HF Military Communications

From The RadioReference Wiki

HF Military Communications

HF military communications can be found below 30 MHz. Here's a sample of what you can hear:

  • U.S. Air Force Operations
  • U.S. Navy Operations
  • United States Coast Guard Operations
  • Flight status updates
  • Many military stations, both US and foreign, use ALE to establish a good communications path before sending traffic.

Aeronautical Off Route Sub-Bands

These bands have been designated for aircraft usage with a channel spacing of 3 kHz. HF military communications will typically occur in these band segments.

  • 3025.0 – 3155.0 kHz
  • 3800.0 – 3950.0 kHz
  • 4700.0 – 4750.0 kHz
  • 4750.0 – 4850.0 kHz
  • 5450.0 – 5480.0 kHz
  • 5680.0 – 5730.0 kHz
  • 6685.0 – 6765.0 kHz
  • 8965.0 – 9040.0 kHz
  • 11175.0 – 11275.0 kHz
  • 13200.0 – 13260.0 kHz
  • 15010.0 – 15100.0 kHz
  • 17970.0 – 18030.0 kHz
  • 23200.0 – 23350.0 kHz

Well Known Networks

Other Sources of Military Related Activity

Unlike broadcast stations, knowing when a military station is going to be on the air is a game of patience; thus, any reporting of activity is very time sensitive. The more time passes, the harder it is to hear again. Mailing lists are one of the best ways to keep ahead of what is being heard, as traffic can be passed relatively quickly. The Utility DXers Forum is very active and is only one of many such lists; more are available on the Utility Monitoring page.

Also see the links page of the Utility DXers Forum home page, which has numerous military related links

In addition, see these links

Magazine Logs

The Spectrum Monitor Electronic Magazine is the only remaining hobby level magazine that publishes logs from its subscribers. Most others have gone by the wayside, having been supplanted by many web-based sites - which may or may not have up to date information.

What Equipment Will I Need to Hear these Stations?

Digital and Other Modes

As noted above, many military stations now use ALE before sending actual traffic. Many times, though, this traffic is sent using modes not available on hobby level decoding software, and/or is heavily encoded or encrypted. See our DXing Digital Utilities article for a more complete discussion on some of these modes.