If I understand things right if you go "down" to "lower bands" you eventually get to "top band", which is 160 meter band.

Since this doesn't make any sense to me, is there something I'm missing? You keep going lower until you get to the top?

Do I get it right that "up/down" and "higher/lower" (unless qualified with the word "wavelength") refer to higher/lower frequency, but "top band" is just an outlier that for some reason doesn't follow this convention but is just defined to be 160 meter?


1 Answer 1


These are just conventions. Back in the day of wavelengths determining the band you are in, the “highest” (i.e. the longest wavelength) band was the 160m band. This is of course not true any more, with many countries having access to bands with much longer wavelengths. But the 160m band is still known as “top band”.

Since then, it has become the convention to talk about frequencies rather than wavelengths. But when referring to a frequency band, we still refer to them by their approximate wavelengths. Hardly anyone talks about the 21MHz band, but everyone knows where the 15m band is.

If you hear someone in a pileup who says “listening up 10-15” then they mean they are listening to frequencies between 10kHz and 15kHz higher than the one they are transmitting on.

  • $\begingroup$ Sure, they're conventions, but I'm trying to understand what people are saying. If someone says "20m and up", do they mean up frequency or up wavelength? What about if they say "14MHz and up"? (well, actually the latter I hope can only mean frequency). Same when people say "the higher bands"? High.... frequency? $\endgroup$
    – Thomas
    Jan 1, 2020 at 12:04

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