How do radio waves transport energy? — AD, Manaus City, Amazonia, Brazil
Radio waves consist of nothing more than electric and magnetic fields that are perpetually recreating one another as they travel through space at the speed of light. An electric field is a phenomenon that exerts forces on electric charges and a magnetic field is a phenomenon that exerts forces on magnetic poles. Both electric and magnetic fields contain energy because they are capable of doing work on and thus transferring energy to electric charges or magnetic poles that they encounter. In a radio wave, this energy or capacity to do work moves along with the fields at the speed of light. The radio transmitter uses electric power to create the radio wave and the radio wave delivers that power to the receiver. While most modern receivers use local electric power to amplify the information arriving in the radio wave, simple “crystal radios” are able to reproduce sound using on the power that is arriving in the radio wave itself.