Human beings learned to communicate with one another more than 50,000 years ago. Communication has come a long way since those primal grunts and cave pictures. Sometimes these developments came slowly, other times in leaps and bounds.
More than a hundred years ago, one of those leaps changed communication forever. Radio waves took center stage.
What is RF?
RF stands for radio frequency and it refers to a specific signal of radio waves. Radio waves are part of the electromagnetic spectrum just like visible light, microwaves, and x-rays.
Radio waves are invisible, travel at the speed of light, require no air through which it can travel, and is harmless to humans. All of these things make it an ideal vehicle through which human communication can thrive.
How is RF Used?
You can create a signal that uses a unique frequency that falls within the radio wave range of the electromagnetic spectrum and transports it quickly across very large distances.
Satellites and receiver symbols are designed to capture radio waves at specific frequencies and redirect them wherever you want them to be sent.
Roughly half of the 2,000+ working satellites in orbit around Earth are radio satellites used in communication services. These satellites collect and redirect radio waves at their programed frequencies 24 hours a day.
What is RF Used For?
Home antennas, satellite dishes, thousand of miles of underground cables, RF power dividers, combiners, and splitters are all designed to recollect and distribute these radio waves straight to your home.
RF communication is used today in multiple industries. Television and radio broadcasting makes use of their own specific radio frequencies. Computer networks and cell phone systems use RF, as well. Even remote control devices take advantage of the harnessed power of radio waves to do their thing.
RF and the Great Beyond
Scientists have even used radio signals in the search for extraterrestrial life. Space is filled with radio waves emanating from distant stars and other celestial bodies. Researchers are constantly examining these in search of unnatural frequencies to hear what the alien civilizations out there might want to tell us.
In 1974 scientists developed the Arecibo message, a collection of basic information about humanity and Earth and sent it via radio waves into space, directed at a particular star cluster. The hope was that RF communication might be a universal communication system that would help us find life.
The applications for radio wave and RF communication are endless. Humans have and will continue to expand the possibilities of what these waves can do.