Wave from the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum at lower frequencies than microwaves. The wavelengths of radio waves range from thousands of metres to around 30 cm. These correspond to frequencies as low as 3 Hz and as high as 1 gigahertz (109 Hz). Radio-wave communications signals travel through the air in a straight line, reflect off of clouds or layers of the ionosphere, or are relayed by satellites in space. They are used in standard broadcast radio and television, short-wave radio, navigation and air-traffic control, cellular telephony, and even remote-controlled toys.
Radio waves lie at the low-frequency end of the electromagnetic spectrum. They are primarily used
—© Merriam-Webster Inc.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on radio wave, visit Britannica.com.
Seen & Heard
What made you look up radio wave? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.