What is DTMF? (dual tone multi frequency)

DTMF Dual Tone Multi-Frequency

DTMF is used in ham radio in applications such as IRLP and Echolink, as a means to dial outside numbers via phone patch and as a means for repeater owners to configure the system remotely. It is sometimes known as tone dialing and allows the user to send a series of tones that activate or disable a remote repeater or service.


The DTMF system was developed to encompass as wide a range of potential signals as possible. In practice today, most hams will only use the numerical combinations. For example, to open IRLP 6556, the operator will press the talk button on the microphone and then press the digits 6556 also on the microphone.

Each letter and number is allocated a pair of tones, a high tone and a low tone, using the same DTMF frequencies as on telephone landlines.

The following table shows the pairs of signals used for the digits 0 – 9, letters A – D and characters * and #

DTMF keypad frequencies
1209 Hz1336 Hz1477 Hz1633 Hz
697 Hz123A
770 Hz456B
852 Hz789C
941 Hz*0#D

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