Crystal Set

1920's style naval radio receiver


 Many years ago I purchased a crystal set kit from Orpheus Radio in Ballarat. The design of the set was based on a 1920’s naval radio and featured high-Q spider-web inductors, a variometer, mica capacitors and a rotary inductance selector switch. It is one of the best DX crystal sets I have ever owned. Selectivity and sensitivity is excellent and with this set I have been able to receive many stations from around Australia and south-east Asia. Unfortunately, Orpheus Radio doesn’t exist any more so for the crystal set enthusiast wanting to replicate this fine radio apparatus here is a description of that set. For the purist, the germanium diode can be replaced with a cat's whisker detector to produce a totally authentic piece.

Before the construction of a crystal set is contemplated, a pair of high quality high-impedance headphones should be obtained. The performance of the crystal set is highly dependant upon the quality of the phones. It is possible (and I have done so) to modify a set of standard 600 ohm headphones to produce an excellent pair of high-impedance phones. The modifications include complete disassembly of the phones and tediously re-winding the coils. This is not a job for the feint-hearted but if your sense of adventure extends this far then the results can be very satisfying.