The electromagnetic spectrum includes various wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation such as visible light, radio waves and microwaves. You interact with this spectrum in multiple ways each day, and the tools used to harness their power can be simple and complex at the same time. For example, radio wave technology has been used in communications for centuries. A simple AM/FM radio can be built or repaired by home hobbyists or incorporated into satellites searching for extra-terrestrial life.
Radio Frequency Basics
Radio waves exist on the EM spectrum at the lowest energy range, between 3kHz and 300GHz or below visible light and infrared radiation. These waves move outward from a transmitter and are decoded by a receiver for translation to a format we can understand, such as sound or text. An RF directional coupler and other diagnostic units can be added to radios and other RF devices, including radar systems and wireless internet-capable tools to test the strength of the signal without interfering with device performance.
RF Device Examples
The most well-known radiofrequency devices are transmitter towers and radio receivers such as vehicle stereos or household appliances. However, RF technology has wide-reaching capabilities and is responsible for wireless internet, satellite communications, and much more. The miniaturization of this technology has allowed home hobbyists to repair vintage radio units with smaller and more robust parts, sometimes while including other RF devices. For example, you could add wireless internet receivers for streaming movies, television receivers and others to create a modern home entertainment device in a vintage case.
Radiofrequency technology has helped increase the capabilities of entertainment and communications devices exponentially during the last few decades. Not only can this technology deliver your favorite radio station to your headphones, but it can also provide you with wireless internet capabilities and mobile calling features from your compact cellular phone.