Today, we will be talking about something fun. A lot of people are always curious about how they could hack hardware that they see everyday, but they never actually do. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to take things apart and learning how an electronic gadget works, a lot of people start doing this at a very young age.
People find cool tricks like these interesting, such as hacking normal radios to pick up different frequencies that are usually not listenable. With this cool little hack trick that we will be talking about, you can scan frequencies that the town fair uses to make announcements over a loudspeaker, and even frequencies belonging to law enforcement. However, before you start, it is important that you do a little research and find out all you need to know about hacking radio frequencies.
What will you need?
You will need a few things if you’re looking to have fun with this cool hack. However, no need to worry as the list is small and shouldn’t cost much either. First of all, you will need an AM/FM transistor radio for this project. Preferably an older model that would have a physical adjustment for tuning instead of digital. This physical adjustment will be a wheel or a slider that we use to change stations.
It is worth noting that this trick might now work on all radios. However, we did try this on cheap radios we got from Walmart. While all radios work the same and this hack should be possible with any radio you can get your hands on, we would suggest that you do not use the newer digital radios for this little project. Look for older models. You can get them easily as they are still around and they probably won’t cost much either, especially on Craigslist or garage sales.
In addition to a cheap, disposable radio, you will need a Phillips head screwdriver. You might already have a small screwdriver in your house, that should be good enough.
What do you need to do?
The first thing you’ll have to do is pop open the radio. So, basically, you will have to start by taking apart the radio in order to get to its internals. Make sure to remove all of the screws that need to be removed in order to get the case completely separated. This could mean you have to remove all of the screws, but this may depend on the model or the type of radio you have.+
The second step requires hacking the tuner. By adjusting a small, copper wire that is coiled around the cylinder, you can change which station you’re listening to. Depending on how you adjust the tuner knob, the gaps between the coils in the copper wire become more separated or tighter. If you want to hack the radio, here’s what you will have to do:
- Turn the tuner on the outside of the radio.
- Continue to turn the tuning knob and observe the mechanism connected to the tuning knob on the inside of the radio. This should lead to the wire and cylinder that controls what frequency the is being scanned by the radio.
- You can now turn the radio on. If the radio doesn’t turn on, make sure everything is connected properly.
- Turn the volume up.
- Separate the wire on the cylinder by pulling it. You will hear the static shift and warp, which means that you are changing stations. Adjust the coil until you start hearing sounds from the radio speakers.
- Congratulations! You can listen to broadcasts that aren’t for you.
This little trick to hack radio frequency is worth knowing because the more bands or frequencies you can pick up the better. What if the only radio frequencies being broadcasted are on a lower or higher frequency than the radio you have can pick up? You won’t have much idea about what’s going on.
This is how this hacking trick can work by helping in receiving such frequencies. With this little truck you can even pick up frequencies belonging to air traffic control and law enforcement, although, we wouldn’t recommend listening to these as it might be against the law.