How does the radio work?

There is at least one radio or a gadget that has radio function at almost every house, but only few understands how it actually works. This gadget that is so commonly used and well known is actually quite complicated and it takes a lot of work and knowledge to provide the functioning of it.

The functioning of a radio provides the radio waves. These radio waves however are a form of electromagnetic radiation. They are made by transmitting the electrical energy from one place to another without using any kind of direct, wired connection. So there is transmitter that provides these waves and receiver that collects them. The transmitter is commonly known as a radio tower. Electrons are moving up and down the transmitter, creating these radio waves. Then radio waves go into the air and receiver is able to catch them. One transmitter can provide the waves for many receivers that are why so many radios can work at the same time.

The radio waves are all around us, but we can’t feel or see them. They are passing by all the time. Just like any other waves, they have specific speed, frequency and length. They are incredibly fast. When the antenna of a radio is extended, it can receive these waves and turn them into a radio program. A program is transmitted by adding it to a radio wave called a carrier. This all process is called the modulation. There are two types of modulations – frequency modulation and amplitude modulation and they need different type of receivers. That makes to types of radio broadcasts – AM and FM.

Although, there are not only radio waves into the air, so the radio must be able to catch only the right waves. Actually, these waves are separated by mathematical codes. It is self explanatory that radio, television and telephone signals don’t get mixed up, but the process, how it can be achieved is very complicated. The simple explanation would be that these waves have different lengths and frequencies, so the different gadgets can catch only the right waves.

Also the structure of radio itself is complicated. It contains of many components. The most important ones are antenna which catches radio waves, battery compartment which provides the power to the radio, loudspeaker which makes the sound louder, transformer which provides the function of radio stations and turning control which allows changing the stations.

So this simple gadget that we are using every day is actually very complex. From the creation of radio waves until turning the radio waves into the right station is a long way. Next time when you listen to the radio think of all the work invested to even make it possible.