The discovery of radio waves was one of the most significant discoveries in terms of communication. Without radio waves we would have had to invent a different way of transmitting radio broadcasts, television broadcasts, cell phone service and wireless internet access. Find out some interesting facts about radio waves.
Most forms of communication used today operate because of radio waves
Radio Wave Facts
- A radio wave is not a sound wave, it is an electromagnetic wave.
- Electromagnet waves are made when an electric field and magnetic field are joined.
- Electromagnet waves are very fast. They travel at the speed of light.
- Ultraviolet light waves (sunlight), radio waves, microwaves, x-rays, infrared (remote control), gamma waves, bluetooth and radar are all types of electromagnet waves.
- A radio receives radio waves and converts them to an electrical signal. The radio circuit then converts the electrical signal to sound waves. Radios have an amplifier to boost the power of the sound waves.
- Radio waves are broadcast in different frequencies.
- AM (Amplitude Modulated) radio waves are within a frequency range of 550 kHz and 1600 kHz.
- FM (Frequency Modulated) radio waves are within a frequency range of 88 Mhz and 108 Mhz.
- Wireless internet routers also known as wi-fi, use radio waves in the range of frequencies of 2.4 GigaHertz (GHz) or 5.8 GHz
- 4G (or 4th Generation) cell phone service uses radio waves. This new technology allows data transfer to smart phones and other cellular devices up to 1 GHz per second.
- GPS receivers use radio waves. The radio waves travel from GPS satellites in orbit which help locate the GPS location on Earth.
- NASA, the National Science Foundation (U.S.) and other astronomers, use radio telescope to study space.
- James Maxwell, who developed several important mathematical equations for electricity, developed the theory that electromagnetic waves were possible by combining electrical fields and magnetic fields. Maxwell also thought that when these electromagnetic waves were created, they would travel on forever unless they are absorbed by some type of matter.
- A scientists named Heinrich Hertz used Maxwell's equations to create the first electromagnetic radio wave. The unit of measurement of a radio wave was named the Hertz in his honor.