What is a radio wave, and how does it work?

Thinking about just how influenced our lives are by the employment of radio waves can be overwhelming. From cellphones to laptops, GPS to baby monitors and so much more, we’ve come to take advantage of this form of electromagnetic energy to produce some amazing things. But while we utilize these devices each and every day, most of us do not know how they actually work.

Radio waves are utilized in a lot more things than the devices that we use to play music and listen to talk shows. Modern wireless connection builds off of simple design inside the conventional radio, enabling us to connect people all around the world with information, video, audio, data, and a whole lot more. But, how exactly do they work, and what is a radio wave?.

What is a radio wave, and how does it work?

Radio Waves

 Radio waves are a kind of electromagnetic emission that is well-known for their application in communication technologies, that include television, mobile phones, and radios.  These devices receive radio waves and transform them into mechanical vibrations in the speaker to create sound waves.

The radio-frequency spectrum is a reasonable small portion of the electromagnetic (EM) range. The EM spectrum is usually separated into seven regions in order of decreasing wavelength and increasing energy and frequency, in accordance with the University of Rochester. The common designations are radio waves, microwaves, infrared, visible light, ultraviolet  X-rays and gamma-rays.

Radio waves have the largest wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum, in accordance with The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), which ranges from 1 millimeter to more than 100 kilometers. They also have the lowest frequencies, from approximately 3,000 cycles per second, or 3 kHz, up to about 300 billion Hz, or 300 GHz.

Discovery

According to the National Library of Scotland, James Clerk Maxwell, who articulated a combined theory of electromagnetism in 1873, predicted the existence of radio waves. But it was until 1886 when Heinrich Hertz, a German scientist, utilized Maxwell’s theories to the production and reception of radio waves. Hertz utilized basic homemade instruments, including an induction coil and a Leyden jar (an early sort of capacitor composed of a glass jar with foil layers both inside and out) to produce electromagnetic waves. Hertz utilized basic homemade instruments, including an induction coil and a Leyden jar (an early sort of capacitor composed of a glass jar with foil layers both inside and out) to produce electromagnetic waves.

Antennas

With all of the various radio frequencies floating about, how does your cellphone or car radio know which specific frequency receive, and which ones to ignore? That’s where antennas come in to play, they come in many different forms and sizes, but they’re all created for the same purpose – to pick up a very particular radio wave frequency.

Radio waves are all around you! Just imagine if you could see them. You’d have radio waves everywhere, beaming out of your router, from your cell phone, and all around you from your neighbor’s wireless electronics. Radio waves have indeed molded our modern lives like nothing else, and without them, we would never get to enjoy such useful inventions like WIFI and Bluetooth. 

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Jessica Cardona
www.readytogocables.com