What is the function of an amplifier and a modulator?   What is AM and FM?

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bandmanjoe | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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Let's talk about AM and FM first.  AM stands for "amplitude modulation"; this is a technique used in electronics communications.  It is used most commonly for transmitting information via a radio wave.  The amplitude is the distance a wave travels away from it's rest position; a device called an amplifier, also called a modulator, varies the strength of the wave to do this.  Think about an "amplifier" for an electric guitar; it makes the sound the guitar makes louder by increasing it's amplitude.  This contrasts with FM, or "frequency modulation", as FM varies the frequency, or number of waves passing within a given time frame.  Again, a device called a modulator would assist in either increasing the frequency or decreasing it.


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