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Retro Shield - Project 1 AM Radio

This project uses the Retro Shield to build an AM radio

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Retro Shield - Project 1 AM Radio
For this first project, an AM radio is built using the Retro Shield. The circuit makes use of two sections of the Shield: the ZN414 radio section (and ferrite antenna), and the LM386 audio amplifier. Two Retro Shield 'sidecars' are used to provide the variable capacitor for tuning, and a variable resistor for volume control. Output uses the Shield's 3.5mm jack socket. The Retro Shield is powered from an Arduino (which is only here to supply the voltages) connected via the USB cable to a battery. An additional extendable antenna has been added to circuit to improve the signal - though this should not be necessary in most locations.

The frequency range for the variable capacitor wiring shown is 840kHz to 2.31MHz (on the 153uH antenna tap), and 4.98MHz to 13.63MHz (on the 4u4H tap).

It works really well, with lots of room for additional experimentation and RF fun!
  • 1 × Retro Shield
  • 1 × Variable capacitor 'sidecar' (443DF)
  • 1 × Variable resistor 'sidecar' (100k Linear)
  • 1 × 470nF capacitor
  • 1 × 150k resistor

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Ken Yap wrote 09/08/2021 at 23:54 point

ZN414 wow that takes me back almost 50 years. At the time (1972) it was a marvel, an AM radio in a chip and 3 pin TO92 package to boot, without all the superhet stages of a standard AM radio design. I see from a search that workalikes are still available.

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