This simple hack turns your Raspberry Pi into a powerful FM transmitter! It has enough range to cover your home, DIY drive-in movie, silent disco, a high school ball game, or even a bike parade (depending on the stragglers).

PiFM software not only boldly enhances the capability of your Pi, but does so with nothing more than a single length of wire. This hack starts with the absolute minimum you need to run a Raspberry Pi — an SD card, a power source, and the board itself — and adds one piece of wire. It’s the coolest Pi device we’ve ever seen with so few materials.

PiFM was originally created by Oliver Mattos and Oskar Weigl, and revised by Ryan Grassel. We’d like to thank the whole PiFM community for inspiration. MAKE’s contribution to the project, the script, now enables playback without using the command line, and handles all the most common music file formats automatically. It was written by MAKE Labs engineering intern Wynter Woods. You can find the source code here.


NOTE: The Raspberry Pi’s broadcast frequency can range between 1Mhz and 250Mhz, which may interfere with government bands. We advise that you limit your transmissions to the standard FM band of 87.5MHz–107.9MHz (see Step 3) and always choose a frequency that’s not already in use, to avoid interference with licensed broadcasters.



Step #1: Make the antenna.

Raspberry Pirate RadioRaspberry Pirate RadioRaspberry Pirate RadioRaspberry Pirate Radio
  • Technically, all you need for an antenna is a piece of wire. For an optimal antenna, you could attach a 75cm wire to pin 4, with a 75cm power cable pointed in the other direction. (That would effectively make a half-wave dipole antenna at 100MHz, near the middle of the FM band.) We just used 40cm of 12 AWG solid wire, since things started tipping over when the wire got longer.
  • Cut and strip a female jumper wire. Solder it to one end of your antenna, and insulate with heat-shrink tubing.
  • Dab hot glue around the joint for support, and stick it on pin 4 of the GPIO pins of your Raspberry Pi. The glue makes the antenna more rigid so it stands up better.
  • NOTE: If you have the Raspberry Pi Starter Kit and you're in a hurry, you can just use a male jumper wire plugged into the Cobbler breakout board! (Both are included in the kit.) It will work, but the range will be roughly half of what you'd get with 40cm of 12 AWG solid copper.

Step #2: Flash the SD card and add music.

Raspberry Pirate RadioRaspberry Pirate RadioRaspberry Pirate RadioRaspberry Pirate Radio
  • To save you time configuring everything, MAKE Labs made a disk image. Download it here. (Advanced users who just want the source can find the link in the intro.)
  • The original PiFM code proved the concept with impressive results. The MAKE image takes the work out of partitioning the card into system and data partitions. It also auto-mounts the data partition. It uses a fraction of the CPU of the original code and enables playback from MP3, FLAC, and more. And it runs the script on startup, so your music starts broadcasting immediately once the transmitter boots up. Ultimately, this will save you a lot of time. But you can't just drag the files to your SD card; it must be flashed to work.
  • Flash the image to your SD card. If you're not familiar with the process, it’s easy. Good tutorials can be found here. You can use Win32DiskImager on Windows, or the Command Line Tools (1) instructions if you're on OSX. I'll assume Linux users have moved on already.
  • For OSX and Linux users, simply open up the PirateRadio partition and get started. Windows users, follow our instructions for connecting to your Pi via SSH using WinSCP.
  • To add music, simply add your artist or album folders to the root of the “Pirate Radio” partition of the SD card. Your music files can be nested within these folders, so there's no need to dump all your music into one mess on the main directory.

Step #3: Edit the config file.

Raspberry Pirate Radio
  • You can set the frequency you want to broadcast on in the pirateradio.config file. Open it up in a text editor. You should see something like: [pirateradio] frequency = 88.9 shuffle = True repeat_all = True
  • Set frequency to the station you want to broadcast on. Useable FM frequencies are typically from 87.5MHz to 108.0MHz. (108.2 was the highest our test radio could reach, but that's in an aircraft band that you should never interfere with.)
  • Set shuffle to True to shuffle files, or to False to play files alphabetically.
  • Set repeat_all to True if you want to loop forever through your playlist.

Step #4: Start it up!

Raspberry Pirate RadioRaspberry Pirate RadioRaspberry Pirate Radio

Tune your FM radio to your frequency of choice and plug in the Raspberry Pi. It will take about 15 seconds to warm up. Once it does, you should hear your music loud and clear.

Step #5: How the PiFM software works.

Raspberry Pirate Radio
  • From the PiFM wiki: "It uses the hardware on the Raspberry Pi that is actually meant to generate spread-spectrum clock signals on the GPIO pins to output FM radio energy. This means that all you need to do to turn the Raspberry Pi into a (ridiculously powerful) FM transmitter is to plug in a wire as the antenna (as little as 20cm will do) into GPIO pin 4 and run the code."
  • Frequency modulation "is done by adjusting the frequency using the fractional divider." For example, for a target broadcast frequency of 100MHz, the signal is fluctuated between 100.025Mhz and 99.975Mhz, which makes the audio signal.
  • The Python code defaults to 87.9 FM with shuffle and repeat turned off. It scans the SD card for music files and builds a playlist based on the options in the config file. It then passes each file along to a decoder based on the filetype. Each file is then re-encoded into a mono format the PiFM radio can handle. This lets you play more than just WAV files: use your MP3, FLAC, M4A, AAC, or WMA files too.

