Fixit: Here's how to make a WW II foxhole radio

  • Updated: September 5, 1999 - 11:00 PM

QFixit once ran directions for making a foxhole radio such as those used in World War II. All I remember is that it required cardboard toilet paper rolls and earphones. I'd like to use this as part of a lesson plan. Can you help?

AYes. The tools you'll need are a hammer, a pair of pliers and a pocket knife.

The parts you'll need are a wooden board, a piece of cardboard tubing (2 inches in diameter and 6 inches long), a spool of insulated copper wire (No. 28 gauge), a pair of earphones, three new nails, four metal thumbtacks (not plastic tacks), a big safety pin, a pencil with fat lead and a used single-edged razor blade (plain steel works better than a blue blade).

Wrap 120 turns of wire around the cardboard tube, assemble the parts as shown below and get ready to try your new radio.

With the aerial and ground connected, you are ready to get a program. Remember, a foxhole radio is different from the average set. So do not expect to hear music and voices booming right away.

Put on the earphones and do not make any noise. With your finger, move the pin very gently across the razor blade. Try putting the tip of the lead where the manufacturer of the blade has put its name.

Suddenly you will hear a faint little crackly noise in your earphone. Be careful. A station may come in at any moment. Don't be surprised if you hear two voices at once. A single coil does not make a very selective tuner.

-- From ''All About Radio and Television,'' by Jack Gould and the Pavek Museum of Broadcasting in St. Louis Park.


Can I make a good ant poiQ son at home?

AFind a food they're interested in and mix about two parts boric acid to about 98 parts food attractant (for example, about ¼ teaspoon of boric acid to about 4 tablespoons of attractant).

Put the bait in small jar lids, pieces of cardboard or similar items and place it where the ants are found. Do not set baits where small children or pets can reach them.

Baits work slowly and may take from several weeks to several months to eliminate the nest.

-- Jeff Hahn, assistant extension entomologist, Yard & Garden Line, University of Minnesota


-- Send your questions to Fixit in care of the Star Tribune, 425 Portland Av. S., Minneapolis, MN 55488, or call 612-673-9033, or e-mail Past columns are available at Sorry, Fixit cannot supply individual replies. Fixit appears every day except Friday.

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