The workshop attendees were provided with their own DIY crystal radio kits, and although ours featured a modern diode – a more modern invention – a link to the past still exists in its germanium crystal core.
Sean showed us through each stage of creating the radio: from winding the coil, to connecting up the capacitor and attaching the diodes and resistors, until finally we secured ourselves an antenna and an earth point to listen eagerly through our earpieces. It has never felt so good to hear static!
Due to our environment we were having trouble picking up signals from nearby stations, so we all took our crystal radios home to experiment to our hearts’ desires. Finally, we took a well-earned break and headed to the Crystal Line exhibition downstairs in the Cube gallery. That radio’s magnificence did, of course, put our efforts to shame, but it was wonderful to witness first-hand the origins of our contemporary global technology, which owes everything to advancements in radio at the turn of the 20th century.