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CHAPTER 10

RADIO WAVES

ELECTROMAGNETIC WAVE PROPAGATION

1000. Source of Radio Waves at zero, increases to a maximum as the rotor completes one
quarter of its revolution, and falls to zero when the rotor
Consider electric current as a flow of electrons along a completes one half of its revolution. The current then
conductor between points of differing potential. A direct approaches a negative maximum; then it once again returns
current flows continuously in the same direction. This would to zero. This cycle can be represented by a sine function.
occur if the polarity of the electromotive force causing the The relationship between the current and the magnetic
electron flow were constant, such as is the case with a battery. field strength induced in the conductor through which the
If, however, the current is induced by the relative motion current is flowing is shown in Figure 1001. Recall from the
between a conductor and a magnetic field, such as is the case discussion above that this field strength is proportional to the
in a rotating machine called a generator, then the resulting magnitude of the current; that is, if the current is represented
current changes direction in the conductor as the polarity of the by a sine wave function, then so too will be the magnetic field
electromotive force changes with the rotation of the
strength resulting from that current. This characteristic shape
generator’s rotor. This is known as alternating current.
of the field strength curve has led to the use of the term
The energy of the current flowing through the
“wave” when referring to electromagnetic propagation. The
conductor is either dissipated as heat (an energy loss
maximum displacement of a peak from zero is called the
proportional to both the current flowing through the
amplitude. The forward side of any wave is called the wave
conductor and the conductor’s resistance) or stored in an
front. For a non-directional antenna, each wave proceeds
electromagnetic field oriented symmetrically about the
outward as an expanding sphere (or hemisphere).
conductor. The orientation of this field is a function of the
polarity of the source producing the current. When the One cycle is a complete sequence of values, as from crest
current is removed from the wire, this electromagnetic field to crest. The distance traveled by the energy during one cycle
will, after a finite time, collapse back into the wire. is the wavelength, usually expressed in metric units (meters,
What would occur should the polarity of the current centimeters, etc.). The number of cycles repeated during unit
source supplying the wire be reversed at a rate which time (usually 1 second) is the frequency. This is given in hertz
exceeds the finite amount of time required for the electro- (cycles per second). A kilohertz (kHz) is 1,000 cycles per
magnetic field to collapse back upon the wire? In this case, second. A megahertz (MHz) is 1,000,000 cycles per second.
another magnetic field, proportional in strength but exactly Wavelength and frequency are inversely proportional.
opposite in magnetic orientation to the initial field, will be The phase of a wave is the amount by which the cycle
formed upon the wire. The initial magnetic field, its current
source gone, cannot collapse back upon the wire because of
the existence of this second electromagnetic field. Instead,
it propagates out into space. This is the basic principle of a
radio antenna, which transmits a wave at a frequency
proportional to the rate of pole reversal and at a speed equal
to the speed of light.

1001. Radio Wave Terminology

The magnetic field strength in the vicinity of a
conductor is directly proportional to the magnitude of the
current flowing through the conductor. Recall the
discussion of alternating current above. A rotating
generator produces current in the form of a sine wave. That
is, the magnitude of the current varies as a function of the
relative position of the rotating conductor and the stationary
magnetic field used to induce the current. The current starts Figure 1001. Radio wave terminology.

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000 MHz 10 to 1 cm Extremely high EHF 30. principal interest being the phase relative to that of some Within the frequencies from 1-40 gHz (1.000 to 1.000 other wave.000 MHz C-band: 4-8 gHz (4.000 m Radio frequency RF 10 kHz to 300.2×10-12 cm * Values approximate.000 MHz) frequency range suitable for radio transmission. in the L-band.5-18 gHz (12. .9×108 to 7.000 to 15. the origin is not important. tion of radio waves occurs in this part of the spectrum.000 MHz) 1002.000 mega. The Electromagnetic Spectrum X-band: 8-12. Below the radio spectrum. the visible occurs in the middle region of this band. Table 1002. Electromagnetic spectrum.000-8.9×108 to 2.000 Hz 15.000-12.9×108 MHz 7.8×10-5 to 1.1 cm frequency Heat and infrared* 106 to 3.0×10-10 cm Cosmic rays* >4.8×10-5 cm Ultraviolet* 7.6×10-5 cm Visible spectrum* 3. is the au.3×1012 to 3. the two are 180° out of L-band: 1-2 gHz (1. and severe absorp- spectrum (light in its various colors). These are included in Table is stated in circular measure. For most purposes it gamma rays. a complete cycle being 1002.500 MHz) Lower K-band: 12.000 to 100 m High frequency HF 3 to 30 MHz 100 to 10 m Very high frequency VHF 30 to 300 MHz 10 to 1 m Ultra high frequency UHF 300 to 3. The break of the K-band into lower and upper ranges is dio frequency band.000 MHz 1 to 0. while satellite navigation system signals are found Table 1002. necessary because the resonant frequency of water vapor Above the radio spectrum are heat and infrared. Waves shorter than 30 centimeters are usually called considered 360°.000 to 300.000-2.000-40.000 to 30.3×10-6 cm X-rays* 2.000 m Low frequency LF 30 to 300 kHz 10.000 MHz 100 to 10 cm Super high frequency SHF 3. The Upper K-band: 26. X-rays.8×1015 MHz <6.3×10-8 to 1. Marine radar systems commonly operate in the S and hertz.000 MHz) The entire range of electromagnetic radiation frequen- cies is called the electromagnetic spectrum.9×108 MHz 0.000 to 10. extending from 20 to 20.000 MHz 30. ultraviolet.000-4.5-40 gHz (26.0×1014 MHz 1. Generally.000 hertz.152 RADIO WAVES has progressed from a specified origin.500-18.000 kHz 1.500-40.6×10-5 to 3. two waves having crests 1/4 cycle apart MHz).0×10-9 cm Gamma rays* 2. Band Abbreviation Range of frequency Range of wavelength Audio frequency AF 20 to 20.5×10-5 to 1. and cosmic rays. microwaves. but overlapping it. S-band: 2-4 gHz (2.5 gHz (8.0×109 to 3.000 m Medium frequency MF 300 to 3. It is divided into a number of bands.” If the crest of one wave occurs at the trough of another.1 cm Very low frequency VLF 10 to 30 kHz 30. as shown in X bands. additional bands are defined as follows: are said to be 90° “out of phase.3×1010 MHz 3.000 m to 0. extends from 10 kilohertz to 300.0×1013 MHz 1.000. Thus.000 MHz) phase. the radio spectrum.03 to 7.

