Electronics Projects: How to Use Your Crystal Radio

By Doug Lowe

Once your crystal radio circuit is built, your antenna is up, and your ground wire is connected, your electronic device is ready to go. It’s time to put your crystal radio to the test. Follow these steps:

  1. Connect the two leads of the piezoelectric earphone to terminals 3B and 4B of the barrier strip.

  2. Connect the antenna lead to terminal 1B of the barrier strip.

    Terminal 1B is first lower terminal on the left.

  3. Connect the ground lead to terminal 2B of the barrier strip.

    Terminal 2B is the second lower terminal from the left.

  4. Put the earphone in your ear.

    You’ll probably immediately hear a radio station.

  5. Turn the knob on the tuning capacitor to hear other stations.

    The tuner on this crystal radio circuit isn’t very sensitive, so you’ll probably be able to distinguish just two or three different stations.

    Note that if you didn’t add a tuning capacitor, you won’t be able to tune to a specific station at all. Instead, you’ll probably hear several stations at once. Even with a tuning capacitor, you may still hear several stations at once. The tuning circuit for a simple crystal radio like this isn’t very discriminating.