Step #6: Going further.

Raspberry Pirate RadioRaspberry Pirate RadioRaspberry Pirate RadioRaspberry Pirate Radio
  • Tuck everything in the acrylic case that comes with your Raspberry Pi Starter Kit and you're good to go. Or, if you want something cooler or more subversive, try building an awesome housing of your own. MAKE Labs manager Sam Freeman drew up this little number, a cool radio tower; download it at
  • Add RadioShack's handy USB battery pack so you can carry your station wherever you need to take over the airwaves. (It fits inside the radio tower, too.)
  • NOTE: If you have trouble with range, double-check which pin your antenna is plugged into. At MAKE Labs we spent a few hours puzzled by our antenna's performance, only to discover it was one pin over!
  • TIP: For a cleaner FM signal, and to reduce any accidental broadcasts outside the FM band, build a simple bandpass filter for your Pirate Radio using just a few components, at
Sam Freeman

Sam Freeman

Raised in the galactic capital of Earth, Sam Freeman was destined to work for Make Labs - testing, designing, and breaking projects for MAKE.

Wynter Woods

Wynter Woods

A programmer with one too many interests. I work on all sorts of projects from hardware hacks to audio processing to things such as 3D visualization of chemical sample data. If there is a way to code it, I probably have an interest in it.

  • Dave Mullenix

    I’m having problems flashing the SD card. The file from Make contains an .iso file – PiRadio_1-1.iso, but Win32 Disk Imager only seems to work with .img files. Does anybody know how I can either use the .iso file or get the correct .img file?


    • PdeWitte

      Rename the ISO extentsion to IMG, and then use Win32DiskImager to write the image to the SD card. It works flawless. Filestructure is the same, but someone mixed up the extension

      • Dave Mullenix

        That worked fine. Thanks!

  • Milo Darling

    The iso file’s partitions are small, and I want to utilize my larger SD card to hold more music. I’ve tried gparted to resize the partition before and after flashing, and it always crashes. Any help/ideas?

    • try booting the sd and type sudo raspi-config, then choose expand filesystem

    • John Simmons

      I know it’s been awhile, but did anyone figured this one out?

      • Milo Darling

        Oh man, it’s been a while since I figured this out, but I think I used fdisk over ssh on the pi (or on my Ubuntu machine with SD card connected to it, IIRC either would work) to either make a new partition or resize the existing that utilized the whole filesystem. It may have also involved having that partition mount to a certain place in the filesystem that the python script would then scan (e.g. mount it to /music and have the python script music directory set to /music).

        Sorry I don’t remember all the details, it has been two years since I figured it out, but I do know that fdisk did the trick. Hopefully that helps!

  • Gerben Oolbekkink

    Does anyone know if the same thing is possible with a normal (old) computer using the legacy serial or parallel ports? It is possible to write raw bites to these devices. But I don’t know if sufficient speed and power is achievable. Is there anyone who knows if this is possible? And if it’s possible how?

    • Dylan

      I’m not sure you made any sense there.

  • Milo Darling

    What is the SSH password for the pi for the image I flashed?

    • fakhri

      i think it’s “root”

      • jagan185

        “root” didn’t work for me. Anyone know the password?

        • Milo Darling

          Username is ‘root’ password is ‘root’

  • Aung Kyaw Paing

    Can you please make a video for the antenna part? I don’t quite understand it :/ how dumb I am

  • fakhri

    how can i add the music i didn’t understand

  • koplsopl

    Is possible some Livesound output streaming. I m thinking long time about using PiFM for live production, is this some how posible???(if not please add this feature;))…

    • JRB

      Hi, i have the same question, please it´s posible use for live production?

      • kopl sopl

        Oh sorry, my fault. I just wanted to ask, if I can broadcat realtime audio output (when I play from puredata for example…). Im soo newbie. Its called somehow like dev/dsp, I thik, or how read from place where sound output buffer is, or some another way, to do something like cat /dev/dsp > pifm, if you understand. Clearly, how to send sounds, performed in realtime to piFM. Many thaks.

    • Alan

      There is a line in that has audio input set as off, i’m sure if you change it to on and get a sound card with a input jack, it might stream what you what with a aux cable.

      • tesnos

        If you look at the code, you would have to also uncomment an if statement that is the bottom of the code for that to work

  • EM

    Here is my idea for a little bit better antenna. I started with an ASUS high gain wireless antenna that I had lying around and cut the wire to my preferred length. Then I took a female jumper and attached it to the wire. I used a heat shrink tube to make it more cosmetically appealing. Attached jumper to the pi. Here is what it looks like.

    • A l e x

      What is the login and the Password please?

      • Dylan

        user name + root
        password + root

    • Guest

      It looks good, but it still isn’t efficient. The antenna is made for the 2.4Ghz frequency. Use google how to make a proper FM antenna ;) I built this last week, having a range of 500 meters around the house

      • NASTY

        Holy! I like your natural habitat :)

      • can you please post a link to that article?

    • PdeWitte

      It looks good, but it still isn’t efficient. The antenna is made for the 2.4Ghz frequency. Use google how to make a proper FM antenna ;) I built one last week, having a range of 500 meters around the house

      • kirk

        A 1/4 wave whip is 234/Fmc and is resonant. A 1/2 wve is about 468/Fmc. This is also highly resonant, and high impedance feed, so input power will be low.

