How-To Tuesday: Make your own Pirate Radio Station with an iPod

Phillip Torrone
P. Torrone|06.15.04

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Phillip Torrone
June 15, 2004 11:07 AM
In this article: portable audio, portableaudio
How-To Tuesday: Make your own Pirate Radio Station with an iPod image
How-To Tuesday: Make your own Pirate Radio Station with an iPod image

ipods pirate radioThis was going to be "How-To increase the range of your iTrip mini". But after playing around with the new iTrip mini, the FM broadcasting accessory for the iPod (our review here) our little minds got working on some ideas. We thought we might be able to make the range of Griffin's iTrip mini a little better if took it apart and exposed the antenna, turns out we could. And then we thought, hey- we could use a couple iPods to broadcast something we wanted to get out there, perhaps not "should" that is, but could. So that was our motivation, and here's the How-To.


  • 1 iPod mini

  • 1 iTrip mini

  • Optional: Addition iPods, iTalks and iTrips

Getting Started
exposed antFirst, to become your own pirate broadcast station you'll need to increase the range and signal of your iTrip mini. Turns out, there is an antennae built inside the iTrip mini. All you need to do is remove the top sticker-like protection which hides the antennae and then using tweezers or your fingernail, pull the antennae out. We've found a 20% to 30% increase of range on average. This likely voids the warranty, so there, we said it.

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Not now

stationsNext up, if you're using the iTrip mini, then you know that you can install all the stations on the dial to broadcast on. At first we we're really sure we'd ever use them, but now we have good reason. So make sure you've installed all the stations, on the go you might need them to switch to. Remember, the iTrip is a FM broadcasting device, intended to broadcast 10 to 30 feet to a FM radio.

Next, choose your broadcast, it can be any song or a spoken word MP3, don't worry we have a few suggestions. A lot depends on the situation you're in.

Pirate Broadcasts
iroc-zWe usually keep a couple tracks of silence ready to go, ever get stuck at a stop light for like 10 minutes and the dude in the next car is blasting the radio? With the super easy iPod interface you can quickly get to the station he's on and send over whatever you want, a couple gentle ocean waves or birds usually works out great.

gymIf you've ever gone to the Gym, or starred in to one from the outside- you'll notice the TVs are muted and set to broadcast on specific FM frequencies, folks then tune in their radio headsets to whatever station to listen to the audio as they exercise. Now we're not suggesting you go around and broadcast over CNN or anything, but we think broadcasting "Aliens have landed today, the President and UN will be making an announcement immediately" could be quite fun. We'll be trying this out with our gym pals who are usually up for a good gag.

boomboxThere are other times where you simply need to broadcast back. Let's say you're at the park, enjoying a nice quiet day with your family- then comes along someone blasting the radio. We've found broadcasting a silent track tends to work nicely, sure you need to be within 30 to 40 feet, but no one will even suspect that their FM broadcast is getting usurped by you.

Advanced Pirate Radio Broadcasting techniques
italkWe've also discovered another fun example. If you use the iTalk, Griffin's voice recorder accessory with 2g/3g iPod you can record your pirate broadcast on the fly, pop in the iTrip and start broadcasting. Usually pretending to be an omnipotent being and asking folks to build a water proof car, drive across the English Channel with two of every gadget gets some interesting reactions.

Now, if you really get in to this- you could easily increase the range even more, google around for ways to do this- we're working on a few and will let you know too. You can additionally use multiple iPods, when you're broadcasting something like a silent track, you and a pal can cover more area and really surround the FM receiver. And finally, there are also a lot of other things which use FM that you can discover and broadcast to, happy hunting.

This concludes our broadcast. Send comments and ideas to

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