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FM Radio Data System Scanner

A Raspberry Pi equipped with 2 FM radios, one plays the station and the other scans the dial and shows the artist and title on each station

I’ve always been a fan of FM radio and, driving around Austin I’m constantly hitting the presets on my car radio to hear the latest tunes. Many stations now use the Radio Data System to show the current song’s title and artist on the car radio. I’ve always wanted a to see a list of what was playing on each station so I built a gadget to do that using a Raspberry Pi and two Silicon Graphics Si4703 FM Receiver chips. One FM receiver connects to the car Aux audio input. The other constantly scans specified FM stations and sends the station’s current artist and title to an Android app running on my phone using the phone’s wifi hotspot, where I can select that station.

I’m using a Pi 2 Model B v1.1 with a freshly installed Raspbian GNU/Linux 10 (buster) OS enclosed in an Adafruit ( Pi Box Plus ($12.50). For the Si4703 chip, I used two products from SparkFun (, their FM Tuner Evaluation Board (WRL-12938, $21.95) and their FM Tuner Basic Breakout (BOB-11083, $10.95). The evaluation board adds an audio output, whose cable also serves as the FM antenna. For the breakout board I just used a 2’ wire for the antenna. You can see the Pi in its case in the picture below along with it’s microUSB power connector. I drilled a hole in the side of the case for the audio cable and brought the second antenna wire out through one of the slots in the case.”

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