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Weekend Project: Build a Crystal Radio from a Bottle

If some old-timey electronics fun is just what the doctor ordered, then you certainly can’t go wrong building a crystal radio for some electricity-free radio enjoyment.

Courtesy of Make Magazine’s Weekend Project feature, this project hails back to the mid-20th century when no-battery crystal radios were all the rage:

Crystal radio technology has been around for many years. This “bottle radio” take on a crystal radio requires no power source, operates on the power from radio waves, and receives signal from a long wire antenna. As radio stations slowly move away from the AM band, the “window of opportunity” to experience this remarkable technology is dwindling. The “crystal” in question is contained inside a germanium diode, and is used to rectify the radio signal so that our ears can hear it.

Hit up the link below for the full build guide.

Bottle Radio [Make Projects]

Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 08/17/12

Comments (3)

  1. r

    ….or you can just drink beer and listen to a real radio

  2. WingIT

    Built my first crystal radio using a piece of germanium crystal mounted in lead and a safety pin in the late 1940′s. Building that radio, (that worked by the way) got me started in electronics that lead to computers of which both fields provided a way for me to make a good living. A great project. Thanks for the memories.

  3. vic32

    Ya, or you can just drink beer and listen to a real radio.

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