The Waves instrument consists of one electric dipole antenna, one magnetic search coil, two pre-amplifiers, three receivers, and a digital processing unit. Taken together these components can detect and digitize wave electric fields from 50 Hz to 45.25 MHz and wave magnetic fields from 50 Hz to 20 kHz. At the highest duty cycle, Waves can record one sweep per second across all spectral bands while simultaneously capturing 5 waveforms invarious bands.
Electric fields are detected via an electric dipole antenna deployed from the aft flight deck in a 'V' configuration with a tip-tip length of about 4 meters. The signal from the electric antenna is conditioned in the electric preamplifier which has three frequency bands and each band has an attenuator that can be selected or not, to limit the input to the receivers under strong signal conditions. When enabled attenuations are 25.3 dB, 25.3 dB, and 19.0 dB for the 50 Hz - 20 kHz, 10 kHz - 150 kHz and 100 kHz - 45 MHz bands respectively. Wave magnetic components, are detected via a magnetic search coil which is also mounted to the aft flight deck. The signals from the search coil are conditioned by a magnetic preamplifier located close tothe sensor, but within the spacecraft thermal environment.