Short wave refers to the high frequency or "HF" frequency band typically used by CB and ham radio enthusiasts. AM or "analog modulation" is one of two common methods of transmitting a radio signal; the other is FM or "frequency modulation." Because short wave and AM radios operate on different frequency ranges, you can't hear short wave broadcasts on your AM radio. You can convert your AM radio to receive short wave signals using a short wave antenna and circuit.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- AM radio
- Short wave antenna
- Blank circuit board
- Filter capacitors
- Trimmer capacitors
- Insulated wire
- Soldering iron
- Phillips screwdriver
- Standard electric drill
- 2-mm drill bit
Assemble the short wave antenna circuit. Fit the capacitors, trimmers, potentiometers and resistors to the board so that the connector pins poke through the base. If you are unsure of the exact layout, consult a wiring diagram.
Flip the board over so the connector pins for each component are facing upwards. Gently press them down so that they sit flat against the base of the board. Tin your soldering iron and gently press the tip over the connector pins and the metal strip on the base of the board. This fuses the pins and the board together.
Dismantle your AM radio. Unscrew the back panel to expose the circuitry and antenna base. Stick the screws onto a piece of electrical tape to keep them in order and prevent them from rolling away.
Strip the ends of an insulated wire so it is bare. Coil the insulated wire around the ferrite bar at the bottom of the AM antenna. Get it as tight as possible. Wrap the two ends around each other. This coil, when connected to the short wave circuit, will act as an antenna base.
Solder a short wave antenna on to the bare portion of the insulated coil.
Screw a 2-mm hole with a standard electric drill and 2-mm drill bit on the inside of the back panel of the AM radio chassis. Screw the short wave circuit board into the chassis back panel . If there is no space, screw it to the back. Connect the end of the insulated coil wrapped around the ferrite bar to the first resistor in the short wave circuit.
Drill a hole in the top of the AM radio large enough for the new short wave antenna to fit. Drill a hole in the back panel of the radio so that when the chassis is reassembled, the potentiometer pole will poke through.
Turn on the radio and adjust the potentiometer attached to the filter capacitor in the new circuit board. This adjusts the frequency range that the new circuit is capable of receiving. Once you find a short wave signal that is clear and loud, cease adjustments.
Feed the antenna out of the hole and reassemble the radio chassis. Fit a dial onto the potentiometer pole that protrudes through the back of the AM radio chassis. Turn this dial to adjust the short wave frequency range.
Tips and warnings
- Clean the connector pins with emery paper or wire wool before soldering them.
- The capacitor adjustments must be very fine, so do them slowly.
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