Japanese POW camp radio

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and "lazy person's memoir," called Borg Like Me.

4021 Articles

By Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and "lazy person's memoir," called Borg Like Me.

4021 Articles

foxholeRadio.bmp

On today’s HacDC Blabber list, Trammell Hudson posted a link to this awesome account of British soldiers building a radio in a Japanese POW camp. Trammel writes:

Since they didn’t have a local Digikey or Radioshack, everything had to be sourced from what was available. The caps were made from aluminum foil lining of tea-chests, the resistors were rusty barbed wire with burned tree bark, the rectifiers out of oxidised foil and salt water, they smuggled a tube (“valve”) in the camps and bribed the local Chinese power station operator to slowly step the output voltage up to 130 from 110 volts.

Amazingly they were able to receive the BBC broadcasts! The initial RX design was pretty basic, so they then built a super-het regenerative transmitter, too, but never made use of it.

[FYI: The image I used above is not from this story, just a diagram of your basic DIY foxhole radio.]

Construction of Radio Equipment in a Japanese POW Camp