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Looking for FM Radio Kit

sign216

Member
So....the bottom line is that there aren't any good FM radio kits out there. They are a thing of the past, when hobby electronics and ham radio was more popular. The Si4844 and Sodial boards are interesting, but not fully supported, and aren't even sold as kits.

Thank you to the board for giving me an educated response to this.
 

Mickster

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
What was the original intent behind the initial post?
Just to listen to FM radio?
To listen to FM radio with something that you had built yourself?
To build a kit which was a little more advanced than the ones aimed towards kids?

Not trying to poo-poo your ideas in any way, just trying to get an understanding of where you are coming from, since buying a small pocket radio, which would out-perform something from a kit and be much more portable, would also be more cost effective.
 

sign216

Member
Mickster,
I'd like to listen to a few FM shows, and I like electronics, so why not build a radio?

Yes, going to Walmart and buying a $9 radio is the most logical, cost effective way. Just like buying tomatoes is cheaper than actually growing them yourselves.

But really, is that what modern life has come to? Don't explore building something. I's cheaper to buy a Chinese item, and never repair it, because it's just cheaper to buy another. And another. Never build or repair anything. Just buy more dreck.

Count me out.
Joe
 

Mickster

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Ok Joe, gotcha.
For only 40c more than your Walmart ready-made radio, you can build this one from Banggood:
Video of someone else's build here:

Is it any good? I have no idea, but it's better than no radio and it's through-hole, so no difficulties assembling.
Is it worth $9.40? Depends upon what you want to do with your time....build something you can use, or use as a learning step and try to figure out any improvements that can be made......or piss away more than that amount on beer or smokes, as many others do.

I might just order one for the hell of it. :)

Regards.
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
Here's another; a replica of Heathkit, made by "Classikit"
Reportedly Chinese components, to replicate the hobby kits of years ago.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Unbuilt-Classikit-AM-FM-Transistor-Radio-KIT-SMT-CXA1691-IC-Heathkit-Eico-Docs/333149245076?hash=item4d913e0e94:g:1O0AAOSwBLlVB4c1
I would suggest it's in no way a 'replica' of a Heathkit, and the use of the name is merely an advertising scam - essentially it looks to be a cheap Chinese kit, just with some slightly better instructions than usual.

I would say the Banggood kit you listed above is probably worth a shot, and you can't go wrong at the price. I've considered one just to build for fun, as I've no use for an FM radio.
 

DrG

Active Member
I was not sure that I would have much use for an FM radio, but wanted to build one to see if I could do it. The Si4844-A10 (they have a B version now that has a few additional bands) chips seemed to be the best bet as the requirements were different than any other integrated radio chips I was aware of except for those dinky TEA5767 type modules which have pretty poor performance imo. IOW the Si chip has a lot more programming and much less analog electronic requirements, which are dauntng for me.

Across the room from where the Si sits is a commercial desk top CD/AM/FM table top unit, purchased years ago. The Si always outperforms the tabletop. That is hardly a rigorous comparison, but it is notable for me.

I have always enjoyed classical music and I listen to the radio for that (a couple of non-commercial channels) daily. I particularly enjoy it while soldering and the like, but also while reading. Beyond that, some news (PBS/NPR) and, occasionally a ball game. I like it as an alternative to TV. Although my cable also carries many music channels, the video screen is much more intrusive.

When I first got the radio working, I did play around with SW, more for nostalgia as we had a big console set when I was very young and it was exciting to scan around and find those foreign language SW stations...I guess there is still some six-year old kid in me. Of course, I don't understand what they are saying much better now, but I am able to pick up a handful of those signals on a good night.

I have yet to add BLE transmission and package the whole thing in a decorative old radio shell. as I had initially envisioned. I fear that will remain on my to-do list....it's sort of like computer and electronics project ADD :)

All-in-all, for me, a definitely rewarding project.
 

sign216

Member
DrG,
Thanks for the real world comparison of the Si4844 and a commercial radio. I'll give it a shot.

And Nigel, on the Heathkit copy, I agree. It was too good to be true. If they only ... tried harder to get it right.

Joe
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
And Nigel, on the Heathkit copy, I agree. It was too good to be true. If they only ... tried harder to get it right.
I built a Heathkit once, it was a stereo FM tuner, a guy had bought and then decided he couldn't do it - so he paid me to assemble and align it for him, I was 16 at the time - and I'd happily have done it for free :D

But I was incredibly impressed with the quality of the kit, you could see why they were stupidly expensive.

That's what's killed it all off, you could afford to sell an expensive kit back then as commercial equipment was highly expensive, the massive reduction in manufacturing costs means you couldn't possibly sell Heathkit quality kit's as they would cost many times the cost of similar performing factory made equipment.
 

sign216

Member
I built a Heathkit once, it was a stereo FM tuner, a guy had bought and then decided he couldn't do it - so he paid me to assemble and align it for him, I was 16 at the time - and I'd happily have done it for free :D

But I was incredibly impressed with the quality of the kit, you could see why they were stupidly expensive.

That's what's killed it all off, you could afford to sell an expensive kit back then as commercial equipment was highly expensive, the massive reduction in manufacturing costs means you couldn't possibly sell Heathkit quality kit's as they would cost many times the cost of similar performing factory made equipment.

Nigel,

I completely understand. It's so cheap to buy Oriental electronics now, that no one builds or repairs anything. "Just buy another."
It's like our good fortune is killing us.

Joe
 

sign216

Member
In a moment of weakness I saw this vintage Olson module on Ebay and overpaid for it. I think Olson was more in the USA than the UK. Not Heathkit quality, but un-built Heath goods are extraordinarily expensive now.

Hope this works out.



118724
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
In a moment of weakness I saw this vintage Olson module on Ebay and overpaid for it. I think Olson was more in the USA than the UK.
No, they never made it over here.

Now come on - admit what you overpaid, we all want to know :D - so we can feel good or bad, depending how we've all overpaid for things in the past!.
 

sign216

Member
I paid $20 and 10 shipping. I succumbed because of the crazy prices I saw for used Heathkit materials.

I'll be back to this board, because I'll need help adding power supply, etc to make this a working unit.
When I get the Olson module the new thread will be in the Radio segment, pleading for help.

Joe
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
I paid $20 and 10 shipping. I succumbed because of the crazy prices I saw for used Heathkit materials.

I'll be back to this board, because I'll need help adding power supply, etc to make this a working unit.
When I get the Olson module the new thread will be in the Radio segment, pleading for help.

Joe
To be fair, that's not too bad :D
 

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