Additionally. or because of the longer path it varies from about 200 MHz to more than 1. reaching a maximum of 180° for a horizontally no refraction. as any direction. polarized. the signals tend to cancel each other.000 MHz. It phase of a reflected wave. This stratification results in nonstandard When direct waves (those traveling from transmitter to temperature and moisture changes with height. they rein. using directional antennas. The second effect decreases with greater distance At night. cooling of the surface. producing a stronger signal. If the signals are in phase. transmitting and receiving antennas are within the duct. a horizontal radio duct vector sum of the two.000 feet in thickness may occur at elevations of interference at higher frequencies can be more nearly elim. if the Various reflecting surfaces occur in the atmosphere. and divergence of the reflected heights and in different air masses. without reflection) and marked temperature inversion or a sharp decrease in water reflected waves arrive at a receiver. follows. frequency. surface ducts about 50 feet tions the difference in path lengths is smaller. At still “vertically polarized. Surface At lower frequencies there is no practical solution to ducts 100 feet or more in thickness may extend from land interference caused in this way. Reflection 1005. Reflections may even occur at a A wave traveling through space may be polarized in sharply defined boundary surface between air masses. as a signal passes from air of one density to strength of the reflected wave depends upon angle of that of a different density. due to the settling of a large air mass.000 feet. radio short-circuits any horizontal component. signals can be received some distance below the surface of diffraction. At higher frequencies. the total signal is the vapor content with increased height. If there is a horizontally within the duct are refracted to such an extent phase difference. a conductor. The amount of the change varies visible horizon. dry air. the condition can be improved by elevating the cooler ocean surface. This interac. but becomes more prevalent as frequency increases. out to sea when warm air from the land flows over the quencies. the surface reflects them in the same manner as light waves. surface is roughly parallel to the surface of the Earth. trees. it can be reduced by Radio waves produce both electric and magnetic fields. In radio communication. RADIO WAVES 153 1003. moist air flows over cold. This is due . if the wave is vertically polarized. incidence (the angle between the incident ray and the The principal cause of refraction in the atmosphere is the horizontal). Maximum results are obtained when both tion of waves is called wave interference. For VHF and higher fre. 1. Thus. usable radio the effect is small as compared with ionospheric effects. polarized wave reflected from sea water (considered to Sometimes the lower portion of the atmosphere have infinite conductivity). the that they remain within the duct. One traveling along the surface of the Earth is when warm. Elevated ducts from a few feet to antenna. At sea. High frequency radio waves traveling force each other. Such reflection is negligible for lower groundwave crosses a coast at an oblique angle. The effect is the same as if the radius of the with the conductivity of the Earth and the polarization of Earth were about one-third greater than it is and there were the wave. reflections are possible from clouds. the direction of travel is altered. for under these condi. Reflections may also occur from mountains. becomes stratified. Lower frequencies penetrate the earth’s surface more Refraction occurs at all frequencies. inated because of the greater ease of beaming the signal to This is a frequent occurrence in Southern California and avoid reflection.” and if horizontal. but this solution is not always The direction of the electric component of the field is called available for navigational systems. When such a always vertically polarized because the Earth. refraction. type of polarization. may be formed. If there is a receiver in a relatively straight line. ray. Radio waves of all Refraction of radio waves is similar to that of light frequencies are reflected by the surface of the Earth. following the curvature of cancellation being complete if the phase difference is 180° the Earth for phenomenal distances. surface ducts may occur over land due to between transmitter and receiver. Polarization frequencies. At electric component is vertical. At very low frequencies. the polarization of the electromagnetic field. refraction in the lower layer of the atmosphere extends the A phase change occurs when a wave is reflected from radio horizon to a distance about 15 percent greater than the the surface of the Earth.000 to 5. The magnetic field waves may travel for greater distances than normal The and the electric field are always mutually perpendicular. more than 1. the wave is said to be high frequencies. A phase difference may occur because of the change of There is a lower limit to the frequency affected by ducts. but below 30 MHz than higher ones. reflecting difference in temperature and pressure occurring at various properties of the surface. and A bending in the horizontal plane occurs when a other obstacles. Refraction When radio waves strike a surface. Thus. reflections take place from rain.” particularly rain clouds. The waves. This is called super- and the two signals have the same amplitude. the sea. certain areas of the Pacific Ocean. thick may occur at any time in the trade wind belt. 1004. principal source of reflection in the atmosphere is the ionosphere. “horizontally higher frequencies. and absorption.

