for being used in today’s world of fast communication, it has its perks. Using these bands for particular purposes considering their limitations is the trick that can help in achieving efficient results. However, this frequency band played a vital role in two-way communications and signal transmission purposes in its times.