Ken's second set

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“Dog’s Breakfast”
January 2001

It is with tail wagging and an excited bark that I am pleased to present my doggoned entry to the contest’s Free Style category, “Dog’s Breakfast”. Here it is:

Of course, pictures wouldn’t be complete without a real dog’s eye view of it’s main feature, so here’s the other picture (the bottom view, since this is what most dogs look at first anyway¼):

Before I describe in panting, tongue-dripping detail how I came to build this radio, I must first address the questions posed by the review board: 1. No, I have not yet successfully picked up WOOF, WAGA or KATZ; and, 2. My request to Alpo for sufficient sponsorship funds to adequately cover my costs in building this canine’s dream (nightmare?) was turned down with a growl. So, with tail between my legs, I was forced to sniff around the house for whatever parts I could find.

I picked up the first scent on this trail when I noticed that my dog’s (Heidi - my long haired miniature Dachshund) donut-shaped rawhide chewy toy looked like a toroid coil form. Well, almost, maybe. I tried sneaking up on her and grabbing it to take a closer look, but she snarled, grabbed it back from me and hid it somewhere. I still haven’t been able to find it. For the next few days after that, she would get a suspicious look every time I talked nicely to her, so I gave up trying to scarf her toy. You can’t fool a Dachshund, especially a ten-year-old one, and if you ever manage to get one over on them, they drink all your beer and pee on the rug. German breeds love beer you know.

Anyway, I had to discard my original idea of building a moebius doggy treat coil. So, the first challenge I had to overcome was to find a suitable coil form. A routine trip to the pet store for Heidi’s special food gave me the inspiration. There in the treats section was the most beautiful symmetrical piece of doggy culinary art I had ever seen: a rawhide doggy-chew-toy-bone, perfectly formed and mouth-watering delicious! I bought it and carefully sneaked it into the house so Heidi wouldn’t see it.

Unfortunately, the next day, she did see the bone and started whining and walking around with her head hanging low and her tail drooping. She always does this to me when she doesn’t get what she wants. After she spends a few minutes rubbing it in, she sulks off to the bedroom and lies on my shoes. This, of course, flattens them and makes them very uncomfortable to put on in the morning - a fact that I am quite certain she knows very well. I finally had to promise to give her the bone after the contest was over and she is now - and has been - laying at my feet expectantly, periodically looking up to ask, “Is the contest over yet?” No, girl, but it will be soon, I promise¼

There is an old expression that goes something like “This whole thing is a real ‘dog’s breakfast’”, meaning a fiasco, mess, FUBAR, SNAFU, etc. If you have never heard this expression, well, you’re just not old enough. No one I have talked to will admit that they remember hearing it though, so I must have invented the expression. Oh well, at least you know what it means now.

In keeping with the concept, I built the radio in a little over an hour with little or no attention to detail. I didn’t bother drawing a schematic. No need to. Don’t want anyone to steal my idea anyway!

The two coils are scramble-wound gobs of wire that I wound back and forth in any old way. I just piled the windings up. The coil to the left in the picture is the antenna coupling coil. It measures at about 35 microhenries. The tuning/detector coil measures about 400 microhenries. I tapped it in the center for the diode. Well, actually, I guessed that I had used up about half of the wire I was going to use and made a tap. Close enough. I used the worst diode I could find in my stash. I grabbed a variable capacitor that had the plastic case broken off of it and hooked it up across the main coil. I just twisted everything together and taped it down with cheap masking tape. The clips are homebrew ones made from ID badge clips. The final touch was to glue a dog biscuit to the tuning shaft for the tuning knob.

The moment of truth at hand, and with Heidi eyeing the thing with hungry eyes (she’s ALWAYS hungry - at least she always LOOKS hungry), I hooked up the antenna and ground, connected the crystal earplug, stuck the plug in my ear and was immediately blasted by the 50 kW WSAI blowtorch! At the wrong end of the dial. Where some other station should be. Oh well, no surprise there. WSAI’s like a fat tick in my fur. I can stick the bare end of my antenna wire to my gold bridge and hear that station in my head (I use my nose for a volume control¼) I turned the biscuit, listening carefully. Aha! There’s WTSJ 1050, WBOB 1160, WCVG 1320 and WSAI 1530 again. If I trap WSAI, I get WLW 700 at the very low end of the dial.

Hey, youse, judges! I re-read the rules for the Free Style Category. This radio is certainly unusual. It’s imaginative. And if you can read this write-up and come to any other conclusion than that I’m VERY bizarre, then there’s something wrong with you. Besides, this entry is offbeat, and I’m crazy. I will not say that my radio is downright ugly because my dog loves it. On the other hand, I’M downright ugly and my dog loves me. Hmmm¼

wait a minute! Is that WOOF I hear?? Where’s the Alpo?


(All kidding aside, I haven’t had this much fun in a long time¼yes, I DO have a life!)

Good Luck to All!

Ken Harthun, kc4iwt