Radio Frequency: Transmitter and Receiver

Radio Frequency: The Basics

Transmitter and Receiver: Two devices that are wired and programmed – a transmitter can be wired and programmed to send information to a receiver

Uses: communication between two devices – sending information from one device to another

Ex: Actual radios

How it applied to my project:

From the start of working on my project, I knew that I would need some way for two devices to communicate with each other, as my project was a device that enabled soldiers to both manually send alerts to local command centers with the push of a button and automatically send alerts, their location and their heart rate when their heart rate became dangerously high or low. Radio frequency seemed to be a good avenue through which to achieve this communication because not only did it appear to be a reliable way to send information from one device to another, but the range over which it could send this information was higher than alternative communication devices, and it was cheaper than other devices.


Successes Failures
Wired and programmed radio frequency to work with pushbutton to send an alert from the device with the transmitter to the serial monitor of the device with the receiver.



We were unable to get the radio frequency to work with a GPS to reliably send the location of the device with the transmitter to the device with the receiver.

At certain points, the radio frequency worked to send this information, but it was not consistent enough for our project.


Though this is a cheap option when it comes to getting two devices to communicate with each other, it is not reliable. Look into other options before dedicating a significant amount of time to becoming familiar with this technology. Other good options include Wifi or X-bee, a similar form of communication (what I ultimately used for my project). If you do end up using radio frequency and you find that it is not working after some time, move on. The devices can be vey faulty, so do not waste too much time trying to get them to work.


How I learned how to use this:

When I first started using the radio frequency transmitter and receiver, I knew nothing about it. I did some online research to get a basic understanding of how they work. The CIJE Biomedical Engineering Textbook was a great resource/starting place to learn how to wire and program these devices. I relied on that as a foundation, and ultimately tweaked the wiring and code to fit my product’s need as I went along. Ms. Smith was also a great resource; she was very knowledgeable about how radio frequency works, and I learned a lot by working with her.


Helpful Links:

CIJE Biomedical Engineering Textbook

Radio Frequency Power Point

Information for Sparkfun Model



written by Lulu Wein Class of 2017

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