these combine to form a single F layer. An electron can be separated from its atom only by the there is a minimum distance from the transmitter at which application of greater energy than that holding the electron. it causes that particle to vibrate. such as at 3. As the is so low that oxygen exists largely as separate atoms. Skywave signals reaching a given receiver may arrive Below the E layer. by the loss or gain of one or more faster.154 RADIO WAVES to a marked difference in the conducting and reflecting reflection of LF and VLF waves during daylight. the F2 quency can be selected to give best results. skywaves can be received. cause ionization of different substances. At angles greater than the decreasing the ionization of the atmosphere. in which a single layer of the atmosphere. numerous positive and negative ions and unattached A wave reaching a receiver by way of the ionosphere electrons is called the ionosphere. The Ionosphere When a radio wave encounters a particle having an electric charge. causing the wave front to tilt and the wave to be electrons. The Ionosphere and Radio Waves 1006. The effect is known as coastal refraction or land effect. etc. Above this level the ionization decreases frequency if skywaves are to be utilized. atoms are widely separated and a still further decreased. There it decreases because the ionizing agent of appropriate is also a lower practical frequency beyond which signals are energy has already been absorbed. the density of ionization. After sunset. At night the radio blackout. however. In thin atmosphere far above the surface is bent or reflected back toward the Earth. large usable frequency increases. The strongest sig- because of the lack of atoms to be ionized. ions are usually formed by collision of atoms ionosphere is considered. Ray 1 enters the ionosphere at with rapidly moving particles. and the F1 layer at about 90 statute miles. That of atoms which has become electrically charged. The wave which travels along the surface of the electrons recombine faster than they are separated. a critical value is reached where ray 2 percentage of ions. it is electrically neutral. Loss of electrons may occur in a variety of ways. however. two too weak to be of value. in to the nucleus of that atom. applied to a wave reflected from an air mass boundary. Earth is called a groundwave. where the incoming radiation which undergoes a single reflection is called a “one-hop” encounters ozone for the first time. known as the E layer. A signal about 45 statute miles. a skip zone occurs. In the Refer to Figure 1007a. or by the action of cosmic such an angle that its path is altered. and the lower not absorbed by the F layer encounters. ions and ionosphere. Under extreme conditions it may be com- occurs. At great heights the energy level is low and energy penetrates through or is absorbed by the ionosphere. different kinds of radiation may which no signal is received. During magnetic storms the ionosphere density decreases. either portion of the wave in a more highly ionized region travels positively or negatively. Therefore. The region of occurs at a greater distance from the transmitter. The D layer is the signal. the return to Earth large number of ions may be present. In the lower portion of the and proceeds outward into space. As the angle is of the Earth. The critical radiation angle depends upon the intensity In the outermost regions of the atmosphere. At a height of about 60 statute miles. the solar radiation The maximum usable frequency decreases. and the frequency of the radio wave. rather frequency increases. It cannot be too layer at about 125 statute miles above the surface of the near the maximum usable frequency because this frequency Earth. The net effect is a change of protons. for the first time. and its position relative less distance than the skip distance. If the groundwave extends out for kind of an atom of which it is a part. but it passes through rays or ultraviolet light. Below this level nals are received at or slightly below this frequency. no skywave signal is received. At fre- than combining as molecules as it does nearer the surface of quencies greater than about 30 MHz virtually all of the the Earth. and the position relative to common usage. At night. A . This is called the skip distance. properties of the land and water over which the wave travels. The height of this layer is quite pletely eliminated. As the angle with the atmosphere. Within this band the optimum fre- levels of maximum F ionization can be detected. in contrast with the fluctuating F layer. Since the energy of the electron depends primarily upon the shown in Figure 1007a. recombination soon occurs. one which undergoes two reflections with a ground principal source of absorption of HF waves. The extent of ionization is called a skywave. fluctuates with changes of intensity within the ionosphere. E layer becomes weaker by two orders of magnitude. a weak D layer forms at a height of by any of several paths. leaving a small horizontal decreases. it is generally associated with the the Sun (time of day and season). A new maximum ionization is thus narrowed. During daylight. the angle becomes smaller. 1007. directed toward a region of less intense ionization. as shown in Figure 1007b. The Since an atom normally has an equal number of vibrating particle absorbs electromagnetic energy from the negatively charged electrons and positively charged radio wave and radiates it. This is known as Therefore. The band of usable frequencies numbers of oxygen molecules. An ion is an atom or group polarization and an alteration of the path of the wave. critical angle. and of reflection between is called a “two-hop” signal. at any given receiver there is a maximum usable the F layer. isolating the receiver and causing a constant. ionization from solar radiation is intense. This expression is also appropriately depends upon the kinds of atoms present in the atmosphere. In the density of the atmosphere.

