(G1A09) Band Plan Frequency Limits

G1A09  from the General License Course Section 1.1, Bands & Privileges:
Which of the following frequencies is within the General Class portion of the 80 meter band?

A. 1855 kHz
B. 2560 kHz
C. 3560 kHz
D. 3650 kHz

Stepping up to the General Class license really opens up the HF amateur bands to your utilization. Phone privileges are expanded significantly on 10, 12, 15, 17, 20, 40, 60, 80, and 160 meter bands. Digital or data mode transmissions are also expanded across the HF range.

band plan

Click to enlarge.

The upshot of this expansion of privileges for the aspiring General Class upgrading ham is a larger set of band limits and sub-band limits to know and comply with, and of course to be tested on!  With the exceptions of the 30 meter band that allows only digital or data transmissions across its entire width, and the 60 meter band that provides just 5 channels, each HF band has a sub-band for phone mode transmissions and a sub-band for digital and data transmissions. Further, the General Class sub-bands are unique from the (grandfathered) Advanced Class sub-bands or the Extra Class sub-bands in four of the eight HF bands in which both phone and digital/data are allowed.

Several questions from sub-element G1A require you to identify the correct frequency within the General Class portion of a given band, as in the question above, G1A09.  Memorizing all those sub-band limits can be a meticulous and less-than-thrilling exercise. There is a better way.

Recall from your Technician Class studies the equation for computing wavelength from frequency:

Wavelength (in meters) = 300 ÷ Frequency (in MHz)

Keep in mind the frequency must be in megahertz, so in a case like G1A09 you must convert the kilohertz values by moving the decimal three digits to the left.  And, remember that the band names are the approximate wavelength in meters.  With these handy facts we can compute the wavelength for each of the four response items and see which falls nearest the called out band. In this case, the band is the 80 meter band.  Here’s how the calculations stack up:

  1. 1855 kHz = 1.855 MHz;  300 ÷ 1.855 MHz = 161.73 meters
  2. 2560 kHz = 2.560 MHz;  300 ÷ 2.560 MHz = 117.19 meters
  3. 3560 kHz = 3.560 MHz;  300 ÷ 3.560 MHz = 84.27 meters
  4. 3650 kHz = 3.650 MHz;  300 ÷ 3.650 MHz = 82.19 meters

Clearly, responses A and B are nowhere near 80 meters.  But both C and D are potential 80m bandcandidates for the correct answer.  Checking the band plan chart it is easy to see that response D is in the Extra Class-exclusive phone sub-band, while response C is in the General Class digital/data sub-band.

Great! But no band plan charts are allowed during the exam.  So, what’s an examinee to do?

There is a very simple heuristic that can be used with each item like this in the current (2011 – 2015) General Class question pool.  Once you have narrowed the options to two candidates, always select the lower frequency value of the two possibilities.  In the example case, the correct response selection is 3560 kHz instead of 3650 kHz.  Keep in mind the questions may change after July 1, 2015 such that this little trick no longer works every time.

I don’t usually advocate test-taking tricks that obviate real learning.  But I have a band plan chart on the wall of my shack, on the shelf next to my transceiver, and in my go box.  I also have a very nice app on my phone that provides the band limits.  And over time I have mentally absorbed those limits via practical usage.  So, in lieu of boring rote memorization, I think using this test-taking trick is just fine.

Other questions in sub-element G1A will challenge your knowledge of the General Class privileges in different ways, so review carefully!

The answer to General Class question G1A09, Which of the following frequencies is within the General Class portion of the 80 meter band?”is “C. 3560 kHz.

Related Questions:  G1A01 through G1A12