In radio broadcasting, it is necessary to send audio frequency signal (eg. music, speech etc.) from a broadcasting station over great distances to a receiver. The music, speech etc., are converted into audio signals using a microphone. The energy of a wave increases with frequency. So, the audio frequency (20 - 20000 Hz) is not having large amount of energy and cannot be sent over long distances. The radiation of electrical energy is practicable only at high frequencies e.g. above 20 kHz. The high frequency signals can be sent through thousands of kilometres with comparatively small power.
Therefore, if audio signal is to be transmitted properly, the audio signal must be superimposed on high frequency wave called carrier. The resultant waves are known as modulated waves and this process is called as modulation. This high frequency wave (Radio frequency wave) is transmitted in space through antenna. At the receiver end, the audio signal is extracted from the modulated wave by the process called demodulation. The audio signal is then amplified and reproduced into sound by the loud speaker.
A high frequency radio wave is used to carry the audio signal. On adding the audio signal to carrier, any one of the characteristics namely amplitude or frequency or phase of the carrier wave is changed in accordance with the intensity of the audio signal. This process is known as modulation and may be defined as the process of changing amplitude or frequency or phase of the carrier wave in accordance with the intensity of the signal. Some of the modulation process namely,
(i) amplitude modulation,
(ii) frequency modulation and
(iii) phase modulation
Phase modulation (PM)
In phase modulation, the phase of the carrier wave is varied in accordance with the amplitude of the modulating signal and the rate of variation is proportional to the signal frequency. The waveform of the phase modulated wave is similar to that of FM wave. The phase modulation, generally uses a smaller bandwidth than FM. In other words, more information can be sent in a given bandwidth in phase modulation. Therefore, phase modulation facilitates highest transmission speeds on a given bandwidth. In phase modulation also, there is a frequency shift in the carrier wave frequency. The frequency shift depends on (i) amplitude of the modulating signal and (ii) the frequency of the signal. One great advantage of the phase modulation lies in the fact that the FM signal produced from PM signal is very stable. Also, the centre frequency called resting frequency is extremely stable.