Building a radio in the evenings

I have a lot of hobbies, but in recent years I haven’t been very good at making time for them. In trying to change that, I’m building a gift for a friend, and while I don’t know how many of you are also tinkerers, you might find it momentarily interesting.

The most recent book I’ve worked on (details to come) at one point features a device called a foxhole radio. Well, I love to build radios, so I thought I’d put one of these together as a gift for a colleague.

These little setTuning_Coil_1s were so named because they were often cobbled together on the battlefield. The Cornell design used a razor blade, a safety pin, and a pencil lead for a detector and everything from a metal clothesline to a barbed-wire fence for an antenna. The most resource-intensive part was the tuning coil, and here’s a picture of the one I wound by hand last night.

I’m going to post a picture of the finished product when it’s done, whether you like it or not. And, if you’d like to build one of these for yourself, here’s a fine source for kits.

As promised, the completed radio:

Cornell_Foxhole_Radio_jh_smallI was as surprised as anyone to discover that this receiver actually works, and I only cut myself once on the razor blade. It does need a good solid ground connection, and the tuning is not what you’d call selective. But come on now, it’s kind of a wonder, even if a nostalgic, old-fashioned one.