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 technology, there are now several single-chip, integrated-circuit (IC) receivers on the market. To make our FM Radio Kit as accessible and easy-to-use as possible, we chose one such chip—the RDA5807M, which is broadcast FM stereo tuner with a fully integrated synthesizer and a powerful low-IF digital audio processor—and we baked it into a PCB that complies with the Feather and STEMMA standards. That chip is programmable by way 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 the time, the 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.)

Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA) certified

Features

  • Open hardware & open source software
  • RDA5807M single-chip FM receiver
  • nRF52840 based ScoutMakes Azul control board
  • CircuitPython out of box examples
  • Controllable over BLE using an iOS or Android app
  • Portable and powered by a rechargeable, LiPo battery
  • 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
  • Adafruit STEMMA QT and SparkFun Qwiic connectors for easy, solderless attachment of other I²C devices
  • User-assignable push-buttons for control
  • 3.5 mm audio jack

This guide was first published on Apr 13, 2021. It was last updated on 2021-04-14 12:10:09 -0400.

This page (Overview) was last updated on May 05, 2021.

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