For many of us, the construction of a classic FM radio was one of the very first projects we took on when getting started with DIY electronics. And for good reason. Radio waves are fascinating, they’re everywhere, and they’re free! Radio brings all kinds of information and entertainment—including music, news, and sports—to people all over the world. It remains an extremely popular medium for content delivery, and it doesn’t even require an Internet connection. The ScoutMakes FM Radio Kit provides an engaging exploration of Frequency Modulation (FM) radio. And, thanks to BLE, you can control it from across the room.
To build an FM radio receiver, you would typically need several components, including resistors, capacitors, transistors, and an amplifier. But thanks to advancements in technology, there are now several single-chip, integrated-circuit (IC) receivers on the market. To make the FM Radio Kit as accessible and easy-to-use as possible, TinkeringTech chose one such chip—the RDA5807M, which is a broadcast FM stereo tuner with a fully integrated synthesizer and a powerful low-IF digital audio processor—and they baked it into a PCB that complies with the Adafruit Feather standard. The chip is programmable by way of a CircuitPython library.
The ScoutMakes FM Radio Kit can also receive and process Radio Data Service (RDS) content. RDS is a communications protocol for embedding small amounts of digital data within conventional FM radio broadcasts. Examples include time, station identification, and programming information. (If you have a modern car stereo, you’ve probably seen RDS used to display the name of the song that is playing.)
FM Radio Kit Features & Specifications
- RDA5807M single-chip FM receiver
- Controllable over BLE using an iOS or Android app
- Powered by the LiPo battery in the Azul board
- High-quality stereo audio output
- Built-in volume and bass control
- Received signal strength indicator (RSSI) information
- Station scanning and presets are supported in code
- Radio Data Service (RDS) information available for display
- Adafruit CircuitPython library
- SparkFun Qwiic connector for easy, solderless attachment of other I²C devices
- User-assignable push-buttons for control
- 3.5mm audio jack