From: Chuck Simmons
Organization: You jest.
X-Mailer: Mozilla 4.61 [en] (X11; U; Linux 2.0.33 i586)
Subject: Re: Crystal radio
Date: Sun, 29 Sep 2002 02:14:51 GMT
NNTP-Posting-Date: Sat, 28 Sep 2002 19:14:51 PDT
Jonathan Kirwan wrote:
> On Sat, 28 Sep 2002 21:38:35 GMT, Chuck Simmons
> >The canonical crystal set was made from a variable capacitor, a coil, an
> >ear piece from a telephone, a safety pin and a galena.
> The galena crystal I placed in molten lead and cooled it.
Hah! A true aficionado!
> >construction was critical. The nails used as terminals had to be nearly
> >rust free. The coil had to be wound on a dur-dur.
> And here I'd always thought it was spelled der-der. ;)
I don't know really. I don't have my copy of "A Child's Garden of
Grass." here. My spell checker was no help at all.
> >In case you don't
> >know, a dur-dur is the cardboard tube inside a roll of toilet paper or
> >paper towels. The technical name, dur-dur, derives from the fact that
> >when you were five, you probably marched around the house with one of
> >these pressed to your mouth saying "dur-dur-dur-dur-...-dur."
> Same story I'd heard. hehe.
> >In a
> >pinch, an iron pyrite will work in place of a galena.
> Hmm. Never tried that. Given my ignorance, it sounds possible. Did
> you actually try some iron pyrite?
Yes. It worked a bit. Not well though.
> >The base is,
> >naturally enough, a board. The Dave Berry article, "How to Make a
> >Board," explains this well but don't use your board to kill spiders as
> >the electrical leakage through spider guts may reduce the performance of
> >your radio.
> >These radios work best with very long antennas. Do not try to drag the
> >wire across your neighbor's roof while he is at home. It's really very
> >hard to explain what you are doing and why.
> I was running magnet wire all over the place, including from one end
> of the roof to the other. That one, in fact, worked pretty good --
> until weather combined with my lousy structural design to bring it
Ah, yes. The early radio experimenter converts the parental home to a
copper spider web. My parents got used to that kind of thing.
> >Once the device is assembled you are ready to test it. You will find
> >that moving the safety pin point around on the galena or the pyrite is
> >more effective at tuning than the capacitor. The capacitor is really for
> >looks. After all, whoever heard of a radio without one. Not having the
> >capacitor would be like making a 1950s SF movie without a Jacob's
> My first jacob's ladder was made from a TV's flyback and hanger wire.
> Quickly discovered that I had to be very careful keeping kinks out of
> the wire and getting the lacquer abraded off of it.
I had the fantastic luck of finding a 9,000 volt neon sign transformer
at a scrap yard for about $1. My mother would take me to the scrap yard
but she would not get out of the car. Life was easier after I turned 16
and could drive.
> >Now that your radio is working and you have become adept at tuning, the
> >real challenge comes. Finding anything at all worth listening to on
> Back then, it was the 50,000 watt (day and night) KEX radio station
> for me. Old time radio broadcasts, including lum and abner at the jot
> 'em down store. With that kick from the station, I could almost run
> my room lights -- which is probably why that was the station I usually
> listened to, then.
It sticks in my mind that KOMA was 50,000 watt clear channel. Is that
right? I could get that in Arizona at night with a crystal set.
Back in the 1940's and 1950's, there was a lot of drama and comedy on
radio. It dwindled and died completely in the 1960s. My mother once took
me to KPHO's production studio for some show. It was fun to watch the
actors standing around and the sound effects man watching his script for
his bits. I remember he used coconut shells on a box of saw dust for
... The times have been,
That, when the brains were out,
the man would die. ... Macbeth
Chuck Simmons email@example.com