Ground Wave Propagation

What is Radio Wave Propagation?

To understand the meaning of ground wave propagation, it is important to know the meaning of radio wave propagation. Radio wave propagation is the behaviour of radio waves as they propagate from one point to another or into various parts of the atmosphere.

These waves propagation can be classified depending upon the frequencies as:

  • Ground waves propagation
  • Skywave propagation
  • Free space propagation

What is Ground Wave Propagation?

Ground wave propagation is a type of radio propagation which is also known as a surface wave. These waves propagate over the earth’s surface in low and medium frequencies. These are mainly used for transmission between the surface of the earth and the ionosphere. These are made up of the number of constituent waves.

The reason why it is known as a ground wave is that it is the sum of the waves that are reflected by the earth’s surface or any hills. The waves follow the curvature of the earth, enabling them to cover beyond the horizon. Beyond the horizon, the waves get blocked by the curvature of the earth and the signals are produced by the diffracted surface wave.

Following is the table explaining the frequency of ground waves depending on the type of ground:

Type of ground f = 1 MHz f = 10 MHz f = 100 MHz
Dry ground like desert 10-4 10-4 10-4
Very moist ground like fields 10-2 10-2 2.10-2
Fresh water at 20℃ 3.10-3 3.10-3 5.10-3
Sea water at 20℃ 5 5 5

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Advantages of Ground Wave Propagation

  • These waves have the tendency to bend around the corners or obstructions during propagation which makes them more efficient and also these are not affected by the change in atmospheric conditions.

Disadvantages of Ground Wave Propagation

  • High-frequency waves cannot be transmitted as the energy losses are more because of the absorption of energy in the earth’s atmosphere.
  • These are used to cover short ranges and also involves attenuation of waves as they interact with the eddy currents produced by the surface of the earth.

Applications Ground Wave Propagation

  • These can be used for one-way communication from the military to submerged submarines as they penetrate to a significant depth into seawater.
  • AM, FM and television broadcasting can be done with the help of ground waves.

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