How to Make Your Own Pirate Radio Station
Tired of the preprogramed junk that makes up radio? Don’t curse the DJ; seize the airwaves! An FM transmitter (like this one) is a simple device that connects to your music player and broadcasts your tunes through a weak radio signal. This signal can be picked up by receivers in the immediate vicinity, but with a few tweaks you can strengthen it and reach up to 100 feet. Although it may not be much, it can turn your car into a vehicle that doubles as a mobile radio station.
Here’s what to do:
• FM radio transmitter
• Putty knife
• Telescoping antenna (no more than 35 inches long)
• Soldering iron
• Copper wire
Open up the transmitter
Locate the seam on the transmitter’s case and pry it open with a putty knife (if your transmitter is screwed shut, you’ll need a screwdriver to open it). Be careful to preserve the device’s electronics. Once the transmitter is open, locate the antenna. Antennas may vary depending on the type of transmitter you are using. Sometimes the antenna looks like a small metal stick, sometimes it is a wire, but in most cases it’s labeled “ANT.”
Replace the antenna
Remove the antenna and solder the telescoping antenna in its place. The new antenna might not fit in the transmitter’s original casing, so make a hole for the protruding antenna, or create a new case (something like an Altoids tin should do the trick). There are plenty of cheap antennas out there that will work, just make sure that your new antenna is no more than 35 inches long. If your antenna is too long, the signal will be outside of the standard FM transmission spectrum. You want to ensure that anyone with a radio receiver can tune in.
Many FM transmitters have a resistor (typically marked with an “R”) to limit the power of the signal. Since the goal of this project is to boost signal, you’ll want to remove any resistors you find. By simply replacing any resistor with copper wire, you can increase the radio signal even further.
Pick your device
Next you’ll want to choose a frequency on the transmitter and the device you want to broadcast from. The device you can use and what frequency the transmitter broadcasts varies from model to model, so you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the built in specs beforehand. When you have this figured out, you can begin making your broadcast playlist or personal podcasts.
Test it out
Once your modified transmitter is put together it should be able to send out radio waves, but before you go live you’ll want to check. Connect the transmitter to your device and turn them both on. Then tune your radio receiver to the frequency on the transmitter. If you did everything correctly, you should hear the audio that is playing on your connected device. To test the broadcast radius move your transmitter farther and farther away from your receiver, once the audio starts fading out, you have found the transmitter’s limit.
Slap a bumper sticker on your ride advertising your station’s frequency. That way nearby cars will know what frequency to tune into to hear your broadcast. Soon you’ll build a grateful audience of fellow commuters suffering through that traffic jam. Or maybe you can tell the car tailgating you to back off.
Contributed by Mathew Honan
Whether you need to get water out of a fish tank or gas out of a car, it’s useful to know how to siphon liquids.
Siphoning is simple physics. Contrary to what many assume, a siphon does not rely on atmospheric pressure (good news should you ever need to siphon gas from your spaceship) but rather gravity (a potential problem for the spaceship scenario). Due to the cohesive forces at work in a column of liquid, once you start a siphon, it’ll keep going on its own. Just make sure to cut it off when the desired volume has been transferred.
What You’ll Need
To start, you’ll need the source of liquid, a place for the liquid to go, and a tube or hose. A clear tube adds the fun element of being able to see the liquid as it is being transferred, but this isn’t mandatory.
In order for the siphon to work, the source liquid must be elevated above the container you’re trying to transfer it to. Remember, gravity is doing the work here.
Feed the hose into the source tank and put your secondary container on the ground. Next, you’ll need to get rid of the air in the tube by sucking out the fluid from the source tank. You can do this with your mouth, but this is a bad idea if you’re siphoning gas. A siphon pump will do a better job than your mouth, and it’ll eliminate the chance of ingesting something toxic. This simple device usually costs less than $10. To avoid air bubbles when sucking out the liquid, hold up your siphon tube vertically—this will give the bubbles a place to escape.
If you want to skip sucking altogether, submerge the entire hose in the source tank, then place your thumb firmly over the delivery end. While holding the delivery end of the hose closed, move it to the receiving vessel. Make sure the other end is still submerged, then remove your thumb. If you’ve done it right, the siphon will flow.
Letting it Flow
Once the air is out and the liquid has reached the end of the tube, you must prevent any air from getting back in. To do this, maintain suction and carefully crimp the hose or use your thumb as a stopper. Now drop the end of the hose into the other container and release. Liquid should start traveling from the source container to the new one.
Be sure to keep an eye on your source liquid and make sure the hose stays fully submerged, otherwise you’ll end up with bubbles.
Stopping the Siphon
When you need to stop, lift the new container and hose higher than your source container. Then, remove the hose and let the excess fluid in the hose drain back into the source. Or, if you’re draining something large like a fish tank or Jacuzzi, lift the hose out of the source.
Catching the perfect wave is one of the most exhilarating feelings to be had on Earth, and there’s still plenty of time left in the summer to get stoked. If you’re at a beach with some good curls, these tips will have you riding in no time.
Step One: Get to Know Your Wave
You’ll often see surfers staring off into the horizon. They’re not doing it just to take in the view; they’re studying the waves. The first step of surfing is scoping out the perfect spot. Every beach has its own unique underwater configuration with sandbars, rocks, or reefs. These features affect when and where a wave breaks. Before you go into the water, watch the pattern of the waves, and notice where people are paddling in. If the water’s surface is broken in places, this could indicate submerged dangers. Surfline.com is a good place to learn about current conditions and watch live video of local beaches. But if you’re without internet access, other surfers may give you the best information. Just make sure to be polite—after all, you’re on their turf.
