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How does a Radio receiver work -- radio waves that hit the antenna and makes the electrons move?

  1. Apr 12, 2017 #1

    What exactly makes electrons in the antenna move to generate an induced current which then can be encoded?

    Is it radio waves that hits the antenna and makes the electrons move? If so, why/how? :)

    All I get from this link is that "the radio waves makes the electrons wiggling back and forth", but how? http://www.explainthatstuff.com/radio.html
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 12, 2017 #2


    Staff: Mentor

  4. Apr 12, 2017 #3
    Thank you!
    I found the same thing here "during reception, the oscillating electric and magnetic fields of an incoming radio wave exert force on the electrons in the antenna elements, causing them to move back and forth, creating oscillating currents in the antenna."

    A radio wave is a electromagnetic wave, does not the force from the magnetic field and the electric field (acting on an electron in the antenna) cancel each other out? Because the B and E-field is perpendicular right?
  5. Apr 14, 2017 #4


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    My view is that it is the electric field which causes the electrons to move and stationery electrons are not moved by a magnetic field.
    The voltage induced on a short conductor can be found by multiplying its length by the incoming E-field.
  6. Apr 14, 2017 #5


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    The E and B fields are perpendicular to each other, but that doesn't cancel out the force on the electrons.

    Perhaps, but the electrons are not stationary in an antenna receiving a signal. The electric and magnetic fields aren't static either, so you really have a complicated situation.
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