Waves

Is it true that if you put your smartphone in the microwave (without turning it on, obviously) and the phone doesn’t accept calls while it’s inside, that means the microwave is no good and should be tossed?

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6 thoughts on “Waves”

  1. Noooo! Don’t toss your microwave. 🙂 If the phone doesn’t accept calls when it is inside, this means that the microwave walls block the electromagnetic waves that carry the cell phone signal. And that might be a good thing, because you also don’t want the electromagnetic waves inside the oven to come out when it’s on! Both microwave ovens and cell phones work with a somewhat similar frequency. However also when the phone still works if it’s inside, that is no cause for worry, it is well possible that the microwave walls only block a very specific wavelength which is different from the phones. As long as water-containing things around the microwave don’t warm up while it is on, you can assume that the waves do not leave the oven. 🙂

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    1. I’m a former radio guy. I worked in cellular and microwave radio for 16 years. I agree with Zineman. Your phone could possibly still take calls while in the oven, but if it does not, that’s probably a good sign.

      If you’re worried about leakage, then see if your Wi-fi slows or stops in the vicinity of the microwave when you run it. If so, you may have a bad oven.

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  2. Well, I’m a doctor, not an electrical engineer, but here’s the dirt:

    There are two problems with this test.

    The first is that cell phones use a different microwave frequency than ovens, so the oven may block its own frequency better.That means that the walls and the seal between the door and the oven are not a wide-range signal blocker, but may only work at the oven’s frequency.

    The other problem is just that the phones are very sensitive detectors, so even a little leakage will let them ring.

    So the test is basically worthless.

    But hey, what exactly are you worried about? You already have an Alexa in your home, and it’s spying on every word that you and N and Klara are saying. And many years from now, when you and N are dead and Klara is a grown woman, Alexa’s advanced A.I. successor may come back to haunt your daughter for her parents’ carelessly innocent words.

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