2 meter vs. 10 meter ham radio

Written by ed oswald
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To technician-class licensees and higher, two bands are available that allow for communication between ham radio operators: the 2-meter and 10-meter bands. Each has its strong points.


The 2-meter band runs from 144MHz to 148MHz. The 10-meter band runs from 28MHz to 29.7MHz, although technician-class licensees have access only to the range between 28MHz and 28.5MHz.

2-Meter Considerations

Communications on 2 meters are typically what is called "line of sight," or short range before the natural curve of the Earth becomes a factor and the radio wave overshoots the receiving antenna. These radio waves typically do not get bounced back to Earth by the ionosphere.

10-Meter Considerations

Communications on 10 meters depends a lot on sunspot activity. When sunspot counts are low, operators can typically speak only with others within line of sight. However, during high sunspot activity, global communications becomes possible because the ionosphere is more capable of bouncing radio waves back to Earth at higher frequencies.


Long-range communications on 2 meters are possible. Sometimes the atmosphere itself will bend radio waves back to the ground through a process called tropospheric ducting. This allows for communications hundreds of miles away, which is typically difficult on this band.


Antennas for 2-meter communications are typically "verticals" and much smaller than those for 10 meters. Ten-meter antennas can also be vertical (but will be much larger), but the configuration of those antennas more typically resembles that of a standard TV antenna.


Radiation and burns are always a danger from transmitting antennas. Never touch or stand near an antenna when it is actively being used by a ham radio operator.

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