How do radios work?

By Xavier Tayo

Radios are the world’s most common form of communication. Invented over 100 years ago, their technology is the basis for all wireless devices that now exist — such as cell phones and laptop computers.

To make a radio, there must be both a transmitter and a receiver. The transmitter turns music or news into radio waves that are sent through the air. The receiver picks up that signal and decodes it back into the radio station you like. Radio signals are actually just electromagnetic waves that travel through the air, and at certain frequencies they are radio waves.

The boombox you use in your home has an antenna that takes the signal out of the air and helps make it stronger and clearer. A tuner separates the radio station signal from all the other signals flying though space. Finally, an amplifier sends power to the speakers, so we can hear music and news, without having to think how this is possible.

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