Crystal and tube radio`s

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Pitchy
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Crystal and tube radio`s

#1 Post by Pitchy » Sat Jan 27, 2018 4:33 pm

Anyone dabble with crystal radios, built this simple foxhole one today but waiting for earphone to get here to try it out.

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Last edited by Pitchy on Sat May 05, 2018 12:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Crystal radio`s

#2 Post by crs » Sat Jan 27, 2018 4:42 pm

Pitchy,
You are young at heart!
I made crystal radios as a kid and then helped my boy with one. That was a long time ago!
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Re: Crystal radio`s

#3 Post by wecsoger » Sat Jan 27, 2018 5:06 pm

Oh, look at you. Even used and old blued razor blade. That's so retro.

Amateur radio club here, we did a crystal radio night many, many years ago. It was neat to see all the variations.

Alas, the high impedance (crystal) headphones are rarely in someone's junkbox. (just checked amazon, one seller has the correct type at $9)

In my area, we were lucky, 50kW WLW AM station was always a good way to verify your initial set up.

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Re: Crystal radio`s

#4 Post by Pitchy » Sat Jan 27, 2018 5:29 pm

Thanks fellars, yep ordered one of those earphones should be here Monday.
It will amaze me if it works I think we are about 30 miles to the nearest AM station, I know a good length of antenna is important. :)
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Re: Crystal radio`s

#5 Post by Pete44ru » Sat Jan 27, 2018 6:34 pm

.

DANG ! I haven't listened to a crystal set since I built one on the 1940's, when I was about 8 years old ! :o

Thanks for the memory, Pitchy ! :)

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Re: Crystal radio`s

#6 Post by Bill in Oregon » Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:00 pm

I built a Radio Shack crystal kit in the 1960s -- darned little thing worked. First time I ever soldered anything!

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Re: Crystal radio`s

#7 Post by Pitchy » Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:03 pm

Thanks Pete44ru and Bill, my brain ain`t wired for this kinda stuff to much to remember.
Looking through searches there are so many things to add to make them work better but it`s way over my head.
I`ll be happy if I can pick up one faint channel. :)
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Re: Crystal radio`s

#8 Post by TWHBC » Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:09 pm

Pitchy, would you mind explaining the various components functions?
Built one of the kits, red plastic case, in the early 50's, but the only thing I remember was how much cheaper wire it took for the antenna.
Also my Dad making sure that I disconnected from the antenna, and placed the end of that wire outside during a thunderstorm!
It worked but was sensitive on tuning, especially with my young tumble fingers!

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Re: Crystal radio`s

#9 Post by Pitchy » Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:13 pm

TWHBC wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:09 pm
Pitchy, would you mind explaining the various components functions?
Built one of the kits, red plastic case, in the early 50's, but the only thing I remember was how much cheaper wire it took for the antenna.
Also my Dad making sure that I disconnected from the antenna, and placed the end of that wire outside during a thunderstorm!
It worked but was sensitive on tuning, especially with my young tumble fingers!
Oh man I`m not the one, I barley understand how it works myself, one of the other guys can probably explain how it works.
Otherwise there are lots of Utube vids on the subject. :)
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Re: Crystal radio`s

#10 Post by DaveInPA » Sat Jan 27, 2018 8:15 pm

That's really cool, OP.

This isn't a crystal radio but you might find it interesting. It's an Allied Radio Knight Kit Ocean Hopper built by my father in 1967. I swiped it from him about 5 years ago when I was visiting (with his knowledge). It is a regenerative receiver and uses interchangeable tuning coils to change bands. I currently have the 41M band coil in it and I'm looking for the box with the rest of the coils. I had one of the capacitors replaced last year and it works quite well. I was able to tune in stations from South America and the PRC, connected to an HF antenna on my roof (I am a ham radio operator).

Image

This picture shows the tuning coil and glow of the vacuum tubes.

