Propagation Definition and 31 Discussions

Radio propagation is the behavior of radio waves as they travel, or are propagated, from one point to another, or into various parts of the atmosphere. As a form of electromagnetic radiation, like light waves, radio waves are affected by the phenomena of reflection, refraction, diffraction, absorption, polarization, and scattering. Understanding the effects of varying conditions on radio propagation has many practical applications, from choosing frequencies for international shortwave broadcasters, to designing reliable mobile telephone systems, to radio navigation, to operation of radar systems.
Several different types of propagation are used in practical radio transmission systems. Line-of-sight propagation means radio waves which travel in a straight line from the transmitting antenna to the receiving antenna. Line of sight transmission is used for medium-distance radio transmission, such as cell phones, cordless phones, walkie-talkies, wireless networks, FM radio, television broadcasting, radar, and satellite communication (such as satellite television). Line-of-sight transmission on the surface of the Earth is limited to the distance to the visual horizon, which depends on the height of transmitting and receiving antennas. It is the only propagation method possible at microwave frequencies and above.At lower frequencies in the MF, LF, and VLF bands, diffraction allows radio waves to bend over hills and other obstacles, and travel beyond the horizon, following the contour of the Earth. These are called surface waves or ground wave propagation. AM broadcast stations use ground waves to cover their listening areas. As the frequency gets lower, the attenuation with distance decreases, so very low frequency (VLF) and extremely low frequency (ELF) ground waves can be used to communicate worldwide. VLF and ELF waves can penetrate significant distances through water and earth, and these frequencies are used for mine communication and military communication with submerged submarines.
At medium wave and shortwave frequencies (MF and HF bands) radio waves can refract from the ionosphere. This means that medium and short radio waves transmitted at an angle into the sky can be refracted back to Earth at great distances beyond the horizon – even transcontinental distances. This is called skywave propagation. It is used by amateur radio operators to communicate with operators in distant countries, and by shortwave broadcast stations to transmit internationally.In addition, there are several less common radio propagation mechanisms, such as tropospheric scattering (troposcatter), tropospheric ducting (ducting), and near vertical incidence skywave (NVIS) which are used in specialized communication systems.

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  1. A

    Propagation Wave Expressions and Wave Velocity

    Hello everyone, I would really appreciate some help on the following problem on plane waves and propagation. Not too sure if my attempt at writing the propagation wave expressions are correct, and how to handle the arbitrary function f(u). For the velocity, the wavelength is not specified, so is...
  2. E

    Rearranging the equation for the cutoff condition in optical fibers

    Hello! In Optical fibers, let ##k_1## and ##k_2## be respectively the propagation constants in core and cladding, ##\beta## the propagation costant of a mode along the direction ##z##, ##a## the radius of the fiber. Using the normalized quantities ##u=a \sqrt{k_1^2 − \beta^2}## and ##w=a...
  3. E

    TE and TM modes in optical fibers

    In a step-index optical fiber, considering Bessel functions of order ##\nu = 0## and no ##\phi## dependence, it is possible to obtain two separate sets of components, which generate respectively TE and TM modes. In the former case, only ##E_{\phi}##, ##H_r##, ##H_z## are involved; in the latter...
  4. J

    In what direction does a light wave vibrate?

    I've wondered this for a while but not known how to ask the question, If light is a transverse wave, then what is it transverse to? To elaborate, light travels in three-dimensions, radially. To me, this seems analogous to the sound wave, with pulses of pressure moving longitudinally to the...
  5. S

    Angle of Incidence, Propagation Constant and Wavelength

    Homework Statement Light of free-space wavelength λ0 = 0.87 μm is guided by a thin planar film of thickness d = 3.0 μm and refractive index n1 = 1.6, surrounded by a medium of refractive index n2 = 1.4 critical angle = 61.04° n0 = 1.00 (a) Determine (i) the angle of incidence θ and (ii) the...
  6. T

    Why does the sun affect radio wave propagation?

