While Guglielmo Marconi may have worked on radio inventions and received a Nobel Prize in Physics for his work, it is important to remember that Nikola Tesla filed patents for radio technology several years before Marconi. Both scientists performed extensive work in order to understand the nature and usage of radio waves, but Tesla is often forgotten in the history books. In the modern age, radio technology is pervasive and can be found in numerous aspects of daily life. From car radios to satellite communications, we as a society are dependent on radios.
The receiver and the transmitter are the foundation of a radio. As can be deduced from their names, the transmitter captures a message and sends it in the format of sine waves and the receiver collects the data and works to decode the message. An antenna assists the transmitter and receiver in communication. When thinking about modern radio technology, consider how a longer antenna can help gain a better signal.
Devices called power dividers and directional couplers are often essential to proper function in radios. These items help harness the electromagnetic power moving through the radio apparatus in order to manage signals. With some fine tuning, these mechanisms can send specific amounts of power to different parts of the larger machine. For example, a baby monitor requires smaller amounts of power to operate but a national wireless network needs quite a lot of energy. By using power dividers and couplers in the radio design, engineers can build products that function appropriately, no matter the size.
In the United States, radio signals are controlled by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. This agency is part of the United States Department of Commerce and works to develop competition among industries. A key part of this mission is the maintenance of standardization in multiple areas, including radio waves.