What Does Transmitter Mean?

A transmitter is an electronic device used in telecommunications to produce radio waves in order to transmit or send data with the aid of an antenna. The transmitter is able to generate a radio frequency alternating current that is then applied to the antenna, which, in turn, radiates this as radio waves. There are many types of transmitters depending on the standard being used and the type of device; for example, many modern devices that have communication capabilities have transmitters such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC and cellular.


A transmitter is also known as a radio transmitter.

Techopedia Explains Transmitter

Transmitters are devices that are used to send out data as radio waves in a specific band of the electromagnetic spectrum in order to fulfill a specific communication need, be it for voice or for general data. In order to do this, a transmitter takes energy from a power source and transforms this into a radio frequency alternating current that changes direction millions to billions of times per second depending on the band that the transmitter needs to send in. When this rapidly changing energy is directed through a conductor, in this case an antenna, electromagnetic or radio waves are radiated outwards to be received by another antenna that is connected to a receiver that reverses the process to come up with the actual message or data.

A transmitter is composed of:

  • Power supply — The energy source used to power the device and create the energy for broadcasting
  • Electronic oscillator — Generates a wave called the carrier wave where data is imposed and carried through the air
  • Modulator — Ads the actual data into the carrier wave by varying some aspect of the carrier wave
  • RF amplifier — Increases the power of the signal in order to increase the range where the waves can reach
  • Antenna tuner or impedance matching circuit — Matches the impedance of the transmitter to that of the antenna in order for the transfer of power to the antenna to be efficient and prevent a condition called standing waves, where power is reflected from the antenna back to the transmitter, wasting power or damaging it

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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…