The Magic Crystal

Posted by in Nostalgia

red-rocketI must have been, I don‘t know, between six and eight years old, when I was given what looked like a tiny “rocketship” (I could have sworn mine was yellow). It was probably about half an inch in diameter and about two or three inches long. At the top of the “rocketship”, was a small red ball. Attached to the ball was a thin rod that could be slid in to and out of the top of the “rocketship”. Attached to the bottom of the “rocketship” was a short wire, about two or three feet long, terminated by a small alligator clip. Somewhere on this “rocketship” a cheap earpiece was attached to the “payload circuitry”.

The “rocketship”, it turns out, was a crystal radio! When I attached the alligator clip to the aluminum hood of the kitchen stove’s ventilation fan. My eyes must have bugged out!

I could hear the broadcast of our local AM radio station, WPVL.

How could this be? What was the meaning of this magic?

With this nostalgic intro, I would like to present to you the following story I discovered tonight on HackADay.

Long live the crystal set and all who discover the magic of radio science through a cat‘s whisker!

Getting Serious about Crystal Radios