There is currently a lot of worry about 5G starting the virus in Wuhan, or beaming death rays from LED lampposts, or spinning oxygen atoms, and more. What is 5G? What has it done? What might it do? These are scientific questions, and need to be approached in an orderly way. To begin with, we certainly need to know what 5G actually is.
A Little Physics is Needed. Nothing Scary.
The word “Physics” generally doesn’t thrill people, but it isn’t really that scary, and a little basic knowledge goes a long way in this area. We are all quite familiar with microwaves, radio waves, light waves, x-rays, heat waves, etc. Happily, in physics, all waves behave in the same way. It really doesn’t matter whether it’s a wave on the sea or a light wave, so thinking about sea waves gives a good insight. The key measurements of a wave are its wavelength and frequency. Happily, again, wavelength really means what it says: the length of a wave. Think of the distance between two wave crests as they approach the beach, and you’ve got it. If the wavelength is large, say five metres, the frequency with which they hit the beach will be quite low. If the wavelength is short, new wave crests with be arriving at the beach much more frequently. That’s frequency and wavelength in a nutshell. If only your physics Teacher had put it like that in school! You probably even understand now that frequency and wavelength are related: shorter waves always have a higher frequency.
Let’s apply this to radio waves. They are a part of what is called the Electromagnetic Spectrum (EMS.) That is not scary either. It’s a spectrum. Just as waves arriving at the beach vary from tiny ripples lapping the beach with great frequency, through to massive waves crashing in every minute or so, with everything in between, the EMS is a spectrum of varying wavelengths and frequencies. Since we now know that the two are related, we’ll only mention frequency from here on.
Frequency is measured in Hertz, just like potatoes are measured in Kilos. One Hertz means simply one wave crest per second. Sea waves are quite slow, so mostly their frequency will only be a fraction of a Hertz. Tiny ripples might reach one per second, or one Hertz.
In the EMS the frequencies are much, much higher, so we soon get to talk of Megahertz, meaning a million waves per second, or Gigahertz, meaning a billion waves per second. Just as sea waves have very different effects depending on their frequency, so in the EMS what the waves do varies with their frequency.
Now to radio and 5G! Waves at the low frequency end of the EMS are radio waves. As the frequency gets higher, they become microwaves, then heat waves (also called infra-red), then visible light, at which point the frequency is in trillions of Hertz! Beyond that it moves up to Gamma Rays with frequencies measured in Exahertz, where the numbers, quite frankly, get silly. And right now we are not interested in that end of the spectrum. It is important to note that the Spectrum changes imperceptibly as you move through it; there are no jumps. When we refer to one part as Radio Wave or Microwave, or whatever, that has more to do with how we use it. The differently named parts merge into each other, and overlap.
Your Microwave Oven and Your Wifi Router Use the Same Frequency!
5G is sadly more of a marketing term than a science term. So when people talk about dangers, we have to ask what frequency they are referring to. In the UK, 4G uses 1.4 to 2.6 gigahertz (Ghz) and 5G uses 3.4 to 3.6 Ghz, so immediately we can see that there is little difference between 4G and 5G. They are all in the band just below 5 Ghz. Surprisingly, your Microwave Oven and your wifi use almost exactly the same frequency, 2.45 and 2.4 Ghz respectively. Hence you may question why you can’t heat a pizza on your wifi router. The answer is about the other big factor in all this, which is POWER. The oven is about one trillion times more powerful; that’s why I’m happy to hold my wifi in my hand while it’s working, but wouldn’t dream of putting my hand in the microwave!
5G may also refer to any one of a number of different frequencies ranging well above 5Ghz, even up to 90 Ghz. Those below 5Ghz have been in heavy use for years, and your biggest exposure is almost certainly from the tiny output of your own wifi. Those higher frequencies should certainly be investigated with respect to their particular frequency and power. We should check. However, 5G is only bringing a quantitative change. There is a gradual shift into more use of Radio Waves, and has been for a hundred years. There will be more next year than last year. There will be some changes in the frequencies used, but as yet there is no evidence that any of them, at the powers generated, will make much difference to anything. It’s all in the sub 5Ghz band. Compare to that the roll-out of six brand new vaccines in the next few months in the UK, in addition to dozens of others around the World; that is a qualitative change. It only took one single vaccine to start the devastating 1918 pandemic. Do we want these, allegedly to stop a Covid epidemic that is already over? Do the risks of continuing 5G development in the next few months compare in any way to what these vaccines may do?
What About Frequencies Above 5Ghz?
There is, of course, the issue of frequencies above 5 Ghz. People have particular fears of these being transmitted from satellites. Again, we need to consider frequency and power. There are many different frequencies going up to 90 Ghz. Beyond 90 Ghz we need have no worries, because at those frequencies the Spectrum is becoming radiant heat as already mentioned. Below 90 Ghz, 60 Ghz often rates a mention because people say it “spins oxygen atoms”, which may well be true. However, before getting excited, we need to consider the power involved. Satellites get their power from solar panels, hence they are quite limited in that respect, and transmitting a signal stronger than about 2 Kilowatts is hardly possible. It’s true that such a signal is more than twice as powerful as your microwave, which is likely to be 800 watts (That’s 0.8 of a Kilowatt.) The difference here is that the satellite is 750 miles away, and waves lose power dramatically as they spread from their source. If someone dismantled your microwave and switched on the microwave generator part, without the protection that normally surrounds it, in your kitchen, you would rightly be worried. If they were doing it in Leeds when you were in London, you wouldn’t.
Given the distance, the signal that reaches the Earth from a satellite will be very, very weak. While there is enough power in a normal mobile phone signal to excite the tiny antenna inside your phone, the satellite signal simply won’t cut the ice. You would need an antenna the size of a pizza box to gather enough power to be useful. And, because these higher frequencies have very limited ability to penetrate matter, such an antenna would not work at all indoors. You’ve probably noticed how quickly your 2.4 Ghz wifi signal is degraded by the walls of your house; at 50 Ghz the waves are struggling to get through a sheet of paper!
Which brings us back to the 60 Ghz waves “spinning oxygen atoms.” I haven’t checked out the truth of that, but let’s assume that they do. In that case, a wave travelling through the atmosphere would spin a lot of atoms, since the air is 21% oxygen. In order to spin the atoms, the wave would need to transfer some of its own power to them. Therefore it would lose power even more quickly than any other wave. It would therefore be a dire candidate for use in transmitting a signal. I notice that it is not found among the frequencies planned to be used by satellites, which makes perfect sense. I wouldn’t try to use it at a range of one mile, never mind 750 miles! And in case you are worried that oxygen atoms, assuming they were ever made to spin, would go on spinning, fear not. They won’t go on spinning any more than your car would keep moving when you run out of petrol. Friction is universal.
None of the above is an argument for all radio waves in all situations being harmless. That’s a whole different debate. The 5G debate is about whether the current expansion of 5G carries specific significant dangers, and whether it is connected in some way to Covid. The science says a resounding “No!” to both propositions. We do have an immense and unprecedented crisis because a flu-like illness is being used to impose massive restrictions on us. Those restrictions have nothing to do with science, and everything to do with tyranny. That is the problem we need to attend to. 5G concerns are simply a distraction that the tyrants are very happy for people to expend their energy on.