    I noticed HF radio waves travel farther and easier when the sun is out rather then during the night. Why?
  7. A

    Uncertainty/error of a volume is greater than the normal volume

    Homework Statement I have an empty cylinder with an external diameter of (23.0 ± 0.5) mm, an internal diameter of (22.5 ± 0.5) mm and a height of (60.0 ± 0.5) mm. I need to calculate its volume with its uncertainty/error. Homework Equations The Attempt at a Solution I do it like this...
  8. T

    Propagation of radio waves

    Hello! I have been thinking of broadcasting a message into outer space. It sounds silly, I know, but that's just something I'd like to do for and with my niece. She's 8 years old and very interested in physics (as far as she understands it). I have some knowledge in electronics, I think I...
  9. R

    I Is this book correct regarding waves in even dimensions? In this book I found by chance on Google, the author claims that “solutions of the wave equation only take the form of functions (...) in one and three dimensions. In two dimensions solutions are more complex”. Then, at the end of the paragraph of interest (which I...
  10. B

    A Intuition on integral term in D'Alembert's formula

    If $$\phi(t,x)$$ is a solution to the one dimensional wave equation and if the initial conditions $$\phi(0,x) , \phi_t(0,x)$$ are given, D'Alembert's Formula gives $$\phi(t,x)= \frac 12[ \phi(0,x-ct)+ \phi(0,x+ct) ]+ \frac1{2c} \int_{x-ct}^{x+ct} \phi_t(0,y)dy . \tag{1}$$ which is...
  11. E

    I Dispersion: expansion of wavenumber as function of omega

    Hi! Dealing about wave propagation in a medium and dispersion, wavenumber k can be considered as a function of \omega (as done in Optics) or vice-versa (as maybe done more often in Quantum Mechanics). In the first case, k (\omega) \simeq k(\omega_0) + (\omega - \omega_0) \displaystyle \left...
  12. E

    Group delay with Gaussian pulse

    Hello! Starting from a gaussian waveform propagating in a dispersive medium, is it possible to obtain an expression for the waveform at a generic time t, when the dispersion is not negligible? I know that a generic gaussian pulse (considered as an envelope of a carrier at frequency k_c) can be...
  13. R

    I Propagating Error in both numerator and denominator of ratio

    Hello, I have a set of N samples, each of which yields the measurable variables A and B. I am interested in computing the mean and standard error of the ratio A/B within the group. The catch is that I need to do background subtraction on both A and B, and the two different background values BGA...
  14. E

    Another question about dispersion (and wavenumber)

    Hello! I still would like to thank those who participated to my previous thread about group velocity and dispersion. Now there is a (maybe) simpler question. A sinusoidal, electro-magnetic plane wave in the vacuum propagates in a certain direction with the following wavenumber, which is supposed...
  15. N

    Propagation of EM waves

    Hi... If we consider propagation of sound through a medium other than vacuum, we mean, when sound is produced by a vibrating speaker diaphragm, it gives periodic jolts to the molecules and atoms present in the medium or air. These "pushes" are transferred to all adjacent atoms until finally few...
  16. E

    Transverse resonance method

    The Transverse resonance method is used to determine the propagation constant of a wave in several waveguides, like the rectangular waveguide, or also dielectric waveguides. It takes advantage of the fact that a standing wave is present along a certain direction (transverse with respect to the...
  17. C

    Error Propagation

    I tried posting this question in this forum a couple of weeks ago, but didn't get an answer to my question. I'm going to try posting it again using the formatting template so that it is hopefully clearer. I am also not sure if this is the right forum to be posting this in. It is a problem I ran...
  18. E

    Group velocity definition

    In the propagation of non-monochromatic waves, the group velocity is defined as v_g = \displaystyle \frac{d \omega}{d k} It seems here that \omega is considered a function of k and not viceversa. But in the presence of a signal source, like an antenna in the case of electro-magnetic wave or a...
  19. C

    Error Propagation - Reconciling Two Approaches

    Hi, I am trying to find the error propagated by calculating the sum of a set of mass flow rates collected over the same length of time. The sum of mass flow rates can be calculated with two approaches, since the collection time is the same for all of them. Approach (1) is adding up all of the...
  20. H Smith 94

    Understanding propagation loss: What does this output mean?

