Sunday, April 06, 2008

A Curiously Weak Radio

This week I was listening to the Make podcast and got an idea for a new project... the Altoids foxhole radio.

For those of you (most, I suspect) who don’t know what a foxhole radio is, it’s a homemade radio made famous by American GIs in World War II. In 1941 at Anzio, troops were forbidden to have radios, as the Germans had equipment that could detect the oscillator signal of commercial receivers. Someone cobbled together a radio out of scavenged wire, a pencil, a razor blade and a shitload of ingenuity. The idea spread up and down the beachhead and soon many were listening to whatever passed for Opie and Anthony back in the day. This is what they looked like:

Foxhole radio

And in action:

I thought a foxhole radio would be an easy, fun project that I could tart up a bit. Looking beside me in my car, I saw an Altoids tin and figured that an Altoids hack coupled with an old skool foxhole radio and sprinkled with a dash of steampunk would be right up my alley.

The plan:

1. Wrap the tin in black or red leather embossed or tooled.
2. Varnished cherry wood dowel to wrap the coil around.
3. Obligatory brass.
4. Marbled paper inset into the lid.

My goal is a turn of the century iPod. Best of all... no batteries.

I’m getting supplies today and will post my progress or lack thereof.


Beaner said...

soooo......did you ever do it?

details man...details....

Joey B said...

A. Who are you and how did you get here? Details, man!

B. No.... I couldn't get it to work small enough to fit in the tin.

Anonymous said...

I did it. Check out Make magazine blog. I only get the mid to upper AM band, but a true crystal radio with no modern diode. I did find a teeny 2000 ohm earphone to fit/store inside.