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Pi-rate radio: how to make your own FM station for less than $ 35



FM radio stations are in fact just two things: a transmitter to make the signal and an antenna to broadcast it, which means that building your own pirate radio station is actually very, very simple.

Which FM stations you used to send music from your iPod to your car stereo? Full-fledged radio transmitters, only transmitters with very limited outputs to prevent violations of FCC legislation. If you are handy with a soldering iron, those simple car transmitters can be hacked to get a much better range by adding a larger antenna and removing internal resistances.

Alternatively, you can get everything you need to build a decent long-distance system on Amazon for a few hundred dollars (although you want to check the local FCC rules when it comes to broadcasting things).

But the easiest (and cheapest) option is a Raspberry Pi. The same principles apply: use the small computer to make and transmit the signal, and attach an antenna to give it the broadcast range.


1. Setting up your Raspberry Pi

You need Raspbian, the Linux-based operating system for the Raspberry Pi.

2. Install the FM radio software

Once your Pi is active, you need software. Specifically, PiFM, made by Oliver Mattos and Oskar Weigl.

Alternatively, if you want to use something even easier, Make Magazine Sam Freeman and Wynter Woods built a modified version of the PiFM code in 2014 that you can be found on the website Make . Simply flash that to a microSD card, add music and simply connect the Pi to a power source and it will automatically start broadcasting at your desired frequency.

3. Choose some music

Get your tracks ready and copy them to the Raspberry Pi. If you use the basic PiFM software, you need 16-bit .wav files. The code of Make Magazine however, supports broader file support.

4. Add an antenna

Insert a strip of wire into your GPIO4 pin on your Raspberry Pi (the fourth pin on the left on most Pi hardware). You want something that is at least eight centimeters long, although closer to 25 centimeters is recommended for a better range. Depending on your setup and environment, the Pi can be broadcast between about a foot to about 300 feet away.

5. Broadcast

Enter the PiFM code. You do that by executing a command such as "sudo ./pifm awesomejams.wav 100.0", where "100.0" is the frequency in MHz on which you broadcast.

6. Tune your radio and enjoy

Get your favorite FM radio, tune into your broadcast station and enjoy it!


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