Shortwave Radio Frequencies and Bands (With Country List)

There’s an inexhaustible list of stations worldwide that use shortwave frequencies to broadcast to their listeners. Shortwave radio frequencies range between the AM and FM bands.

The main advantage of this type of broadcast is that it can travel vast distances, thus connecting areas quite far apart, even with just one transmitter. As a result, transmissions from one country can be received in another.

What are some of these frequency bands that major stations in English-speaking nations communicate through? We’ll explore that below and look into the insights on shortwave radio.

What Frequencies Do Shortwave Broadcasts Operate on?

Blue radio levels and shortwave radio frequencies with a red dial
Shortwave radios operate on a frequency range between 3,000 and 30,000 kHz.

Shortwave bands have frequencies ranging between 3 and 30 MHz (3000-30,000 kHz). They feature a relatively lower wavelength (hence high frequency) than conventional radio communication waves.

This is why they’re called shortwave radio waves.

For instance, we can regard the medium-wave AM broadcast band (1MHz) as longwave primarily because it has a frequency of 300 meters. Its shortwave counterpart with 10MHz has a shorter wavelength of just 30 meters.

This means that the medium-wave frequency can travel longer but at a slower rate than the shortwave broadcast.

List of the Most Popular English-Speaking Countries and Their Shortwave Frequencies

The following table shows the most popular English-speaking countries and their shortwave frequencies.

Australia2310, 2325, 2485, 4835, 4910, 5025, 5995, 6020, 6080, 7240, 9475, 9560, 9580, 9590, 9660, 9710, 11650, 11880, 12080, 13630, 13670, 15160, 15230, 15240, 15515, 17715, 17750, 17775, 17785, 17795, 21725
Canada9610, 9755, 9770, 13650, 15365, 17740, 6160, 9625
United States5875, 5975, 6005, 6040, 6130, 6195, 7130, 7160, 7320, 9410, 9480, 9660, 9740, 9750, 11675, 11750, 11765, 11920, 12095, 15105, 15285, 15360, 15400, 15575, 17640, 17830, 17885, 21470
United Kingdom5875, 5975, 6005, 6040, 6130, 6195, 7130, 7160, 7320, 9410, 9480, 9660, 9740, 9750, 11675, 11750, 11765, 11920, 12095, 15105, 15285, 15360, 15400, 15575, 17640, 17830, 17885, 21470

Applications of Shortwave Radio

The following are some of the most common applications of shortwave radio.

Cell Phone Communication

Woman from behind looking at a cell phone screen
Cell phones and shortwave radios share similar frequencies.

Is it true that cell phones emit radiation? This rumor has caused a lot of panic, making some afraid to sleep with phones under their pillows.

Part of this is true, as phones emit radiation in small quantities that do not affect the user.

Cell phones transmit signals using weak radio frequencies that do not have the potential to harm users. Some of the frequencies a phone uses include:

● Medium frequency

● Low frequency

● Very low frequency

● Ultra-low frequency

● Extremely low frequency

The radio spectrum is reflected up to extremely high frequencies for frequencies above medium. At this point, experimental terahertz begins to show up.

This frequency harms your body, but shortwave radio transmits below it.

International News

There are fewer better conveyors of international news than shortwave radio stations. But why is this so?

As mentioned earlier, shortwave radio can travel long distances due to its high frequencies. Thus, stations that want to spread the news to a large audience use shortwave broadcasting.

Because the audience is usually foreign, the receiver may require translation of some form or wait for the broadcast to be repeated in another language they understand.

Stations trying to reach people from different geographical regions often have the same broadcast in various languages.

The world’s largest broadcaster is the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) which is said to own the first shortwave radio. Definitely, this explains their popularity.

Presently, the BBC has expanded its operations to include satellite, podcasts, and videos on streaming platforms.

Amateur Radio

DIY enthusiasts are also in for a treat. They can operate radio stations as a personal hobby.

Anyone can get a government license to operate a radio station on the shortwave band.

Most amateur radio stations on the shortwave band are used for several applications, such as the following:

● Personal education

● Music

● Entertainment

● Spreading propaganda

● Sports broadcasting

● Niche radio stations

Maritime Communication

Maritime ships at sea on a gray sky
Shortwave radio is especially useful in maritime communications.

Sea vessels value shortwave radio because it amplifies weaker signals by reflecting them onto the ionosphere.

Because this equipment transmits from the sea, they use signals much stronger than if they were transmitting from the land. This feature makes them suitable for seamless shortwave communication.

Today, several marine vessels have upgraded to satellite communication. However, this type of communication requires special satellite equipment that most vessels lack.

As a result, most maritime units stuck with shortwave radio, an affordable and reliable method of naval communication.


Shortwave radio has signal frequencies ranging between 3 and 30 MHz, allowing it to cover huge distances.

As a result, most shortwave broadcasts are in foreign languages. Its main applications are maritime communication, amateur radio, cell phone communication, and international broadcasting.

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