Having a ham radio is crucial in your preparedness to be self sufficient and get through survival situations.
However, it is one thing to know you need these wireless communication devices and purchasing the best ones for all types of emergencies on one hand.
Knowing the specific ham radio emergency frequencies to dial or listen to during emergencies is your next step.
Here's our guide to Ham radio emergency communications frequencies you need to know.
A ham radio with scanning functions or a dedicated scanner would be able to pick up emergency notifications when you need it. The information from the transmissions could be the difference between getting the best help possible or disaster for you and your loved ones.
One of the biggest challenges people in areas hit by disaster is communication. Specifically, how to keep in touch with loved ones such as family members and close friends. This is closely followed by how to get help or information on where to get help. Even if regular phone networks are still online, they would be jammed due to the overload of the system.
Ham Radio Best Alternative Communication Device
Wireless communication devices such as ham radios provide the best alternative especially when regular communication is completely down.
Apart from being able to contact people or emergency services, it's also important to monitor active transmissions in the area. Security services, weather stations, all kinds of transport agencies, etc., employ wireless communication to exchange information extensively in emergencies.
These frequencies need to be programmed in your device as part of your preparedness for extreme emergencies. At the least, they should be written down somewhere and kept in a safe and easily accessible place.
But, it would be smarter if these ham radio emergency frequencies are programmed into the device. It makes everything so much easier.
Ham Radio Emergency Communications Frequencies
Before listing the frequencies, there are a few things to get out of the way first.
If all you want do is monitor and listen to these frequencies, you don't need a license for that. But you'll need one to communicate on some of the frequencies. The pertinent word there is 'some' because there are also frequencies you can't talk on without a license.
By the way, you should get a license now if you are planning on getting a ham radio. It is neither hard nor expensive.
Above 30MHz, the frequencies are assigned based on locality. To get the frequencies for your area, simply research the frequency directory online. A good place to start is the Radio Reference website.
Most of the frequencies here were assigned nationally for use during emergencies and inter-agency communications in emergency and non-emergency situations.
NOAA Weather Frequencies
Weather channels are usually specific to their locations. That makes sense as weather patterns differ from one location to the next. At the moment, there over 400 weather stations across America and the territories that are part of America such as Puerto and US Virgin Islands.
NOAA weather broadcasts are updated regularly and can be heard at any time of the day. Ham operators usually call these weather stations to inform them about new weather developments in their area. These ham operators are also known as Skywarn Hams.
It is the information from the various Skywarn Hams that NOAA stations use to update the broadcasts. In effect, you can get advance information about the impending weather situation if you are monitoring a Skywarn frequency near you.
Outside of regular AM/FM frequencies, NOAA stations use 7 dedicated frequencies for their transmissions. The frequencies are listed below.
- 162.4000 MHz
- 162.4250 MHz
- 162.4500 MHz
- 162.4750 MHz
- 162.5000 MHz
- 162.5250 MHz
- 162.550 MHz
Though not as popular as they once were, there are still folks out there who love using their CB radios. Many truckers use this as a means of communication while on the road. You could get so much information about the weather, accidents and obstructions on the highway by monitoring these frequencies.
CB radios have 40 frequencies for transmissions. Below are the channels with the specific functions added in some cases.
- 26.965 MHz
- 26.975 MHz
- 26.985 MHz
- 27.005 MHz: 4WD clubs and The American Preparedness Radio Network (TAPRN) use this
- 27.015 MHz
- 27.025 MHz: Operators using illegal linears congregate here
- 27.035 MHz
- 27.055 MHz
- 27.065: MHz: Universal C.B. emergency channel
- 27.075 MHz
- 27.085 MHz: Local calling channel
- 27.105 MHz
- 27.115 MHz: For marine, RV's, and campers in some areas
- 27.125 MHz: Federal Motor Coach Association can be found heard here
- 27.135 MHz: Used by truckers in CA
- 27.155 MHz: Used by many 4X4 clubs
- 27.165 MHz: East-West roads truckers in California use this
- 27.175 MHz
- 27.185 MHz: Main trucker's channel
- 27.205 MHz
- 27.215 MHz: Favorite of truckers plying N/S routes in California
- 27.225 MHz
- 27.255 MHz
- 27.235 MHz
- 27.245 MHz
- 27.265 MHz
- 27.275 MHz
- 27.285 MHz
- 27.295 MHz
The following CB frequencies are used for SSB.
- 27.305 MHz
- 27.315 MHz
- 27.325 MHz
- 27.335 MHz
- 27.345 MHz
- 27.355 MHz Australian calling channel
- 27.365 MHz: USB calling channel
- 27.375 MHz: For preppers 37
- 27.385 MHz: Unofficial LSB calling channel
- 27.395 MHz
- 27.405 MHz
Though there are 40 frequencies or channels on CB radio, only 27.065 MHz (channel 9) can be used by any group at any time.
Freeband Frequencies For Survivalists And Preppers
There are 6 frequencies in this category shared in 3:3 ratio for CB and Freeband radios. The frequencies are listed below with their uses.
|CB 3(AM)||26.9850MHz||For Preppers|
|CB 37(USB)||27.3750MHz||Prepper CB Network (AM)|
|Freeband (USB)||27.3680MHz||Survivalist Network|
|Freeband (USB)||27.3780MHz||Prepper Network|
|Freeband (USB)||27.4250MHz||Survivalist Network|
FRS And GMRS Frequencies
FRS and GMRS frequencies are ultra-high frequencies typically used in walkie talkies. The best walkie talkies come with squelch codes or frequencies to block out unwanted interference.
In total, there are 22 FRS and GMRS channels or frequencies. The first 7 channels are shared, 8 – 14 FRS only, and 15 – 22 for GMRS only.
