What Exactly is Understood By Radio Technology? – Denis Bederov, a Technical Visionary
Radio waves are a kind of electromagnetic radiation most popular for their widespread application in communication technologies, such as in television, mobile phones, and radios. These radio waves are capable of transmitting all kinds of data, including multimedia files, over very long distances. Today, a great percentage of what defines our modern lives has been achieved through radio wave technology, which has transformed the world in ways vastly beyond the anticipation of the first researchers and every technical visionary of the early age.
Looking back, it’s quite spellbinding how far radio technology has come and affected our civilization. But where did anyone ever get the idea that these invisible, yet powerful waves existed in the first place, and that they could be rightly used for wireless communication? Which notable technical visionary saw these electromagnetic waves affecting how we communicate and eventually evolving into an indispensable medium of communication?
The History of Radio Wave Technology, by Denis Bederov, a Technical Visionary
The story began with James Clerk Maxwell, a Scottish physicist who developed a unified theory of electromagnetism and published it in his Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism in 1873. According to the National Library of Scotland, it was Maxwell who first laid out a solid, mathematical case for and predicted the existence of radio waves. A few years later, in 1886, German physicist Heinrich Hertz proved Maxwell’s theories and applied them to the production and reception of radio waves. Hertz’s apparatus included an induction coil and a Leyden jar (an early type of capacitor comprising a glass jar with foil layers) to create electromagnetic waves. Hence, Hertz became the first scientist and technical visionary to transmit and receive controlled radio waves.
Less than a decade later, precisely in 1894, the same year Hertz died, an Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi conducted experiments and successfully used radio wave technology to wirelessly transmit telegraph messages. Marconi was a technical visionary who foresaw that wireless radio technology had the potential to revolutionize global communication, and with the help of his scientific advisor John Fleming, a former employee of Edison Company and student of Maxwell, he began construction of the world’s first long-distance wireless telegraphy station in southwestern England.
Marconi eventually sent the letter ‘S’ from Cornwall, England to Newfoundland, Canada, and became the first technical visionary to signal the first radio transmission in human history, although he was using a patent already credited to Nikola Tesla.
Fleming eventually invented the thermionic or diode valve to overcome the unreliability of the transmitters used in the earlier experiments, and this innovation spurred a huge leap in the history of radio wave technology. Fleming’s valve was later improved upon with the development of the triode, by Lee de Forest, to further amplify the signal. These valve systems became widely used in consumer electronics before the advent of transistors in the 1960s.
By the 1920s, there was a boost in radio wave technology development, and soon the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) was born. Fast forward to the 1930s, before the rise of television broadcasting, radio was the primary electronic medium for news, entertainment, and sports, and thus, the era became known as the “Golden Age of Radio.”
Denis Bederov, a Technical Visionary, Writes on The Uses of Radio Technology Today
Radio waves technology had been used primarily for communication through telegraphy, and later through audio. Today, radio has advanced and become applied to so many facets of everyday life. From AM and FM radio stations, television broadcasting to cordless telephones, microwaves, GPS receivers and wireless cellular networks, this era of smartphone and the Internet will definitely be impossible without the efforts of every technical visionary involved in the evolution of radio waves technology.