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Name: Sergio S.
Status: student
Age: 16
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 3/13/2004


Question:
What do scientists use to measure radio waves? Is it expensive and/or hard to find?


Replies:
Sergio,

Scientists usually use a device very similar to what you have on your radio or television. Scientists use an antenna. They set the antenna to be the correct length and have the correct angle for the waves they want to measure. They then connect the antenna to whatever device is appropriate. If they want to see the pattern, an oscilloscope works well. Oscilloscopes can be expensive. If they want to hear the signal, they use a less expensive device: a simple one-speaker radio. Digital radios with automatic tuners do not work well, but old-fashioned radios with knobs for tuners are good. Still, it is the antenna that is most important.

Dr. Ken Mellendorf
Physics Professor
Illinois Central College



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