A stack of "fishbone" and Yagi–Uda television antennas
Line of sight propagation to an antenna
Animation of a half-wave dipole antenna radiating radio waves, showing the electric field lines. The antenna in the center is two vertical metal rods connected to a radio transmitter (not shown). The transmitter applies an alternating electric current to the rods, which charges them alternately positive (+) and negative (−). Loops of electric field leave the antenna and travel away at the speed of light; these are the radio waves. In this animation the action is shown slowed down enormously.
Objects within the Fresnel zone can disturb line of sight propagation even if they don't block the geometric line between antennas.
Electronic symbol for an antenna
Two stations not in line-of-sight may be able to communicate through an intermediate radio repeater station.
Antennas of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array.
R is the radius of the Earth, h is the height of the transmitter (exaggerated), d is the line of sight distance
An automobile's whip antenna, a common example of an omnidirectional antenna.
Half-wave dipole antenna
Diagram of the electric fields ( blue ) and magnetic fields ( red ) radiated by a dipole antenna ( black rods) during transmission.
Cell phone base station antennas
Standing waves on a half wave dipole driven at its resonant frequency. The waves are shown graphically by bars of color ( red for voltage, V and blue for current, I ) whose width is proportional to the amplitude of the quantity at that point on the antenna.
Typical center-loaded mobile CB antenna with loading coil
Polar plots of the horizontal cross sections of a (virtual) Yagi-Uda-antenna. Outline connects points with 3 dB field power compared to an ISO emitter.
The wave reflected by earth can be considered as emitted by the image antenna.
The currents in an antenna appear as an image in opposite phase when reflected at grazing angles. This causes a phase reversal for waves emitted by a horizontally polarized antenna (center) but not for a vertically polarized antenna (left).
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The radio horizon is the locus of points at which direct rays from an antenna are tangential to the surface of the Earth.

- Line-of-sight propagation

For line-of-sight communications or ground wave propagation, horizontally or vertically polarized transmissions generally remain in about the same polarization state at the receiving location.

- Antenna (radio)
A stack of "fishbone" and Yagi–Uda television antennas

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Animation of a half-wave dipole antenna radiating radio waves, showing the electric field lines. The antenna in the center is two vertical metal rods connected to a radio transmitter (not shown). The transmitter applies an alternating electric current to the rods, which charges them alternately positive (+) and negative (−). Loops of electric field leave the antenna and travel away at the speed of light; these are the radio waves. In this animation the action is shown slowed down enormously.

Radio wave

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Radio waves are a type of electromagnetic radiation with the longest wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum, typically with frequencies of 300 gigahertz (GHz) and below.

Radio waves are a type of electromagnetic radiation with the longest wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum, typically with frequencies of 300 gigahertz (GHz) and below.

Animation of a half-wave dipole antenna radiating radio waves, showing the electric field lines. The antenna in the center is two vertical metal rods connected to a radio transmitter (not shown). The transmitter applies an alternating electric current to the rods, which charges them alternately positive (+) and negative (−). Loops of electric field leave the antenna and travel away at the speed of light; these are the radio waves. In this animation the action is shown slowed down enormously.
Diagram of the electric fields (E) and magnetic fields (H) of radio waves emitted by a monopole radio transmitting antenna (small dark vertical line in the center). The E and H fields are perpendicular, as implied by the phase diagram in the lower right.
Animated diagram of a half-wave dipole antenna receiving a radio wave. The antenna consists of two metal rods connected to a receiver R. The electric field ( E, green arrows ) of the incoming wave pushes the electrons in the rods back and forth, charging the ends alternately positive (+) and negative (−) . Since the length of the antenna is one half the wavelength of the wave, the oscillating field induces standing waves of voltage ( V, represented by red band ) and current in the rods. The oscillating currents (black arrows) flow down the transmission line and through the receiver (represented by the resistance R).

Radio waves are generated artificially by an electronic device called a transmitter, which is connected to an antenna which radiates the waves.

