Friday, April 10, 2009

Remember Crystal Sets? Pt. 2

Originally published in the March, 2009, Old Radio Times.(

Anyone Remember Crystal Radio Sets?
Ned Norris

Radio Shack sells starter kits too. Describing a project for "beginning experimenters" at one reviewer said "the Radio Shack crystal radio kit Cat. No. 28-178 is a pretty fair starter set. It does work, and some simple modifications will enhance its performance." When he wrote four years ago, the price was $9.99. After some modifications, which he describes, he was able to listento New York, Netherlands Antilles, Cuba, Charlotte NC, Chicago, "and a few others". What a difference acoil of wire for an antenna makes!

For some fascinating photographs, you might want to take a look at With their knobs and dials for tuning in a favorite station they make me positively envious!

There was no simple method for tuning my set. I remember there was a contact of some sort, and that by moving this minuscule distances across the crystal you could, with much patience, tune in a radio station. Usually, it was faint. Fiddle with the contact and the signal would be lost and found again many timesbefore a signal strong enough to enjoy came in. And it would often disappear in the middle of a show for no obvious reason.

"He aims and fires, but he misses……and that was his last bullet. The killer reaches for him, the axe raised in his other hand, and ……" fizzle, crackle, silence. Mutter, mutter (the latter being me)!

- Ned Norris is the webmaster of


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