Uses of Radio Waves

5 Uses of Radio Waves Explained

Uses of radio waves are; television and radio (AM, FM) broadcasts, wireless IoT network communication, navigation control, astronomical research, and magnetic resonance imaging.

This article discusses the uses of radio waves, as follows;







1). Television and Radio Broadcasts (as one of the Uses of Radio Waves)

Radio waves are used with TV and radio systems as a medium of information-transmission [5].

In order for radio waves to be used in television and radio broadcasts; the sound and visual information must be encoded in radio waves by a process known as modulation.

Modulation could be any of two kinds; Frequency Modulation (FM), and Amplitude Modulation (AM) [3]. In each of these respectively, the frequency and amplitude of radio waves are modified before transmitting the waves. This enables a receiver that is tuned to the same frequency or amplitude of the radio waves, to decode the information being transmitted.

Signal transmission for television and radio broadcasting is one of the most common and important uses of radio waves.

Different types of radio waves can be distinguished based on mode of transmission, into analogue, digital, and hybrid categories.

Some advantages of radio wave transmission include the fact that it is contactless (requires no intervening medium), occurs at the speed of light, and can be relayed over long distances using satellites.

Uses of Radio Waves: Television and Radio Broadcasts (Credit: TaBaZzz 2016 .CC BY-SA 4.0.)
Uses of Radio Waves: Television and Radio Broadcasts (Credit: TaBaZzz 2016 .CC BY-SA 4.0.)






2). Wireless IoT Communication

IoT wireless technology has to do with systems that comprise multiple smart devices that are seamlessly interconnected, and which must effectively communicate and share information with each other, in order for the system to function.

Such IoT (Internet of Things) systems are used in various industries and projects, including transport, construction, sustainable agriculture, and energy management.

IoT systems depend on wireless communication, which enables information to be transmitted without contact between devices, using electromagnetic wave propagation.

Radio waves are very suitable for transmitting information between smart devices in IoT networks, because their long-wavelength, low-frequency characteristics reduce the dangers associated with exposure to these waves.

One of the key advantages of radio waves in IoT wireless communication is the flexibility which they provide.

The frequency of radio waves can be modulated to meet the detectable range of smart IoT devices, and increase the effectiveness of communication [1].

Radio frequency of IoT devices can range from as low as 100 MHz to as high as 100 GHz, giving them a broad range to operate.

Wireless communication using radio waves makes IoT networks less complex and more efficient, and allows for greater diversity and multiplicity of connected devices.






3). Navigation Control (as one of the Uses of Radio Waves)

Radio waves are used in navigation by the transmission of signals for geographic monitoring, traffic control, and communication.

In aircrafts, for example, radio waves are used to transmit audio messages, as well as to receive positional data from space-based satellites, with which the location and trajectory of the aircraft can be controlled effectively.

The same is true for maritime navigation, where ships and submarine vessels communicate, navigate, and are tracked using radio wave-transmitted signals.

Radio waves transmitted between satellites, Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and mobile crafts, increase the efficiency and safety of navigation [4].






4). Astronomical Research

Radio waves are used in space exploration to transmit signals between spacecrafts and communication-satellites. Their low frequency makes them safe for space-based radiation compared to other electromagnetic waves.

The use of radio waves for astronomical purposes is generally referred to as radio astronomy.

Radio astronomy involves observing cosmological features whose radiant emissions range from a few kilohertz to several hundred gigahertz; so that the best frequency for radio astronomical projects falls within this range.

An example of radio waves' usage for astronomical research purposes, can be observed in the use of radio telescopes to study planetesimals. The characteristics (such as; composition, kinematics, force fields, internal/external structure) of these planetesimals are usually extrapolated from the nature of their radio wave interactions.






5). Magnetic Resonance Imaging (as one of the Uses of Radio Waves)

Radio waves are used in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to provide detectable signals which give detailed information about the internal organs, tissues, and bones of the body.

This information is usually processes in the form of images with significant detail, created by the interactions between electromagnetic elements in the body, and sensory machines [2].

In MRI, radio waves come from protons in the atomic nuclei of hydrogen which is abundant in body fat and water.

The magnetic resonance imaging machine operates within a broad radio frequency range that allows it to detect faint signals from electromagnetic waves of the body. It is called 'magnetic resonance' because an electromagnetic field must be generated by the machine, which interacts (vibrationally) with the body's radio waves to extract information about internal body components and conditions.

The information itself is developed as a result of the reflective, refractive, interfering, and diffractive processes that radio waves undergo as they reverberate around the internal organs of the body.

Uses of Radio Waves: Magnetic Resonance Imaging (Credit: DanaAlmutawaaa 2021 .CC BY-SA 4.0.)
Uses of Radio Waves: Magnetic Resonance Imaging (Credit: DanaAlmutawaaa 2021 .CC BY-SA 4.0.)








Uses of radio waves are;

1. Television and Radio Broadcasts

2. Wireless IoT Communication

3. Navigation Control

4. Astronomical Research

5. Magnetic Resonance Imaging







1). Babacic, E.; Veliovic, Z.; Pejanovic-Djurisic, M. (2017). "Radio-frequency spectrum management in wireless IoT networks." 2017 25th Telecommunication Forum (TELFOR). Available at: (Accessed 28 March 2023).

2). Broadhouse, K. M. (2019). "The Physics of MRI and How We Use It to Reveal the Mysteries of the Mind." Available at: (Accessed 28 March 2023).

3). Gonzalez, E. I.; Tiznado, J. E. O.; López, J. S.; Avendaño, L. C.; Wilson, C. C.; Ontiveros, J. M. H. (2010). "Developing and integrating a computer-based AM/FM radio station." Ingenieria e Investigación 30(2):78-86. Available at: (Accessed 28 March 2023).

4). Langley, R. B. (1998). "Propagation of the GPS Signals." In: Teunissen, P.J.G., Kleusberg, A. (eds) GPS for Geodesy. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. Available at: (Accessed 28 March 2023).

5). Lucas, J. (2019). "What Are Radio Waves?" Available at: (Accessed 28 March 2023).

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