Friday, 8 November 2013

Military History Photo Friday: Crystal Radio in the Trenches

I'm hard at work on my National Novel Writing Project--Radio Hope, a post-apocalyptic tale. I'm proud to say that I've passed the 20,000 word mark in just a week. December will be National Typo Correcting Month!

My story revolves around the residents of New City, the only large settlement in a toxic wasteland filled with bandits, scavengers, insane chemical sniffers, and bloodthirsty cultists. One of the few sources of information is Radio Hope, a mysterious station broadcasting programs about medicine, agriculture, food gathering, and other survival tips.

No one knows where this station transmits from or who's behind it. Since you need electricity to operate a radio, only a lucky few can receive its transmissions, until a mysterious trader emerges from the wildlands with a supply of crystal radios.

Crystal radios were the first popular radios. They rely on a crystal detector to pick up radio signals. The crystal uses the energy from the radio waves themselves to power the radio, so no electricity supply is necessary. In the 1920s store-bought radios were expensive and many rural homes still lacked electricity. It was cheap and simple to build a crystal set, though, and soon most homes had one, leading to the boom in radio.

In this image you can see a French soldier in the trenches during World War One listening to a handmade set. I wonder what he was listening to? An opera from back in Paris?

Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

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Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Civil War Horror blog, where he focuses on Civil War and Wild West history.

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