this an über-cool homebuilt radio or what?
Proud Canadian and RF Cafe contributor Dr. Marek Klemes wrote to me a couple weeks ago regarding a quotation
I had posted a while back. At the end of our communications, he casually made a comment about needing
to engage in an electronics project that would be free of the rigors of his professional pursuits. Being
a trained notable quote recognizer myself, I instantly realized that his statement was itself worthy
of being quoted widely. He granted permission to post it here (with adornment
of the original).
Per Marek in part:
"Phase one of my therapeutic, funky one-tube radio project is basically done. Although it is more
funk than function, it just needs some "optimization." It is also still a little touch-sensitive. I
am building this 1-tube SW (Short Wave) radio as a therapy for my frayed nerves caused by recent "upgrades"
of "smart"-phone and company computer SW (Software) that have been foisted on me against my will, in
the name of progress and efficiency.
This radio will:
- Not have a USB or Ethernet port
- Will have a real on/off switch
- Will not be capable of self-updating
not siphon money out of my bank account
- Will be compatible with all past and present versions of all software ever to be conceived, as it
won’t use any
- Will be immune to hacking
- Will not do what I don’t tell it to do
- Will not be touch-sensitive
- Will have all parts visible and no invisible functions
- Will not send information to anyone
- Will not have non-standard pentalobe or triangular-slot screws (only Philips and Robertson ... proudly
- Will glow and warm my hands and soul like a real radio should*.
(* The quote was adapted from from a 2006 blog post in EE Times by
As much as I enjoy my scientific work in high-tech, I am endlessly frustrated by how the technology
is presented to the users. It is configured for purposes of marketing and data-mining accessibility
and taking control away from users, especially frustrating knowing that the technology can do much better
but it’s all buggered up by greedy non-technical humans.
Best regards, Marek Klemes."
Dig the amazing 1930s vintage Magnavox gramophone speaker bearing a manufacturing location of Oakland,
California, and the Canadian Brandes Ltd headphones of the same era. A hand-drawn schematic / wiring
diagram can be seen in the lower photo*. The oscillator appears to be a simple Hartley tapped coil type,
and the antenna is a section of 300-ohm twin lead feeding a folded dipole. A
3A4 pentode vacuum tube is the lone
amplification / detection device, which uses two series-connected 'D' cells to light the heater. The
mounting platform is a teak cutting board. As
Sherlock Holmes would say to Dr. Watson, "It is simplicity itself!"
Well done, Mr. Klemes!. Messrs. Marconi and Bell would be proud!
* Circuit design is Marek's variation of a regenerative receiver
presented by James Tobola (KC5LDO),
who in turn modified it from an article in the September 1995 issue of CQ magazine (p. 48),
"Red Hot Radio Returns." That article's
author credits the original design to an article appearing in Boys' Life magazine and in the
ARRL's "How to Become
a Radio Amateur" booklet during the early-to-mid 1950s (it used a
3S4 tube). That's quite a provenance.
Posted March 23, 2017
A huge collection of my 'Factoids' can be accessed from my 'Kirt's Cogitations'
table of contents.
Topical Smorgasbord, another manifestation of Factoids,
are be found on these pages:
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All pertain to topics that are related to the general engineering and science theme
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