Image

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Re: Crystal radio`s

#11 Post by TWHBC » Sat Jan 27, 2018 8:52 pm

Thanks Pitchy!
I looked up crystal radios on Google, and a Wikipedia article explained things. Even had a picture of a foxhole radio, very similar to yours, and how they came about, Anzio in WWII. The safety pin and razor blade was something I had never seen before.
Now I have to work on terminology, which I forgot the little I knew, a long time ago!

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Re: Crystal radio`s

#12 Post by Stevie » Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:27 pm

I built a 'Heathkit' or something like that brand as a kid....I had to run like a 100 meters of wire and hook to a barb-wire fence to get it to work...I couldn't get it to work on the house's ground rod and had to drive a copper pipe in the ground for a ground. Mine had a crystal crystal and no razor-blade. It was nowhere near a transistor radio but it did work...best at like 3:00 am in the morning.

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Re: Crystal radio`s

#13 Post by AJMD429 » Sat Jan 27, 2018 11:07 pm

THIS (and many other similar threads) is what makes this forum way more interesting than other 'gun' forums...!
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Re: Crystal radio`s

#14 Post by M. M. Wright » Sat Jan 27, 2018 11:30 pm

Good lookin' job Lenn. Only radio I messed with was a 5W out of a Command Car my Dad and his partner bought right after the war. Only station I could get was KVOO a 50KW station about 3 miles up the road. (US 66) It came in real good some nights on Dad's amplifier that he used for his fiddle. Saturday nights it would be Bob Wills or his little brother Johnny Lee Wills at Cains in Tulsa.
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Re: Crystal radio`s

#15 Post by jeepnik » Sun Jan 28, 2018 1:01 am

Wow, that takes me back to the 50's. I remember an "extra" project in electrical class in Jr. High was to build one. Talk about an easy "A". Turn a kid loose in a shop full of tools and ask him to build or fix something. Could be scary, but also lots of fun.

I suppose today the thought of a child using a soldering iron would cause parents to sue the school.
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Re: Crystal radio`s

#16 Post by claybob86 » Sun Jan 28, 2018 2:02 am

I built one as a kid, had fun with it. Might have been a Cub Scout project. I think it was a Heathkit.
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Re: Crystal radio`s

#17 Post by Pitchy » Sun Jan 28, 2018 7:20 am

Thanks for the replies fellars 8)
Funny how they can pick up channels on the razor blade, I always thought it was the movable arm on the coil :oops:
I`m looking forward to trying it when the ear phone gets here but I`m skeptical , gotta find some more wire for a longer antenna.
Question, I`m using about 50 feet of telephone wire now it has three wires in it, should I use all three wires together ?
I seen a video where a guy used two wires and said it picked up more channels.
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Re: Crystal radio`s

#18 Post by jhrosier » Sun Jan 28, 2018 8:13 am

Thanks Pitchy, for bringing back memories of simpler times.
I recall making a crystal radio from a kit, more than 60 years ago.
Mine used a piece of Galena crystal for the detector.
I remember that it was real touchy to find the "sweet spot" on the crystal, and what a thrill it was to hear the local 500 watt AM station on a radio that I had built myself.

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Re: Crystal radio`s

#19 Post by Bill in Oregon » Sun Jan 28, 2018 8:35 am

jeepnik wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 1:01 am

I suppose today the thought of a child using a soldering iron would cause parents to sue the school.
Jeep, I believe you are absolutely right about this, especially if lead solder were in use.
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Re: Crystal radio`s

#20 Post by Pitchy » Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:27 am

Ok guys what I`d like to do is hook up some external speakers but it seems ya have to have a amplifier or something.
Watch this video to see what I mean, any tips on how to do it or other ways, thanks.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27p_IVTPf4M
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Re: Crystal radio`s

#21 Post by Poohgyrr » Sun Jan 28, 2018 2:17 pm

Great thread, thanks for reminding me of these. I don’t definitely remember making one of these, maybe about ‘67 in a school science class? Back when schools around here did that. But I’m checking You Tube and looking around now. This should be fun, thanks again.
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Re: Crystal radio`s

#22 Post by Rusty » Sun Jan 28, 2018 3:20 pm

Great job as always Pitchy. The reason they were called foxhole radios is because soldiers could use them in the field with no batteries. Also a regular radio of the day with an amplifier built into it would actually generate a small signal of it's own that could be picked up on a radio direction finder, thus the location of said radio could be triangulated and found.
Keep up the good work.
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Re: Crystal radio`s

#23 Post by Pitchy » Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:04 pm

Thanks guys, so far I`m being defeated, got the earphone but all I hear is faint static. :roll:
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Re: Crystal radio`s

#24 Post by Rusty » Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:43 pm

Make sure you have a really, really good earth ground.