    • Steven Hubert

      Whats the range like with that setup?

  • Milo Darling

    Will a radio antenna work with this to broadcast?

    • Dylan

      generally, yes. Even a RC Car antenna with alligator clips or a pig tail will work.

  • Nicholas Stevenson

    When I try to edit the SD card, Windows 8 goes directly to the “SYSTEM” partition. Is there any way that I could access the part of the partition that contains the music files?

    Kind regards

    • Dylan

      not with Windows 8 unless you install more software. If you can; install Linux on another computer or dual boot and you can see the other partition. Don’t get a MAC though. They suck.

  • steeperdrip

    should both rapbian and the pirate software be on the sd card or just the pirate software

    • chris oneal

      I have the same question; I really want to do this project but don’t understand why I cant have this on my existing raspbian NOOBS card. What am I not understanding?

      • Dylan

        just rename the .iso file to .img and use win32diskimager and both partitions will be created.

        • chris oneal

          Thank you.

  • Dylan Maniatakes

    Hi I tired to flash the ISO and Even open in WinRar and it says that the Disk image is broken and I have redownloaded 3 times, Could somone give me an alternative or send me the zip if they have it

  • PdeWitte

    I have had mixed success with this one.. When i tuned it to my frequency, 103.8 , it intermodulates to 84.8 and 93.8. Both the intermodulated signals are licensed to commercial broadcasts, and the pi jams on those frequencies. Using it at a farm won’t harm, but using the piFM in the city will get you a fine in no time

    • Paul Andrew Barnett

      usually, it’s not powerful enough to jam signals too far away.

      • PdeWitte

        If you put it on the roof ontop of a skyscraper, it will jam with no problems for everything underneath in a radius of 300 meter

        • Dylan

          Clearly we need to write a makezine article for some people explaining frequency propagation, mixing and interference.

          • Gritsforbreakfast

            Yes, please!

      • Citizen Trudge

        Give us some data as-built. “usually, it’s not powerful enough to jam signals too far away.” – about 30dB too vague

  • W. Charles

    Arrrrg! Help… Followed everything, plug in RPi and it transmits a carrier, buy no music. I have MP3’s loaded in the Pirateradio partition.. If I change frequency in the config.txt, I get a dead carrier on the new frequency. Was there a start command on Arch that I missing…

    Thank for any suggestions.

    • W. Charles

      Ahh.. Apparently older MP3 files aren’t appreciated by the Pi… Transfers direct from iTunes works… You can call me DJ!

  • Jim Knight

    I must be missing something! I’m trying this under Windows 7 Professional. I downloaded the zip file I extracted PiRadio_1-1.iso from it. I downloaded and installed SDFormatter. I put the SD card in the slot and formatted it successfully with SDFormatter. Now when I double click the .iso file, Roxio Creator comes up and wants me to insert a DVD. It does not give me the option of selecting the SD card even though I can see it in Windows Explorer. I also tried right clicking on the .iso file and choosing Windows Disk Image burner. It also will not let me choose the SD card. I have also downloaded and installed Win32DiskImager but it does not recognize the .iso file as a vaild image. Sorry if this is a newbie question (first time trying a Raspberry Pi) but how the heck do I get the image onto the SD card?

    • Jim Knight

      Elementary my dear Watson! Choose *.* instead of *.iso and select the file. Duh! It boots up now so on to the next step.

      • Dylan

        I found if you replace the .iso with .img and use Win32diskimager it was fine.

    • kirk

      with Win32 disk imager.

  • Gunnar Hellmund

    How do I extend or transpose the range of broadcast frequences to cover frequences around 420MHz? I need to do some soldering / use an extension to the raspberry pi. Any guidelines?

  • Gunnar Hellmund

    Most people have a spare wireless USB modem (3G,4G,…) with a micro-SD slot. Has anyone made a SDR-dongle out of a wireless USB modem and the Raspberry Pi maybe even a GSM jammer?

    • Dylan

      GSM is at a much higher frequency, however, it is work a try to see with a spectrum analyzer what frequency will cause a spurious emission in the GSM band. But i doubt it. Also, GSM, GPS jammers etc are illegal and i caution you not to use them in a predictable manner.

      • Gunnar Hellmund

        Well they are not illegal to use if they have a range, which only covers your own premises. That put aside: What is a poor mans best solution, if he wishes to create a jammer or a set of jammers covering low frequencies 10kHz to several GHz (within a small range 1-100m)

  • Matthew Jacob Wittrock

    So when I flash the MAKE iso to my sd, am I supposed to use a different sd card, or use the one that has my OS installed, sorry noob question.

  • John Smith

    Great article. I was wondering if any way to hook up an IPOD/Iphone as the input source instead of copying music to the SDCard?

    • Otto van Zanten

      do you want it to read the files from your ipod via usb? that might be possible if the correct drivers exist. probably not the easiest way though. if you actually want the ipod to process the sound and use the jack-out to then transfer the audio to the raspberry that’s probably possible too, but on default the raspberry doesn’t have an audio-in. so you will have to make a modification

      I think the easiest options (besides the SD card) are putting music on a usb stick or on a portable hard drive (can be one that’s powered via USB) or on the SD card obviously.

  • Nakkisoppa

    Can i change track/song in any way? And what program is starting that Pirateradio automatically in your Disk image?

