What would be the simplest way of making an Arduino emit EM waves using PWM (or without)? Theoretically, oscillating a current through a wire would result in an electromagnetic wave, but I don't know if this is possible using an Arduino and if so, how?


I had a toy project a while ago that generated AM radio.


Code for Uno or any Atmega328 based boards:

const byte ANTENNA = 9;

void setup() 
  // set up Timer 1
  TCCR1A = bit (COM1A0);  // toggle OC1A on Compare Match
  TCCR1B = bit (WGM12) | bit (CS10);   // CTC, no prescaler
  OCR1A =  9;       // compare A register value to 10 (zero relative)
  }  // end of setup

void loop() 
  pinMode (ANTENNA, OUTPUT);
  delay (500);
  pinMode (ANTENNA, INPUT);
  delay (300);
  }  // end of loop


Plug a wire into digital pin 9:

AM radio


The 16 MHz clock is divided by 10 (that is, 1.6 MHz) and that is used to toggle pin 9 at that rate, giving a frequency of 800 kHz, since one toggle turns the output on, and second toggle turns it off.

Then by turning the output pin on and off slowly you effectively have "keyed" output.

Obviously this would not have a long range, but you could amplify the output signal.

What does the timer code do?

It's a bit easier to understand if you look at the datasheet. I did a summary for Timer 1 (and the other two timers on the Atmega328) a while back.

Timer 1

Timer 1 chart

The lines assigning to TCCR1A and TCCR1B set various bits as per the chart / datasheet. Then OCR1A is the value that the timer counts to, zero-relative, so it counts to 10.

The prescaler is set to 1, so each "tick" is 1/16000000 of a second (62.5 ns). Count 10 of them and you have 625 ns per tick. The timer is configured to toggle an output pin automatically. Since it takes two toggles (on and off) for one frequency "cycle" the period is 1.250 µs. The inverse of that is 800000. Thus the output frequency is 800000 Hz (800 kHz).

  • What does the timer code do? It seems quite cryptic to me.. :P Sep 26 '15 at 15:26

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