Judges Bio

Richard O'Neill

Richard has been experimenting and home brewing equipment for more than forty years. His early projects were loop stick crystal sets, tube receivers, spark and tube transmitters and other electronic projects. They were built in plastic cases and cardboard cigar boxes, using the simplest of hand tools, a pocket-knife, heated nail for holes, and a rat tail file. He has honed his skills over the years and now works with a variety of specialized hand tools, plus a band saw, drill press, and metal lathe. Richard has accumulated a large supply of "stuff" and likes to be creative with it. He adapts existing objects to his projects, which minimizes cost, time and tool work. A recent example, assembled and mounted in a piece of 1" square aluminum tubing, is the TKT crystal set pictured in the Home Brew photos of the Yahoo "Crystal Set Club".

Roger Horton

Rogers first exposure to radio began in the 1940s. His Father and Uncle were crystal radio manufacturers from the beginnings of radio in the 1920s. Roger has been a Ham Radio operator since 1948. He has been build radio equipment as a hobby and commercially. Although Amateur Radio has occupied much of his time, his first love for 50+ years has been reproducing the radios his Father built. These were mostly Crystal Radios. Roger still presently builds custom crystal radios, which he sells to a select group of aficionados so he can "begin his next project."

Rick Weber

As a kid, Rick spent many allowances on crystal radio parts and kits from Elmer Osterhoudt's MRL. He has entered and judged numerous building contests -- mostly for horological (clocks and watches -- NAWCC, AWI, BHI) and reproductions of vintage radio gear (Antique Wireless Assn.) For about 15 years, he has performed restoration and conservation work for six museums. He Built and regularly operates a repro of a complete 1929 vintage ham station -- QRP/CW only. Rick currently enjoys building high performance crystal receivers.

John Davidson

Johns passion for radio and electronics, like most Crystal Radio enthusiasts can be traced back to his fourth birthday when, given a dollar to “buy anything he wanted”. He bought the parts and made an extension cord. (Or so his parents tell him.) He always wanted to be an “Electriciman” as he called himself back then. By sixth grade he had built himself a double tuned Crystal Set for the science fair and logged 43 stations. Working with youngsters building crystal radios while he was in college, he was asked, “What makes the rock in the crystal radio do that?” He admitted he really didn’t know. Then he was asked if he had made many radios. He bragged that he had made more than a hundred. “Then why don’t you know more?” the boy asked. Since then, as an amateur scientist, he has built many more radios and other gadgets, such as Tesla coils, cloud chambers, super-conducting gravity meters, and Marconi Magnetic Detectors. When he suggested he do his graduate dissertation on Crystal Radios his advisor told him that a thesis on Crystal Radio just wouldn’t fly. So, his topic became “A Self-Converging Algorithm for an Adaptive Antenna Array of Randomly Arranged Elements.” John currently directs research at a large technology corporation.

Al Klase

Al is a vintage radio collector, restorer, and historian specializing in communication receivers. He has also done extensive investigation of the technical aspects of Crystal Radios, and finds Crystal Set building a welcome counterpoint to the complexities of the commercial short-wave sets. Al is program chairman for the New Jersey Antique Radio Club and newsletter editor for the Delaware Valley Historic Radio Club. He maintains a Web site at http://www.webex.net/~skywaves/home.htm that is dedicated to vintage radios and to Crystal Sets. His short course “Crystal Radios 102” is required reading for anyone who wants to move to the next level in Crystal Radio design and construction. Al currently works as a field applications engineer for a major semiconductor company.

Mike Peebles

Mike built his first crystal radio at the age of 10, from the "Wolf" Cub Scout book. When the set did not work, took it to a TV/Radio Repair Shop across the street and asked the man for help. Ray cut-away one wire. The set worked fine, and Mike was hooked. After that, Mike's best friends were Allied Radio, Lafayette Electronics, Alfred P. Morgan, and Ray. He made a career of electronics. He retired in 1990, which was just about the time he took up with the fascination of crystal and small tube radios, again. Mike designed crystal and regenerative receiver kits for Yeary Communications, then Antique Electronics Supply, and later for the Xtal Set Society. He also writes “The Peebles Choice” column in the XSS newsletter. His love for the hobby continues, as does his friendship with Ray who, still lives in the same neighborhood after 45 years.

Mike Tuggle

Mike has been building high performance crystal radios since 1959, “…when I first discovered you could actually DX with them.” He is the developer and chief proponent of the Lyonodyne series of DX crystal sets. Since 1974, he has built many models and variations based on this theme culminating in the "Lyonodyne-17", a much-advanced version. Along the way he has validated many widely believed design tenants, and disproved some others. Although he is a recognized leader and authority on high performance Crystal Radio design, he is quick to recognize the contributions of others in the field. After relocating to Hawaii last year, Mike was unsure of what to expect DX – wise. He was pleasantly surprised to find that it is possible to receive stations from 2400 miles away, or TP/2, --“Trans-Pacific over two”, as he likes to call it. His best DX is the 1180 kHz super power station in Cuba, --4770 miles. Mike is a member of the Antique Wireless Association, with interests in radio history and restoration. He is the reigning Crystal Radio DX champion in the “Open Class” competition level.

Scott Balderston

Scott built his first crystal radio in about 1960 from a kit with a mounted galena crystal and a single sided earphone. When he started tinkering with crystal radios about 5 years ago he went looking for it. Unfortunately, his mom had thrown it away when moving house many years before. (Sound familiar?) Scott started collecting antique radios about 5 years ago and was attracted to 1920's crystal radios and headphones. He likes the vintage sets, and builds his sets with an old time look, trying to get the best performance out of a simple low-tech rig. His main interest is vintage headphones. His collection numbers over 300 pairs. He has developed quite a talent for bringing dead or dying vintage headphones back to life. You can visit his on-line museum of vintage headsets at http://members.aol.com/scottswim/index.html . Scott is also the President of the Tidewater Antique Radio Club in Norfolk, VA. Their web page can be found at Vic's Radio Playroom link on his web page.