Although the good old days of families sitting around a radio and listening to broadcasts and music have been replaced by families sitting around televisions and gaming systems, radio waves are not a thing of the past. In fact, radio waves are used in practically every thing that sends any kind of signal.
Of course, the AM or FM radio station you listen to as you drive to and from the office still uses radio waves and is very much like the old upright radio that used to stand in the living room of practically every home. However, television broadcasts still use radio waves to get the signal out to microwave receivers and satellites. Controlling the power with an RF directional coupler helps send the signals properly.
Cellular networks, WI-FI and even the Bluetooth equipment you use with your phone or computer use radio waves. We would have to go back to paper maps if we didn’t have GPS, which uses the waves, too.
Outer space is full of radio waves, and they come from the stars and planets as well as galaxies and dust clouds. Astronomers have even found black holes through the use of specific radio frequencies. The waves can be generated much closer to home by something as well-known as atmospheric lightning. They are all around us, even though we cannot see them.
You might wonder if other items in your home besides the television and radio use radio waves. Practically anything that produces or uses an electromagnetic field uses these waves. Electric blankets, hair dryers, the toaster and even your electric toothbrush use this energy.
When you use something that creates or uses electricity, you are most likely producing or using radio waves. It’s amazing how many things people take for granted are powered or connected through these unseen frequencies.