So, I need to communicate wirelessly between a micro-controller and my computer. I'm building a radio receiver circuit, and a radio transmitter circuit that works on FM transmission. However, I had an idea.

I'm just transmitting binary. The receiver will go into the micro-controller's UART lane. If I'm transmitting serial data, wouldn't it be easier to simply transmit a specific un-modulated frequency that represents a one, then design the circuit to accept no radio transmission as a zero?

Then the micro-controller program could simply seek out combinations of one's and zeros that it recognized as bytes?

Is there a downside to this that I'm not thinking about? Is there already a name for this kind of rf data transmission?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Frequency Shift Keying. \$\endgroup\$
    – nidhin
    May 4, 2015 at 6:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Phase modulation \$\endgroup\$
    – user16222
    May 4, 2015 at 12:32

1 Answer 1


What you describe is called On-Off Keying.

It is an extreme version of Amplitude Shift Keying where the carrier is completely off for one value.

This is the technical name for what happens when morse code is sent by a radio operator.

Wikipedia has more information on the pros and cons:

OOK is more spectrally efficient than frequency-shift keying, but more sensitive to noise when using a regenerative receiver

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ On-Off Keying is an extreme version of frequency shift keying also :) \$\endgroup\$
    – nidhin
    May 4, 2015 at 7:22

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.