Dave's Homemade Crystal Set Page

Spider Heaven

On this site I will show you the dozens of crystal radios that I have built. Please note that the radios that I have built and are featured on this site are made without regard to any solid scientific basis. They are built from the mind, the gut and what I find in my junk box or on ebay! Also, please check out my radios main page. There you can see my tube radio creations and some accessories that I have built.

Happy surfing - Dave - N2DS

Hello crystal radio fans. Glad you stopped by. I always like telling my story. For those that have passed 50, this story will most likely sound familiar. That is, we are yearning to relive our childhood. Well, for a small sum of money I was able to do the same. Above you see the results.

A "crystal set" is a radio receiver that requires no batteries, or household electric current to operate. It has no apparent power supply. I will tell you at the end of this article how this radio gets it's power.

The crystal set was the first radio for broadcast reception. Back then, these radios used a galena crystal (a piece of rock that acted as a semiconductor to recover the audio from radio frequency waves). Since then, the semiconductor diode has replaced the galena in most designs as it is one less thing that the user has to fiddle around with.

Since the crystal set is self powered, headphones are required for listening. This ain't your son's ghetto blaster. The sound is quite faint but still easy to hear.

About a month ago (March 2002) I had several customers coming in where I work expressing a desire to build a crystal set. One was for a school science project. Another was teaching a class in electronics to adults and thought a crystal set might be a good teaching tool. A university customer ordered parts to build over 50 crystal sets. This is all it took for me to get started.

I decided that I wanted to build a series of crystal sets. I wanted to start with a basic model and work my way up the performance ladder. I had built several crystal sets in my teenage years. I used parts that were laying around the house. Having grown up in a "ham radio family", coils, capacitors and diodes were easy to find. This time around, I decided that I would research this and use the best components that I could find.

So, have you figured how this radio gets it's power? No batteries, no ac power plug. The radio stations themselves provide the power to a crystal set.

Ok -- It is now March 2003. I was nosing around my own site looking for something to do and I thought I would give you an update. In 2002 I built 18 crystal radios (along with some tube sets and building an old time radio collection). I met a bunch of very nice people that also had the crystal set bug here on the net. This includes other site operators and my customers. All this has put a little purpose in life. I should also mention the dozens or hundreds of people that have e-mailed me to compliment me on my work and perhaps had a question.

I can say that my building still continues. This year, I have 4 new crystal sets built. They are all different too. I am finding a lot of parts to make interesting sets.

I offer parts for sale (and completed sets too.)

Select a set.

Download this picture (w/o the numbers) 1024x768 - 235k - wallpaper

Select the set you want to see from this list or the image map above.

My First Set
Wood box
Aussie Style
Square Box
Woodbox II
Garolite Top
Flip Top
Old Parts
Dual Caps
Spider Set
Miller Time
Rock Set
2 Band
Easy Spider
Double Tuned
Dual Use Set
Single Coil
Diode Tube
Old Style
AOL Spider
Postal 2
Janet J
Mae West
Jane R.
2 Boards
Orange Knobs
Big Set
Single Dial

Here are the newest sets.

Crystal Set #50
#50 in German
Crystal Set #51 Crystal Set #52 Crystal Set #53
Crystal Set #54 Crystal Set #55    

And, now a word.....

For Sale Radios, and parts for sale here!

Crystal Radio Links

How to build sets sites

Gollum's Crystal Receiver World
Rook coil instructions.
Boydhouse - crystalradio.net Tons of great crystal set info on this site.
Birmingham Alabama Crystal Radio Group These guys are serious about this.
MDS975 Information and projects.

Historical and Museums

Antique Wireless Museum, and nearly in my backyard!
Museum of Radio and Technology
Radio Museum Rottenburg Crystal sets in Germany
Wumpus Old Radio World  Crystal set information and history.
Radio Museum from France
Ian Sanders author of "Tickling the Crystal" books.


Crystal sets from down under   Nice sets.
Crystal Set building contest. Some really cool sets.


Crystal Set Society   has nice kits for beginners.
Elmer Radio, easy to build kits.

Friends Pages

Mystery Crystal Set The basis of my third crystal set. Dan is one of my crystal set friends too!
Peebles Originals Mike has a good site, and one heck of a nice guy too.
Gary's MainpageWD4NKA has a lot to show you.
Jim's Crystal radio page. Jim offers a high performance crystal set kit in his Hobbydyne series.
Dick Kleijer's Crystal radio site from Holland. Check it out.
David Trott's new site. Several cool sets here.
Zim's Zippy Zets (VK3GJZ Australia)
OZ Crystal Radio Site, new from Australia!

Clubs and Forums

Yahoo! Crystal Radio Club The site for rockheads to gather.
Yahoo! Rook Coils Group Build some low loss coils using a piece of plumbing.
Midnightscience  The Xtal Set Society. Check out the online discussion board and the excellent parts.
Crystal Radio Group on Flickr Crystal radio builders from Japan. All are welcome to join.

Software, Calculators, Databases, Engineering

Guest technical articles on my website.
Ben Tongue  explains how these things work.
FCC AM Station Database
Radio Locator
AM-LOG Lists of stations in alphabetical order
Tubepad This is how I now draw the schematics (#8 and later).
Scott's crystal set site, and headphone information.
Galena information.
Galena information.
Flat coil inductance calculator
Variometer Calculator
Propagation info
Clear channel station list
Formula for calculating spider coils
Earth view above my house
Station list with antenna patterns
Where's That Station free software
RECNET database
AM Logbook

Great links for beginners to start!

Owen Pool's Crystal Set Site  with contest pages, links and much information.
Skywaves pages

Commercial Sites that I have purchase from and can recommend.

New England Electric Wire Good litz wire info available here.
MWS Wire  Litz wire available here. Great service too!
Play Things Of Past Lots of old radio parts.

Other Cool pages found on the web.

Radio Animation Not crystal sets but cool!
Philip Miller Tate crystal radio songs! Cool.
DL8SER Crystal Set Links
K4ADL ham radio cartoons A real piece of work.


Schematic Symbols Library (check the bottom of my construction practices page for more info.)
eye.ani Animated cursor for windows of a magic eye tube.

Kitchen or shop? You decide!

People don't come to my kitchen to eat!
They come to play Radio!
In other words... If you can't stand the heat of my soldering iron, get out of my kitchen!

I have decided that I would offer my crystal sets for sale. Please check my sale page. Get them while they are hot! Thanks.

Contact Information and conditions

by(c) by David Schmarder