    • Dylan

      I found that to change the track i did a killall command for i think it was. It’s not a graceful “track forward” command but kills the process. it appears to auto-restart to a new song. I wired a GPIO to a button and got that to work nicely.

      • Alan

        how you do it?

        • NASTY

          Simple, Set a GPIO to input and when input comes in, A specific operation is triggered.

          • Niamh

            genius. How did you know how to do that?

  • where is the pirateradio.conf located and what other software is needed?

  • Markus

    The ISO File is Broken !!

    • Dylan

      rename the .iso file to .img

  • Mario Lerma Martínez

    What .iso I need to burn in the sd card? The PiRadio_1-1.iso or the ._PiRadio_1-1.iso?

    • Mario Lerma Martínez

      It runs perfectly!! But how i can put a name of the station visible?

      • William Burke

        You can’t. It’s radio, not television!

        • Mario Lerma Martínez

          But in car’s radios’ appear the names of the stations.

          • Apoorv Yadav

            that is another thing…#RDS

  • Andrew Corl

    What would be the process to make this transmit voice? I would like to use this on a variety of amateur radio bands since I have my technician license.

  • El Problemo

    For windows users, having issues, go here. Apparently Windows can’t read and modify the config file properly due to the multi-partitioned SD card this IMG creates. <—- saved my butt and i finally got it working last night after tinkering a while. BTW, i'm a complete noob and if i can do it, there's hope for you. Good luck!

    • Ders

      I tried, but it keeps saying: Host “alarmpi.local” does not exist.
      Any ideas what to do?

  • beefbeef

    This is totally illegal in the UK, and would probably end up with you having a criminal record if you did any of this.

    • Christian

      Sure, a range 10m is going to get you a death penalty.

      • Dylan

        What are you using to measure your signal at 10m? What’s your SNR at 10m using a tuned antenna using at 88MHz or even at 126.0MHz?

  • Dylan

    You do not want to be using this as a long term, stationary FM transmitter. If any of your signals interfere with air traffic control, emergency services (police, ambulance), etc they will come looking for your signal and ultimately you. Looking at a spectrum analyzer with a frequency of 88.7MHz there are harmonics all across the VHF band. Centering on 121.5MHZ, your aviation band emergency frequency, there are harmonics and intermod products all through aviation VHF band (118-136MHz,) and VHF navaids (108-117MHz). If you use this you will splash onto these frequencies. If nobody complains, nobody will come looking for the signal. If this does interfere with aircraft, I guarantee you someone, (FAA in US, Industry Canada in CA) will come by with a DF and find you and you can be charged. Use with caution.

    • Christian

      It has a range of 10m. No one is going to come for you.

      • Dylan

        RF really depends on a few things including your “antenna” (in this case a simple wire on GPIO 4), proximity to other transmitting sources, proximity of receiving devices etc. What are you using for an antenna? What are you using to measure your signal at 10m, 50m etc? What is safe and works for you may get someone else in trouble… as I mention above “If nobody complains, nobody will com looking for the signal. If this does interfere”… So that’s that thing; if someone does complain. I work with frequencies for ATC all the time and I always see interference. But if it doesn’t affect ATC then nobody will really care nor complain. But if it does interfere then be careful. I wouldn’t use this within an metropolitan area.

        • Jeremy Lansman

          I have not looked, and maybe someone has done this, but I would assume the device needs a resonate circuit to act as a band pass filter. If it does spew a lot of RF garbage, you should not turn it on. A simple filter is easy to build if you have a couple of variable caps and a bit if wire to make he right inductance coil. – End Rant – Plate off- ssssssssssa

      • Niek

        I made a big antenna and it covers my neighbourhood and some more.

    • Joseph Miller

      Everybody read Part 15 of the FCC regs when you do this…

    • Dannlh

      More likely Civil Air Patrol will come find you in the US if you are on 121.5MHz. And one of the volunteers will ask you to stop transmitting on that frequency. If it is unintentional radiator, the FCC will usually just ask you to stop before they fine you. They usually fine you when you repeatedly offend intentionally.


    I made it thx for the instructions (iso to img :) )

  • Sharon

    if i enable microphone where do i connect it?

  • Jeremy Walker

    their is no pirateradio.config or pirate songs folder i am running windows do you need Linux?

  • Aaron Dabney

    Would there be a way to change the broadcast frequency with the press of a button or turn of a dial?

    • Jason Chud Grinder Hagan

      I’d love an answer on this one too. Some car radios wont tune to even numbers (ie 87.8). It would be great to be able to change on the fly without having to ssh into it.

  • Citizen Trudge

    Pin 4, as called out by Pi’s documentation is a power pin. The pin here described as pin 4, is actually pin 7 as numbered by the Pi documentation which uses the standard numbering scheme for these kinds of headers. Also the ISO file should be an .img. This seems rather sloppy. This is the release version of a project/product.

    Accordingly, please don’t refer to anyone on such projects as an engineer. Engineers don’t play by ear. The harmonics of these square waves driving the antennas are predictable (by real engineers) and are problematic. Trained engineers know these things and design things with the issues and datasheets well in mind. Makers assemble things.

    • DTK

      As a Q&D proof-of-concept, it gets this out there. I agree, it is at least messy and a dirty hack, but it starts people examining the problem. More rigor and working around the nuances of the problem (and understanding legality) are needed, to be sure. But most invention starts from a Q&D hack, and then is refined.

