Are there any frequencies (HF, 2m and 440) that are more suitable than others (assuming all are within those licensed to the operator) for testing new radios and/or antennas?

I assume that one should always listen before attempting to transmit a test signal, but any "deafness" in a new antenna and/or transceiver setup may not pick up a weak QRP or a distant QSO in progress. So one assumption is that frequencies listed on some band charts as appropriate for QRP or DX (as well for as emergency communications) should be avoided for testing. Which documents, band charts or operating procedure manuals (etc.) might list this info?

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    $\begingroup$ Testing how? Do you just want to transmit, to see if you can? Then you can use a dummy load. Do you want a signal report? Then you need to talk to someone, so testing isn't much different than normal operation. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 17, 2014 at 19:47
  • $\begingroup$ An unknown/untested old/new transmitter and/or antenna. Does it produce smoke, nada, or RF, modulated or unmodulated, incorrectly or correctly modulated? etc. Is any frequency more optimal for this testing, or should I pick the most popular DX/QRP band during the middle of a contest? Or not? (Obvious this should have a different answer than if I were contesting with a well tested set-up.) $\endgroup$
    – hotpaw2
    Commented Feb 17, 2014 at 19:57

2 Answers 2


Depending on what you're testing, The safest bet is through a SWR meter into a 50 OHM dummy load, or an attenuator into a spectrum analyzer.


For testing a radio, a dummy load is the answer.

For an antenna, an antenna analyzer would probably be best, but let's say you are trying to measure the SWR of your antenna by using a radio as the source.

So, listen first, then transmit, measure and identify.

There are no designated (legally or by agreement) frequencies for testing.


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