Different frequencies of radio waves have different propagation characteristics in the Earth's atmosphere; long waves can diffract around obstacles like mountains and follow the contour of the earth (ground waves), shorter waves can reflect off the ionosphere and return to earth beyond the horizon (skywaves), while much shorter wavelengths bend or diffract very little and travel on a line of sight, so their propagation distances are limited to the visual horizon.

A portable battery-powered AM/FM broadcast receiver, used to listen to audio broadcast by local radio stations.

Radio receiver

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Electronic device that receives radio waves and converts the information carried by them to a usable form.

Electronic device that receives radio waves and converts the information carried by them to a usable form.

A portable battery-powered AM/FM broadcast receiver, used to listen to audio broadcast by local radio stations.
A modern communications receiver, used in two-way radio communication stations to talk with remote locations by shortwave radio.
Girl listening to vacuum tube radio in the 1940s. During the golden age of radio, 1925–1955, families gathered to listen to the home radio receiver in the evening
A bedside clock radio that combines a radio receiver with an alarm clock
Symbol for an antenna
Symbol for a bandpass filter used in block diagrams of radio receivers
Symbol for an amplifier
Symbol for a demodulator
Envelope detector circuit
How an envelope detector works
Block diagram of a tuned radio frequency receiver. To achieve enough selectivity to reject stations on adjacent frequencies, multiple cascaded bandpass filter stages had to be used. The dotted line indicates that the bandpass filters must be tuned together.
Block diagram of a superheterodyne receiver. The dotted line indicates that the RF filter and local oscillator must be tuned in tandem.
Block diagram of a dual-conversion superheterodyne receiver
Guglielmo Marconi, who built the first radio receivers, with his early spark transmitter (right) and coherer receiver (left) from the 1890s. The receiver records the Morse code on paper tape
Generic block diagram of an unamplified radio receiver from the wireless telegraphy era
Example of transatlantic radiotelegraph message recorded on paper tape by a siphon recorder at RCA's New York receiving center in 1920. The translation of the Morse code is given below the tape.
Coherer from 1904 as developed by Marconi.
Experiment to use human brain as a radio wave detector, 1902
Magnetic detector
Electrolytic detector
A galena cat's whisker detector from a 1920s crystal radio
Marconi's inductively coupled coherer receiver from his controversial April 1900 "four circuit" patent no. 7,777.
Radio receiver with Poulsen "tikker" consisting of a commutator disk turned by a motor to interrupt the carrier.
Fessenden's heterodyne radio receiver circuit
Unlike today, when almost all radios use a variation of the superheterodyne design, during the 1920s vacuum tube radios used a variety of competing circuits.
During the "Golden Age of Radio" (1920 to 1950), families gathered to listen to the home radio in the evening, such as this Zenith console model 12-S-568 from 1938, a 12-tube superheterodyne with pushbutton tuning and 12-inch cone speaker.
De Forest's first commercial Audion receiver, the RJ6 which came out in 1914. The Audion tube was always mounted upside down, with its delicate filament loop hanging down, so it did not sag and touch the other electrodes in the tube.
Block diagram of regenerative receiver
Circuit of single tube Armstrong regenerative receiver
Armstrong presenting his superregenerative receiver, June 28, 1922, Columbia University
Hazeltine's prototype Neutrodyne receiver, presented at a March 2, 1923 meeting of the Radio Society of America at Columbia University.
Block diagram of simple single tube reflex receiver
The first superheterodyne receiver built at Armstrong's Signal Corps laboratory in Paris during World War I. It is constructed in two sections, the mixer and local oscillator (left) and three IF amplification stages and a detector stage (right). The intermediate frequency was 75 kHz.
A Zenith transistor based portable radio receiver
A modern smartphone has several RF CMOS digital radio transmitters and receivers to connect to different devices, including a cellular receiver, wireless modem, Bluetooth modem, and GPS receiver.

It is used with an antenna.

Like FM, DAB signals travel by line of sight so reception distances are limited by the visual horizon to about 30–40 miles (48–64 km).

A variety of radio antennas on Sandia Peak near Albuquerque, New Mexico, US

Radio

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Technology of signaling and communicating using radio waves.

