So called "pirate" radio stations have existed as long as radio broadcast has existed. These unlicensed operators setup shop in various locations and start broadcasting whatever content they wished. Shown above is the lightship used as a base for Radio Veronica  broadcasting offshore of the Netherlands in the 1960's. Being based offshore on a boat makes it extra pirate-y!

In this guide we'll show how to use the Adafruit Si4713 FM Transmitter to create your own little pirate radio station. A Raspberry Pi provides the source for music storage and playback. Attaching a small 1.3" PiTFT provides a display for playback song information and status.

FM Radio? Really?

Pretty much no one carries a personal FM radio receiver with them these days. So if you're all like pepperidge-farm-remembers / i-was-there-gandalf at the mention of FM radio and wondering what's the point, here are some ideas:

  • Create a personal radio station for someone that does not have a smartphone. Perhaps for an older generation member more comfortable with FM radio technology, as was heartwarmingly done in this post.
  • Broadcast audio to cars at an ad hoc "drive in" style gathering. Cars still have FM radio receivers.
  • Other imaginative use :)


Top down view of a Adafruit Stereo FM Transmitter with RDS/RBDS Breakout next to a 11-pin header and under blue string coiled up.
Yaaar! Become your very own pirate radio station with this FM radio transmitter. This breakout board, based on the best-of-class Si4713, is an all-in-one stereo audio FM transmitter...
In Stock
USB Audio Adapter - Works with Raspberry Pi
The Raspberry Pi has an on-board audio jack, which is super handy for all kinds of sound effects and speech, just plug and go! However, for when you want better audio for music...
Out of Stock
Video of Adafruit Mini PiTFT 1.3" - 240x240 TFT Add-on on a Raspberry Pi 4. The TFT displays a bootup sequence.
If you're looking for the most compact li'l color display for a Raspberry Pi (most likely a
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Angled shot of Raspberry Pi 3 - Model B.
Did you really think the Raspberry Pi would stop getting better? At this point, we sound like a broken record, extolling on the new Pi’s myriad improvements like we’re...
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Stereo 3.5mm Plug/Plug Audio Cable
This basic cable comes with two 3.5mm (1/8" headphone jack size) stereo connectors. It's fairly straight forward, you'll commonly need these to connect two audio devices...
In Stock
Top view of JST SH 4-pin to Premium Male Headers Cable next to US quarter for scale.
This 4-wire cable is a little over 150mm / 6" long and fitted with JST-SH female 4-pin connectors on one end and premium Dupont male headers on the other. Compared with the...
In Stock

This guide was first published on May 24, 2023. It was last updated on May 26, 2024.

This page (Overview) was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

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