or changes in its strength due to 1008. RADIO WAVES 155 Figure 1007a. reception at the next. A skywave may undergo a change of polarization ty of the ionosphere is continually fluctuating.500 miles. accompanied by an and phase relationships of the various signals may undergo alteration in the direction of travel of the wave. “multihop” signal undergoes several reflections.” etc. At this distance the signal leaves “one-hop E. its energy is re- the Sun. which . The effect of the ionosphere on radio waves. This is explained by Huygens’ principle. the strength during reflection from the ionosphere. receiver have different phase relationships. also. since this is the principal cause of ionization. the various signals arriving at a frequencies groundwaves extend out for great distances. This is an almost continuous change. Diffraction changes in the reflecting surface. hop F signal can be received out to about 2. Figure 1007b. may also be caused by interaction of components within a single reflected wave. the transmitter in approximately a horizontal direction. the various signals may called polarization error. The layer The maximum distance at which a one-hop E signal can be at which the reflection occurs is usually indicated. nals from the F layer are particularly erratic because of the However. may become erratic and polarization error a maximum. causing a shadow beyond the obstacle. diffraction. At low curring at each reflection. flected or absorbed. when reinforce each other at one moment and cancel each other rapid changes are occurring in the ionosphere. Thus. as received is about 1.” “two-hop F. Since the densi. resulting in fluctuations of the strength of the to. Sig. This is called fading. A one- Because of the different paths and phase changes oc. This phenomenon This is called night effect. Near sunrise and sunset. Ionospheric changes are associated with fluctuations in the radiation received from When a radio wave encounters an obstacle. tal signal received. some energy does enter the shadow area because of rapidly fluctuating conditions within the layer itself.400 miles. Various paths by which a skywave signal might be received.

weakening The intentional production of such interference to obstruct with increased distance. Maximum ionospheric absorption occurs to cancel the energy of the primary radiation. From the edge of the obstacle. No noticeable effect of this principle is observed until the and low frequency groundwaves travel great distances over wave front encounters an obstacle. Diffraction. components cause some noise.156 RADIO WAVES Figure 1008. Irregular crackling or sizzling diffracted downward and absorbed by the Earth. through space varies inversely with distance. water the frequency. atmospheric absorption increases with shadow area. energy is radiated into A skywave suffers an attenuation loss in its encounter the shadow area. As a result sounds may be caused by poor contacts or faulty of this absorption. This is illustrated in Figure 1008. The wave is carrying alternating current. states that every point on the surface of a wave front is a source conductor. and rain in the atmosphere.400 kHz. Noise The amplitude of a radio wave expanding outward Unwanted signals in a receiver are called interference. and a disturbed pattern for a short distance outside frequency. being greatest at very low frequencies. the practical at about 1. At these frequencies. Absorption and Scattering 1010. frequency range. resulting in further absorption by the Earth. The decrease of strength with communication is called jamming. It is a problem only in the SHF and EHF the shadow area. Noise may originate within the receiver. transmitting energy in all directions ahead of the water. Under certain conditions the interference is called noise. wave. It is . The latter interacts with the ionosphere. Thus. and also outside of the area. Unintentional distance is called attenuation. which is an excellent conductor at low frequencies. effect of an obstacle is a greatly reduced signal strength in the In general. Relatively little absorption occurs over sea of radiation. The amount depends upon the height with energy from other parts of the wave front. the wave. Hum is A wave traveling along the surface of the Earth loses a usually the result of induction from neighboring circuits certain amount of energy to the Earth. vapor. Stray currents in normal downward. the remainder of the wave front tilts components within the receiver. which intercepts a portion of water. producing alter. attenuation is further The amount of diffraction is inversely proportional to increased by scattering due to reflection by oxygen. 1009. and composition of the ionosphere as well as the frequency nate bands in which the secondary radiation reinforces or tends of the radio wave. This source sets the ultimate Attenuation is greater over a surface which is a poor limit of sensitivity that can be achieved in a receiver. water droplets. attenuation is greater than in free space.

