[Readers’ forum] Terminology questioned


February 26, 2010 - 12:00 AM

Anne Kazmierczak’s article in Thursday’s Iola Register was quite well written and informative. Her unfamiliarity with some of the technical aspects of radio transmission, however, was a bit amusing.
The term “frequency” when speaking about any kind of radio signal is not something that is measured in any kind of amount. Frequency is a term which is used to identify where in the radio spectrum a radio signal is located. Frequencies, as such, are identified in terms of cycles per second. When you are dealing with a radio signal, it usually is expressed in terms of “megacycles” (millions of cycles per second). As an example, the KRPS 93.1 translator station operating on the tower in question actually operates on a radio frequency of 93,100,000 cy-cles per second or 93.1 megacycles. Or, as a more modern alternative term, megahertz, which means the same thing.
It is quite true that the number of radio transmitters allowable on any particular tower has to be limited, and the reason for this is interference with one another. Intensity of the radio signal being transmitted is the main culprit in most interference cases, but if the frequencies of two or more transmitters happen to be harmonically related, (that is, on multiples of the lowest frequency) on the same tower and are intense enough, problems can de-velop. The FCC normally avoids this problem by refusing to license harmonic frequencies for the same tower.
At any rate, frequencies of multiple radio signals are not something related to amounts, they are related to locations in the radio spectrum.
Anyone who might be interested in learning more about electronics, radio and communications is welcome to attend any of our Iola Amateur Radio Club meetings as our guest. And, if they wished to obtain an amateur radio license, we would be happy to help them do so.

Ralph J. Romig,
vice president,
Iola Amateur Radio Club

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