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 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