The Invisible WorldBy Bobby Winters
While ignorance is not something we should be thankful for as a good in itself, I am glad there are so many things that have been saved for me to learn in adulthood so that I may better appreciate them. Crystal radio now comes into that list.
I am even more fortunate in that I have a child learning with me so that I may have my pleasure amplified by feeling along with her.
I found plans for a crystal radio at this site. You may look up the details there. My understanding of the construction of the device itself was increased when I realize it could be visualized in the following way. The main part is a circle. (I suppose this could be what they refer to as a circuit, but I don’t want to use that technical term in a way that is nonstandard.) The circle consists of the coil, the diode, and the earpiece.
I chose to use a crystal radio earpiece instead of modifying an old telephone hand set. I might come to regret this in the case of a zombie apocalypse, but it’s a risk I am willing to take for the sake of simplicity. Messing with the tiny wires in the phone cord was too much for my old eyes and my aging hands. I might work it in at the next step.
I made my coil out of wire I had left-over from the radio fence I’d installed to keep Charlie in. I had been uncertain about it. So uncertain was I, that I made a second one out of magnet wire. When I tried it out this afternoon, it wouldn’t work, so I had Lydia bring out the first one, and it worked!
The diode is the the final part of the circle. It cost about a dollar to buy and about $5 to have shipped. Oi!
But you put these three pieces in a circle for the main part of the radio.
The you hook the coil to an antenna and another part of the circle to the ground wire.
Then you listen.
The sound was almost ghostly. You might wonder whether it was there or not, but it is.
Then you realize you’ve made something that captures that invisible world around us, and your heart soars with joy. You don’t have to be an engineer; you don’t have to be a scientist. It’s just a little wire, an earpiece, and your diode...a rock on a wire.
I would like to remove the “store-bought” elements from this, in particular the diode and the earpiece. I suppose thinking in terms of the zombie apocalypse is my standard. Things that are re-purposed are okay. Things that you could get by tearing up something else are okay.