Radio ama­teurs may engage in satel­lite and space craft com­mu­ni­ca­tions; how­ev­er, the fre­quen­cies allowed for such activ­i­ties are allo­cat­ed sep­a­rate­ly from more gen­er­al use radio ama­teur bands.

Under the Inter­na­tion­al Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion Union’s rules, all ama­teur radio oper­a­tions may only occur with­in 50 kilo­me­tres (31 mi) of the Earth’s sur­face. As such, the Ama­teur Radio Ser­vice is not per­mit­ted to engage in satel­lite oper­a­tions; how­ev­er, a sis­ter radio ser­vice, called the Ama­teur Satel­lite Ser­vice, exists which allows satel­lite oper­a­tions for the same pur­pos­es as the Ama­teur Radio Ser­vice. In most coun­tries, an ama­teur radio license con­veys oper­at­ing priv­i­leges in both ser­vices, and in prac­tice, the legal dis­tinc­tion between the two ser­vices is trans­par­ent to the aver­age licensee. The pri­ma­ry rea­son the two ser­vices are sep­a­rate is to lim­it the fre­quen­cies avail­able for satel­lite oper­a­tions. Due to the shared nature of the ama­teur radio allo­ca­tions inter­na­tion­al­ly, and the nature of satel­lites to roam world­wide, the ITU does not con­sid­er all ama­teur radio bands appro­pri­ate for satel­lite oper­a­tions. Being sep­a­rate from the Ama­teur Radio Ser­vice, the Ama­teur Satel­lite Ser­vice receives its own fre­quen­cy allo­ca­tions. All the allo­ca­tions are with­in ama­teur radio bands, and with one excep­tion, the allo­ca­tions are the same in all three ITU regions. Some of the allo­ca­tions are lim­it­ed by the ITU in what direc­tion trans­mis­sions may be sent (EG: “Earth-to-space” or up-links only).

All ama­teur satel­lite oper­a­tions occur with­in the allo­ca­tions tabled below, except for AO-7, which has an up-link from 432.125 MHz to 432.175 MHz.

Inter­na­tion­al ama­teur satel­lite fre­quen­cy allo­ca­tions
Range Band Let­ter1 Allo­ca­tion Pre­ferred sub-bands User sta­tus Notes
HF 40 m 7.000 MHz — 7.100 MHz Pri­ma­ry
20 m 14.000 MHz — 14.250 MHz Pri­ma­ry
17 m 18.068 MHz — 18.168 MHz Pri­ma­ry Entire ama­teur radio band
15 m H 21.000 MHz — 21.450 MHz Pri­ma­ry Entire ama­teur radio band
12 m 24.890 MHz — 25.990 MHz Pri­ma­ry Entire ama­teur radio band
10 m A 28.000 MHz — 29.700 MHz 29.300 MHz — 29.510 MHz Pri­ma­ry Entire ama­teur radio band
VHF 2 m V 144.000 MHz — 146.000 MHz 145.800 MHz — 146.000 MHz Pri­ma­ry
UHF 70 cm U 435.000 MHz — 438.000 MHz NIB3
23 cm L 1.260 GHz — 1.270 GHz NIB3 Only uplinks allowed
13 cm S 2.400 GHz — 2.450 GHz 2.400 GHz — 2.403 GHz NIB3
SHF 9 cm S2 3.400 GHz — 3.410 GHz NIB3 Not avail­able in ITU region 1.
5 cm C 5.650 GHz — 5.670 GHz NIB3 Only uplinks allowed
5.830 GHz — 5.850 GHz Sec­ondary Only down­links allowed
3 cm X 10.450 GHz — 10.500 GHz Sec­ondary
1.2 cm K 24.000 GHz — 24.050 GHz Pri­ma­ry
EHF 6 mm R 47.000 GHz — 47.200 GHz Pri­ma­ry Entire ama­teur radio band
4 mm 76.000 GHz — 77.500 GHz Sec­ondary
77.500 GHz — 78.000 GHz Pri­ma­ry
78.000 GHz — 81.000 GHz Sec­ondary
2 mm 134.000 GHz — 136.000 GHz Pri­ma­ry Entire ama­teur radio band
136.000 GHz — 141.000 GHz Sec­ondary
1 mm 241.000 GHz — 248.000 GHz Sec­ondary Entire ama­teur radio band
248.000 GHz — 250.000 GHz Pri­ma­ry
1 AMSAT band let­ters. Not all bands have been assigned a let­ter by AMSAT.
2 For some allo­ca­tions, satel­lite oper­a­tions are pre­dom­i­nate­ly con­cen­trat­ed in a sub-band of the allo­ca­tion.
3 Foot­note allo­ca­tion. Use is only allowed on a non-inter­fer­ence basis to oth­er users, as per ITU foot­note 5.282.
4 No ama­teur satel­lite oper­a­tions have yet occurred at EHF; how­ev­er, AMSAT’s P3E is planned to have an R band down-link.

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