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This morning I was lazily browsing Reddit when I came across a project by the Imperial College Robotics Society in the UK. It’s code and instructions for using the Raspberry Pi as a low-power mono FM transmitter. When I saw how easy it looked to do, I ran over to my Pi, downloaded the code, and got it running within a matter of minutes (see video above). One of the best parts about this project is that you don’t need much hardware besides the Pi itself. Just connect a 20cm piece of wire to GPIO pin 4 to act as the antenna and then you’re all set. Click on over to their wiki if you’re interested in trying it yourself and how it works. [via Reddit]

Matt Richardson

Matt Richardson

Matt Richardson is a Brooklyn-based creative technologist, Contributing Editor at MAKE, and Resident Research Fellow at New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP). He’s the co-author of Getting Started with Raspberry Pi and the author of Getting Started with BeagleBone.


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Comments

  1. k4gdw says:

    Somehow I kinda doubt that this device has been type accepted for use as a transmitter by the FCC. I would seriously suggest one exercise extreme caution.

    1. asdfg says:

      Ah nevermind, add a 3g dongle to be able to dial in from anywhere and its the perfect low cost pirate radio transmitter. I know what my next project is!

  2. KeithP says:

    In the US the FCC allows unlicensed low power FM transmissions under Part 15 of the Code of Federal Regulations. The wifi/bluetooth/FM radio chip that Raspberry Pi uses passed FCC approval. So, as long as you don’t amplify your signal to broadcast more than 200 feet you should be fine.

    1. Mike Field says:

      The power level which is legal is really small – 50 nanowatts Effective radiated power if you believe http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FM_transmitter_(personal_device)

      A LVTTL signal can provide about 10mW into a correctly matched aerial – 200x the legal limit!

    2. placebonetix says:

      Wi-Fi Bluetooth FM chip that Raspberry Pi “uses”? Raspberry Pi contains no such chip, and no such chip was added in this project.

  3. kj4vyi says:

    dont forget depending on the freq you are transmitting on — depending on your country you may need a license

  4. Hmmm… many android phones come with an fm receiver built in. This could be used as a low-bandwidth unidirectional link.

  5. [...] video above was create by MAKE’s Matt Richardson built based on these instructions. Here’s what he had to say about [...]

  6. Jason Evans says:

    Looking at the link that Matt provided, I wonder how difficult it would be to change the carrier to a standard unmodulated carrier wave, and use it as a morse code (aka cw for hams) transmitter. You would still need a separate receiver and you would need an small amplifier, unless you wanted to run really qrpp. This is a project that I’m excited about!

  7. [...] Raspberry Pi as an FM Transmitter This was a project by the Imperial College Robotics Society in the UK. It’s code and instructions for using the Raspberry Pi as a low-power mono FM transmitter. When I saw how easy it looked to do, I ran over to my Pi, downloaded the code, and got it running within a matter of minutes (see video above). [...]

  8. iAppleGuy says:

    Mine got an error: no module named PiFm.
    I downloaded the linked file. Where do I save the file to?

  9. Dano says:

    I have a need to use a (PI) to do VOIP to my two way radio. Has anyone done this using PBX or? and if so please tell me how. Also do we know what usb audio card works well with the PI? Thanks..

  10. [...] Read the Make: Magazine article at http://blog.makezine.com/2012/12/10/ raspberry-pi-as-an-fm-transmitter/ [...]

  11. steve54301 says:

    It would be interesting to modify the code a bit to allow a GPS (for timing) for transmitter phase locking. A creative and legal way to increase the range of a Part 15 device.

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