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HOW TO MAKE A BASIC THEREMIN USING THREE AM RADIOS.

(Not digital type)

Figure 1. Figure 1 shows three AM radios (they do not have to be identical). From here on, we shall name them FIXED TRANSMITTER, VARIABLE TRANSMITTER and RECEIVER, respectively. You can attach temporary labels to the radios with those words, so as not to be confused later. If you cannot find AM only radios, its ok to use AM-FM, but we will only use the AM function, totally ignoring the FM capability. First thing you can do to get the feeling of what we are doing is to turn the three radios on. Set the volume of FIXED TRANSMITTER and VARIABLE TRANSMITTER to a minimum, we do not need them to produce any sound at this point. Only RECEIVER has the volume turned up. This radio will be your output amplifier. Now rotate the tuning knob of RECEIVER to approximately 1500 kHz. Make sure there is no station there. If there is a station at that spot, you can try going a little bit above or below that frequency. Let us assume you tune to 1500 and there is no station at that spot. All you hear is a little static. Now tune FIXED TRANSMITTER to 1045 kHz (1500 minus 455, which is usually the difference in the local oscillator frequency, it is called the intermediate frequency, or IF). If you do not understand my technical explanations, dont worry, Ill walk you through the whole process, anyway. Okay, as you tune FIXED TRANSMITTER to 1045, you should hear a silence in

RECEIVER, that is, the static goes away as you turn the dial in FIXED TRANSMITTER (remember, they have to be physically close to each other, for the signal is very weak, they must be almost touching each other). Note: Early receivers had an IF of 175 kHz, and then they changed to 455 kHz, although some models use 465 kHz. However, 455 kHz is quite universal. In any case, your guideline will be the silence, rather than the exact frequency. If you get that silence, stop there. Now tune VARIABLE TRANSMITTER to 1045, also. As you approach that frequency, RECEIVER will start to whistle. That is due to the fact that the two frequencies being generated by FIXED TRANSMITTER and VARIABLE TRANSMITTER are similar, and you can hear the frequency difference or beat frequency in RECEIVER. Basically, you would be able to play a tune by turning the dial of VARIABLE TRANSMITTER back and forth, but that would be kind of odd and cumbersome. What we need now is to be able to change the frequency in VARIABLE TRANSMITTER without touching the dial. That is our next step.

Figure 2. We remove the cover of VARIABLE TRANSMITTER and, besides a bunch of resistors, capacitors, etc. you will see a white (or transparent) plastic square, the variable capacitor. This capacitor does the tuning of the radio. If your radio is an AM-FM radio, the capacitor will have four small screws, or trimmers,

one at each corner of the plastic square. If it is AM only, it will only have two trimmers. What we must do now is turn up the volume of VARIABLE TRANSMITTER and tune in an AM station (I posted a video in youtube called Detailed instructions for preparation of third radio for theremin or something like that, just look in more from eltunene, where you can see the actual capacitor in a radio). Now we can touch the little screws, or better yet, the little terminals located at the corners of the capacitor. One of them will maybe make the station sound louder, or have no effect, and the other will bring the station out of tune. That is the one we want! That little terminal will control the local oscillator of the radio, as you touch it; the oscillator frequency goes down, the equivalent of turning the tuning dial. This is the oscillator terminal.

Figure 3. Right now you can run to the electronics store and buy yourself an alligator clip (shown in figure 3), as well as a small telescopic antenna. If you wish, you can use a stiff wire, such as a piece of a clothes hanger, but the factory-made antenna has a better appearance (make sure the contact is good, by sanding the hanger wire). Now you can mount the antenna or the piece of wire from the clothes hanger, on the plastic cover, so the antenna will be vertical, outside the radio. Now use the alligator clip to connect your antenna to the oscillator terminal in VARIABLE TRANSMITTER. Note: If VARIABLE TRANSMITTER is an AM-FM radio, the telescopic antenna will already be there, so just disconnect it from its normal connector and attach the alligator

wire to it. Put the cover back on, and put VARIABLE TRANSMITTER back near the other two radios. Youll have to tune VARIABLE TRANSMITTER to a slightly different position than 1045 kHz, because its frequency has gone lower because you added the antenna. A suggested tuning order would be (remember only RECEIVER has the volume up): Tune VARIABLE TRANSMITTER to approximately 1045 kHz. Very carefully, keeping your hands as far from the antenna as possible, to prevent interaction; tune RECEIVER until you hear the silence. Now, carefully adjust FIXED TRANSMITTER until RECEIVER starts whistling, again trying not to have your hands close to the antenna of VARIABLE TRANSMITTER. Keep fine-tuning until holding your hand about 70 cm will produce a very low note (bass) and as you bring your hand close to the antenna or hanger wire, the pitch will raise until it becomes out of hearing range. If you need additional help, please drop me a message via youtube. Regards! eltunene.