    • DTK

      As far as dealing with the harmonics, I like Brian’s explanation below; it is mostly accessible, even to someone with limited technical training.

      A pointer toward how to do this safely would be a good thing. I presume they would want something like between the output pin and the antenna so they don’t d0rk-up radio-sensitive devices listening in multiples (or halves) of their desired frequency.

    • kirk

      Try a LOW PASS filter, either L or PI configuration.

  • Joost van Poppel

    So i downloaded the project from github and also installed `sox libsox-fmt-all” to be able to play MP3. Now im wondering: how can I make sure that my raspberry pi keeps playing songs and it doesn’t stop playing after one song??


  • Niamh

    How did everyone else get on with this?

  • tankslappa

    Is that clock generator on the Pi generating a pure sine wave?
    I would have expected a square… And if that’s what you’re chucking into the ether, you’re going to be generating some horrendous harmonics!

  • someone

    Can I use a 22 awg solid core wire for the antenna?

    • kirk

      Sure. OR tubing.

  • RJ Amuthan

    How long does this device cover, like what is the range for it.? If the range is less what can i do to increase it? Can i Connect IP Consoles and Microphones to it….? Will this thing function as a typical radio station? pls do help me out by answering……

  • Brian

    Unless I am very much mistaken you will be feeding square waves straight into the antenna. Doing that without a filter to prevent harmonic radiation is very dangerous indeed. So, if you are on 100MHz you’ll also be transmitting on 200MHz, 300MHz etc. and could thus could cause interference to essential services. It’s a great project but you do need to do some reading on filters – no pun intended but a ‘pi filter’ between the Raspberry Pi and the antenna would be a good start. Don’t operate this transmitter without a filter. Radio amateurs don’t have to take an exam before they transmit for no reason. It’s to ensure that they know about these things. Be a Pirate by all means but be a responsible one.

    • DTK

      That is great explanation of why they need to fiter out the harmonics above and below their desired frequency, but not a pointer toward how to do so. I presume they would want something like between the output pin and the antenna so they don’t d0rk-up radio-sensitive devices listening in multiples (or halves) of their desired frequency.

      • Brian

        I wasn’t joking when I said you need a Pi filter. In this case it is a filter that looks like the symbol π.


        Such filters, in their simplest form, comprise two capacitors and one inductor (a coil) in a Pi symbol configuration.

        You will have to use thick wire so as to reduce the the problem known as the ‘skin effect’, where, at high frequencies, the current tends to flow via the outer surface of the wire rather than through the middle. It is normally wire covered with shellac. Not many turns on the coil will be necessary because of the high frequency. Special attention needs to be paid to the type of capacitor, so use what is recommended but change the value to suit the frequency you are using. As the frequency the filter is designed for rises, the capacitor value should be reduced.
        So, check out Google for a simple Pi filter design and modify it for your use. Also try clicking on ‘Images’ on Google, after your search and you’ll find lots of images which will link to pages on the subject. Look for a photo of an actual filter. I found a simple one with just one coil and a pair of trimmer capacitors. The trimmer on the transmitter side is used for ‘tuning’ and the other, on the aerial side, is the ‘loading’ capacitor. It seems like a lot of complication for a simple circuit but, in practice, it is not so difficult and you learn something along the way.
        If you were to connect your filter output into a proper beam aerial your signal will go much further but, do remember not to attract the interest of the authorities. :-)

  • Emily Taylor

    Stupid and lame. Just make or get a real transmitter. Faggot lil kid stuff

  • robin

    can you use rpi A?

  • Norm Yeung

    It doesn’t work. Is the antenna necessary, because with other projects the radio worked fine without the antenna.

  • Mirco Holderegger

    airplay ? :-)

  • DrDrHerpes

    Dont Work for Pi B+ Is there a Fix?

    • Nick Reyes

      same problem

      • Matt

        I followed the steps I outlined in my reply to DrDrHerpes’ post and it WORKED on my Raspberry Pi B+. The caveat is that you need to also have a regular Model B to update Arch before you can boot the SD in the B+. I’m an Ubuntu user and have never used Arch before this, so there is probably a way to update only the relevant packages, instead of everything.

        I believe the image in the MAKE zip was released before the B+ and therefore doesn’t have the updated network and USB drivers. This is my simple fix:
        1. Download the Pirate image from MAKE and flash the SD. I added the music to the SD in this step.
        2. Boot the SD card in an internet-connected Model B (NOT Model B+).
        3. Log in as u: root pw: root , use “pacman -Syu” to update the system (and download the updated drivers that will work for the B+)
        4. Boot the Pirate SD card in the B+ and tune your radio.

        I connected a couple male/female breadboard cables together for a simple antenna, and it was noisy but my radio could pick it up from across the room.

      • Tyler

        Did someone get this fix working? if so can i get a link to the Image please?

    • Matt

      The image in this was probably released before the B+ and therefore doesn’t have the updated network and USB drivers. I’m currently attempting this fix for the B+ :
      1. Download and install the Pirate image from Make
      2. Boot the SD card in a networked Model B (NOT Model B+).
      3. Log in as root, use “pacman -Syu” to update the system (and hopefully download the updated drivers that will work for the B+)
      4. Boot the Pirate SD card in the B+ and see if it works.

      I’m currently watching it download and install updates. I’ll get back with results.

