The Alamo Crystal Radio

The Alamo Crystal Radio Project

This radio was initially sprayed with Cordovan tinted lacquer and with the tuning dial plate being black it was, without any doubt, the ugliest receiver ever made. I wasted no time scraping that color off and replaced it with this Cherry Red and even devised a system that allowed me to do the same with the black vernier dial. The antenna coupling control knob, the on/off/volume knob and the speaker grill are all padauk wood from Africa and they got the same treatment. Now it is a well balanced and attractive radio.

The cabinet is made of curly maple steamed, heated and bent to shape creating many burnt fingers and a whole new vocabulary for me. Actually I bend lots of this material for the sides of the archtop guitars that I build using the Wynter logo. Many techniques used in that craft have found excellent uses in radio building as well.

This is a crystal circuit and for those who do not know, these receivers require no power at all to deliver radio signals through headphones. The electromagnetic radio waves coming through the air strike the antenna and create enough ‘juice’ to run the set. A small amplifier and speaker were added to this one to simplify the listening pleasure. But if an emergency cuts off electricity this radio can provide the information people need.

This crystal set was built from an antique schematic from the 1920’s which is a rather simple layout. So I was stunned when this one refused to work! After adding more to my new vocabulary I finally realized that since the front panel is aluminum the two 365 variable capacitor’s rotors were firmly connected when mounted to it. This is a double tuned circuit and as such the rotors cannot be connected at all. After they were finally insulated from the plate the radio worked extremely well. That aluminum is some purchased as surplus from Rockwell’s construction of the B-1 Bomber in Tulsa during the 1980’s. And it most certainly does conduct electricity very well indeed!

The availability of this radio is indicated on my price list. Order #X-63


The Alamo Crystal Radio Project
The Alamo Crystal Radio Project