The best waves are shaped like an arc, and they hold that shape as they barrel toward shore. Waves “break” when the top falls over, and the ideal place to catch a wave is in the pocket just next to the breaking point. These places, where the wave is steep but no yet curled over and breaking, are called the wave’s shoulders. Often, waves will break in two directions at once, curling in the center first, then spreading out. These waves are ideal since you can ride either the right or left shoulder. Waves that form on rocks or reefs usually have just one shoulder.
Step Two: Paddle Out
Now it’s time to get in the water. When paddling out, try to go to the left or right of the breaking waves. You won’t be fighting the breaking waves the whole time, and it will be easier. Try to get your timing right. Waves usually come in sets of three or four, and since you stood on the beach and studied the waves for a while, you’ll know when there’s a pause between sets. That pause is the best time to go.
When you’re paddling through the crumbled whitewash of broken waves, keep the tip of the board up so it can pass over the mound of moving white water. Paddle as fast as you can. As you get over the top, prop yourself up with your arms and slide down the wave’s back.
Duck Diving and Turtle Rolling
Once you get past the whitewater, you’ll be paddling into the waves as they’re crashing. If a crashing wave is about to hit you head on, there are two things you can do.
If you’re on a shortboard (anything shorter than 7’6″), you can “duck dive.” The duck dive involves pushing your board into the water to get under the wave. To do it, crunch up and put your knee or foot on the back of the board, and at the same time, straighten your arms to push the nose of the board underwater. Once you and your board are underwater, straighten out your body to allow the buoyancy of the board to bring you up on the other side of the wave. If you paddle hard enough before you duck dive, you should make it through the wave without being pushed back by it. The longer, thicker and heavier your board, the harder it will be to force underwater. If you are using a big board, it may help to practice the maneuver in calm water.
If you’re on a longboard, you can “turtle roll.” This involves flipping the board so it is upside-down on top of you. Once you are in this position, the wave will pass over. You’ll want to add a little push to get your board through the wave, and make sure you keep a tight grip on your board the whole time.
Step Three: Have a Seat
At the more popular surf spots you’ll see a line of surfers. They hang out past the breaking waves and wait for a good set to roll in. Find a place in line and wait your turn. Most surfers will keep their noses pointed outwards to watch for incoming waves, and to paddle over them when necessary. But when your wave is coming, turn your board towards the beach and get ready.
Step Four: Paddle Hard
Position yourself so that when the wave reaches you, you’ll be on the shoulder. You’ll want to be moving at the same speed as the wave as it breaks. This means paddling as hard as you can as soon as you see the wave rolling towards you. Paddle like the water is on fire!
As the wave catches up, keep your center of gravity in the middle of the board. If your weight is distributed too far forward, you’ll be thrown off the front (this is called “pearling”). Too far back, and you won’t catch it. Keep in mind that there may be other surfers trying to catch the same wave. The rule is that the surfer closest to the peak has the right of way. If a surfer with the right of way is already paddling with the wave, let it pass—just stop paddling and the wave will roll under you.
Step Five: Pop Up
Even if you’ve successfully caught the wave, you still have to get onto your feet. This is called “popping up,” and there are two ways you can do this. You can either push yourself up and hop on your feet in one motion, or you can put your knees down first and slowly rise to your feet. Each method has its benefits, so practice both with your board in the sand before getting into the ocean. It’s the trickiest part—you’ll have to learn how to find and maintain your balance through the whole pop-up maneuver, or else you’ll tip over into the water as soon as you’re upright. But practice makes perfect.
Step Six: Ride It In
If you’ve done everything correctly, you’ll feel that unmistakable zooom of momentum as the wave propels you forward. This is the moment you’ve been working for, so have fun, and maybe even strike a pose.
This article was originally published on WIRED’s How-to Wiki. It contains some contributions from readers as well as WIRED writers.
Go Back to Top. Skip To: Start of Article.
Here’s the coolest social media trend since food photos: People have been using their smartphones to create 3D holograms, and the results are pretty eye-catching. See for yourself. Part of the reason these holograms have caught on has to do with how easy they are to recreate. You’ll need a CD case, an x-acto knife, graph paper, tape, and a pen—then just follow these steps: 1) First, use the graph paper and pen to measure out a trapezoid that is one centimeter at the top, six centimeters on the bottom, and 3.5 centimeters at the sides. 2) Then using that trapezoid and the x-acto knife, cut out four identical trepezoids from the clear part of the CD case. 3) Create a pyramid by taping the 3.5cm sides together. And then you’re done. If you got lost along the way, here’s a video tutorial. Once you’ve found the holographic video of your choosing off YouTube (like this jellyfish one), place your pyramid projector on your phone, turn off the lights, and enjoy the show.
Here’s the coolest social media trend since food photos: People have been using their smartphones to create 3D holograms, and the results are pretty eye-catching. See for yourself.
Part of the reason these holograms have caught on has to do with how easy they are to recreate. You’ll need a CD case, an x-acto knife, graph paper, tape, and a pen—then just follow these steps:
1) First, use the graph paper and pen to measure out a trapezoid that is one centimeter at the top, six centimeters on the bottom, and 3.5 centimeters at the sides.
2) Then using that trapezoid and the x-acto knife, cut out four identical trepezoids from the clear part of the CD case.
3) Create a pyramid by taping the 3.5cm sides together.
And then you’re done. If you got lost along the way, here’s a video tutorial. Once you’ve found the holographic video of your choosing off YouTube (like this jellyfish one), place your pyramid projector on your phone, turn off the lights, and enjoy the show.
See more here –