Diffraction is maximum. the ground is not used. but this is somewhat offset by the lesser splitting of a water droplet which strikes the surface. but it can also Groundwaves provide dependable service. systems. noise level. and the effective a negative charge. the Earth to great distances with low attenuation and strongest signals are transmitted along the perpendicular to excellent stability. and other sources of sparks which transmit electro- magnetic signals that are picked up by the receiving antenna. 1013. Because of the the wire. long wavelength. band. the required height most stable within groundwave distance of the transmitter. this is partly offset elevating low frequency antennas to great heights. Noise originating outside the receiver may be either The power received is inversely proportional to the man-made or natural. This is called The range at which a usable signal is received depends atmospheric noise. These charges may be transferred to the range is greatly reduced. Above effects associated with the various frequency bands. atmospherics. RADIO WAVES 157 the same at any frequency. condition of the ionosphere. which is sometimes seen at mastheads. 1011. the sensitivity of the receiver. both and time dissemination. it discharges into the atmosphere. The charge tends to gather at points and ridges of reflection. efficiency increases with received from below the surface of the sea. Antenna Characteristics Very Low Frequency (VLF. example is a thunderstorm. ignition is no attenuation due to absorption or scattering. by more efficient transmitting antennas. ground surface. VLF signals antenna is also vertical. 1012. starting about 30 MHz it is not generally a problem. and even these For a vertical antenna. Range Natural noise is caused principally by discharge of static electricity in the atmosphere. 10 to 30 kHz): The VLF signals propagate between the bounds of the ionosphere Antenna design and orientation have a marked effect and the Earth and are thus guided around the curvature of upon radio wave propagation. It may also be caused by frequencies. 30 to 300 kHz): As frequency is efficiency increases with greater distance between antenna increased to the LF band and diffraction decreases. An exposed surface may frequency. Radio Wave Spectra Elmo’s fire. etc. greater length of the antenna. However. permitting radiation of relatively small horizontal directions. Magnetic storms have little effect upon change during transit. Frequency is an important consideration in radio wave Atmospheric noise occurs to some extent at all propagation. strength of the signal transmitted in a desired direction. route of travel. both the be caused by friction of water or solid particles blown groundwave and skywave ranges are greatest at the lowest against or along such a surface. Therefore. The following summary indicates the principal frequencies but decreases with higher frequencies. but the range for be made sharply directive. the strongest signal received from a transmission because of the efficiency of the “Earth- vertical transmitting antenna occurs when the receiving ionosphere waveguide. At 10 kHz it would be about 8 A wider bandwidth permits pulsed signals at 100 kHz. Under suitable conditions this becomes visible and is known as St. Man-made noises originate in square of the distance from the transmitter. This is variable skywave pulse up to 1. The frequency for Loran C is in the LF of the same transmitted power as one of higher frequency. This band is also useful for radio direction finding At higher frequencies. large antennas are needed. and virtually no signal in the direction of the wire. 300 to 3. or static. This nautical miles for a half-wavelength antenna. allows separation of the stable groundwave pulse from the lower frequency antennas are inherently inefficient.000 km partly offset by the greater range of a low frequency signal for overwater paths. wave interference. An extreme upon the power transmitted. conducting portions being included in a dipole antenna. However.500 km.000 kHz): only can such an antenna be made efficient. there is and ground. This is the reason for power output falls off rapidly. one efficiency of antennas for these frequencies. the conducting surface.” During such storms. For a single-wire antenna. the signal strength is the same in all are inefficient. may constitute the only source of radio communication For lower frequencies the radiation of a radio signal over great distances. and perhaps other acquire a considerable charge of static electricity. skip distance. the atmosphere. Attenuation. motor and generator brushes. assuming there electrical appliances. Signals may be ground. For a horizontal antenna. thus greatly increasing the a given power is reduced greatly. At higher part of the droplet requiring a positive charge and the other frequencies. and range for a given this distance is one-half wavelength. Not Medium Frequency (MF. Unless the polarization undergoes a amounts of power. and up to 2. This range varies from . and when it accumulates to a atmospheric noise level. and antenna design all affect the sufficient extent to overcome the insulating properties of distance at which useful signals can be received. For the same transmitted power. with the lowest and progressing to the highest usable radio frequency. interference from takes place by interaction between the antenna and the atmospheric noise may be troublesome. Low Frequency (LF. only direct waves are useful. For a vertical antenna. Near-maximum efficiency is attained when greater attenuation with distance. This may factors. becomes prohibitively great. at the lowest frequencies. LF signals are However. the ends of yardarms.

