build radio itself: Radio kit for a detector receiver

Radio waves surround us now for over 100 years, we have a building instructions from the early days of radio for you: With a so-called crystal sets you walk in the footsteps of Radio pioneers of the 1920s. Unlike today's receiver, the device requires no electricity, and the structure is to be made easily simple and even electronics laymen.

We'll show you how to build a simple detector receiver and can listen to the lengths of the medium and short wave.

Contents build on radio itself

  • Schematic detector receiver
  • craft materials for radio
  • Winding the coils
  • Install coil grounding and antenna on the boards
  • Connecting diode and variable capacitor
  • use detector receiver

Schematic detector receiver

build radio itself: Radio kit for a detector receiverSchematic detector receiver
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build radio itself: Radio kit for a detector receiver

craft materials for radio


  • 1 small wooden board, about 15 x 25 cm
  • 2 toilet paper rolls
  • 13 meters Kupferdrahtlitze ((for medium wave reception MW))
  • 3.5 meters Kupferdrahtlitze ((short-wave reception KW))
  • 10-20 meters of copper wire for the antenna
  • 150 a p-variable capacitor
  • a DS-60 diode
  • 8 Banana
  • 8 Banana Jacks
  • 1 high impedance headphone



  • soldering iron
  • solder
  • Absisolierzange
  • side cutter
  • Hot glue gun
  • small steel nails
  • hammer


You can obtain the well-stocked electronics stores all the items - of course, except for the toilet paper roll. When stranded at old speaker cables are also excellent.

The antenna cable must not be stripped: The radio waves do not care much for the insulation. However, no metal should intervene - antenna cable with shielding is therefore unsuitable!

Winding the coils

The radio waves are coming out of the ether, reinforced by the coil. The coil is wound differently depending on the intended reception area.

In our detector receiver two coils are used: Wrap each a coil with 100 turns for the middle band and a coil with 25 turns for the short wave band using the copper wire around the toilet paper rolls. The ends of the strand fix each with a drop of hot-melt adhesive to the roll, but let through about 8 cm strand.

a banana plug, depending on each case, soldered or screwed by the execution of the connector to the wire ends.

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build radio itself: Radio kit for a detector receiver

Install coil grounding and antenna on the boards

As shown in the schematic, then the switching elements have to be installed: First, two banana jacks are mounted above and below the coil (left), here the coil is inserted later.

Behind it closes, is connected and soldered to a short piece of wire, the banana plug of the antenna jack. Below is the same structure for grounding is built. The banana jacks are each glued with hot glue on the boards.

Connecting diode and variable capacitor

The right of the coil a wire part to the right side of the small plank is drawn now: a socket for the headphone is attached to the upper right corner. Also at the lower side of a wire is pulled, which also terminates in a socket.

The wires are then soldered to the short wires left and right of the coil. In the upper wire, the diode is, in the flow direction, are used.

Between the two wires is affixed as the last of the variable capacitor and the top and bottom in front the diode with the two earphone cables connected and soldered.

In order for the crystal set in a classic style is ready!

use detector receiver

  • Wait for the night. The medium and short wave reception is much better at night possible due to the light irradiation in the ionosphere.
  • Depending on the desired reception area set First set the AM or KW coil to the detector receiver.
  • After that, the antenna must be connected to the aerial socket and are then placed widely as possible outdoors. The longer the antenna, the better the reception. Pay attention to the weather: lightning strikes the antenna were with the radio pioneers the biggest risk!
  • Subsequently, the ground terminal is connected to a water tap or to the heater - never to the grounding of the socket! Now the receiver is ready.


By turning the knob of the variable capacitor now the vote takes place. Do not expect too much: A precise coordination and selectivity of the transmitter depends very much on your catchment area and the materials used. to build a functioning radio is also a matter of experience.

Nevertheless, you are pretty sure in the headphones, though vague and perhaps confused, "the voices of the ether" perceive - just like your great-grandfather over 100 years ago.