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Radio Transmission and Communication

(EM Energy - NASA)


- Radio Waves

Radio waves are a type of electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum longer than infrared light. Radio waves have frequencies as high as 300 gigahertz (GHz) to as low as 30 hertz (Hz). At 300 GHz, the corresponding wavelength is 1 mm, and at 30 Hz is 10,000 km. Like all other electromagnetic waves, radio waves travel at the speed of light. They are generated by electric charges undergoing acceleration, such as time varying electric currents. Naturally occurring radio waves are emitted by lightning and astronomical objects. 

Radio is used primarily for communications including voice, data and entertainment media. The wireless signals are radio waves. Radio waves from a wireless router are pumped out at between 2.4 and 2.5 Gigahertz (GHz). This means 2.4 to 2.5 billion waves per second. 


- Radio Communication

In radio communication, used in radio and television broadcasting, cell phones, two-way radios, wireless networking, and satellite communication, among numerous other uses, radio waves are used to carry information across space from a transmitter to a receiver, by modulating the radio signal (impressing an information signal on the radio wave by varying some aspect of the wave) in the transmitter. 

In radar, used to locate and track objects like aircraft, ships, spacecraft and missiles, a beam of radio waves emitted by a radar transmitter reflects off the target object, and the reflected waves reveal the object's location. In radio navigation systems such as GPS and VOR, a mobile receiver accepts radio signals from navigational radio beacons whose position is known, and by precisely measuring the arrival time of the radio waves the receiver can calculate its position on Earth. 

In wireless radio remote control devices like drones, garage door openers, and keyless entry systems, radio signals transmitted from a controller device control the actions of a remote device. Applications of radio waves that do not involve transmitting the waves significant distances, such as RF heating used in industrial processes and microwave ovens, and medical uses such as diathermy and MRI machines, are not usually called radio. The noun radio is also used to mean a broadcast radio receiver.


- Radio Transmission

In radio transmission a radiating antenna is used to convert a time-varying electric current into an electromagnetic wave or field, which freely propagates through a nonconducting medium such as air or space. In a broadcast radio channel, an omnidirectional antenna radiates a transmitted signal over a wide service area. In a point-to-point radio channel, a directional transmitting antenna is used to focus the wave into a narrow beam, which is directed toward a single receiver site. In either case the transmitted electromagnetic wave is picked up by a remote receiving antenna and reconverted to an electric current.

Radio wave propagation is not constrained by any physical conductor or waveguide. This makes radio ideal for mobile communications, satellite and deep-space communications, broadcast communications, and other applications in which the laying of physical connections may be impossible or very costly. On the other hand, unlike guided channels such as wire or optical fibre, the medium through which radio waves propagate is highly variable, being subject to diurnal, annual, and solar changes in the ionosphere, variations in the density of water droplets in the troposphere, varying moisture gradients, and diverse sources of reflection and diffraction.


- Radio Spectrum and Radio Waves

The radio spectrum is the part of the electromagnetic spectrum with frequencies from 30 Hz to 300 GHz. Electromagnetic waves in this frequency range, called radio waves, are widely used in modern technology, particularly in telecommunication. To prevent interference between different users, the generation and transmission of radio waves is strictly regulated by national laws, coordinated by an international body, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). 

Different parts of the radio spectrum are allocated by the ITU for different radio transmission technologies and applications; some 40 radiocommunication services are defined in the ITU's Radio Regulations (RR). In some cases, parts of the radio spectrum are sold or licensed to operators of private radio transmission services (for example, cellular telephone operators or broadcast television stations). 

Ranges of allocated frequencies are often referred to by their provisioned use (for example, cellular spectrum or television spectrum). Because it is a fixed resource which is in demand by an increasing number of users, the radio spectrum has become increasingly congested in recent decades, and the need to utilize it more effectively is driving modern telecommunications innovations such as trunked radio systems, spread spectrum, ultra-wideband, frequency reuse, dynamic spectrum management, frequency pooling, and cognitive radio.



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