but the elevation of the antenna are available. Some form of ship-to-shore communication. are pronounced and may produce an upper limit to the Also. Types of Radio Transmission Ultra High Frequency (UHF.400 kHz. . 3. Within the United States.000 needed at night. At the lower frequencies of the band. which is widely used for ship-to- the transmission. ranges of as be produced. Interference between stations is with lower frequencies. skywaves. but it is most evident when signals further reduced by the use of channels. the reliability of skywave signals nonexistent. these are not the only considerations. The SHF band is used for marine low. The allocation of various frequency Very High Frequency (VHF. etc. amplitude is called a continuous wave (CW). antennas are possible with VHF. due These values are influenced. although there is some wave produce. fading. By careful selection of frequency.000 MHz): Skywaves are not used in the UHF band because the A series of waves transmitted at constant frequency and ionosphere is not sufficiently dense to reflect the waves. Diffraction and interference by atmospheric noise are virtually season. heard except at the very lowest radio frequencies. The standard broadcast band for MHz): The effects of shorter waves are more pronounced in commercial stations (535 to 1. however. are possible. In some cases a given frequency is be used results in increased distance of reception. but the radio horizon miles at the upper end for a transmitted signal of 1 kilowatt. The VHF band is much used for communication. the height of the antenna does have an important frequency useful in radio communication. the directivity and efficiency of the antenna. Regulation of Frequency Use between antenna and image is related to the height of the antenna. noise. Reasonably efficient directional permitting selection of band and channel by the user. However. 30. The distance 1014. 300 to 3. but only though some wave interference between direct and ground.605 kHz) is in the MF band. transmission being free from wave High Frequency (HF. This cannot be which pass through it into space. and sunspot cycle. At higher frequencies the centimeter wave band.000 to 30. Assigned frequencies are separated by conditions. virtually free from fading and interference by atmospheric and the nature of the terrain over which signals travel. but generally they are unavailable. and this distance is as critical as the distance While the characteristics of various frequencies are between elements of an antenna system. Highly efficient.000 miles with 1 kilowatt of transmitted power of UHF. 1015. Thus. in a receiver. water droplets. but during the night it may drop to 8 Confusion and extensive interference would result if every to 10 MHz. noise in this band. In general. and interference by medium frequencies. Elevating the cations Commission has responsibility for authorizing use antenna to increase the distance at which direct waves can of particular frequencies. Maximum usable important to the selection of the most suitable one for any frequencies fall generally within the HF band. 30 to 300 MHz): bands to particular uses is a matter of international Communication is limited primarily to the direct wave. and fading. the signals increases. use. but lower frequencies are Extremely High Frequency (EHF. such as reflected waves is present. there are no skywaves.. permitting increased use of being entirely by direct and ground-reflected waves. reflections from the ionosphere are sufficiently an arbitrary band of frequencies that are not authorized for strong to be useful. Since the ionosphere changes with the hour. the EHF band.000 MHz): frequency is increased. diffraction. Diffraction is negligible.000 to 300. Sharply directive antennas can be produced for Elevating the antenna to obtain direct waves may improve transmission in this band.158 RADIO WAVES about 400 miles at the lower portion of the band to about 15 interference. each of a narrow cross sharp mountain peaks or ridges. equally good by day or night. or agreement. using multihop signals. Groundwaves and ground. ship and ship-to-shore communication. As the Super High Frequency (SHF. If it is too high. The HF band is widely used for ship-to-ship and user had complete freedom of selection. By day this given purpose. sharply directive antennas can is variable. ionospheric absorption increases to In the SHF band. skywave reception is navigational radar. even allocated to several widely separated transmitters. skywaves are available both day and night. dust particles. under conditions which minimize interference. transmission in this band is similar to that much as 8. Under suitable band of frequencies. In the case of radio aids to navigation and ship There is relatively little interference from atmospheric communications bands of several channels are allocated. Only direct and ground-reflected waves is limited to a few miles. Diffraction is much less than during daylight hours. may be 10 to 30 MHz. transmission absorption decreases. extends about 15 percent beyond the visible horizon. If it is too interference. the Reflection by clouds. the Federal Communi- the direct wave plus a ground-reflected wave. 3 to 30 MHz): As with higher interference. signals are too weak. the groundwave range of HF signals atmospheric noise. Reception of UHF signals is transmitter. when it may reflected waves are used. an audible hum of high pitch. by the power of the principally to refraction. Scattering and absorption in the atmosphere may increase the direct-wave distance of transmission. causing greater scattering. but with the effects of shorter waves being greater. also known as the microwave or as the a maximum at about 1. effect upon skywave transmission because the antenna has an “image” within the conducting Earth. frequency selection is critical. regulation is needed. increased wave penetrate the ionosphere and are lost in space.

as in the standard broadcast band of commer. The output of a receiver illustrated in Figure 1015b. Receivers accordance with the amplitude of the impressed signal. the continuous wave serves as a carrier wave for infor. When this A radio transmitter consists essentially of (1) a power occurs. For a modulating wave. In addi- removing the modulating wave and converting it back to its tion. an antenna and ground (for lower frequencies) are original form. If the frequency instead of the amplitude is altered in 1017. including radar and Loran C. (2) an oscillator to convert mation. Although a continuous wave may be used directly. from among the many which may reach the receiving separated by relatively long periods of “silence. ponents are illustrated in Figure 1016. or navigational aids. a current is occurs. These com- voice radio. cathode-ray tube. This is called modulation. very short bursts of carrier wave are transmitted. as in 1016. and Pulse modulation (PM) is somewhat different. frequency modulation (FM) When a radio wave passes a conductor. direct current into radio-frequency oscillations (the carrier In amplitude modulation (AM) the amplitude of the wave). Figure 1015b. visually on a dial. is used in some common radio may be presented audibly by earphones or loudspeaker. there transforms it into usable form.” during antenna. as shown in some transmitters a microphone is needed with a modulator Figure 1015a. This type of transmission. provide adequate amplification. Transmitters radiodirection finding or Decca. Amplitude modulation (upper figure) and frequency modulation (lower figure) by the same modulating wave. A radio receiver is a device and the sound portion of television broadcasts. supply to furnish direct current. RADIO WAVES 159 Figure 1015a. (3) a device to control the generated signal. a single frequency (actually a narrow band of frequencies) mission. cial broadcasting. it is more commonly modi- fied in some manner. It is able to select signals of being no impressed modulating wave. This is used for commercial FM radio broadcasts induced in that conductor. counter. This form of modulation is widely used in needed to produce electromagnetic radiation. as shown in Figure 1015a. which senses the power thus generated in an antenna. In this form of trans. and (4) carrier wave is altered in accordance with the amplitude of an amplifier to increase the output of the oscillator. Pulse modulation. Any of several types of modulation may be used. or other . In the receiver the signal is demodulated by and final amplifier to modulate the carrier wave. usually of audio frequency. The receiver is able to demodulate the signal and which there is no transmission.

