Pirate Radio - USB FM Transmitter

The war is on. The robots / aliens / zombies take down our communications and you're stuck in pre-net era. Now is the time of the pirate. How do you communicate?


You need radio to communicate. Well before Thunderstruck, I was fascinated by radio. How does it curve around the globe? (bounces off the atmosphere) How does it go through walls? (magic) To fight the forces of dark, you need radio.

Thanks to Jens, a kickass pirate radio technocrat in Germany, I assembled the components and instructions to build my own pirate radio USB FM-transmitter...allowing me to broadcast my own pirate show_ "Tales from the Rusty Pelican". You could gather the parts yourself but Jen's sells everything you need in his store. Support pirates. Buy from (relatively local) pirates.

The instructions for assembly are here...and interestingly, completely in german. But I'll help out. Please forgive the fuzzy pictures. I left my camera in Chicago and had to make do with the iPhone's 2.0 megapixel.

[caption id="attachment_39" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Radio Component List"]Radio Component List[/caption]

First_ lay out all your components and your instructions. You'll have_

1 x 510 ? (grün – braun – braun) (green - brown brown) 1 x 100 k? (braun – schwarz – gelb)  (brown-black-yellow) 2 x 1 M? (braun – schwarz – grün) (brown-black-green) 1 x Kondensator 0,1 µF (0,1) (red condensor) 1 x Kondensator 47 nF (0,047) (light yellow condensor) 1 x Kondensator 4,7 pF (479) (red condensor) 2 x Kondensator 22 pF (22) (brown condesnrors - look like advil) 1 x Drehko 1,5..15 pF (blue dial) 2 x Transistor BF 246 (F246A) (two black transistors) 1 x Leuchtdiode rot (red diode) 1 x NF-Anschlußleitung  (cable wire for input)

And a red wire to bridge a connection as well as act as antenna!

[caption id="attachment_40" align="alignnone" width="225" caption="Component list - Translations"]Component list - Translations[/caption]

Translate all the german instructions using babelfish and label all your components. Set our your workspace (3rd hand, soldering iron, wet sponge, solder vacuum, solder cleaner, and of course...solder!)

I've actually mislabeled one of the components. The 1u condensor is mislabled (yellow - 4th down) with the 0.047 condensor. It was only after examining this image and the schematics did I realize the error. Always double check.

Read your schematics, set up your clamp to hold the board in position.

[caption id="attachment_41" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Schematics + Board"]Schematics + Board[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_42" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Third Hand steadies the component for you to solder"]Third Hand steadies the component for you to solder[/caption]

I used the third hand to hold in place all the components. My right hand held the 500 degree soldering iron...the left held the solder metal...and since the board was flat, it was up to the hand to hold everything in place. Generally, I soldered one end, then removed the hand, and soldered the other (since it stayed in place). My first project without ANY burns!

[caption id="attachment_43" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Half-way done, adjust the clamp position to solder well"]Half-way done, adjust the clamp position to solder well[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_44" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Hand + Solder + Clamp Overview"]Hand + Solder + Clamp Overview[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_45" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Finished Assembly!"]Finished Assembly![/caption]

[caption id="attachment_46" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Finished Assembly! (side-view)"]Finished Assembly! (side-view)[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_47" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Radio plugged in"]Radio plugged in[/caption]

Now being a pirate isn't all blood and glory. Plugging in and transmitting sound waves is illegal and automatically qualifies you as pirate.

But when the s hits the f, here's one more way I fight the dark.

This article is my 39th oldest. It is 551 words long, and it’s got 1 comment for now.