Topic: Radio

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πŸ”— Evolved antenna

πŸ”— Telecommunications πŸ”— Radio πŸ”— Electronics πŸ”— Engineering

In radio communications, an evolved antenna is an antenna designed fully or substantially by an automatic computer design program that uses an evolutionary algorithm that mimics Darwinian evolution. This procedure has been used in recent years to design a few antennas for mission-critical applications involving stringent, conflicting, or unusual design requirements, such as unusual radiation patterns, for which none of the many existing antenna types are adequate.

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πŸ”— Plasma Antenna

πŸ”— Telecommunications πŸ”— Radio πŸ”— Electronics πŸ”— Engineering

A plasma antenna is a type of radio antenna currently in development in which plasma is used instead of the metal elements of a traditional antenna. A plasma antenna can be used for both transmission and reception. Although plasma antennas have only become practical in recent years, the idea is not new; a patent for an antenna using the concept was granted to J. Hettinger in 1919.

Early practical examples of the technology used discharge tubes to contain the plasma and are referred to as ionized gas plasma antennas. Ionized gas plasma antennas can be turned on and off and are good for stealth and resistance to electronic warfare and cyber attacks. Ionized gas plasma antennas can be nested such that the higher frequency plasma antennas are placed inside lower frequency plasma antennas. Higher frequency ionized gas plasma antenna arrays can transmit and receive through lower frequency ionized gas plasma antenna arrays. This means that the ionized gas plasma antennas can be co-located and ionized gas plasma antenna arrays can be stacked. Ionized gas plasma antennas can eliminate or reduce co-site interference. Smart ionized gas plasma antennas use plasma physics to shape and steer the antenna beams without the need of phased arrays. Satellite signals can be steered or focused in the reflective or refractive modes using banks of plasma tubes making unique ionized gas satellite plasma antennas. The thermal noise of ionized gas plasma antennas is less than in the corresponding metal antennas at the higher frequencies. Solid state plasma antennas (also known as plasma silicon antennas) with steerable directional functionality that can be manufactured using standard silicon chip fabrication techniques are now also in development. Plasma silicon antennas are candidates for use in WiGig (the planned enhancement to Wi-Fi), and have other potential applications, for example in reducing the cost of vehicle-mounted radar collision avoidance systems.

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πŸ”— Arecibo message

πŸ”— History πŸ”— Telecommunications πŸ”— Radio πŸ”— Astronomy

The Arecibo message is a 1974 interstellar radio message carrying basic information about humanity and Earth sent to globular star cluster M13. It was meant as a demonstration of human technological achievement, rather than a real attempt to enter into a conversation with extraterrestrials.

The message was broadcast into space a single time via frequency modulated radio waves at a ceremony to mark the remodeling of the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico on 16 November 1974. The message was aimed at the current location of M13 some 25,000 light years away because M13 was a large and close collection of stars that was available in the sky at the time and place of the ceremony. The message forms the image shown here when translated into graphics, characters, and spaces.

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πŸ”— The Machine Stops

πŸ”— Novels πŸ”— Radio πŸ”— Novels/Science fiction πŸ”— Novels/Short story

"The Machine Stops" is a science fiction short story (12,300 words) by E. M. Forster. After initial publication in The Oxford and Cambridge Review (November 1909), the story was republished in Forster's The Eternal Moment and Other Stories in 1928. After being voted one of the best novellas up to 1965, it was included that same year in the populist anthology Modern Short Stories. In 1973 it was also included in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume Two.

The story, set in a world where humanity lives underground and relies on a giant machine to provide its needs, predicted technologies similar to instant messaging and the Internet.

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πŸ”— A History of the World in 100 Objects (2010)

πŸ”— British Museum πŸ”— Radio πŸ”— BBC πŸ”— Radio/UK Radio

A History of the World in 100 Objects was a joint project of BBC Radio 4 and the British Museum, comprising a 100-part radio series written and presented by British Museum director Neil MacGregor. In 15-minute presentations broadcast on weekdays on Radio 4, MacGregor used objects of ancient art, industry, technology and arms, all of which are in the British Museum's collections, as an introduction to parts of human history. The series, four years in planning, began on 18 January 2010 and was broadcast over 20 weeks. A book to accompany the series, A History of the World in 100 Objects by Neil MacGregor, was published by Allen Lane on 28 October 2010. The entire series is also available for download along with an audio version of the book for purchase. The British Museum won the 2011 Art Fund Prize for its role in hosting the project.

In 2016, a touring exhibition of several items depicted on the radio program, also titled A History of the World in 100 Objects, travelled to various destinations, including Abu Dhabi (Manarat Al Saadiyat), Taiwan (National Palace Museum in Taipei), Japan (Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum in Tokyo, Kyushu National Museum in Daizafu, and Kobe City Museum in Kobe), Australia (Western Australian Museum in Perth and National Museum of Australia in Canberra), and China (National Museum of China in Beijing and Shanghai Museum in Shanghai).

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πŸ”— Comfort Noise

πŸ”— Telecommunications πŸ”— Radio

Comfort noise (or comfort tone) is synthetic background noise used in radio and wireless communications to fill the artificial silence in a transmission resulting from voice activity detection or from the audio clarity of modern digital lines.

Some modern telephone systems (such as wireless and VoIP) use voice activity detection (VAD), a form of squelching where low volume levels are ignored by the transmitting device. In digital audio transmissions, this saves bandwidth of the communications channel by transmitting nothing when the source volume is under a certain threshold, leaving only louder sounds (such as the speaker's voice) to be sent. However, improvements in background noise reduction technologies can occasionally result in the complete removal of all noise. Although maximizing call quality is of primary importance, exhaustive removal of noise may not properly simulate the typical behavior of terminals on the PSTN system.

