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Make Your Own Radio Kits and DIY Projects

As I get more and more interested in radio and its history, I’m thinking it’s about time that I try my hand at building my own radio. As I began researching this, I found that there are many simple ways to create a radio using household objects. Make Magazine has a great video in which they outline the steps to build a Foxhole Radio using a cardboard toilet paper roll, wire, wood, thumb tacks, and a razor blade. Additional information on this project can be found on their blog.

Instructions for building a number of different radios can also be found here. If building a radio from scratch feels too advanced for you, there are lots of different radio kits still being marketed to kids, which include all of the necessary tools to build simple radios. A few of the options include a Crystal Radio Kit , Elenco’s AM/FM Radio Kit , and the Build Your Own Fm Radio: Discovery Kit.

Old-timers have pointed out that these kits don’t hold a candle to the Heathkit projects from yesteryear, but I would imagine that they are still pretty fun and educational. From what I’ve seen online, none of these projects is fool-proof or easy, so be sure to set your expectations before you begin building.

If you’ve ever built a radio before, I’d love to hear your suggestions about how I should get started and if there’s a particular kit or project that you’d recommend.


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One Response to Make Your Own Radio Kits and DIY Projects

  1. Paul September 17, 2010 at 3:05 pm #

    You need to be pretty close to an AM transmitter site for one of these home crystal radio sets to work. Foxhole radios worked well because both sides used powerful transmitters to broadcast propaganda to the enemy. As far as home made crystal radios go, a piece of anthracite coal and a couple of razor blades does work. I did it in sixth grade as a science project, but there is a lot of trial and error (mostly error) in getting the chunk of coal to sit just right on the razor blades. It is a fun project. If one wanted to cheat, the lump of coal/razor blade contraption can be replace with a 1N914 diode, with much more consistent results. A 1N914 can be found at radio shack for $1.50 or something like that.

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