John's crystal set

Photo and Text information

The Crystal Set Contest 2001

"Cabin Fever"

My name is John Goedewaagen. I started building x'tals last February, well into the winter here in VT, my first was that little red RS x'tal they sell which I built with the kids. I was hooked. This radio is my third from scratch. One motivation to build this was my wife. We live in a converted one-room schoolhouse; there is not a lot of room for projects. I get to share a small table in the corner of the kitchen with my wife and the kids. My other sets, the ones with the wires, alligator clips and coils hanging out seemed to get swept into the closet. I needed a set that looked good and worked well. I came up with this. The Tuggle design I've seen at many web sites and in the books, it seemed to be what I needed. I have had trouble with SW interference and getting past all the 50k stations in New York City which span the dial. I decided to go with an old look, it was an easy decision after finding "Play Things of the Past'' on the web which supplied most of the parts. The hook up wire is "imitation" cotton covered from AES. The posts are brass knobs, screws and washers from our local hardware store. The coils are wound around large 3.5in TP tubes found in institutional type toilet paper dispensers. They where soaked in dilute shellac, dried, wound, and recoated. Shellac dries even in low temps, alcohol being it's solvent, so I could work outside. The base of the radio is one of four boards I found in a closet when I moved here. I cut off the back; cut up that piece to make the braces for the front panel which is a piece luan plywood. The brass dowel supports I bent from stock bought at a hobby shop. Features not evident in the Photos The posts and caps are insulated from the board with plastic bushings and the knobs have felt behind them which gives tuning caps a nice feel.

The radio works great, The caps, L and R with the 50.1 gear reduction, the vemier in the center as well as the Loose coupled coils have enabled me to log on 40 + stations. I can tune in between the NYC stations to get Boston MA, Providence Ri, Phila. PA, Washington DC, Chicago 111, and in between. WBIG 1280 Auorora IL is probably my best. What's more the radio stays out on the table. Lastly,I could not have built this with out all the help provided at the X'tal Set Society's forum.