How to Make a Simple Radio Receiver

Written by carson barrett
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A science project that has been a longtime favourite is building a homemade radio receiver. It's an easy project to do, and it can help students understand something that most of them use every day: the radio. Radio receivers catch electromagnetic energy broadcast from transmitters owned by radio stations and convert this energy into sound. With a few cheap items and objects that you can find around your house, you can build your own radio receiver.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Earphones
  • Wire cutters
  • Wire stripper
  • Germanium diode
  • Electrical tape
  • Faucet or copper pipe
  • Coat hanger or TV antenna

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  1. 1

    Cut off the jack from the end of your earphones in order to expose the two wires.

  2. 2

    Separate the two wires, then use the wire stripper to remove about 2 inches of insulation from each wire.

  3. 3

    Take one of the wires from the earphones and wrap it around one of the wires of the Germanium diode, then tape it in place.

  4. 4

    Tape the other wire of the diode to a faucet or copper pipe.

  5. 5

    Take the other earphone wire and hold it in your hand, then put the earphones in your ears. If you're close to a powerful AM radio station, you should be able to pick up the signal. If not, try taping the wire that you were holding to a bigger piece of metal, like a longer wire, a coat hanger or a screen.

Tips and warnings

  • Because your radio doesn't have an existing power source like a battery or electricity, you need a string radio signal in order to make it work. If you are having trouble getting a signal, try increasing the size of your antenna.
  • Make sure that you don't attach your radio to live electrical lines.

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