Radio waves play an important part in maintaining standard functioning of many electronics. Although they are invisible, their properties are fairly well understood and they are very controllable. We’ve compiled here a few quick facts about how radio waves work.
All Radio Waves have a frequency
All radio waves that exist have a frequency associated with them. This frequency is generally measured in kilohertz and gigahertz, and according to information published by NASA, “The range of the radio spectrum is considered to be 3 kilohertz up to 300 gigahertz.” This range is quite wide, but there are sub-classifications within this category as well.
Radio Waves are just high-frequency waves of light
Visible light and radio waves are in fact very similar to each other. The primary difference between them is light waves are merely low frequency radio waves. You definitely can’t see them, but they’re there.
Radio Waves can be used to transmit data
Computer data is encoded using a series of zeroes and ones, and in order for a radio transmission to encode a readable sort of data, the wave must have some analogous way of representing these zeroes and ones. This is done with modulations in amplitude. While the frequency of the radio wave, or the rate at which the radio wave oscillates, may stay the same, the amplitude of the radio wave can vary. This allows information to be sent over long distances, and it enables technologies such as WiFi to be effective.
Certain frequencies are allocated by the FCC
Due to the nature of radio waves, multiple transmissions on the same frequency can cause interference and make certain technologies completely unusable. Because of this, there are federal regulations that protect and prevent these oversights from happening.
Radio waves do not cause cancer
Contrary to popular opinion, radio waves do not cause cancer. This phenomenon has been extensively studied. In principle, radio waves are in fact a form of radiation, and some kinds of radiation do in fact cause cancer. But according to cancer.gov, the only radiation that increases the risk of cancer is ionizing radiation, or high-energy radiation. Radio waves do not contain enough energy potential to increase any sort of cancer risk, so enjoy using your phone and know that it is perfectly safe.
Many of these facts are quite surface-level, and there is a lot more to learn if this subject interests you. Hopefully this serves as a solid starting point for further research. We’ve gone over quite a few areas here, and we hope that some of these facts were new and interesting for you.