  • Declan Embury

    Hey would love some help I’m on Mac and when I flash the memory card only 1 of the partitions shows up and it’s not the one where I can it the frequency and add music, anyone know what’s going wrong??

    • Milan Jovanovic

      I’m using Linux Mint 17, and I have a similar issue, mine shows something called “Generic STORAGE DEVICE”, and when I click on it, a box pops up and says “Unable to mount location” and “Can’t mount file”.

  • Did anyone get the streaming of live sound to work?

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  • Hey guys! Hello from Russia! I`m from and I have a biiiig wish and huge desire to get track from your video. Please help me with this. Magic balalaika’s sound makes me crasy Х_Х !

  • loc joh

    is it possible to play a random song then play a pre selected on then another random and repeat, this is so that you could have a break between songs with a little mp3 saying “this is 100” like how normal radio stations have their name bettwen songs.

    • Jason Chud Grinder Hagan

      I was looking into this too and don’t have an answer… Except I was thinking of a markov chain sentence generator feeding gibberish into Festival (text to speech) and playing that between songs. Because…derp.

  • Connor Burke

    Is it taking 2 hours to download the .zip file for other people or is it just me?

  • plentifullee

    NOTE: If you have the Raspberry Pi Starter Kit and you’re in a hurry, you can just use a male jumper wire plugged into the Cobbler breakout board! (Both are included in the kit.) It will work, but the range will be roughly half of what you’d get with 40cm of 12 AWG solid copper.

    I just got a raspberry starter kit. Is there an example of how to plug in a male jumper wire into a cobbler breakout board (or how everything looks like plugged in together)?

    • Enan Srivastava

      i actually just plugged the male jumper cable in pin 4 and it worked great for short distance, in the car. That is because of the metal prong broadcasts the fm radio signal well

  • Francisco Reyes Gomez

    This app has an operation system?, similar to raspbian?

  • Ishan Arora

    hey guys
    i made the pirate radio
    but i am facing a strange problem
    For the first time i started with 2 songs and it was working fine.
    but now its not working properly….
    some songs are skipped, some half played ( abt 10 sec) , some start in b/w
    and some are skipped
    and some are played perfectly….
    and the most amazing part the songs i deleted also get played for 2-3 sec and then the next songs come .
    i am scratching my head
    PLZ HELP….

  • raisiddhantsinha

    sir , when i try to extract the disc image then this error peeps out :( –

    the archieve is in unknown format or damaged .
    plzz help its urgent

  • Charlie12

    Can I use microphone for live streaming? Thanks

  • After running the (sudo dd if=PiRadio_1-1.iso of=/dev/rdisk2 bs=4m) command…I only get one partition called SYSTEM and I don’t get the PIRATERADIO partition. Why is this?

  • Enan Srivastava

    I made this and i compared the lengths of the antennas, here is an graph and data table with what i found.

    • nicknormal

      This is great, thank you Enan. I will share and attribute.

      • Enan Srivastava

        thank you, this was my science project, if you want i can post the whole lab report

        • nicknormal

          Actually, yes! Or at least I’d love to see the data/report and maybe do a story on your project. You can message me at nicknormal [at] gmail [dot] com with any details. Thanks!

          • Enan Srivastava

            I have sent you a link to the lab report, if you have not gotten it here is another,

        • Zak Zebrowski

          Sourcing your chart in a document… thanks. :)

    • Laki

      How did you obtain this graph ? which software did yo use ?

      • Enan Srivastava

        i used microsoft excel and tested all of the data by hand in an unobstructed hallway at school

    • Russell

      What was the gauge of the wire that you used for the antenna?

      • Enan Srivastava

        the same one that was listed, 12 guage

        • Russell

          I could only find 18 gauge, will that still work?

          • webgiant

            Hardware stores still carry different gauges of wire, and some still let you buy “by the foot”. My local hardware store (not the big box variety, which only sells giant spools of wire) carries 12 gauge wire by the foot. 12 gauge wire is much stiffer than 18 (the lower the number, the thicker the wire) and will stay straighter by itself without supports.

      • Brian Compton

        Get a piece of discarded romex (electrical wire)
        I tuned a 2 meter HAM rig for 146mhz at 19.25″, so 20 inches should be close to the 1/6 wavelength…or tuned to the center frequency between 88-108 (98) mhz of standard FM frequencies

        of course this doesn’t take into account the ground plane antenna I was using

  • CamCroz99

    Could you update this for the B+?

  • Prince Zordar

    Can’t get this to work on a new Pi 2. PiFM seems to just hang there, no output to a radio at all. Running Raspbian – any gurus out there with suggestions?

    • Lucian Jinga

      I can t even get it to boot. I worte the image correctly in think but I’m not getting any bliks :(

    • Dani W.

      I just bought the Pi 2 Modell B (1GB RAM) and the image dont work, theres no action after power on. I downloaded the Version from the Makers, but even this isnt working.. Is there some kind of a fix or a tut for the newer versions?

  • disqus_KGh9s0GKul

    How can this system on a raspberry Pi 2 ? Please respond fast

  • disqus_KGh9s0GKul

    How can I run this system on a raspberry Pi 2

  • Laki

    Can someone explain me the accessing the program? can I change the content of FM frequency stuff using only C files ?

  • Michael

    I can’t find the py file on my mac that I can edit to play live sound. Please help

  • epynic

    Where is the disk image.. ?

