Survival Radios: DIY Radio #1 – The FoxHole Radio


World War II is a wonderful example of a survival situation. In the war individuals, both military and civilian, found themselves in terrible situations where food, water, and everything need for basic living became scarce and almost impossible to find. One of the few instances of life that was good during the war was the knowledge that the allies would be here soon and Nazi Germany would be defeated. The people of Europe, the soldiers of both sides, and the P.O.W.s all suffered from lack of knowledge. Are the Allies coming? When will they be here?

The truth is that the Underground armies, the P.O.W.s, and the occupied peoples all wanted to know any information that they could get. Each little bit of message was a boon to morale. How did they get that information though? How do you contact the allies when all you have is junk and rubble? They built radios.

It didn’t matter if it was American P.O.W.s, or Jews in hiding from Nazi Germany, DIY AM radios are great to gather information and even better can be built from everyday easy to get material.

The most famous FoxHole Radio, was actually first developed in WW I but became famous from P.O.W.s in WW II. The basic construction is extremely simple, it is comprised from a piece of wood, a cardboard tube from a toilet paper role, 28 gauge copper wire, crystal earphones (these can be made), 7 nails (3 long and 4 short), a razor blade (non-blued), a big safety pin, and a wood pencil with lead.

Construction is pretty easy, first (1) take your cardboard tube and poke two holes on each and of your tube. Then take about 6 inches of wire and push it through hole #2 then pull the wire through hole #1. Step #2 is to take the wire from hole #2 and wrap it around the tube 120 times.

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Step #3 Measure out 6 inches of wire and push it through hole #3 and out of hole #4.
Step #4 Fasten the tube at the back of the wooden board with two small nails. *Note: make sure the nails do not touch the wire.
Step #5 The next step is to take the razor blade and secure it in front of the coil with two screws, do not completely screw in though

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Step #6 Take the pencil and sharpen the pencil showing lots of lead. Break off the lead and wire it to the tip of the safety pin.
Step #7 Bend the head of the Pin so that it lays flat on the board. Place the Pin to the right of the razor blade, hammer down the pin until the nail almost touches the pin.
Step #8 Remove the insulation of all the connector wires.
Step #9 Put a nail to the left of the coil and wrap the open wire around the nail. Then take a wire and connect it from the left nail, to the left side of the razor blade and screw it down.

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Step #10 Hammer a nail from the right side of the coil and connect it like in Step #9. Then take another wire and wrap it around the nail and then connect it to the right side of the head phones.
Step #11 Take a piece of wire and wrap it around the nail securing the safety pin in place and nail it down. Then take the other end of the wire and connect it to the other side of the head phones. *Note: Don’t nail it down so tight that it cannot move.
Step #12 To connect it to the antenna take a wire and connect it to the nail that connects with the razor blade.

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Step #13 The ground wire connects to the nail that connects to the head phones.
Step #14 Put on the head phones and gently move the nail across the razor blade to pick up signals.

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This radio is great for picking up AM signals. It does have short range but if you are within 15 miles of a signal you should pick it up clearly. Also if you are having issues picking up signals because of too many channels in your area you can buy a condenser to help isolate frequencies.

This type of radio was used and created by US GIs in World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. It has been a popular design and has been taught to US service men even today.

Like always folks, Prepare to Survive
-Todd Out


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