K band

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K band
NATO K band
Frequency range
20 – 40 GHz
Wavelength range
1.5 cm – 7.5 mm
Related bands
IEEE K band
Frequency range
18 – 27 GHz
Wavelength range
1.67 – 1.11 cm
Related bands
  • J / K bands (NATO)
  • SHF (ITU)

K band designates certain portions of the electromagnetic spectrum, in either the microwave domain or in the infrared domain. The microwave K bands are used primarily for radar and satellite communications while the infrared K band is used for astronomical observations.

NATO K band[edit]

The NATO K band is the range of radio frequencies from 20 GHz to 40 GHz in the system of letter designations for frequency bands used by the NATO for electronic countermeasure (ECM) applications.[1][2] This is equivalent to wavelengths between 1.5 cm and 7.5 mm.

The NATO K band intersects with the SHF and EHF bands as defined by the ITU.[3] The NATO K band intersects with the K band as defined by the IEEE and contains the Ka band.[4]

IEEE K band[edit]

The IEEE K band is a portion of the radio spectrum in the microwave range of frequencies ranging between 18 and 27 GHz. K band between 18 and 26.5 GHz is absorbed easily by water vapor (H2O resonance peak at 22.24 GHz, 1.35 cm).


The IEEE K band is conventionally divided into three sub-bands:

  • Ka band: K-above band, 26.5–40 GHz, mainly used for radar and experimental communications. NASA's Kepler spacecraft is the first NASA mission to use Ka band DSN communications.[5]
  • K-band 18–27 GHz
  • Ku band: K-under band, 12–18 GHz, mainly used for satellite communications, terrestrial microwave communications, and radar, especially police traffic-speed detectors.

Amateur radio[edit]

The Radio Regulations of the International Telecommunication Union allow amateur radio and amateur satellite operations in the frequency range 24.000 GHz to 24.250 GHz, which is known as the 1.2-centimeter band. It is also referred to as the K band by AMSAT.

Infrared astronomy[edit]

In infrared astronomy, the K band refers to a different frequency range atmospheric transmission window centered on 2.2 µm (in the near-infrared 136 THz range).


  1. ^ Leonid A. Belov; Sergey M. Smolskiy; Victor N. Kochemasov (2012). Handbook of RF, Microwave, and Millimeter-Wave Components. Artech House. pp. 27–28. ISBN 978-1-60807-209-5. 
  2. ^ Norman Friedman (2006). The Naval Institute Guide to World Naval Weapon Systems. Naval Institute Press. pp. xiii–xiv. ISBN 978-1-55750-262-9. 
  3. ^ "V.431: Nomenclature of the frequency and wavelength bands used in telecommunications". ITU-R. 2006-01-04. Retrieved 2014-02-03. 
  4. ^ "521-2002 - IEEE Standard Letter Designations for Radar-Frequency Bands". IEEE. 2003-01-14. doi:10.1109/IEEESTD.2003.94224. Retrieved 2014-02-03. (subscription required (help)). 
  5. ^ http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/kepler/news/keplerm-20110617.html#.VK7w_SeE0fo