  • timleggas

    Hi! im having trouble using win32 :/ it seems to skip over the file i need to flash to put on the sd! any ideas?

    • timleggas

      Please reply quickly! i cant wait to start broadcasting

      • Jesper Handskemager

        Im also waiting but in win32 should you choose file and when the file dosent is there click in bottom in the right corner and select all files and choose the file

    • RDamrak

      put it in a folder

  • Alan Beliën

    can anyone help me? If I download the image file I get a message that the image file is corrupted.

    • Alan Beliën

      And the image file even is an iso file.

  • Vivek Blake

    Hi there i tried to download the image file but the links doesn’t work some body please help me out please give a link to download

  • Bas conrads

    I have a big problem: the link for the disk image is broken. I don’t know if i look good enough, but my mac can’t find the server… :’-(

  • Um, the video is wrong. That’s not the video for this project.

  • Tony

    Download link is broken

  • SB

    Where I can find the Pirate Radio Partition and the .conf?

  • Russell

    Are you suppose to flash the sd card with the rasbian .img file and then later add the or are you suppose to flash the PiRadio .img file?

  • SB

    the PiRadio .img file

  • Hemanth Kumar

    I think you should add a note which says “This will not work on pi 2”.

  • sun crafter

    Anyone get this with Rasperry Pi 2 ?

  • Jesper Handskemager

    Wich version of the pi are he using in the video for im thinking about buying a raspberry pi and i dont want a model there dosent cant this. i write this comment because i read a comment where he write at he dont cant do it with he’s raspberry pi 2 so for this project should i so buy raspberry pi a or raspberry pi b or raspberry pi b+ or raspberry pi 2

    • Devansh

      i need to know too..

  • Devansh

    I have a question,i’m planning to make this for my science project so i wanted to know if i can play a particular song of my choice from the list of songs or will it always follow a particular order ?

  • keshav mainali

    The given OS is corrupted… so which OS should be use to make PiRadio?
    And where we can paste “pirateradio.config” and how we can make it autorun? Plz help me…. Im using Raspberry Pi 2

  • keshav mainali

    the given OS is corrupt so, which OS to be use? And how to configure it Plz write in details…

  • Hi-tech-guy-18

    NOTE: This SDCARD OS image will not work on
    Raspberry Pi 2 Model B (Quad Core CPU 900 MHz, 1 GB RAM, Linux)
    – The Raspberry Pi 2 uses a Drffrent Kernal compiled for the ARM Quad core ARM architecture Instuction set
    – You will need to recompile the Pirate Radio software from Source code

    You could use a Linux Live CD for 2x SD Cards
    – one for Raspberry Pi B+ Desktop (700MHz Processor, 512MB RAM)
    – one for Raspberry Pi 2 Model B Desktop (Quad Core CPU 900 MHz, 1 GB RAM, Linux) with the correct (ARM Quad core) kernal and copy the script files over but compile the other bits of software programs for the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B

    You need the Raspberry Pi B+ (700MHz Processor, 512MB RAM,) for this project

  • my_name_is

    would be great if we could get the sha1sum of the RadioPi img plz

  • M. Plons

    Hi, I’m a dj and I really want to know if i can stream live music to my raspberry pi b+ and use the audio output of my dj controller and transmit it

  • recneps Halle

    can it transmit voice as you talk in to it without having to do it before hand

  • YS

    Where’s the low pass filter? How do you prevent harmonics?

    The 3rd or 4th harmonic of the FM band can fall in the military band. I sure don’t want to be transmitting music there.

  • Maj5

    How can you flash the .iso found in the PiRadio zip folder onto a sd card. win32 only allows .img files to be flashed onto it.

  • Mateusz

    WARNING: At the time of writing this comment, it doesn’t work with RaspberryPi 2

  • RussianLame

    Hi. I got raspberry only to try to do such project. And i must say, this article is absolutely useless for me, i just have no idea what to do :( Ok, so i managed to flash SD, but when i start my RPI it says: “alarmpi login: “. So… what should i do? Is it suppose to install some OS, or what? Keyboard doesnt work by the way and i don know why. Please help!

  • Alexander

    Will this project work with the raspberry pi 2?

  • Just stumbled upon this! It seems to work well but I’m unable to pick up a stereo signal. Still, great work from all who made this what it is!

    I wonder if it’d possible to build this into the side of something like Volumio? Short of building me an antenna too (I’m lazy), that would be the absolute icing on the cake!

  • Prestyn Chapman

    My station gets stuck on a song and plays the same note over and over. Anyone know how to fix it?

  • Sam Westing

    Is there a best way to add a mic option to this radio?

  • Yashvardhan Biyani

    My raspberry pi is acting just like there is nothing in its sd card whereas i made the image of PiRadio.iso on the sd card and then inserted in it. HELP!!!

  • Brian Compton

    If it can make FM signals, could it also receive them and become a SDR (software defined radio) up to 250mhz?
    MURS frequencies (FCC unlicensed frequencies)
    151.820 MHz (11.25 kHz)
    151.880 MHz (11.25 kHz)
    151.940 MHz (11.25 kHz)
    154.570 MHz (20.00 kHz)
    154.600 MHz (20.00 kHz)
    Or for those Amateur licensed a 2 meter low power rig?