    Hi there! I am currently building a simulation to model the propagation of radio waves in seawater in terms of its propagation loss. I have previously discussed the models I've looked at but have settled on a model which depends primarily on the propagation distance ##r##, the carrier wave...
  21. H Smith 94

    How is radio wave propagation modelled in seawater?

    Before I start, I apologise for the information dump that is to follow. I don't expect all questions to be answered or all models to be addressed; I simply feel it is appropriate to provide the community with my current knowledge and stage of research so you may not have to search for it...
  22. S

    Wave frequency and propagation attenuation

    In my memory, the wave frequency will decrease because the attenuation in wave propagation, is that true? Can someone please give me some links to prove or disprove it? thanks
  23. Essence

    Wave speed dependent on medium not source?

    Homework Statement So in my textbook it says "The speed of the wave depends on properties of the medium, not on the motion of source or observer. An explosion causes pressure variations in the air around it. This "deformation" propagates outward as a sound wave at a speed dependent only on...
  24. BiGyElLoWhAt

    Carrier particles and E-Field Propagation

    A thought experiment that is a consequense of a question someone asked in my particle physics class: We place an isolated electron. We wait 10 years, and place a half ring of electrons (spaced far apart from each other, but uniform) 10 LY away from our central e. Will our charges move? If so...
  25. L

    Thought experiment on magnetic field propagation

    Some 30 years ago I learned in the elementary school, that if I move a permanent magnet in a coil which ends are somehow electrically closed, than I need to apply force on the magnet, because the generated current creates a magnetic field which is against the magnet's field. However if the...
  26. T

    Computation of propagation amplitudes for KG field

    Note: I'm posting this in the Quantum Physics forum since it doesn't really apply to HEP or particle physics (just scalar QFT). Hopefully this is the right forum. In Peskin and Schroeder, one reaches the following equation for the spacetime Klein-Gordon field: $$\phi(x,t)=\int...
  27. N

    Curl of the Electric Field

    I am thinking about the curl of the electric field and want to make sure I have something straight: Say you have a charged particle moving along some prescribed path. The electric field propagates outward at speed c, leading to a "retarded" time that you need to calculate in order to get the...
  28. T

    Results from TLE & SGP4 propagation - don't seem right & with interpretation

    Greetings all ! I have this problem with SGP4 propagation, that I hope someone can help me out with. I acquired a TLE of the ISS from internet and used the C++ SGP4 propagator to compute future position and velocity vectors of the Station. I am unsure about some aspects of results though and...
  29. T

    How to write C++ code using SGP4 to propagate satellite position

    Greetings all ! I really hope this is the right sub-forum for my question, I have chosen it because I've seen TLE being mentioned a couple of times around here. I have done some reading on astrodynamics and orbital mechanics, but I am relatively new to coding. I would like to write some C++...
  30. B

    Scalar propagator for lightlike separation

    Hello everybody. I have a free scalar in two dimensions. I know that its propagator will diverge for lightlike separations, that is t= ±x. I have to find the prefactor for this delta function, and I don't know how to do this. How do I see from, for example, \int \frac{dk}{\sqrt{k^2+m^2}} e^{i k...
  31. Z

    Propagating uncertainty when calculating acceleration due to gravity?

    Hello, I'm having trouble with a lab report. The experiment conducted was we used an angled air-track and a timer to determine the speed at which an object slid down the track and its acceleration. The final average acceleration we calculated was (61.034 +- 2.227)(cm/s2) We're then given a...