Wavelength Conversions

Wavelength Conversions to Frequency

Radio waves are often referred to by their wavelength in meters rather than by frequency. For example, most people have heard commercial radio stations make announcements similar to the following: "Station WXYZ operating on 240 meters..." To tune receiving equipment that is calibrated by frequency to such a station, you must first convert the designated wavelength to its equivalent frequency.

As discussed earlier, a radio wave travels 300,000,000 meters a second (speed of light); therefore, a radio wave of 1 hertz would have traveled a distance (or wavelength) of 300,000,000 meters. Obviously then, if the frequency of the wave is increased to 2 hertz, the wavelength will be cut in half to 150,000,000 meters. This illustrates the principle that the HIGHER THE FREQUENCY, the SHORTER THE WAVELENGTH.

Wavelength conversions of radio waves are really quite simple because wavelength and frequency are reciprocals: Either one divided into the velocity of a radio wave yields the other. Remember, the formula for wavelength is:

Wavelength-to-frequency conversions

The wavelength in meters divided into 300,000,000 yields the frequency of a radio wave in hertz. Likewise, the wavelength divided into 300,000 yields the frequency of a radio wave in kilohertz, and the wavelength divided into 300 yields the frequency in megahertz.

Now, let us apply the formula to determine the frequency to which the receiving equipment must be tuned to receive station WXYZ operating on 240 meters. Radio wave frequencies are normally expressed in kilohertz or megahertz. To find the frequency in hertz, use the formula:

frequency in hertz, use the formula

To find the frequency in kilohertz, use the formula:

frequency in hertz, use the formula

To find the frequency in megahertz, use the formula:

frequency in hertz, use the formula

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