What are radio waves 1

What are radio waves?

Waves surround us everywhere. Some of them are visible, like the waves on a pond or the light. Others, on the other hand, are invisible to the human eye; they can only be translated into a signal language that we can recognize with the help of devices and receivers. These also include radio waves. Like light, they also belong to the spectrum of electromagnetic radiation. They are caused by the vibrations of electric and magnetic fields.

In contrast to sound waves, which need air particles as a carrier medium, electromagnetic waves can also propagate without an external medium - also in a vacuum - because they “bring” their carrier medium with them: The carriers of the wave movement are tiny particles, the photons. Depending on the wavelength and energy content, the electromagnetic waves have different properties and are perceived differently by us humans.

The spectrum ranges from ultra-short and extremely high-energy X-rays and gamma rays with wavelengths of less than a nanometer - this is roughly the size of an atomic nucleus - to radio waves several hundred meters long.

The “classic” radio waves used for radio and television broadcasts range in size from around three meters to more than 300 meters. For telecommunications, microwaves with wavelengths in the centimeter range are mostly used.


Status: 08/27/2001

August 27, 2001