Mobile phones with radio with radio are becoming more and more common. This capability provides a way for cell phone users to interface with staff that carry two-way radios. Using a data application on the smartphone, an operator can transmit a push to talk (PTT) signal to a gateway that interfaces with other two-way radios in their area. This can be very useful in a variety of situations for those needing immediate communication.
Most smartphones have FM radio chips built in but they are disabled on most devices because streaming music and news consumes more data than broadcasting over FM. Broadcasting groups, such as NPR, have been lobbying mobile makers to enable the FM chip but they have been unsuccessful. This is because mobile makers profit from selling consumers data and broadcasting is a free service that competes with their apps.
The radio chip is activated by the wireless carrier that connects your phone to the cellular network. The base station sends radiofrequency waves to your phone through antennae on a tower or mast. These electromagnetic fields are not harmful to humans because they do not contain ionizing radiation, which can break chemical bonds and damage DNA. The power of the radiated waves is strongest near the antenna on the base station and slowly decreases as you move away from it.
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As more and more people have access to the latest generation of mobile phones, it seems natural that they would want to be able to use their FM radios. Whether they need to listen to their favorite playlists, get emergency news or communicate with work teams that depend on two-way radio for safety and security, this functionality can be extremely useful.