You don't need a license for the FRS frequencies. However, with GMRS frequencies, you have to get a license to communicate over them.
Listed below are all the FRS and GMRS frequencies and channels in MHz:
|Shared Channels||FRS Frequencies (MHz)||GMRS Frequencies (MHz)|
|1- 462.5625||8 - 467.5625||15 - 462.5500|
|2 - 462.5875||9 - 467.5875||16 - 462.5750|
|3 - 462.6125||10 - 467.6125||17 - 462.6000|
|4 - 462.6375||11 - 467.6375||18 - 462.6250|
|5 - 462.6625||12 - 467.6625||19 - 462.6500|
|6 - 462.6875||13 - 467.6875||20 - 462.6750|
|7 - 462.7125||14 - 467.7125||21 - 462.7000|
|22 - 462.7250|
Amateur/HAM Radio Frequencies
There are many ham radio frequencies assigned for use to only licensed operators. Known as 'bands', they range between 1.8000 MHz (high frequency) bands to frequencies above 300 GHz. The most popular is the 2 meters band.
That is where most people congregate and you'd find an awesome network of repeaters here. To be clear though, you'll also find repeaters on other bands.
The 160 – 10 meters bands are also referred to as HF or High Frequency bands. During extreme natural disasters or when an alternative long-distance mode of communication is needed, they are the preferred option.
Below are the bands and related frequencies.
- 160 Meters 1.800 – 2.0000 MHz
- 75/80 Meters 3.5000 – 4.0000 MHz
- 60 Meters (6 channelized frequencies) 5330.5 KHz – 5403.5 KHz
- 40 Meters 7.0000 – 7.3000 MHz
- 30 Meters 10.0000 – 10.1500 MHz
- 20 Meters 14.0000 – 14.3500 MHz
- 17 Meters 18.0680 – 18.1680 MHZ
- 15 Meters 21.0000 – 21.44500 MHz
- 12 Meters 24.8900 – 24.9900 MHz
- 10 Meters 28.0000 – 29.7000 MHz
- 6 Meters 50.1000 – 54.0000 MHz
- 2 meters 144.0000 – 148.0000 MHz
- 1.25 Meters 219.0000 – 225.0000 MHz
- 70 Centimeters (CM) 420.0000 – 450.0000 MHz
The following frequencies are for sending and receiving distress messages to mariners and the US Coast Guard. People living in coastal areas would do well to program them these into their devices.
To talk on these frequencies, you must have a license. But you can monitor transmissions without one. Below are some of the important ones.
State & local government maritime control
- TX - 156.850
- TR - 156.850
U.S. Coast Guard only
- TX - 157.050, 157.150, 157.175
- TR -157.050, 157.150, 157.175
- TX - 156.325, 156.275, 157.000, 156.675, 156.725
TR - 156.325, 156.275, 161.600, 156.675, 156.725
U.S. Government only
- TX - 157.125
TR - 157.125
Public Correspondence (Marine Operator)
- TX - 157.250
- TR - 161.850
Ham Emergency Radio Frequencies Conclusion
Whether in times of disaster or just to communicate leisurely, there are hundreds of frequencies available to the general public. All the frequencies provided here can be programmed into a scanner if all you want to do is monitor chatter.
However, because most of these frequencies are also utilized during emergencies, care must be taken to use them responsibly.
As stated earlier, some ham radio emergency frequencies are assigned locally. These are freely available online to download. It is worth repeating that they should be programmed into your device after downloading them. For more information on Radios and Walkie Talkies, head over to www.talkieman.com
3 thoughts on “Your Guide To Ham Radio Emergency Frequencies”
The rules for FRS/GMRS changed in 2017 and now all 22 channels may be used by either FRS or GMRS opertors, but an FRS (handheld) is limited to output of 2 watts (and a fixed antenna, among other things). Also, channels 8-14 are limited to 500 mW output, regardless of whether it is on a portable handheld GMRS or FRS unit. The GMRS regulations refer to these as the “467 MHz interstitial channels”. Any FRS/GMRS handheld formerly sold with 22 channels and limited to 2W (or 500mW) is now considered an “FRS radio” and no individual license is needed on any of the 22 channels; however, if over 2W, then it is now a GMRS radio. Any GMRS radio operator in the USA is required to have an individual (family) FCC license and to use their issued callsign properly (i.e., over 2W or on channels 23-30, repeater inputs). ref: 47 CFR Part 95B and Part 95E, effective Sept 28, 2017. As always, a ham radio may only transmit on GMRS or FRS frequencies while “providing emergency communications”. 47 CFR § 19.111.
You should update this page a little.
The ARRL is trying to get 144.5 (or 146.5, can’t remember) passed as a bill in Congress to be a national emergency calling frequency for those carrying 2 Meter hand held radios. In an emergency, it’s the wrong time to start looking up repeater frequencies for an area you’re not sure where you are.
Newer handhelds like AnyTone D878UV Plus contain the DMR OS, higher wattage, automatic GPS and call sign report on Tx, Weather reporting, NOAA broadcasts and many other advantages for survivalists. Personal reports are that this is a very well-built radio, not a :cheap Chinese product”.
It also can execute the emergency satellite request system used to call first responders in an extreme situation of lost, injured, etc, that requires help immediately. No repeaters necessary.
A much better choice, IMO, than the standard FM/UHF handheld like Beofang, Icom, Kenwood, etc.
I was incorrect on one point. The ARRL is not working with Congress on a National Emergency Calling Frequency. 146.52 has been the calling frequency for 60 years and we should keep Congress out of our radio business. A better option is a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) for $300.
Guaranteed results anywhere in the world.