  • Himanshu Saleria

    hello guys!
    i want to increase the range of the radio.. can you suggest me the ways in which it can be done? (range ~1 mile )

  • Joan Cabrera

    Love the Project, i got everything to work just great… I just have a quick question: Is there a way to increase the output Volume? I find my MP3’s sounding not as loud as they should… i thought it would be the bit rate in which they were recorded, since .wav sound better… ? am i crazy or is there something that could be done to increase the output volume ? “aside from raising the volume on the radio ;)”

  • patrick whelan

    when i flash the img to sd card and then boot it up i get a login screen i have my usb keyboard plugged in and it aint working i have tried a few different keyboards and there seem to be no power going to the usb ports even when i plug in a network cable there is nothing there either, but when i use other distros they work fine what am i doing wrong?

  • chunkeydelight

    It seems as though the file is corrupt or missing… Every I download it I receive a message saying the files either the wrong type or corrupt… any suggestions???

  • Nikhil Polade

    does the image provided above for download works with raspberry pi 2 modB?

  • Nikhil Polade

    if not?then how to make it work on it?

  • Jesse Mancuso

    Is there a patch to make this work for the new Raspberry Pi2 B+ 1gb?

  • Alwin moo

    is there anyway in which i can change the volume of the music output, mine seems to be on the softer side.

  • Nathan

    Can someone re-upload the image file please? I can never get it downloaded. Either the file is corrupt or else there is a ‘network error’.

  • bestbier

    How can I get the sound louder? I have to turn my radio almost to the maximum to get a bit of sound.

  • amoi.azlan95

    Excuse me. I want to ask some questions. I am student from Malaysia and I am in my last semester. I choose this project as my final year project. What is the most suitable OS for this project? Can we use this project steps on Windows? I mean, during the OS installation? Emm, actually I don’t know how to explain it :,(

  • Arindam

    can anyone explain me the antenna part?
    Why do we have to do that way?

  • Arindam

    Can I listen to my radio channel from my mobile radio?

  • Jacob Silverthorn

    Id really appreciate if anyone could explain how to make an “antennae”. The cable works good but if i wanted to amplify the signal or make a better, powerful antennae how would i do so? Id like to figure out how to make the signal much stronger. Any help would be amazing!


  • Tushar Upadhyay

    not downloading

  • Niall Miller

    when i flash the new os i dont get the same file system as i get three files on is the radio file one is the program that lets it launch other things as if it where a radio station and thats it, no subdirs or config files, the problem im having is that it is playing to that frequency as i get pure silence but it wont play any of my mp3s, suggestions?

  • SpookeZ

    Hi guys, I think a rpi as radiotransmitter is cool, but here’s my idea…
    What if you (idk how thats why im posting it here) could run this in the background while still in raspbian and transmit the system audio instead of mp3 files, so that you can use a chrome extention called chromium automation to swich inbetween your favorite streams on twich and from your youtube playlists, get me? It sounds awesome and i think it should be possible sooooo imma let you guys figure this shit out cuz im still pretty much of a noob kay?

    Thanks for any response at all!!

  • Gailen Lee Gillespie

    A better antenna would be to take the 234/frequency! This would be a quarter wavelength antenna. Also, utilizing feedline (maybe some rg6 or rg59 since its easy to come by) and at the end of the coax attach the calculated length to the center conductor and an additional length of the same calculation to the braid. We now have a half wavelength dipole. Run it horizontal or vertical. Vertical will radiate evenly in all directions but horizontal will radiate with more gain in two directions.

  • Michael Sommers

    If you are in the US, you should read this, FCC OET Bulletin No. 63 (“Understanding the FCC Regulations for Low-Power, Non-Licensed Transmitters”), before operating this device:

  • Keith Hammond

    Square-wave transmissions by the Raspberry Pirate Radio could cause interference on harmonic frequencies. To clean up your FM signal, we recommend building a simple bandpass filter, like this one by Mike Tranchemontagne:
    or this one by Paul Hollings:

    Which one do you all like best? Or how would you do it? Love to hear your ideas.

  • Adrian Beaumont

    I must be a bit dumb. I have tried several ways to get this to work (R Pi 3) and the disk just simply refuses to boot – I tried connecting a screen and there was nothing. Do I have to make one more step to make the image bootable? What am I missing??

    I have both partitions and have copied some music. I am using OSx.

  • Steve

    How do I put this on an SD card with NOOBS?? I have been looking for a way, but haven’t found any way. Could someone please help me! Thanks!!!

  • Justin Huff


  • Andy Slade

    Is this compatible with Raspberry Pi 3?

  • Superveda SK

    Hello Guys, I’ve been wondering how can I make LIVE broadcasting for my PiRATE station. Any ideas?


  • Carlos Herrera

    Hi, I have been struggling to get my pi to work. I flashed the image as instructed, edited the config, threw music on it but I haven’t been able to get a signal on my radio sources. Can anyone tell me what might the problem be?

    • Carlos Herrera

      How crucial is the antenna for example?

  • Puiu Alexandru

    Really nice project !
    Can you change in that way, instead from SD card folder , to put in FM live an Internet radio post ?

  • Adrian Mañas

    I do all thinks and i can’t hear my music, when the raspi it’s On in the frequency where I set it (like 108.0 or default 88.9) I can’t hear nothing, but when it’s Off, I listen wite noise, then i thought it’s working, but I can’t understand why i can’t listen my music, someone can help me plis?