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This is my first post for the Beaglebone Black Radio Challenge. I have never worked with the BBB before, but I'm sure it will be a fun learning experience!



Project Description


For this challenge, I plan to create a FM/Internet radio combo with following features, using the Beaglebone Black:

  • All-in-one solution with integrated speakers and easy to use control interface
  • FM / Internet radio switching capabilities
  • Possibility to search and store FM / Internet radio channels


I will also attempt to display RDS messages in FM radio mode





The radio's interface should be straightforward and easy to use.

  • Options/actions should be made available through big buttons
  • Channel information should clearly be visualised
  • Some detailed information such as FM receive level, internet connectivity should be displayed in a status bar.


It seems the SDR USB stick also came with a remote control. Perhaps it can be integrated in the project as well, but I originally only planned control via the LCD touch screen.



Switching / Redundancy


In certain situations it might be more desirable to use FM instead of internet radio or vice versa.


For example:

  • Whenever possible, FM radio would be the preferred option as it doesn’t consume any internet bandwidth. But if due to certain conditions (e.g. due the structure of the building) the FM reception is not reliable or even possible, the system should switch to internet streaming.
  • When on holidays abroad, the regular FM channels wouldn't be available, so the only remaining option would be to use internet radio streaming in order to still be able to listen to your favorite channel.


The idea would be to monitor the FM reception level/quality (perhaps combined with other factors) to make the decision to switch to internet radio instead.



Audio output


The Road Test kit seems very interesting but it does lack one major component in order to build a usable radio: speakers.


I would test different options to provide connectivity for speakers, such as the HDMI port, a USB sound card, ... and see which is most useful and/or practical.

Shabaz has some interesting notes about the audio on the Beaglebone Black: BBB - Audio notes. I'm sure they will come in handy once I get started.



All-in-one solution


The provided case is not sufficient for the entire setup. This is why I would shoot for a “all-in-one” solution where I would create an enclosure able to contain:

  • BBB + LCD cape
  • Wifi USB stick
  • Radio antenna
  • Speakers


I’m thinking of two plexi glass panels (with cutouts for LCD and speakers) holding everything together in a good looking, but compact solution.



Early sketches of the solution in mind




My kit arrived yesterday. It looks great!



Contents of the BBB Radio Challenge Kit


Unfortunately it's missing the Wifi USB adapter, but I've been told it should arrive any day.




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The BBB fitting nicely in its case

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LCD cape from

The different components look great and I can't wait for the weekend to start in order to have some quality time with my kit.

In the mean time, I'll be watching Ben Heck's Getting started with BBB video (again)!