AM/FM Portable AM/FM Radios

What Are Portable AM/FM Radios?

Radio has remained a source of communication and entertainment since it was originally created, and todays technology puts a modern touch on radios by making them portable. From listening to music when camping to waiting for official information during emergencies, a portable radio has many uses.

What are the different types of radio signals?

Amplitude modulation (AM) and frequency modulation (FM) are two types of radio signals. 

  • AM radio came about in the 1870s, with FM development occurring in the 1930s.  AM radio works by a carrier wave being modulated, while frequency and phase remain the same. FM modulates frequency, with amplitude and phase staying the same.
  • Frequency for AM ranges from 535 to 1705 kHz, while FM ranges from 88 to 108 MHz. AM stations are possible every 10 kHz, and FM stations are possible every 200 kHz.
  • FM radio became widely used in the 1970s, and most music channels today use FM, though some talk radio channels still remain on AM.

What are the pros and cons of AM and FM?

Both radio signals have positive and negative characteristics that may make a combined radio unit useful.

  • AM signals are easier to detect, and weak signals are also more likely to be found. On the other hand, FM signals have stronger sound quality and require more complex equipment. AM signals can also travel a much longer distance than FM signals can.
  • AM signals can be interrupted by electrical storms, noise, and other radio frequencies, so wideband FM was invented to overcome these obstacles. 
  • To cover the same area, more FM stations are needed than AM. Land mass and buildings can also interfere with FM quality and coverage.

Why would someone want a portable AM/FM radio?

Having a connection to vital information and entertainment across both signal types makes portable radios both a tool and a past-time.

  • In the case of an emergency thats local or is on a larger scale, official information is often spread using radio. AM allows far-reaching and accessible sharing, and FM broadcasts music and other entertainment, allowing consumers to enjoy background noise or listening.
  • A sleep timer is a feature that some portable radios offer. This makes leaving the radio on less of a worry, as it turns off after the timer runs out. Some can even function as alarm clocks with snooze buttons as well.
  • Presets allow users to set their favorite stations for convenient access without the need to manually tune in. This is especially important for emergencies, where a specific station may be forgotten since having it set allows instant access when time is short.