How to Build a Radio

Building a radio is easier than you think. Read on and learn how to build your own radio.



  • Three pennies
  • Tuning coil
  • Tuning capacitor
  • Piezoelectric earphone
  • MK484-1 AM radio integrated circuit
  • 100,000 ohm resistor
  • 1,000 ohm resistor
  • Two 0.01 microfarad capacitors
  • 1.5 volt battery
  • Brass polish

Here's what you do:

  1. Place your materials on a work board. This project involves soldering, so it will be messy [source: Veneziani].
  2. Polish the pennies with brass polish. They must be shiny for the solder to stick.
  3. Bend two of the MK484-1 AM radio integrated circuit's wires to a 90 degree angle. Place the circuit on the table, rounded side facing up.
  4. Solder one of the integrated circuit's wires to each penny using a solder iron. Put a bead of solder on each penny. Push the wire into the bead until it melts and fuses together. Two pennies will be parallel to each other and one will be lower.
  5. Place the tuning capacitor upside down. Solder the capacitor's leftmost leg to the bottom penny. Use the same solder method as above.
  6. Place one microfarad capacitor on the table. Solder one leg to the tuning capacitor's middle leg and one leg to the rightmost penny.
  7. Solder one end of the 100,000 ohm resistor to the tuning capacitor's middle leg. Solder the resistor's other end to the leftmost penny. Make sure the resistor is only touching the leg and the penny.
  8. Solder one of the microfarad capacitors to the two parallel pennies by soldering one of the wires to each of the pennies. Make sure the capacitor's wires don't touch the circuit's middle wire.
  9. Connect one of the earphone's wires to the other microfarad capacitor. Connect the other earphone wire to the 1,000 ohm resistor. Wrap the second capacitor's wires around the resistor's wires. The three pieces are connected.
  10. Solder the resistor's wire to the leftmost penny, connecting the two pieces of your radio.
  11. Solder the battery's black wire to the rightmost penny. Wrap the battery's red wire around the unsoldered end of resistor wire.
  12. Solder the tuning coil's wires to the tuning capacitor's two legs [source: Sci Toys].
  13. Turn the radio over. Your homemade radio is complete!