I just recently read an article that was originally published in the September 1944 issue of a magazine called Radio-Craft that inspired me to break out my ol’ crafty hands and see what I could do. I thought I might share the adventure with the radio lovers in the lounge. The article was about Foxhole Radios made by American G.I.‘S during the WWII.
Foxhole radios were improvised crystal radio sets made of “found” objects in the field. A pencil lead , a razor blade, some copper wire, a safety pin and BAM! You have a radio. Pretty ingenious if I might say. Here are some pictures.
These are the main ingredients that I used for the project. It is basically the same stuff I mentioned above ( pencil lead, razor blade…) with the addition of some thumb tacks to hold everything down and a block of wood to mount everything on.
The head set that I used were the “leftovers” from a set made by the Frost company in 1929 that somebody had cannibalized before I got them. I bought in an antique store for 4 dollars.
This is the coil, one of the main components of the radio. It is basically a wire ( 15 feet ! of wire to be exact) wrapped around a the cardboard tube in the picture of ingredients . While I used the center tube from a wined of kite string, all the period sources that I could find suggested that the G.I. s used the tubes that grenades came in to make their coils.
And here is the heart of the entire operation the “detector”. It is an improvised “cats whisker” made from a pencil lead bound to a safety pin by wire and a razor blade acting as the crystal. This is were the magic of radio occurs. I have no Idea how this works but it is amazing.
And finally, here is my buddy Ed the Head “listening” to the finished product. It isn’t as pretty as an Atwater Kent , but in a pinch I would much rather make do with this then without. After some trial and error I picked up the local AM station and it was pretty cool. I hope you all enjoyed this adventure . I know I had a fun time. Are there any vintage Xtaler s out there?
That is great. I will have to make one myself soon. I have been interested in radios for a quite a while. I still have the Crystal and One Tube radios that I made in Junior High School in the mid 1950s. I made a crystal radio just a few months ago from a Quaker Oat Cereal box. It works fine. That is the kind of stuff that got me going and I eventually ended up with a Amateur Radio License.
I made one in 7th grade as a science project. Funny 2 years ago I looked it up online I was considering making one again this time as an adult . I also read the POW in 'Nam made a even cruder design but obviously worked.
Nice job Luke!
I built a crystal set from 1922 Department of Commerce plans back in 1968 when I was 17. I still have it and it still works well.