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Building Your Own Radio with Your Son

Crystal radios were the first kinds of radios to be manufactured. And, since you love radio, it makes since that you might want to look into building your own with your son. As parents, we love to pass down our interests and expertise to our progeny. So, since crystal radios initially used a cat whisker and a piece of lead galena crystal, it’s not surprising that you’d like to share that history with your boy.

Building Your Own Radio with Your Son

However, you don’t want you to miss opportunities with your daughter either. Consider building a dollhouse with her.  When choosing the right dollhouse kit for you and her, you need to be certain to pick one she’s interested in. While the radio thing is your contribution of personal interest, which you could also build with her, she’d probably rather a dollhouse. You can build it, paint it, decorate it, and furnish it together and then you can be back to the radio building.

Radio Building Kits and Accessory Options

Recalling that we mentioned the first radios, those utilizing crystal, another neat aspect was that they didn’t even require batteries or other forms of electric. They were powered by the radio waves themselves. And, back in the day, they showed up in boys’ magazines for $6 each.  They weren’t hard to make either. We hope these radio building kits and accessory options will prove the same:

  • Dunwoody High Performance Crystal Set– General Henry H.C. Dunwoody patented the carborundum crystal detector in 1906. The kit we are referencing here will provide you with 2 air variable capacitor tuned circuits which is a much better setup than those that include slider tuned crystals or single tuned ones. You can even hear some stations from thousands of miles away with this set. And, you can also pick the best place to set the crystal detector rather than having to keep it in a fixed position. Get one by clicking this.
  • Armstrong One Tube Set- Edwin Armstrong is credited with the 1912 invention of the regenerative circuit. Which means the “B” battery voltage won’t pass through the headset and mess up the magnets, and you won’t need additional circuitry to connect to amplifiers. This kit has great tuning capability for a single tube set. And, the air variable capacitators are precise and smooth.
  • Pickard Crystal Set- The crystal detector was invented in 1906 by Greenleaf Whittier Pickard. And, the original set was actually designed for a class for 8 to 12 year olds presented at the Museum of Natural History in Texas, by Rice University. The tuner is made up of a brass rod and this kit is quite durable.
  • Morgan Antenna Tuner Kit– If you’ve already got a crystal or tube radio, this kit will prove to be a great accessory. Alfred P. Morgan designed the concept while writing a book entitled, The Boy Electrician, in 1913 (you can read it for free, here). In it, he taught boys how to make crystal radios and a slew of other things. Because super long antennas were needed, this kit will offer the necessary “artificial length” to improve reception to your radio endeavors.
  • Bucher Crystal Radio QRM Rejector– This is based on the work of Elmer E. Bucher. QRM is the technical terminology among radio operators for the existence of man-made interference. When you connect this between your antennas, you will be better able to hear the weaker radio frequencies. So, it will also add power to your radio kits.

If you are interested in the history of radio, this is a great resource.

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