You might end up wanting to hook it up to an amp for easier listening. All those jet engines have certainly taken their toll on your hearing.
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Re: Crystal radio`s

#25 Post by Pitchy » Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:49 pm

Thanks Rusty, I`ve tried several ground points in the house from copper cold water pipe, fauset and ground on electrical plug.
Yep my head rings so load all the time from that and a concussion its funny I can hear anything.
Not sure what to try next, maybe it needs a longer antenna or I need to buy a working radio.
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Re: Crystal radio`s

#26 Post by OldWin » Mon Jan 29, 2018 4:18 pm

Cool project bud! I'm sure you will get it if you keep at it. It looks really nice.
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Re: Crystal radio`s

#27 Post by Beaker » Mon Jan 29, 2018 4:26 pm

Pitchy wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:04 pm
Thanks guys, so far I`m being defeated, got the earphone but all I hear is faint static. :roll:
Maybe Your wife is still too close!

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Re: Crystal radio`s

#28 Post by Pitchy » Mon Jan 29, 2018 5:03 pm

Thanks Jay, Beaker if it wasn`t for my wife I wouldn`t get anything done now days. :)
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Re: Crystal radio`s

#29 Post by Rusty » Mon Jan 29, 2018 5:26 pm

Grasping at straws here... you have a really classy looking base with the molded edges an all. One thing I'm not sure of is that of the several videos I looked at they all show a razor blade that was heated to the point of turning blue. I don't know if it would mean anything but you might try heating it up and see if that makes a difference. Can't think of anything else.
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Re: Crystal radio`s

#30 Post by Pitchy » Mon Jan 29, 2018 5:52 pm

Thanks Rusty, I`ve heated half dozen blades up until I`m blue in the face and that hasn`t helped.
I get some static as I move the pencil around on the blade but that`s it, tomorrow I`m going to hang a wire clear across the yard and see if that helps.
The power for these radios comes from the signals from the antenna so will try that next, if that don`t help I might try driving a rod through the frost for a better ground.
If none of that works I`m setting them on a stump and getting the 45-70 out and snicker as I blow them into little bitty pieces. :lol:
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Re: Crystal radio`s

#31 Post by Rusty » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:49 pm

Don't do that, you've done such a nice job on the construction. You'll get it figured out.
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Re: Crystal radio`s

#32 Post by Pitchy » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:53 pm

I found a channel,real faint music. Put the slider in one position then moved the pencil around on the blade until i found it.
I seen videos where guys did it that way, so maybe more antenna will help.
Enough time for bed.
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Re: Crystal radio`s

#33 Post by rodeo kid » Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:22 pm

Pitchy, I remember making a crystal ser when I was about 10 yrs. old. My memory is faint as it was 65 yrs ago. Momma had another baby so I had to sleep in the unfinished attic for 6 months until my dad and uncle insulated it put up side walls and ran heat to it.
Anyway I ran the antenna wire up over the rafters the width of the house so I had 240 ft of wire. We had a lighting rod and I used that for a ground. It had a real crystal in a small metal cup and the tuner was a safety pin, and I moved the point around in thr crystal to change stations. It worked well late at night and living in Michigan then I remember getting a Dallas station sometimes, Used my dads old wwII Air Force headphones and thought I was cool. I guess I remembered more than I thought. God Bless.
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Re: Crystal radio`s

#34 Post by Pitchy » Tue Jan 30, 2018 7:30 am

Thanks rodeokid 8)
I should add I found a station on another radio I made a few years ago but it looks just like the one I pictured.
Also about how channels are found, watching videos I got the impression that moving the detector was what found them but now I believe the channel is found with the slider on the coil and when ya get lucky enough to find a spot on the razor blade that creates a diode ya got it.
A better way to go is with a modern diode and that may be what I do next.
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Re: Crystal radio`s

#35 Post by Pitchy » Wed Jan 31, 2018 4:59 pm

Have two radios coming one a knowing working radio with a diode and controller and will update the results later. :)
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Re: Crystal radio`s

#36 Post by Pitchy » Thu Feb 01, 2018 12:40 pm

In the meantime we started another radio with a ball slider.

