Foxhole Emergency Radios
OOD MORNING boys. The classwill now come to order and I wantyou to pay strict attention to yourold schoolmaster. And please, foronce, no spit-balls and no catcalls, whenWe go into our subject which may soundancient today to some of you old-timers.If you have read the newspapers, andmagazines lately, you will have observedthat there has been a regular rash of emer-gency radios which ingenious GI's haveconstructed at the front and in foxholes.Your schoolmaster did a bit of researchand found out that the first one of these
. emergency radios was printed in the FIELD
ARTILLERY JOURNAL in thai July l944 issue.
See Exhibit No. 1. This particular one was"invented" by Lt. William H. Rosee, FA.
In his communication to the FIELD ARTIL-LERY JOURNAL, he said as follows.
MUSIC,(?) FOR YOUR DUGOUT
There's no limit to a GI's Ingenuity. One bat-tery on the Anzio beachhead has a "Razor Blade"crystal radio set for every dugout! Each antennais about 70 yds. of wire—any kind. The coil isabout 75 ft. of copper wire (cornbat wire willdo) wound around a grenade container. Earphones ?—ask GI where he picks them up ! Thecarbon sticks act as a crystal, the razor bladesat the "tickler."This "Razor Blade" radio pulls in from twoto four stations—and sometimes all four at onetime !
LT. WILLIAM II. Rosee.
About a week after the appearance of the
FIELD ARTILLERY JOURNAL, the New York
TIMES in its issue of June 25
with the second foxhole receiver. See ex-hibit No. 2. This one is authored by Lt.M. L. Hupert, formerly of Anzio beach-
head. Jack Gould of the New York TIMES
has the following to say about it:
"Details of one of the war's wonderful gadgets,the 'fox-hole receiver,' are to hand this morn-ing. Employing an old rotor blade, a safety pinand a coil, the device was used by some of ourtroops on the Anzio beachhead to pick up broad-casts from Rome, thirty miles away."Lieut. M. L. Rupert, attached to an Infantryunit on the beachhead, voluntarily forwarded the'technical' description of the receiver to theMarlin Firearms Company, one of whose bladeshappened to be employed on the set that he puttogether.'The set it built on whatever small piece of wood in available. We print Lieutenant Rupert'sown diagram of the receiver as reproduced fromhis letter, and the following are his instructionson its construction and operation:
"HERE'S how It works. The razor blade is tacked
down with a wire or tapped (coonected) to itand going to one side of the coil and on to theaerial. The other side of the coil goes to theground and to one side of the head set.RECEPTION REPORT"From the other side of the head set a wiregoes to the safety pin, which is driven intosome wood at one end so the pin may be turned.Then the free end of the pin is moved acrossthe unground part of the Marlin blade and inthat way you can find your station. Reception isvery good, and at night we can get several sta
tions, including the Berlin 'Sally' propagandaprograms put on in English""Here at home, O. B Hanson, vice-presidentin charge of engineering for the National Broad-casting Company, constructed a set from Lieu-tenant Rupert's instructions and reports satis-factory results. He got one station. A model builtby this department outdid even the most mod-ern set, in that no tuning was necessary; all thestations came in at once !A PENC1L TOO"As is the engineer's way, Mr. Hanson madeone refinement. He broke off the point of a lead
pencil, wired it to the movable end of the safetypin and used it for contact with the blade. Vol-ume increased appreciably."A good deal of patience may be required tofind the most sensitive part of the blade for thepencil point. A 'rough' spot, such as wherethe trade name is imprinted, proved effectiveafter experiments with several makes of bladeshad been made. A couple of light scratches onthe blade, made with a nail file, helped, too."Mr. Hanson suggested any small cotton-cov-ered wire, such as No. 28 or 30, for the 120 turnson the coll. The coil can be wound on any non-metallic cylindrical form, preferably two inchesor more in diameter, or around the spread fingersof the hand. Nails, if not rusty, make convenientbinding posts on which to wrap connections."A long outside aerial and a good ground areessential and phones of low impedance seem towork better."In essence, the pin-and-blade is a first cousinof the crystal set, the combination fulfilling therectifying function of the galena rock and cat'swhisker."
The illustration in Exhibit No. 2, as youwill note, is Lt. Rupert's own diagram and
it not too clear. This prompted TIME maga-
zine a few weeks later, to get up a betterdiagram. See Exhibit No. 3.Now thren, you will pardon your oldschoolmaster if all this stuff bores him,because all these nice "discoveries" of 1944are just too ancient for words:Indeed the original "Razor Blade RadioDetector" was published by your school-
master in his magazine. MODERN EI.ET-
TRICS in the January 1909 issue, page 352,
just thirty-five years ago !
The real and firstinventor of the "Razor Blade Detector" wasone Clark Pettingill. The illustration of itis reproduced herewith and labeled exhibitNo. 4 for all those interested. Mr. Pettingilldescribed his detector as follows:"The detector shown is made of two
Exhibit 4 shows the original razor-blade detector invented 35 years ago.Exhibit 5 shows a simple detector made by means of a five cent piece anda coiled wire spring. Exhibit 6, a combination carbon-grain detector (a dropof mercury can also be used) of the year 1906.
RADIO-CRAFT for SEPTEMBER, l944