Technology of signaling and communicating using radio waves.

A variety of radio antennas on Sandia Peak near Albuquerque, New Mexico, US
Radio communication. Information such as sound is converted by a transducer such as a microphone to an electrical signal, which modulates a radio wave produced by the transmitter. A receiver intercepts the radio wave and extracts the information-bearing modulation signal, which is converted back to a human usable form with another transducer such as a loudspeaker.
Comparison of AM and FM modulated radio waves
Frequency spectrum of a typical modulated AM or FM radio signal. It consists of a component C at the carrier wave frequency f_c with the information (modulation) contained in two narrow bands of frequencies called sidebands (SB) just above and below the carrier frequency.
Satellite television dish on a residence
Satellite phones, showing the large antennas needed to communicate with the satellite
Firefighter using walkie-talkie
VHF marine radio on a ship
Parabolic antennas of microwave relay links on tower in Australia
RFID tag from a DVD
Satellite Communications Center Dubna in Russia
Communications satellite belonging to Azerbaijan
Military air traffic controller on US Navy aircraft carrier monitors aircraft on radar screen
ASR-8 airport surveillance radar antenna. It rotates once every 4.8 seconds. The rectangular antenna on top is the secondary radar.
Rotating marine radar antenna on a ship
A personal navigation assistant GPS receiver in a car, which can give driving directions to a destination.
EPIRB emergency locator beacon on a ship
Wildlife officer tracking radio-tagged mountain lion
US Air Force MQ-1 Predator drone flown remotely by a pilot on the ground
Remote keyless entry fob for a car
Quadcopter, a popular remote-controlled toy
Television receiver

They are generated by an electronic device called a transmitter connected to an antenna which radiates the waves, and received by another antenna connected to a radio receiver.

In the very high frequency band, greater than 30 megahertz, the Earth's atmosphere has less of an effect on the range of signals, and line-of-sight propagation becomes the principal mode.

A telecommunications tower with a variety of dish antennas for microwave relay links on Frazier Peak, Ventura County, California. The apertures of the dishes are covered by plastic sheets (radomes) to keep out moisture.

Microwave

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Form of electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths ranging from about one meter to one millimeter corresponding to frequencies between 300 MHz and 300 GHz respectively.

Form of electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths ranging from about one meter to one millimeter corresponding to frequencies between 300 MHz and 300 GHz respectively.

A telecommunications tower with a variety of dish antennas for microwave relay links on Frazier Peak, Ventura County, California. The apertures of the dishes are covered by plastic sheets (radomes) to keep out moisture.
The atmospheric attenuation of microwaves and far infrared radiation in dry air with a precipitable water vapor level of 0.001 mm. The downward spikes in the graph correspond to frequencies at which microwaves are absorbed more strongly. This graph includes a range of frequencies from 0 to 1 THz; the microwaves are the subset in the range between 0.3 and 300 gigahertz.
Waveguide is used to carry microwaves. Example of waveguides and a diplexer in an air traffic control radar
Disassembled radar speed gun. The grey assembly attached to the end of the copper-colored horn antenna is the Gunn diode which generates the microwaves.
A satellite dish on a residence, which receives satellite television over a Ku band 12–14 GHz microwave beam from a direct broadcast communications satellite in a geostationary orbit 35,700 kilometres (22,000 miles) above the Earth
The parabolic antenna (lower curved surface) of an ASR-9 airport surveillance radar which radiates a narrow vertical fan-shaped beam of 2.7–2.9 GHz (S band) microwaves to locate aircraft in the airspace surrounding an airport.
Small microwave oven on a kitchen counter
Microwaves are widely used for heating in industrial processes. A microwave tunnel oven for softening plastic rods prior to extrusion.
Absorption wavemeter for measuring in the Ku band.
1.2 GHz microwave spark transmitter (left) and coherer receiver (right) used by Guglielmo Marconi during his 1895 experiments had a range of 6.5 km
ku band microstrip circuit used in satellite television dish.
Heinrich Hertz's 450 MHz spark transmitter, 1888, consisting of 23 cm dipole and spark gap at focus of parabolic reflector
Jagadish Chandra Bose in 1894 was the first person to produce millimeter waves; his spark oscillator (in box, right) generated 60 GHz (5 mm) waves using 3 mm metal ball resonators.
Microwave spectroscopy experiment by John Ambrose Fleming in 1897 showing refraction of 1.4 GHz microwaves by paraffin prism, duplicating earlier experiments by Bose and Righi.
Augusto Righi's 12 GHz spark oscillator and receiver, 1895
Antennas of 1931 experimental 1.7 GHz microwave relay link across the English Channel.
Experimental 700 MHz transmitter 1932 at Westinghouse labs transmits voice over a mile.
Southworth (at left) demonstrating waveguide at IRE meeting in 1938, showing 1.5 GHz microwaves passing through the 7.5 m flexible metal hose registering on a diode detector.
The first modern horn antenna in 1938 with inventor Wilmer L. Barrow
thumb|Randall and Boot's prototype cavity magnetron tube at the University of Birmingham, 1940. In use the tube was installed between the poles of an electromagnet
First commercial klystron tube, by General Electric, 1940, sectioned to show internal construction
British Mk. VIII, the first microwave air intercept radar, in nose of British fighter. Microwave radar, powered by the new magnetron tube, significantly shortened World War II.
Mobile US Army microwave relay station 1945 demonstrating relay systems using frequencies from 100 MHz to 4.9 GHz which could transmit up to 8 phone calls on a beam.

