↑ What is Radio Propagation?

By Doron Tal, 4X4XM

Radio propagation refers to the action of transmitting radio waves from one point to another.

Radio waves are a type of electromagnetic radiation - they are composed of oscillating electric and magnetic fields that travel through space at the speed of light.

Buildings, hills, trees, and other structures can all interfere with radio waves as they travel through the air. The environment's properties can affect how radio waves propagate, causing them to reflect, refract, diffract, scatter, or attenuate.

For example, when a radio wave encounters an obstacle like a building, it can bounce off the surface and reflect in multiple directions, causing the signal to be received at different locations. This is known as reflection.

Radio waves can also be refracted, which means they bend slightly due to changes in air density, causing the signal to be received in multiple locations.

The ability of radio waves to propagate through different types of environments is important for many applications, including wireless communications, navigation systems, and remote sensing. Understanding how radio waves propagate can help engineers design and optimize wireless systems for better performance and reliability.


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The Understanding HF Propagation Project provides radio amateurs with a detailed overview and tutorials on several aspects of HF propagation.

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