Radio waves are able to wirelessly carry important information almost instantaneously and, aside from just transmitting audio and television signals, they make cell phones, global positioning systems and space communication possible. Radio wave technology has allowed for significantly faster and easier communication and navigation.
Radio waves are electromagnetic radiation waves that have wavelengths that are longer than infrared light. Wavelengths of radio waves range from several millimeters long to many miles long. Because radio waves are a type of electromagnetic radiation, they travel and can carry information at the speed of light.
A simple radio uses an antenna and a tuner to pick up the correct radio waves. Different stations have different radio frequencies that they give off. The radio inside a stereo system or car picks up the radio wave by tuning the antenna to receive only the desired frequency. When the correct radio frequency is received, the radio converts the waves into sound using speakers.
Radio technology and research led the way for the invention of the cell phone, the GPS and many other communication devices. Cell phones and global positioning units send information to satellites using radio waves. The satellites either receive the waves and transmit new ones with the same information back to Earth, or they simply reflect the radio waves back onto the surface of the Earth.