Hack A Walkie Talkie For Music


[nepheron] shows us how he hacked his walkie talkie to broadcast music. While using this to broadcast music is possibly illegal, it could be used to make actual upgrades to your system as well. He has replaced the microphone input with a headphone cable and extended the antenna. It is only mono, and he states it will only run for a minute before shutting off, so there is definitely room for improvement.

40 thoughts on “Hack A Walkie Talkie For Music

  1. In addition to being non-functional, this just appears to be a non-solution for what is a total non-problem in the first place.

    Um, how is this different from any one of a number of commonly available and cheap devices that are >designed< to do this very thing – cheaply, and in stereo, and that work?

  2. why is this on hackaday? very uninteresting and very un-inventive.

    Step one replace micro with input jack,
    Step two press button on walkie talkie
    Step three get your idea promoted on hackaday even though the idea is not that impressive.

    Kudos for the soldiering skills required to change the microphone to an input jack.

  3. Am I the only one that seems to think this is a lame, inane, stupid, simplistic and utterly non-useful and un-educational project?

    For those who don’t read the article or the watch the video. The person cracks open a walktalkie and hardwires a line in straight to the mic. That’s it. And then he puts it all in a plastic bottle or some reason.

    Oh, and the thing only works for about 1 min at a time before it stops broadcasting. The reason is because he never bypasses the circuitry in the device that cuts transmission in cases where the “talk button” is pressed down for longer than 60s. Doubt he would no how to address the issue.

    Oh, did I mention that the transmit button is operated with a zip tie?

    What a waste of time watching. I mean, it’s cool I guess if people who are just getting into electronics and hardware want to dick around with something, but why did this lame project get posted to this site?

    What would be cool is if he used two off the shelf cheap walkie talkies and built his own packet radio transmitter/receiver and then broadcast a video stream over it. That would have been better than – “solder this line in jack to the mic leeds and stick it in a plastic bottle”

    sheesh – back to makezine i guess.

  4. lame. sooooooooooooo lame.


    Can we go back to posting cool stuff that actually illustrates even basic electronics skills. even an interesting idea. this article fails at both.

  5. Sad…

    It appears that 2009 is going to be the year of utterly useless stuff on hackaday.

    So far the hacks are either duplicates of old postings repackaged or a desperate attempt to make something trivial look interesting.

  6. lame.

    I did something similar about 6 months ago where i used a gmrs walkie as a bridge to ventrilo voip so i could walk around up to 6km and still be connected to my voip server.

  7. Why so harsh? There’s room for all kinds and levels of hacks surely. One would have hoped that this community would be free of elitest intolerance.
    I remember doing stuff like this when I was a kid just discovering electronics. Now my kids are at that stage and would enjoy doing this kind of hack with their broke walkies.
    Just as well we can all ignore the assholes who feel they have to dictate what’s cool and what’s not to everyone.

  8. I did the exact same thing as this a few years ago, when I was 14. I thought of it and did it all myself. That’s how simple it is. The difference was that mine was actually nice. I used the port for the headset on my walkie talkies so I didn’t even end up ruining the walkie. I also turned off my walkie’s auto-off function (which, I assume this one doesn’t have the option to do) so it didn’t stop. The distortion on these things is unbearably awful, unless you want a lot of distortion on a guitar (which I used mine for).

    Strangely enough, “Red Flag” by Billy Talent was one of the first (and only, because the whole idea of using walkie talkies blew) songs that I played through my setup, and it is being played in that video.

  9. @phyxr

    it’s not elitist to to desire articles that are at least interesting. his project was not. im sure your kids are getting their feet wet with electronics and that’s a great thing. however, i would appreciate it if hackaday did not do a article on how they soldered an led to a battery. especially if it was not even done right and the led kept burning out after a minute.

    i really don’t see where you get off calling people elitist or assholes.

  10. What would be more impressive is building a low-power transmitter that would be subject to part 15 FCC rules. The second reason that this is illegal is that it it goes against fcc regulations which prohibit audio-transmission except for brief(1-3 second) alerts to get the persons attention. Not to mention the fact that you have are using a modified radio. Also the only reason it’s in a bottle is to get it entered in their Bottle contest on instructables. (Not that it has a change).

    Sorry for the rant and that it may sound complainish, but I don’t think this is quality hackaday material.

    1. I’m not a sticker for rules but the ban on music is a good rule. The purpose of these radios is for short personal or business communications, not hours of entertainment. Music ties up the channel.

      Besides, it is so needless. In-house FM transmitters are cheap and legal… and better!

      I have kept a “music radio station” running for years. It’s on an unused part of the FM band so the few neighbors who can hear it aren’t bothered by it.

      What makes it better is that any FM radio can recieve it. I have FM radios in the garage, kitchen, bedroom and a Walkman..

  11. Wow. DUMB IDEA.

    The Family Radio Service and GMRS are reserved for communication. Not for an extender for your stereo. In fact the quality is likely to suck, as the bandwidth is so narrow.