The result of receiving total silence, especially for a prolonged period, has a number of unwanted effects on the listener, including the following:

  • the listener may believe that the transmission has been lost, and therefore hang up prematurely.
  • the speech may sound "choppy" (see noise gate) and difficult to understand.
  • the sudden change in sound level can be jarring to the listener.

To counteract these effects, comfort noise is added, usually on the receiving end in wireless or VoIP systems, to fill in the silent portions of transmissions with artificial noise. The noise generated is at a low but audible volume level, and can vary based on the average volume level of received signals to minimize jarring transitions.

In many VoIP products, users may control how VAD and comfort noise are configured, or disable the feature entirely.

As part of the RTP audio video profile, RFC 3389 defines a standard for distributing comfort noise information in VoIP systems.

A similar concept is that of sidetone, the effect of sound that is picked up by a telephone's mouthpiece and introduced (at low level) into the earpiece of the same handset, acting as feedback.

During the siege of Leningrad, the beat of a metronome was used as comfort noise on the Leningrad radio network, indicating that the network was still functioning.

Many radio stations broadcast birdsong, city-traffic or other atmospheric comfort noise during periods of deliberate silence. For example, in the UK, silence is observed on Remembrance Sunday, and London's quiet city ambiance is used. This is to reassure the listener that the station is on-air, but primarily to prevent silence detection systems at transmitters from automatically starting backup tapes of music (designed to be broadcast in the case of transmission link failure).

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πŸ”— Crystal Detector

πŸ”— Radio

A crystal detector is an obsolete electronic component used in some early 20th century radio receivers that consists of a piece of crystalline mineral which rectifies the alternating current radio signal. It was employed as a detector (demodulator) to extract the audio modulation signal from the modulated carrier, to produce the sound in the earphones. It was the first type of semiconductor diode, and one of the first semiconductor electronic devices. The most common type was the so-called cat whisker detector, which consisted of a piece of crystalline mineral, usually galena (lead sulfide), with a fine wire touching its surface.

The "asymmetric conduction" of electric current across electrical contacts between a crystal and a metal was discovered in 1874 by Karl Ferdinand Braun. Crystals were first used as radio wave detectors in 1894 by Jagadish Chandra Bose in his microwave experiments. Bose first patented a crystal detector in 1901. The crystal detector was developed into a practical radio component mainly by G. W. Pickard, who began research on detector materials in 1902 and found hundreds of substances that could be used in forming rectifying junctions. The physical principles by which they worked were not understood at the time they were used, but subsequent research into these primitive point contact semiconductor junctions in the 1930s and 1940s led to the development of modern semiconductor electronics.

The unamplified radio receivers that used crystal detectors were called crystal radios. The crystal radio was the first type of radio receiver that was used by the general public, and became the most widely used type of radio until the 1920s. It became obsolete with the development of vacuum tube receivers around 1920, but continued to be used until World War II and remains a common educational project today thanks to its simple design.

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πŸ”— Wartime Broadcasting Service

πŸ”— Radio πŸ”— BBC πŸ”— Radio/UK Radio

The Wartime Broadcasting Service is a service of the BBC that is intended to broadcast in the United Kingdom either after a nuclear attack or if conventional bombing destroyed regular BBC facilities in a conventional war.

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πŸ”— Whistler (Radio)

πŸ”— Physics πŸ”— Meteorology πŸ”— Radio

A whistler is a very low frequency or VLF electromagnetic (radio) wave generated by lightning. Frequencies of terrestrial whistlers are 1Β kHz to 30Β kHz, with a maximum amplitude usually at 3Β kHz to 5Β kHz. Although they are electromagnetic waves, they occur at audio frequencies, and can be converted to audio using a suitable receiver. They are produced by lightning strikes (mostly intracloud and return-path) where the impulse travels along the Earth's magnetic field lines from one hemisphere to the other. They undergo dispersion of several kHz due to the slower velocity of the lower frequencies through the plasma environments of the ionosphere and magnetosphere. Thus they are perceived as a descending tone which can last for a few seconds. The study of whistlers categorizes them into Pure Note, Diffuse, 2-Hop, and Echo Train types.

Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft detected whistler-like activity in the vicinity of Jupiter known as "Jovian Whistlers", implying the presence of lightning there.

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πŸ”— Terahertz Gap

πŸ”— Technology πŸ”— Physics πŸ”— Radio πŸ”— Astronomy πŸ”— Engineering

In engineering, the terahertz gap is a frequency band in the terahertz region of the electromagnetic spectrum between radio waves and infrared light for which practical technologies for generating and detecting the radiation do not exist. It is defined as 0.1 to 10Β THz (wavelengths of 3Β mm to 30Β Β΅m). Currently, at frequencies within this range, useful power generation and receiver technologies are inefficient and unfeasible.

Mass production of devices in this range and operation at room temperature (at which energy kΒ·T is equal to the energy of a photon with a frequency of 6.2Β THz) are mostly impractical. This leaves a gap between mature microwave technologies in the highest frequencies of the radio spectrum and the well developed optical engineering of infrared detectors in their lowest frequencies. This radiation is mostly used in small-scale, specialized applications such as submillimetre astronomy. Research that attempts to resolve this issue has been conducted since the late 20thΒ century.

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