Microwaves travel by line-of-sight; unlike lower frequency radio waves they do not diffract around hills, follow the earth's surface as ground waves, or reflect from the ionosphere, so terrestrial microwave communication links are limited by the visual horizon to about 40 mi.

Their short wavelength also allows narrow beams of microwaves to be produced by conveniently small high gain antennas from a half meter to 5 meters in diameter.

Coherent waves that travel along two different paths will arrive with phase shift, hence interfering with each other.

Multipath propagation

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Coherent waves that travel along two different paths will arrive with phase shift, hence interfering with each other.
A diagram of the ideal situation for TV signals moving through space: The signal leaves the transmitter (TX) and travels through one path to the receiver (the TV set, which is labeled RX)
In this illustration, an object (in this case an aircraft) pollutes the system by adding a second path. The signal arrives at receiver (RX) by means 
of two different paths which have different lengths. The main path is the direct path, while the second is due to a reflection from the plane.
Radar multipath echoes from an actual target cause ghosts to appear.
GPS error due to multipath
Mathematical model of the multipath impulse response.

In radio communication, multipath is the propagation phenomenon that results in radio signals reaching the receiving antenna by two or more paths.

Where one component (often, but not necessarily, a line of sight component) dominates, a Rician distribution provides a more accurate model, and this is known as Rician fading.

Grundig Satellit 400 solid-state, digital shortwave receiver, c. 1986

Shortwave radio

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Radio transmission using shortwave radio frequencies.

Radio transmission using shortwave radio frequencies.

Grundig Satellit 400 solid-state, digital shortwave receiver, c. 1986
Radio amateurs carried out the first shortwave transmissions over a long distance before those of Guglielmo Marconi.
Hallicrafters SX-28 shortwave receiver analog tuning dial, c. undefined 1944
Formation of a skip zone
National Panasonic R3000 analog shortwave radio receiver, c. 1965.
Portable shortwave receiver's digital display tuned to the 75 meter band
Transmitter room of shortwave station Yle in Pori, Finland, in 1954
Soviet shortwave listener (A. Kozlov, URS3-108-B) in Borisoglebsk, 1941
A pennant sent to overseas listeners by Radio Budapest in the late 1980s
Composer Karlheinz Stockhausen
PC spectrum display of a modern software-defined shortwave receiver

Thus shortwave radio can be used for communication over very long distances, in contrast to radio waves of higher frequency, which travel in straight lines (line-of-sight propagation) and are limited by the visual horizon, about 64 km (40 miles).

Shortwave transmitting centers often use specialized antenna designs (like the ALLISS antenna technology) to concentrate radio energy at the target area.