How to make a Very Low Frequency Radio Receiver

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How to make a Very Low Frequency Radio Receiver

Materials:

● 10 meters of 40 way ribbon cable (such as eBay ID 263085715366)

● A 40 way connector plug (RS part number 625-7303)

● A 40-way connector socket (RS part number 674 1227)

● A mini jack cable with bare wires

● An audio recorder & headphones or speaker (for example a Tascam or Zoom)

Tools:

● Tape

● Crimping tool (RS part number 235 6428)

● Screwdriver

Step One

● Stretch out your 10 meters of ribbon cable so it’s lying flat on the ground.

● Put a piece of tape on each end about 10 centimeters in, to mark one side of the ribbon cable.

● On one end, peel the pink plastic coated wire away from its siblings, about five centimeters down.

Step Two

● Find your 40-way connector socket.

● Take its hat off.

● Thread one end of your ribbon cable through the teeth until it pokes out the other side a little bit, leaving the pink wire flopping to the side. The ribbon cable should have the marking tape on the top side.

● Notice that the 40 way connector socket has two rows of teeth, and the teeth are in pairs. Line up the wires of your ribbon cable so that each wire is punctured by the teeth. The first grey wire (next to the pink one) should line up with the arrow.

● Press down and hold your ribbon cable and socket in place. If you can, ask a friend to help you hold it still, as the next part is fiddly!

● Place the connector into the yellow attachment of the crimping tool so it fits, then slide the connector and yellow plastic piece into the crimping tool.

● Check that the crimping tool is going to cover the whole width of the connector, then press the crimping tool down very hard, till you feel the connector cutting into your ribbon cable so it’s completely joined.

● Fold the ribbon cable over the connector and put the hat over it to hold it in place. Push down the hat till it snaps into place. This is the ‘stress reliever’, it stops the c bl tti k d t f th ket if pulled.

Step Three

● On the other end of your 10 meter ribbon cable, peel the first grey wire away from its siblings about 5 centimeters.

● Thread the ribbon cable through the connector plug. Make sure that your marking tape is on top again, and that your first grey wire is flopping over to the side.

● Line up the teeth, then crimp (squish together) using the tool as before.

● Plug your two connectors together so that your 10 meter ribbon cable makes a giant loop!

Step Four

● Use wire strippers to strip a little bit of the plastic coating off both your pink and your grey floppy wires.

● Strip the plastic coating off a couple of centimeters of each end of your mini jack wires

● Twist the grey wire around one of the bare ends of your mini-jack, and the pink wire around the other. Tape them up to secure them.

Step Five

● Find two trees outside to string your ribbon antenna up. Try and string it up so that it is in a circular loop shape. Keep the part of the loop with the connectors at the bottom near the ground and be careful of them - the connections are fragile.

● Plug your mini jack cable into the audio recorder your radio receiver is complete!

Listen with your loop antenna in different locations and positioned in different shapes can you hear data packets, commercial stations or atmospheric disturbances?

Guide by Hannah Kemp Welch sound art hannah.com

Adapted from a design by Mark Horn, call sign M0WGF

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