The 10 Best Radio Kits
This wiki has been updated 12 times since it was first published in July of 2020. Whether you are a budding electrical engineer, amateur radio enthusiast, or a complete novice, radio building kits provide an enjoyable means for teaching the rudiments of electronics and encourage STEM learning. The projects in this ranking are suitable for adults of all ages and supervised children, and result in a useful and functional end product that can be enjoyed by the whole family. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
August 11, 2020:
STEM learning is the integration of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and is encouraged through educational tools, such as the radio kits in this ranking. This is important in the current global economy, where we are becoming increasingly reliant on automation, and technological advancements are forming the basis for new employment opportunities and lifestyle changes. The requirement for STEM skills both in education and the workplace is already high and is increasing at an exponential rate, so the sooner we establish the mindset to apply this methodology, the better.
All the items ranked here provide good STEM learning opportunities, and in all cases, the construction process is more important than the result, so when choosing the right kit, age is an important consideration. For example, the Elenco AM/FM and Snap Circuits FM have snap-together construction, and are better suited to children and younger teenagers, while the Haynes Retro doesn't need solder, but it may require adult supervision as it is quite difficult to put together.
Alternatively, the Elenco FM, Elenco Two, Wemake FM, Vogurtime Project, and Elenco Superheterodyne are all stripped-down printed circuit boards (PCBs) with the components mounted upon them. These require soldering and form the basis for a fully functional FM radio, and as such, are perfect tools for creating and understanding the workings of radio receivers. However, if you wish to use these for daily operation, then they would ideally be housed in a casing for better durability and to protect their working parts.
For those wishing to study the subject in great depth, the Elenco Superheterodyne offers a comprehensive learning opportunity with an accompanying 56-page learning course that is divided into nine modules. It receives both AM and FM frequencies and comprises integrated circuit (IC) technology and transistor technology. This enables the builder to fully grasp modern and traditional circuitry and achieve a comprehensive understanding of radio receivers.
Further Learning with EDX. If you have been bitten by the electronics bug and wish to further expand your STEM learning, then there are a number of resources online that enable you to do just that. EDX is a hub that offers a range of free online courses from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of Pennsylvania, which focus on circuits and electronics, electrical engineering, robotics, and other niche subjects. edx.org