and provides a focal point for user input. Departments of Defense and Transportation. the completeness with which signal. and other by the U. if a receiver lacks selectivity.ntis. display. The Federal Radionavigation Plan review of existing and planned radionavigation systems used in air. availability. Thus. the ability to confine reception to signals of the spillover. the ability to resist drift from conditions or values of frequencies to obtain the full range of those of the desired to which set. 22161. The mix of Defense plan had been developed for systems used by of navigation systems in the U. part of a presidential report to Congress.S. the International The Federal Radionavigation Plan (FRP) is produced Association of Lighthouse Authorities (IALA). the ability to amplify a weak spillover. and marine navigation.160 RADIO WAVES Figure 1016. RADIO NAVIGATION POLICY 1018. and its military radionavigation systems. This condition is called selectivity. The government’s policy is to continue to integrated federal plan for all common-use civilian and operate radionavigation systems as long as the U. and (3) a Some of these characteristics are interrelated. outlines approaches for allies derive greater benefit than adversaries. Components of a radio transmitter. and terrestrial. ensuring consideration of national may be temporarily discontinued by the federal interests and efficient use of resources. Operating consolidation of systems. Receivers may have additional features such as accepting the challenge of an interrogator and automat- an automatic frequency control. for the job it is expected to do. Thus.gov. land. things to the user. the essential characteristics of the original signal are A transponder is a transmitter-receiver capable of reproduced. http://www. the fidelity may be reduced. and integrity to all navigation systems. signals of a Radio receivers differ mainly in (1) frequency range. it should have 100% integrity. the useful reception of radio signals requires etc. automatic noise limiter. provides information and agencies may shut down systems or change signal formats schedules. it may not permit receipt of a great enough band signal to usable strength against a background of noise. The FRP has had international impact on provide maximum accuracy.S. frequency differing slightly from those to which the the range of frequencies to which they can be tuned. any or all of the systems navigation systems. warning the user and time that a joint Department of Transportation/Department shutting itself down when not operating properly. space. Aviation Organization (ICAO). in all weather. It is available The ideal navigation system should provide three from the National Technical Information Service.S.S. (2) receiver is tuned may be received. Virginia. (3) sensitivity. aeronautical. (4) stability. It international organizations. three components: (1) an antenna. at any time of day or night. it should be available The first edition of the FRP was released in 1980 as 100% of the time. (2) a receiver. it should be as accurate as necessary Springfield. First. and characteristics during such an emergency. U. it is distributed to the International users. It marked the first Third. Second. and the resulting interference is called crosstalk. For display unit. ically transmitting an appropriate reply. instance. establishes government policy on the mix of electronic During a national emergency. and (5) fidelity. within the Maritime Organization (IMO). desired frequency and avoid others of nearly the same If the selectivity is increased sufficiently to prevent frequency. defines and clarifies new or unresolved issues. is carefully chosen to both departments. The FRP is a The plan is reviewed continually and updated . marine. the International Civil constraints of budget and practicality. It presents an government.

public safety. and timing services for both civil and military air. The FRP 1021. Loran C. The 2001 FRP sets forth the following The navigator relies on simple. although Differential GPS (DGPS): The U. Several factors influence the decision on the proper mix of systems. Local Area Augmentation System (LAAS): LAAS is a precision positioning system provided by the FAA for 1019. TACAN.S. Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS): WAAS therefore. It current investment in existing systems by both government will provide 4-20 meter continuous accuracy. LAAS. out without consideration of these factors. Industry. WAAS is not optimized for marine responsibilities for national security. States. but can provide extremely navigation systems. The correctional signals are broadcast on HF In order to meet both civilian and military needs. It is operated by the U. Coast Guard there are issues of reliability to be addressed in the face of operates marine DGPS in U. Each system utilizes the latest accurate position data in a local area. in which a medium frequency radio signal is broadcast from a station at a known location. will be requirements. Air Force. and marine radiobeacons in the U. The waters including Hawaii.S. The decreasing cost of receivers and increasing accuracy of the Global Positioning System 1020. MLS.S. advisory groups. Factors Affecting Navigation System Mix addresses the length of time each system should be part of the system mix. which must satisfy an extremely diverse group of frequencies. The full life-cycle cost of DGPS system is being installed across the United States to each system must be considered.S. Several have into DGPS sites. and the days are numbered for LORAN C: Loran C provides navigation. and ILS. DGPS is a threats to jam or otherwise compromise the system. System Plans local navigation in the immediate vicinity of airports so equipped. LAAS is not intended federal government has established a number of different or configured for marine use. location. but a directional antenna on a vessel is used . the Departments of Defense and Transpor- to the large number of users. coastal users.S. using a series of civilian requirements in the most efficient way possible. navigation systems. met their demise already (Transit. WAAS. DGPS. marine radiobeacons GPS as a robust. Accuracies of a few meters are possible. It is the official source of provide additional position accuracy if the signal is radionavigation systems policy and planning for the United unobstructed. and user requirements all drive the problem the nation’s primary radionavigation system well into the of allocating scarce resources to develop and maintain next century. and while not certified for maritime navigation. Reasonable the federally provided and maintained radionavigation notice will be given if the decision is made to terminate it. and use. system. The goal is to meet all military and cross-country and local air navigation. available. and the Great Lakes. The plan considers governmental geostationary satellites. and other interested reference stations and broadcasting correction data through parties provide input. the radio with a range of about 30 miles. It is slated for replacement by GPS. as GPS assumes primacy in navigation technology. and flexible system is have been discontinued and most of the stations converted rapidly driving older systems off the scene. and on system policy guidelines: some of the most complex and expensive space-based electronic systems man has ever developed. and maritime users. Systems covered by the FRP include GPS. military utility.S. land. accurate.). accuracy GPS: The Global Positioning System. traditional gear. coastal waters. technology available at the time of implementation and is upgraded as technology and resources permit. may transportation system economy. DGPS service is available in all U. about the same as with DGPS. or GPS. but due In the U. system in which differences between observed and Many factors influence the choice of navigation calculated GPS signals are broadcast to users using medium systems. A terrestrial and users must be considered. The FRP recognizes that GPS may not meet the needs of all users. Omega. others. International agreements must be honored. VOR/VOR- DME/VORTAC. is expected to remain in place tation continually evaluate the components which make up indefinitely while its continuation is evaluated. The success of RADIOBEACONS: All U. RADIO WAVES 161 biennially. cost.S.. Introduction direction finding. This signal is The simplest use of radio waves in navigation is radio omnidirectional. No system will be phased bring differential GPS service to land areas. some systems are currently being evaluated is a service of the FAA similar to DGPS. Alaska. RADIO DIRECTION FINDING 1022. Enhancements to GPS increase its attractiveness as the primary navigation method of the future for both military and civilian use. and is intended for independently of GPS.

