At some point in this story, there comes
a day when I finally got hooked on how radio works. I remember riding my
bicycle around the neighborhood thinking about a friend who had one of
those old "radio bikes," the ones with the 1.5 Volt tubes & a couple
batteries just to give the bike a ballast. By the time I got around to
reading up on the early days of radio and learning a bit of how things
worked, we had moved from that neighborhood to another.
It was then that
I began badgering my parents about a "crystal radio" set that I had seen
in a local hardware store. That little box
caught my attention because it appeared to be a fancier version of the little
"rocket radios" that my friends in the neighborhood had. A classic case of "quick
moves & shiny objects."
Dad gave in to my
weedling and picked up the radio "kit" from its shelf in a local hardware
store. I don't remember the price, but Dad said that it would have been
easier & cheaper to have built one like he and his brother had done so many years before. Dad's complaints continued as he put the little plastic box together, since he had serious doubts
about the instructions.
Then, after appropriate testing, Dad handed me the headphones & turned me loose upon the airwaves.
I soon learned that Dad had been right. We could have built it with a toilet paper tube, some enameled wire & a diode bought at on of the local "radio stores."
Eventually, and because of this discovery, I began buying parts and building my own crystal sets. Each of them had certain improvements in quality over
the old Remco (which I remembered died a horrible death of neglect and
oblivion) which leads to the next page.