AM and FM Radio Transmission Differences – 5 Common Differences Between AM and FM Radio Transmission

AM and FM Radio Transmission Differences - 5 Common Differences Between AM and FM Radio Transmission

Last Updated on March 21, 2024 by Saira Farman

AM stands for “amplitude modulation,” and FM stands for “frequency modulation,” and refers to types of radio transmission. While these two types of transmissions are very different, there are many ways in which they are the same. Both AM and FM radio signals travel in air or space for long distances when the proper broadcast equipment is used. The common transmission medium (air, space) is the same. This makes it possible for an AM station in New York City to be received hundreds of miles away by an AM radio receiver. A similar effect occurs with FM radio signals.

The History of FM Radio technology was  invented by a German named Oscar Reimer in the year of 1933. The first FM radio was a transmission of a live concert from a local radio station to a small group of people in Berlin, Germany. It was a significant breakthrough in the field of radio transmission because it was the first time that the public could listen to music performed live through the air as opposed to recording it and playing it back later.

The AM and FM radio transmission differences are as follows:

  1. Older receivers that only pick up AM signals will not be able to listen to FM signals. However, older receivers that only receive FM signals could be modified to pick up AM signals. This is because FM and AM signals can both use the same type of antenna and connect to the same type of input jacks on the receivers. Another way to listen to AM or FM transmissions is through computer programs such as TuneIn Radio or IHeartRadio. These programs let you listen to hundreds of thousands of radio stations from around the globe for free.
  2. AM radio transmission is amplitude-modulated radio, which is basically the varying of the radio waves by the audio signal it carries. The radio has a constant carrier wave, where the information signal modulates the amplitude or height of the wave. At the receiver side, the AM detector restores this information by removing the carrier wave. This is one of the reasons why AM radio is often referred to as “AM” (amplitude modulation).Example: Simple AM Radio Transmitter.FM radio transmission is frequency-modulated, or FM radio. The variation is in fact in the frequency of the carrier wave, not its amplitude. At the receiver side, this variation is “demodulated” to restore it back to its base form. For example, if you vary the frequency of your music player versus your car stereo by 100Hz, your car stereo will be unable to play your music properly since it will not be able to demodulate it. This variation must be preserved for proper restoration at the receiver side.
  3. Transmission:The biggest difference between AM and FM radio signals is how they are transmitted. AM signals are affected by things like storms, buildings, and hills. This requires AM transmitters to use more power to get the same signal strength to listeners at distant locations. FM signals use changes in frequency to create sound. Due to this, FM signals do not suffer from the same interference that AM signals do.
  4. AM Radio is Analog, FM is Digital. Unlike AM radio, FM radio is a digital transmission. The audio that you hear on FM radio is digitally encoded and then decoded by your car or home stereo system. This ensures high-quality sound and removes static and other unwanted noises. In order to achieve this, FM radio stations use a special antenna that emits a stronger signal. According to the FCC, FM Radio has a larger broadcast radius.FM signal transmission is more powerful than AM radio signals – usually about 50 times more powerful – which means that the FM station can transmit a stronger signal to a much larger area. This is why FM radio works better the farther you are from the station. So if you live twenty miles from an FM station, you will probably have better reception than someone who lives right next door to the same station. In fact, most radio stations also broadcast their signal on AM as well as FM in order to reach as many listeners as possible. This is especially true for stations that broadcast at higher volumes like sports talk stations, country music stations, and other types of music stations where listeners tend to drive long distances. As the owner of an AM / FM car stereo or an AM / FM home stereo system, you can take certain steps to improve your reception. Try moving your antenna around until you find the position that offers you the best reception
  5. Fidelity Sound: One of these advantages is that FM radio can transmit high-fidelity sound. It is capable of excellent sound reproduction because of its high bandwidth. The higher range of frequencies allows for more clarity in playing music, voices, and other sounds. On the other hand, AM radio is not able to achieve the same quality in sound because it limits its bandwidth to about 30 kHz, which is more than enough for speech but not for music. Another advantage of FM radio over AM radio is that it allows broadcasters to transmit for longer distances with less power because of its higher frequency range

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Final words

AM radio is analog while FM radio is digital. Analog technology sends transmitted signals out, similar to broadcasting a message on a walkie-talkie. Digital technology uses an electronic signal to send information. The digital broadcast is sent only once and then only the receiver, in this case, your radio, plays the transmission.