Selectivity varies with the type of receiver and its directional as possible. The relatively short range of those stations remaining has made this process obsolete. which is broadcast continuously during the The strength of the signal determines the usable range of period of transmission. conditions vary considerably. and the accuracy of cation. A 10-second dash is incorporated in a radiobeacon. Some small craft RDF’s have a portable local fishermen. back and forth to find the exact null point. align the unit fix. The relative output of the two radio bearings was necessary to obtain the most accurate antennas is related to the orientation of each with respect to LOP’s. good radio bearings should not be in error by Depending upon the design of the RDF. They are now chiefly used as homing devices by dicated on the dial. All radiobeacons superimpose the characteristic on a calibration. This constitutes an have a ferrite rod antenna mounted directly on a receiver. Radio Naviga- tional Aids. two In the past. Radio Navigational Aids. . will be in- other areas. The correction process accounted for the fact that. Except during calibration. 1023. Because of its limited phones to hear the null. carrier wave. often plotted on Mercator charts. The bearing to the radiobeacons have been discontinued in the U. By observing the technical marine radiobeacon transmits radio waves of approximately instructions for the equipment and practicing frequently when uniform strength in all directions. and very little of the ocean’s surface is hand-held combination ferrite rod and compass. The most common type of skill is an important factor. However. Using Radio Direction Finders bearings which cross a shoreline at an oblique angle. or regarding as of doubtful accuracy. radiobeacons are now listed in the back of each RDF bearings are subject to certain errors. It is avoided by not using.162 RADIO WAVES to determine the bearing of the station. and is measured by a while radio bearings travel along great circles. regardless of weather extent radio bearings can be relied upon under various conditions. mariner can contact via radio and request a bearing. and inherent errors. results can be checked. which can be crossed with another LOP to determine a a 360 degree graduated scale. one can develop skill and learn to what radiobeacons operate continuously. as coastal refraction. comprising Morse code letters are used for station identifi. the direction of travel of the radio wave. Quadrantal volume of the geographically appropriate List of Lights. Errors of Radio Direction Finders comprising a major part of NIMA Pub. the crossed loop type. 117. direction finders and during varying atmospheric conditions. Bearing measurement is accomplished with a directional The sensitivity of a radio direction finder determines the antenna. with LOP. or nautical miles. and a fee may be experiences a change of direction due to differences in involved. In one of these. The actual useful range may vary considerably the characteristic signal to enable users of the aural null type from the published range with different types of radio of radio direction finder to refine the bearing. when radiobeacon stations were powerful and loops are rigidly mounted in such manner that one is placed at common enough for routine ocean navigation. Most of A radio wave crossing a coastline at an oblique angle these stations are for emergency use only. and rotate the antenna Once used extensively throughout the world. degree to which the full range of a radiobeacon can be rectional properties. In general. correction of 90 degrees to the other. range. Nearly all types of receiving antennas have some di. the bearings of more than two or three degrees for distances under 150 the radio transmissions are measured as relative bearings. Simple small craft RDF units usually condition. sometimes called land effect. with ear- covered by any radiobeacon signal. These stations and procedures for use are listed in conducting and reflecting properties of land and water known NIMA Pub. error occurs when radio waves arrive at a receiver and are A Radio Direction Finding Station is one which the influenced by the immediate shipboard environment. and as both relative and true bearings. To get a bearing. limited availability. and many station. direction finders. the condition of the equipment. relative or true according to the alignment. Once 1024. Simple combinations of dots and dashes conditions. they are most device called a goniometer. Other factors affecting accuracy include range. to the vessel’s course or to true north. 117. radio direction Two types of loop antenna are used in larger radio finding is of limited usefulness to the professional navigator.S. but the RDF antenna is designed to be as utilized.