H. P. Friedrichs (AC7ZL) Homepage
Neat People And Their Nifty Projects
As the result of publishing my work in Voice of the Crystal and Instruments of Amplification, I have had the pleasure to meet (or at least learn of) a large number of experimenters with interests similar to mine. As evidenced by the photos and links that follow, all of this work is impressive, and some of it is downright astonishing. The information below is ordered alphabetically, by the experimenter's name.
Grayson credits my books with providing the inspiration for this experimental headphone.
His website features other examples of handmade radio components as well as more elaborate electronics projects like Tesla coils and two different static machines.
Henry James, here in the good old U.S.A., sent me these photos some time back. The first shows one of his experimental globe tubes being lit up. The second photo depicts a molecular sieve apparatus he was experimenting with to improve his capability for producing vacuums.
Dr. Stanley Kaplan
A recent issue of the Xtal Set Society's newsletter showed some of Dr. Kaplan's handiwork, including his rendition of my CDROM Radio. The workmanship is very nice and his design, with some modifications, is still quite faithful to the original. He was kind enough to send me some color photos for inclusion here.
Tom Kipgen builds and sells a wide assortment of artful and creative crystal and primitive tube radio sets. As evidenced by the pictures his versions of the "Gallows" headphone and the "Needlebox" transformer, he has found inspiration in both The Voice of the Crystal and Instruments of Amplification.
If you are really interested in fabricating your own vacuum tubes, you have almost certainly seen the work of Claude Paillard. His video montage (also on Youtube... part-1 part-2) depicting the construction of one of his home-built tubes has pretty much become the stuff of legend.
Interestingly, I have received correspondence from two of Claude's countrymen, each engaged in experimentation that is near and dear to my heart. Jean-Jacques has been tinkering with homemade point-contact transistors, not unlike those that appear in Instruments of Amplification:
Serge Pierre, on the other hand, has been tinkering with experimental tubes in the style of the dynamic-vacuum tubes in IOA. He sent me these photos of some of his interesting equipment:
If you assumed that crystal radio experimentation was the exclusive domain of men, you'd be mistaken. I was contacted some time ago by Stephanie Simek, who posed a series of questions related to primitive radio. After we'd corresponded a number of times and several weeks had passed, she contacted me with photos of an art exhibit she'd created and displayed in a gallery in Portand, OR.
The art piece is a functional crystal radio that seems to occupy the better part of an entire room. It's constructed with copper foils, wire, and what appear to be samples of copper ore. The detector is a pyrite detector. She writes:Hi Pete! Just wanted to let you know I was able to get my radio working after a lot of trial and error. I was not able to use a nonpowered speaker because of all of the building's interference and outside noise, but I was still pleased with the results. Thought you'd like to see some photos. On a side note, I did make a working speaker from a meteorite, charged/magnetic hematite, a hand-wound copper coil, and a steel sheet for another project. Thanks again so much for all your help, I really appreciated it.
Kenton Stevens constructed a mineral detector as part of a competition crystal radio that was based on the "Boom Detector" in my book, The Voice of the Crystal. I really like his use of the glass drawer-pull as an insulated handle for the boom.
Nick Strong has interpreted my "Balance Beam Amplifier" design in a novel and original way and has produced an instrument of great beauty. Construction details appear on the Dave's Homemade Radios website.
From Japan, I recently received email from Januar Taka. He sent me some pictures of his experiments with electromechanical amplifiers like the ones that appear in Instruments of Amplification. His amplifier is said to produce 10 dB worth of gain. Note the attractive wooden cabinet of the finished instrument. Taka, by the way, has also built some clever and fascinating model steam machinery, including numerous engines, boilers, and valving. At least one of his engines has been mounted in a radio-controlled boat. I encourage you to check out his Youtube channel here.
Yahoo Group: Home Transistor
Finally, there is now an entire Yahoo newsgroup devoted to the construction of, and experimentation with, homebrew transistors. You can find that group here.
Let's not overlook the work of wizard Aleksander Zawada of Poland. In some respects, his work is like Claude Paillard's, though it appears that much more of the detail work is done freehand.
I Want You!
Do you like to tinker with the kinds of projects that appear in my books? Have you replicated, adapted, or expanded upon one of my designs, and built a thing of beauty? Contact me! I would like to hear from you! I'd be happy to post images of your work in this gallery of neat people and their nifty projects!
(initial - 01/10/2012)
(rev 3 - 10/20/2013