Amplitude modulation (AM) is a modulation technique used in electronic communication, most commonly for transmitting information via a radio carrier wave. In amplitude modulation, the amplitude (signal strength) of the carrier wave is varied in proportion to that of the message signal being transmitted. The message signal is, for example, a function of the sound to be reproduced by a loudspeaker, or the light intensity of pixels of a television screen. This technique contrasts with frequency modulation, in which the frequency of the carrier signal is varied, and phase modulation, in which its phase is varied. AM was the earliest modulation method used to transmit voice by radio. It was developed during the first quarter of the 20th century beginning with Landell de Moura and Reginald Fessenden's radiotelephone experiments in 1900. It remains in use today in many forms of communication; for example it is used in portable two-way radios, VHF aircraft radio, citizens band radio, and in computer modems in the form of QAM. AM is often used to refer to mediumwave AM radio broadcasting.
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