Simple Radio Circuit

Op-amp is the short form for Operation Amplifier. It is a device used to amplify voltage, and is very popular due to its high gain amplification. It can often amplify voltage to hundred times of what is input.

This project is aimed at making a simple radio circuit using an opamp.


This is a low-cost simple radio circuit based on opamp which can be used to listen to nearby stations.

A simple op-amp radio basically consists of a crystal radio along with a fairly sensitive audio amplifier. The audio amplifier is able to receive strong stations around Los Angeles with a minimal 15-foot antenna. Stronger signals are always provided by longer antennas. But the main disadvantage is that in the case of long antennas the stronger signals provided may produce a noise as it could be heard in the background of the weaker signals.

In the case of longer antennas, the selectivity will also become bad. A remedy can be obtained to the problem of low sensitivity by connecting the long antenna to one of the taps of the coil. For this, the connection of the antenna to the junction of the capacitor and coil must be changed. For listening to the local radio news we just have to stand outside and let the long headphone leads to lay on the floor. As a result of this setup, a ground is also established. The inductance coil has 200 turns and is made of #28 enamelled copper wire. The inductance coil can produce 220 microhenry inductance with the wire kept on a 7/8 diameter, a 4-inch length of PVC pipe. The inductance coil was set up in such a way that there were wounds with taps every 20 turns. This mechanism is provided so as to select a perfect diode and antenna connection. For a little weaker signals, a germanium diode such as 1N34A type would be more appropriate.

In the case of stronger signals, a silicon diode can be used. A rectified output signal is produced at the cathode of the diode. But the carrier frequency of the rectified signal is removed with the help of a 300pF capacitor. Thus an audio frequency is obtained which is passed onto the non-inverting input of the op-amp through a 0.1uF capacitor. The op-amp acts as a high impedance stage. The output from the first op-amp is given to another op-amp which increases the voltage level about 50 times and is DC coupled to the first through the 10K resistor. In order to keep the DC voltage at the transistor emitter between 3 and 6 volts, we may have to adjust the values of 100K and 1 megaohm resistance, as they may not be close in value. Adjustment can be made by either using closely matched values of resistance or have to add a capacitor in series with a 10K resistance. Another approach would be to reduce the overall gain with a smaller feedback resistor (470K). High impedance headphones will probably work best you can also try with Walkman headphones.

Parts List

c1………..30-360 Pf Variable
C2………..0.1 uF ceramic
C3………..300 pF ceramic
C4………..100uF 15 V Electrolytic
IC1……….LM 324 quad opamp
T1………..Sl 100 NPN Transistor
A1………..See notes
D1………..1N34 Germanium Diode


LM 324 is quad op-amp. Out of which only  IC1 a & IC1 b are used. Power supply pins are common so they (pin 8 & 4) are shown connected once.

For antenna use a 50 cm long copper wire.

For inductor make 210 turns of no:28 enamelled copper wire on a 1 cm dia and 10 cm long plastic pipe.

Use a 9V battery as a power source for reducing noise.

Simple Radio Circuit Diagram

Radio circuit using Op Amp
Radio circuit using Op Amp



  1. Mark Aitchison

    If you can edit the circuit to correct the mistakes it could help some people wishing to build it. The main point raised by ADrian is that the pin numbers don’t match the IC type number mentioned in the text nor the circuit (which says “LM314” in one spot and “LM324” in another). Changing everything to say “LM358 or MC1458” would help, but there are some other points that might be worth thinking about:

    a. the circuit doesn’t make it clear that C2, R2, R3 and opamp pin 3 all connect (you use dots to indicate connections in other parts of the circuit, so some readers might think the wires cross-over without connecting).
    b. I’m not sure that the transistor is adding anything – the opamp can output at least as much current as the 470 ohm R8 will be limiting your output current to, and battery life will be longer without that buffer transistor.
    c. There is no volume control.
    d. The first opamp is directly coupled to the 2nd opamp, so any dc offset error due to bias current or errors in R2, R3, R5 or R6 will be multiplied by 47. Better to put a capacitor in series with R4. Doing that also allows you to put a little forward-bias through D1 and get the first opamp to provide more of its share of the total gain… both these things will reduce distortion and increase sensitivity.

    A basic sketch of a slightly improved/corrected circuit can be found at:

  2. Seetharaman

    Hi nek
    First wind the coil and connect the leads to your bread board from the coil
    Start the winding (start point is one wire) 20turns make a loop and take out the wire. continue with winding 20 more turns take a loop out continue winding this way you will have 11 tappings use three of them for optimum performance. you may see the following link

  3. Hi. I have 2 questions.
    1. I don’t understand the part of the circuit where there are 3 lines branching out of the coil. It is connected to ground, antenna, and diode. How do I do this on a normal breadboard?
    2. What does it mean to tap the coil every 20 turns? How do I do this?

  4. Seetharaman

    Hi Adrian you are correct. this pin number is for MC1458. dual op-amp. IC Pin 2,3,5,6, should be at 4.5 volts. across also you should get 4.5 volt ensure R3 R2 junction is connected to Pin 3 of IC.

  5. I started working on this thing for a week now for an electrical engineering project i spent a fair bit of money on it too,

    firstly they dont make germanium diodes any more so i used a silicon one, as well as finding the full range variable capacitor,

    the wiring diagram for the ic is incorrect, pin 4 is actually pin 11 and input Vcc to IC is pin 4 and not pin 8 as stated,

    after C2 i have no voltage traveling to that end of the circuit (antenna side), headphones seem to make a little noise or pop on applying voltage.

    I like this project but it doesnt seem to work

  6. sipra-i want the ppt format of simple opamp,soon plzzzzzz

    i am doing a project on it!!!!!!!can you provide me the slides in ppt format of the simple opamp radio,within 4.11.2010,,,plzzzzzzzzz

    • admin

      circuit is there. just click to enlarge.