Jan 24, 2013

Weeds Pick Up Radio Waves

Russians have made many great contributions to the world. Like vodka, and more vodka. There is also an explosion of Russian dash cam video footage on YouTube that garners lots of views. In addition to the dash cab footage, one of my Internet obsessions is watching the many “Jackass” videos from Russia where young people document all manner of things you should not try at home. Take this video, for example, where two people are messing about with a radio tower. In the video the guys press weeds against the active radio tower and the weeds pick up the radio signal.

Watch Weeds Pick Up A Radio Signal

How are the weeds picking up the radio signal? Redditor CitizenTed explains:

"Ah, you youngsters...When the weed is touched to the RF transmitter, it shorts to ground through the Russian kid. The high current causes the weed (and to a lesser extent, the kid) to burn. At the site of the burn, the weed forms a simple diode (current flow in one direction, blocked in the other direction). A simple diode can demodulate an AM signal, but only at one frequency. Since these kids are unloading a huge amount of current, the site of the burning weed is audible through the air.You can find some very strange AM demodulators in the real world. Some folks claim dental work left a diode-like gap between the new metal and their teeth, resulting in the patient actually hearing AM radio in their heads. If you stick an antenna in the air connected to a grounded diode and amplify the result, you can often get AM radio reception. It's not tunable, but you'll often hear something. I've done this myself. Here's an article about it. SCIENCE IS FUN." 

Indeed. Science is fun, and it is a lot more fun when it involves plants.

(Via Reddit)


  1. Awesome! As long as my plants don't transmit any of that hippie music...

    1. LOL. I wonder what kind of music my plants would transmit.


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