Arguably one of the most important innovations of the 20th century, radio waves have completely changed the way we communicate and function in our society. Whether we use them to listen to the radio, watch television, or even call people from our cellphones, it’s clear that radio frequency has taken up an unprecedented amount of space in our lives.
However, it’s one thing to use a technology, but a whole other to actually know how it works. Though most of us have a basic understanding of radio frequencies, there might be some facts about radio frequencies that you might not know. To help you learn more about them, we’ve created a list of 5 Surprising Facts to Know on How Radio Frequency Works.
NASA Uses Radio Telescopes to Study Space
Though you’re likely aware of the fact that NASA uses telescopes in space to study stars and other planets, you might not be as familiar with the multiple different types of telescopes that they use. NASA’s Deep Space Network Radio Telescope is a good example of this, being a piece of technology that was originally created for the specific purpose of collecting radio waves. These waves are then able to be transmitted to other vehicles or devices in space that can receive them, allowing NASA to communicate with their space ships and rovers from the comfort of planet Earth.
Heinrich Hertz Created the First Electromagnetic Radio Wave
In the late 1800s, Heinrich Hertz created the first electromagnetic wave. This was a very important invention that would then be quickly utilized by other scientists to produce similar results and continue researching the phenomenon. Of course, this would eventually lead to the pioneering of radio once people realized that these radio waves could be used to transmit frequencies to other devices, creating the world’s first sound-based communication network.
When it came time to define more parameters surrounding radio waves and their purposes, the name for a measurement of radio waves was called Hertz in commemoration of the radio wave’s original founder.
The First Radio Program Was Broadcast 108 Years Ago
Yup, you heard us right—radio was officially broadcast over 100 years ago, making it a relatively old technology in comparison to our contemporary innovations. The specific date was January 13th, 1910, with Giulio Gatt-Casazza broadcasting a double bill of “Cavalleria Rusticana” and “Pagliacci” at the Metropolitan Opera, marking one of the most incredible achievements not just in the arts but also in communication.
Radio Waves Are Even Used for Internet
It’s very possible that you still associate radio waves mainly with television and radios themselves. However, many devices in your home use radio waves in ways that you might not necessarily know of. For example, wireless internet routers use radio waves to transmit Wi-Fi, allowing any devices within a defined range to access internet with ease. This was an important discovery as it allowed people to not depend on Ethernet cables to connect to the internet, bringing us into our modern age that considers wifi almost a necessity of the modern world. In fact, the frequency ranges that wireless routers use is either 2.4 GigaHertz (GHz) or 5.8 GHz.
Electromagnetic Waves Travel at the Speed of Light
The speed of light is frequently cited as the fastest force known to man, being used to measure motion in space and defy motion as we know it on earth. However, radio waves fit into this as well, maintaining the same speed that light has. This is why the aforementioned radio wave telescopes that NASA has are so important, as they allow humans to capture waves that otherwise would be too quick for other technologies to perceive. The reason for their speed is because that they’re a type of electromagnetic radiation. People might think that they take a long time to travel through space because of how distanced replies are between spaceships and headquarters are, but in reality, it’s just that space is more expansive than we could ever imagine.