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Medium frequency

medium frequency (MF)
Cycles per second: 300 kHz to 3000 kHz

Wavelength: 1000 m to 100 m

Medium frequency (MF) refers to radio frequencies (RF) in the range of 300 kHz to 3000 kHz. Part of this band is the medium wave (MW) AM broadcast band. The MF band is also known as the hectometer band or hectometer wave as the wavelengths range from ten to one hectometers (1,000 to 100 m).


Uses and applications

Non-directional navigational radio beacons (NDBs) for maritime and aircraft occupy a band from 190 kHz to 435 kHz, which overlaps from the LF into the bottom part of the MF band.

500 kHz was for many years the Maritime distress and emergency frequency, and there are more NDBs between 510 and 530 kHz. Navtex, which is part of the current Global Maritime Distress Safety System occupies 518 kHz and 490 kHz for important digital text broadcasts. In recent years, some limited amateur radio operation has also been allowed in the region of 500 kHz.[1]

Medium waveband radio transmissions are allocated an AM broadcast band from 530 kHz to 1610 kHz with an extension to 1710 kHz in the US.

Many home-portable or cordless telephones, especially those that were designed in the 1980s, transmit low power FM audio signals between the table-top base unit and the handset on frequencies in the range 1600 to 1800 kHz.[2]

There is an amateur radio band known as 160 meters or 'top-band' between 1810 and 2000 kHz. Amateur operators transmit CW morse code, digital signals and SSB voice signals on this band.

There are a number of Coastguard and other ship-to-shore frequencies in use across the range from 1600 to 2850 kHz. These include, as examples, the French MRCC on 1696 kHz and 2677 kHz, Stornoway Coastguard on 1743 kHz, the US Coastguard on 2670 kHz and Madeira on 2843 kHz.[3] RN Northwood in England broadcasts Weather Fax data on 2618.5 kHz.[4]

2182 kHz is the international calling and distress frequency for SSB voice maritime communication (radiotelephony) on the marine MF bands. It is analogous to Channel 16 on the marine VHF band.

Lastly, there are aeronautical and other mobile SSB bands from 2850 kHz to 3500 kHz, crossing the boundary from the MF band into the HF radio band.[3][5]

See also

  • Electromagnetic spectrum
  • Maritime broadcast communications net
  • Types of radio emissions
  • Global Maritime Distress Safety System
  • Navtex

Radio spectrum
3 Hz 30 Hz 300 Hz 3 kHz 30 kHz 300 kHz 3 MHz 30 MHz 300 MHz 3 GHz 30 GHz
30 Hz 300 Hz 3 kHz 30 kHz 300 kHz 3 MHz 30 MHz 300 MHz 3 GHz 30 GHz 300 GHz


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^
  5. ^ U.S. Government Frequency Allocation Chart
  • Federal Standard 1037C

Further reading

  • Charles Allen Wright and Albert Frederick Puchstein, "Telephone communication, with particular application to medium-frequency alternating currents and electro-motive forces". New York [etc.] McGraw-Hill Book Company, inc., 1st ed., 1925. LCCN 25008275

External articles

  • Tomislav Stimac, "Definition of frequency bands (VLF, ELF... etc.)". IK1QFK Home Page (
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Medium_frequency". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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