My Most Recent QSO's

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Dave's Homemade Crystal Radios

This months issue of Monitoring Times Magazine has the best article I've ever seen on crystal radio's. It's written by Dave Schmarder (N2DS) and includes pictures of the nearly 100 radio's he's built over the last several years.

He builds most of his sets as "crystal" radios but also adapts some of them to "tube" radios. He also builds "loop" antennas. This one I find particularly nice because he's adapted it to cover the 31-41-and 49 meter "shortwave" bands. Even the 12v tube version is "reasonable" to work with as the voltage is manageable. The biggest danger is handling the "hot" tube before its had time to "cool off".

The "crystal" version uses a "cat whisker", the next uses a tube.

I'm fascinated with these radios because I consider them "works of art" as much as "electronic" listening devices. They're beautiful to view and (I'm sure) a joy to listen to with a good set of earphones. Most are for the AM radio band.

These aren't toys. He uses advanced materials and techniques in his craft. You can view all his radios from the link on the right hand side on my blog. I've spent several hours exploring the site and find it VERY informative and inspiring.

Dave was gracious enough to allow me to use the above graphics in this post and to add a link to his "Dave's Homemade Radio" site.

Daves sez "The sweetest music comes from a radio you made!".

You can also view his page from here: N2DS-Daves Homemade Crystal Radio's


Dick said...

There is an organization called the Crystal Radio Society...or something like that. A great site on the web with many links.

The first radio I ever owned was a Philmore crystal radio purchased from an ad in the back of Boy's Life, the old scouting magazine. Picked up WGY loud and clear, a whole 16 miles down the road.

I've read that crystal radio audio is the purest as it lacks all degrading components, that includes tubes.

Very early ship/shore radio was crystal, vacuum tubes not yet invented or in common use.

73 Dick

Jspiker said...

I was surprised at the "log book" on Daves site. I think his longest contact is Cuba. He's logged WCHS here in Charleston. I can't do that from NYC.

I have a GE Super radio that I've logged KXBT in California. When the "expanded portion" of the AM band was coming aboard, I logged an unusual station in Elizabeth City NJ that was on a flat bed truck. (actually two of them). Another was a 10 watt TIS station at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport.

I still enjoy logging AM stations but can't stand listening to most of "talk radio". I can take only so much drivel. I think the programing on most AM stations has taken a nosedive these days.

I'd like to build a "fox hole" crystal set someday. I understand it takes a "real" steel razor blade to make it work. There's been many a GI kept informed with one of the those simple sets.