1951
My First Homebrew Radio Project
--- A cigar box crystal set ---
Photo of 1951 desk in East Chicago
This faded, color photo is dated 1951 and shows my desk at age 12 when we lived at 4515 Magoun Avenue in East Chicago, Indiana. It is the only photograph I have of my first radio project: a cigar box crystal set based on an article in SCIENCE AND MECHANICS by Arthur Trauffer, "Loop Crystal Set," August 1950, pages 185-187. The loop antenna is the main coil of the crystal set and is wound around the perimeter of the cigar box. Alas, the crystal set disappeared decades ago, but I still have the magazine. In addition, I recognize five titles on the desk of my very modest book library:
ROOSEVELT HIGH SCHOOL YEARBOOK, 1951
ROSICRUCIAN DIGEST, c.1951
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, September 1950
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE (Map of USA on wall) June 1951
THE RADIO AMATEUR'S HANDBOOK, 1951
SCIENCE AND MECHANICS MAGAZINE, August 1950
cover of SCI&MECH. magazine, Aug 1950 crystal set schematic SCI&MECH. magazine, Aug 1950, page 185


1952
Also shown in the photo is my first ARRL Radio Amateur's Handbook, the 1951 edition, and my first tube-type radio, a Trav-Ler, Model 5029. Since I didn't have a short wave radio, I remember using this radio for broadcast DX, including clear channel Texas stations late at night with the assistance of my trusty bible of radio stations, WHITE'S RADIO LOG. Very exciting to a 12-year-old in Indiana! I remember changing the alignment capacitors to the point at which the radio's tuning range somehow went beyond the broadcast band into the shortwave spectrum. The result was hearing a few unmodulated morse code signals, AM hams, and an occasional mobile police call. This poor 5-tube misaligned radio did not work very well after that, but my interest in ham radio was launched.
White's Radio Log Cover, 1951
Trav-Ler table AM radio, 1951


1953-4

Edu-Kit logo

My next foray into the world of radio-electronics was an "Edu-Kit."

--- description of classic Edu-Kit, c.1954 ---



1954
1954 newspaper article: Hammond Times


1954 & 1955
Photo of 1954 demonstration in East Chicago

Photo of 1955 bookcase in East Chicago

The first photo--of only two surviving ones--is dated March 1954, Roosevelt High School, when I demonstrated my first FM HiFi, consisting of a 1947 FM Pilotuner, Model T601 and a homebrew Williamson amplifier with push-pull 6L6s, one 6SN7, two 6J5s, and a Partridge WWFB/0/0.95 output transformer. The scond photo was taken at home, about 1955, when we lived at 4142 Magoun Avenue in East Chicago, Indiana. Equipment shown beginning with the top shelf: my first ham radio, a Hallicrafters 5R10A. The 2nd shelf, left to right: the FM Pilotuner, without cabinet, wired to function as the IF amp/detector for a mil-quality FM tuner sub-chassis from a 1948 Capehart console, Model 413P. Both are sitting on my homebrew audio preamp. Next to them is a homebrew power supply for both the preamp and the Capehart. On the 3rd shelf sits the Williamson amplifier described above. I seem to remember acquiring a record player that year: a Marantz Starlight turntable with a Burne-Jones tonearm.

About a dozen RADIO-ELECTRONICS and RADIO_TELEVISION NEWS magazines are stacked in addition to the 1949 "Book of Knowledge" encyclopedia below the amplifier. I can't date them. In addition, the five books on the second shelf were probably the only books I had at age 15. Long forgotten, they could be identified by enlarging the photo. They are:

IS ANOTHER WORLD WATCHING, THE RIDDLE OF THE FLYING SAUCERS by Gerald Heard, 1953
ONE TWO THREE INFINITY by George Gamow, 1953
THE UNIVERSE AND DR. EINSTEIN by Lincoln Barnett, 1953
MIND AT THE END OF ITS TETHER by H. G. Wells, 1946
SCIENCE AND THE PURPOSE OF LIFE by Boris Sokoloff, 1950



1956 through 1960

During these years, Life began interfering with the hobby of radio, but two special projects were finished:

An updated Williamson amplifier
and
A replacement for the TELEFLASH amplifier


Residence in East Chicago, 1951
4515 Magoun Avenue, East Chicago, Indiana, in 1951

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