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Please see the attached picture:

enter image description here

We are trying to show an image to visualize radio wave collision and interference with regards to Maritime AIS Technology. What do colliding radio waves have in common with colliding waves in a pond? Are the pond waves an approximate visualization of colliding radio waves?

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I think the image is fine in that it displays areas where 2 signals have met at the same point in space and time although your image has multiple rings where AIS would just send one message or ring. Radio waves can be considered a wave front as they are made up of many many photons made from the oscillation of many many electrons in the transmitting antenna. By timing the messages AIS hopes to avoid having a receiving antenna deal with 2 or more signals at one time. In the receiving antenna the signal to noise would decrease as the second undesired signal does interfere with the desired first signal. You can consider the interference occurring inside the receiving antenna as electrons are real physical particles that are responding to the EM field.

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  • $\begingroup$ I think one has to state clearly that there is no interference for electromagnetic waves, just superposition as seen here youtube.com/watch?v=J4Ecq7hIzYU . There is no medium carrying the electromagnetic disturbance (michelson-morley). The image may be good if the medium can be seen to have a small effect when the two fronts meet. $\endgroup$ – anna v Jun 30 at 7:41
  • $\begingroup$ Yes it is interesting that EM waves only superimpose, never canceling, the energy carries on until absorbed. But the electrons in the antenna will see a net zero field or a garbled field at the point of intersection and not be able to absorb or receive the signal appropriately. In electronic communications the term interference is also used. $\endgroup$ – PhysicsDave Jun 30 at 19:08

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