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In electronics and telecommunications a transmitter or radio transmitter is an electronic device which, with the aid of an antenna, produces radio waves. The transmitter itself generates a radio frequency alternating current, which is applied to the antenna. When excited by this alternating current, the antenna radiates radio waves. In addition to their use in broadcasting, transmitters are necessary component parts of many electronic devices that communicate by radio, such as cell phones, Wifi and Bluetooth enabled devices, garage door openers, two-way radios in aircraft, ships, and spacecraft, radar sets, and navigational beacons. The term transmitter is usually limited to equipment that generates radio waves for communication purposes; or radiolocation, such as radar and navigational transmitters. Generators of radio waves for heating or industrial purposes, such as microwave ovens or diathermy equipment, are not usually called transmitters even though they often have similar circuits.

The term is popularly used more specifically to refer to transmitting equipment used for broadcasting, as in radio transmitter or television transmitter. This usage usually includes both the transmitter proper as described above, and the antenna, and often the building it is housed in.

An unrelated use of the term is in industrial process control, where a "transmitter" is a device which converts measurements from a sensor into a signal, and sends it, usually via wires, to be received by some display or control device located a distance away.


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