The Electromagnetic Spectrum - Radio Waves

Radio Waves

Radio Waves in the Electromagnetic Spectrum

The radio waves are the electromagnetic waves which have the longest wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum, so long that if you were to look at the sky with a radio telescope, instead of point sources like stars and clouds, you can see entire regions that promote star formation, distant quasars and probable remnants of supernovas. These waves have low energy levels and low frequencies ranging from around 3 kHz to around 300 GHz.

Due to their wide range, they are mostly used in communication systems like broadcasting, communication satellites, computer networking systems, radar, and other kinds of navigation. How do you think FM/AM Radio works? Simply put, radio waves are generated and propagated by radio transmitters. These waves are then received by a radio receiver (tuned to a particular frequency/wavelength using a radio antenna) which then converts these into mechanical waves which are played through radios and different sounds.

Different Bands In Radio Spectrum

Radio spectrums can be divided further into 9 bands depending on their frequency and wavelength ranges as follows

    • Extremely Low Frequency (ELF)
Frequency Range Less than 3kHz
Wavelength Range Greater than 100 km
    • Very Low Frequency (VLF)
Frequency Range 3 to 300 kHz
Wavelength Range 100 to 10 km
    • Extremely Low Frequency (ELF)
Frequency Range 3kHz to 30 kHz
Wavelength Range 10 km to 100 km
    • Low Frequency (LF)
Frequency Range 30 kHz to 300 kHz
Wavelength Range 1 km to 10 km
    • Medium Frequency (MLF)
Frequency Range 3kHz to 30 kHz
Wavelength Range 10 km to 100 km
    • Low Frequency (LF)
Frequency Range 300kHz to 3MHz
Wavelength Range 100 m to 1 km
    • High Frequency (HF)
Frequency Range 3 MHz to 30 MHz
Wavelength Range 10 m to 100 m
    • Very High Frequency (VHF)
Frequency Range 30 MHz to 300 MHz
Wavelength Range 1 m to 10 m
    • Ultra-High Frequency (UHF)
Frequency Range 300 MHz to 3GHz
Wavelength Range 10 cm to 1 m
    • Super High Frequency (SHF)
Frequency Range 3 GHz to 30 GHz
Wavelength Range 1 cm to 10 cm
    • Extremely High Frequency (SHF)
Frequency Range 30 GHz to 300 GHz
Wavelength Range 1 mm to 1 cm

Following is the table with links that are related to radio waves:

Terminologies In Radio Waves

Following are the list of terminologies that are used in radio waves:

  • AM radio waves: These are the waves that carry radio signals between 540 and 1600 kHz. The waves carried are commercial waves where the amplitude varies while the frequency remains constant.
  • FM radio waves: These are the waves that carry radio signals between 88 and 108 MHz. The waves carried are commercial waves where the frequency is modulated while the amplitude remains constant.
  • Radio waves: It is a part of the electromagnetic spectrum with the frequency range from 300 GHz to 3 kHz or with the wavelengths from 1 mm to 100 km.

Stay tuned with BYJU’S to learn more about other Physics related concepts.

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