Image

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Re: Crystal radio`s

#37 Post by Rusty » Thu Feb 01, 2018 12:58 pm

Beautiful craftsmanship!
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Re: Crystal radio`s

#38 Post by Pitchy » Thu Feb 01, 2018 1:23 pm

Thanks Rusty, I`m getting a handle on how these things work and found a guy on the web I`ve been talking to so maybe in the end I`ll get something working.
My hope is to get one up and running and have one of my large Edison phonograph horns for a speaker. :)
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Re: Crystal radio`s

#39 Post by .45colt » Thu Feb 01, 2018 3:53 pm

Really Cool stuff Pitchy, I re member about those as a kid but never built one or saw one that worked.

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Re: Crystal radio`s

#40 Post by Pitchy » Thu Feb 01, 2018 4:06 pm

Thanks 45colt, should have something working next week. :)
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Re: Crystal radio`s

#41 Post by OldWin » Thu Feb 01, 2018 4:37 pm

Beautiful work Lenn! Very nice. :D
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Re: Crystal radio`s

#42 Post by BlaineG » Thu Feb 01, 2018 4:38 pm

Have you sanded off the varnish from that coil where the slider touches, and cleaned and sanded the slider?
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Re: Crystal radio`s

#43 Post by Pitchy » Thu Feb 01, 2018 4:55 pm

Thanks Jay and Blain, yep sanded and good contact.
The biggest problem is the razor blade detector, the diode should make all the difference. :)
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Re: Crystal radio`s

#44 Post by BlaineG » Thu Feb 01, 2018 8:37 pm

Pitchy wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 4:55 pm
Thanks Jay and Blain, yep sanded and good contact.
The biggest problem is the razor blade detector, the diode should make all the difference. :)
In columbus ohio, we had a 50,000 watt blowtorch a few miles away. I could stick one lead of a diode in the catch on the metal cupboard one lead to an earbud lead and hold on to the other earbud lead and WBNS came in loud and clear. :lol:
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Re: Crystal radio`s

#45 Post by Pitchy » Sat Feb 03, 2018 3:26 pm

Got the new radio a guy made today, works great.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lW7R4L48oc

This is a older one I made a few years ago, installed a diode on it also.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ntk9-mzAD-Y
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Re: Crystal radio`s

#46 Post by .45colt » Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:13 pm

Man that's really cool Pitchy, they really sound Great. Have Fun.

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Re: Crystal radio`s

#47 Post by jeepnik » Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:21 pm

I seem to remember hooking it up to the telephone wire. Did that let us use the phone line as the antenna?
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Re: Crystal radio`s

#48 Post by OldWin » Sun Feb 04, 2018 7:08 am

That's cool as all getout buddy! I never seen one work before.
"Oh Bother!" said Pooh, as he chambered another round.

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Pitchy
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Re: Crystal radio`s

#49 Post by Pitchy » Sun Feb 04, 2018 7:42 am

Thanks guys, jeepnic I`m not sure but would guess so.
I have a couple more I`m working on and will post them as soon as they're up and running. :D
Because I Can, and Have
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He was the best little dog i ever had !!!!!
Sometimes I don`t even understand myself.

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Pitchy
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Re: Crystal radio`s

#50 Post by Pitchy » Sun Feb 04, 2018 2:26 pm

Got our latest radio done, works good. :)

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Because I Can, and Have
-------------------------------------------------------------
USAF-72-76
He was the best little dog i ever had !!!!!
Sometimes I don`t even understand myself.

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