PD0AC in the early days: 1959

This is me, on my birthday in 1959, four years before I managed to build my first (probably highly illegal) Medium Wave transmitter out of a portable transistor radio. How I managed to pull that off will stay a mystery forever. Luck was the major factor, I guess, together with some instinct. What I do remember is that I made use of the oscillator properties – tuning 455 KHz down on the transistor radio produced a carrier on the big Philips AM valve radio I had in my bedroom.

Thinking about 'load', not yet about 'plate'

After some (even more mysterious) modifications and the addition of a very long piece of antenna wire, this ‘transmitter’ was able to serve one block of houses. I modulated the thing with a carbon microphone, which I stole borrowed from my parents by disassembling their phone. From that point on I was hooked.

The exact type of carbon microhone I used (image courtesy of Wikipedia)


5 comments on “PD0AC in the early days: 1959

  1. I seem to remember we used two AM receivers to resolve sideband and CW, using one of them as a tuneable CIO… Many people out there don’t know how much their domestic ‘receiving’ equipment actually ‘transmits’.

    When I was the age you were in that photo my dad made me a pretend ‘radio’ transmitter out of a wooden box and some knobs and dials. The rest was in my imagination. When I was about 12 onwards I was obsessed with Radio Luxembourg, AFN, and pirate radio ships. I used to shut myself in my room for hours with a record player and pretend I was a DJ broadcasting to Europe. I had an elaborate programme plan, with regular times for news headlines, weather reports and so on…

  2. In Dutch it was called ‘Koolmicrofoon’, and although Wikipedia lists the microphone as a ‘coal microphone’ too, the word ‘carbon’ makes much more sense to me. I’ll edit this.

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