I've been looking around for a spot that has the official definition of what the various ITU Zones are, but can't find one. What is the official definition? I'm hoping for more than just a map, unless said map is VERY detailed and can be downloaded as a KML or similar map. Something like the CQ Zone definition would be adequate.

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    $\begingroup$ Why the down-vote? ITU Zones are used in LOTW, and the IARU contest. Seems perfectly legitimate to ask such a question here. $\endgroup$ Oct 24 '13 at 0:29

Per this document: Larry E. Price W4RA, the IARU president in 2002, requesting the definitive ITU zone definitions - wrote:

You have to keep in mind that the ITU has one administrative purpose for having zones that has nothing at all to do with amateur radio.

However, various amateur radio organizations decided to have both awards and operating events on the air based on the idea of zones.

But, since this is not why the zones exist as far as ITU is concerned, the sponsors of these amateur events are free to interpret the zone boundaries any way they wish. So, there might not be a single "official amateur radio zone list."

For the US & Canada, the interpretation by ARRL is found in The ARRL Operating Manual, desk top reference, page 12 which defines the boundaries between US States and Canadian provinces.

If you have more questions about any particular contest or award, they should be directed to the sponsor.

So the US official ITU zones are defined by ARRL. Amber has a list of some specified points that define certain zones, plus a rough map.

The most official worldwide map is this one, although it is not necessarily the source for data.

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HamAtlas has done a very good job of taking the ITU map, and other "Official" definitions, and creating a usable set. This is probably the best definition that exists.


I found this reference table on the ITU site:


That appears to lay out lat/long coordinates for the points outlining the zones. It's linked to from this page titled "Reference Data":


  • $\begingroup$ Looking at this carefully, I don't think it is actually a list of the points for the ITU zones. It looks like it is a collection of some points within the zones, but not the complete zone, so... $\endgroup$ May 3 '14 at 16:44
  • $\begingroup$ It looks like the points which define the borders to me, @PearsonArtPhoto ? Given that the # of points listed for each zone corresponds to the number of vertices in each zone's shape. Why do you think it's "not the complete zone"? $\endgroup$
    – Amber
    May 3 '14 at 20:08
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    $\begingroup$ The ITU ciraf.txt data is not exactly the borders vertices. As an example Consider Zone 75 and Zone 1 boundary. Zone 75 is everything north of 89N There are no vertices for Zone 1 that are at 89N. Also Zone 1 extends westward to about 180, the closest is point 4 at 65N 166W And this is not the southern most point for zone 1 which is point 5 at 57N 153W $\endgroup$ Jan 1 '19 at 0:26

Here. This is, I expect, what you want.


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    $\begingroup$ This doesn't really answer the "official definition" part of the question, but is helpful and relevant, especially since it sounds like the OP really was just after something like the linked KMZ file (rather than official details about the provenance of the formal boundaries) anyway. $\endgroup$ Nov 5 '21 at 23:06
  • $\begingroup$ Hello and welcome to ham.stackexchange.com! $\endgroup$
    – rclocher3
    Nov 8 '21 at 23:41

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