    If you really want to get into radio, don’t ruin it for the guy down the street trying to talk to his kids while they’re out hiking in the woods out back by spamming the channel. And even when communicating over FRS, use good voice procedure – breaker when you suspect a frequency is use, CQ when calling all listening to a channel, and close off your transmissions with ‘over.’

    If you want to play around with radio, get a HAM license. It’s cheap (the test only costs $20 here in Canada) and you have access to a HUGE amount of the spectrum. You can use morse code, set up a packet radio network across the country, try out amateur TV, or just chat with somebody across the world in the wonderful hobby of DXing. In Canada, with the full license you can use up to 2.5kW of power (and you don’t even need morse anymore!)

    1. AMEN. FRS is a people’s channel. Don’t be rude.

      I am a HAM radio guy and the spectrum “playground” we are given is pretty amazing. It’s too bad that it’s mostly geezers who use it. (at least here. maybe Canada is different)

      With the power of smart phones, portable digital cameras, audio, sensors, etc — the hacking fun is powerful and endless. (white hat hacking, of course)

  12. this was a waste of time, i had hope from the title that it ment the bringing togther of a walkie talkie and an mp3 player in some way…. as it is now i had to shove a shuffle into a big walkie talkie shell with a smaller walkie talkie ineards inside the shell as well (two walkies were hurt doing this…) i would love a more elegant solution, the reason is i have to use a walkie at work… they will not alow music… i get bored easly and have a mono ear piece from radio shack… my bosses are dense lol

  13. more spam to top the lameness, super.

    yep this is a cool “dicking around” project, but not worthy of hackaday.

    (and I’m the guy that posted a loop of string/finger retention hack for the game boy micro, so that’s saying something)

    Here’s a story for ya though.

    When i got my first FRS radios I wondered about their range so I set up this experiment:

    I set up a morse code training application on my Palm OS handheld to send my amateur radio call sign and the word “test” every few minutes and repeat automatically.
    I then set the voice-activated-transmit on one frs radio and simply set the handheld next to the radio.

    Every time the handheld started beeping the VOX circuit picked it up and started transmitting.

    that left me free to drive around in my car to see how far the thing was getting out.

    I’ve also used FRS for DTMF remote control, which is definitly against the rules but works great!

  14. Actually I’ve looked into something similar, using a broken wireless USB mouse as a short range data transmitter. Connect its transmit PCB to the circuit under test/temp sensor/etc and monitor the data on the PC.


  15. Also being a “ham” i like radio projects. But this just bites. Besides being illegal, spamming an otherwise useful radio band. As for FM radio transmitters, go by a ready to go radio on a 9v battery. In agreement with the ham from canada, there are a lot of interesting things to experiment on the bands, and above. I also agree with the general postings here, hackaday is really starting to bite as well, like the video of the High voltage wire workers. That was on cable tv last year. in HD & stereo even.

  16. um I was browsing instuctables and almost every hack is on thier site too??? er vice versa.. mybe its a “safe” post for h.a.d. if the post worked on another site….

    eh who and I fooling I must be crazy…right?

  17. @icebrain:

    Unless you really just want to build your own circuit, you could use a stereo video modulator. You could take apart the unit, examine the inductors and/or resistors around the CH3/4 switch, and modify the passives on the CH4 side to move the carrier frequency up 15MHz or more to put you up in the FM radio band. This, of course, would also be against FCC regulations… =D

  18. Are the majority of the above postees roughly at about the same mentality, ease of amusement, etc. As beavis and butthead? Not the eletist and a**holes ofcourse. I enjoyed their remarks and attitudes way more than any hack content or lack thereof. Honorable mention though to the person with the balls to come out of left field with the “jesus h f**king christ” vernacular. That woke me up. Nice segway. Can’t even remember, nor will I waste another second checking, which side of the fence he was arguing.
    My greatgrandparents hitched up draft equine and plowed a field or they didn’t have food. Dug a deep hole or they got real thirsty. When that horse was to feeble to survive the next winter they had steaks. Which they had to eat a ton real fast before it wrotted in the tator cellar. Want them steaks cooked? start chopping wood. God they could have used some prozac. They sure in the hell wouldn’t have ruined a walkie talkie so it had less functions.

    Sheeesh is right

  19. Please do not use FRS, “CB”, GMRS, MURS or any other service for transmitting music. Try instead to use a Part 15 frequency (USA FCC rules) so you do not interfere with others that are properly using the frequencies.

    1. >> Will it work in africa

      It should work anywhere the laws of physics apply.

      But, it’s probably not legal in most countries. I’ve lived in two other countries and they didn’t all FRS at all. (even though I would still see the radios around)

      Look into the rules about low-wattage FM stereo transmitters for your country. It’s a MUCH better choice for music.

      If you get a very lower powered station — it will just cover your home and it is very unliely the government would even know you are broadcasting. Why would you need a transmitter more powerful than that?

      Here is the one I use:

      It covers my house and maybe 20 or 30 meters outside of the house. I think it is highly unlikey that any government official will be that close! And, I can’t imagine that the neighbors care.

      A walkie talkie can go quite a bit further. Even in the city, mine go a couple of kilometers.

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.