a crystal set

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a crystal set

A now-outdated type of radio. The "crystal" in the name refers to a "crystal detector," one of the component parts. My grandparents talk about how they spent many a night huddled around the crystal set—whatever that is.
See also: crystal, set

crystal set

An early type of radio. The first type of radio had only five components: an antenna that picked up the signal, a wire tuning coil with which the listener selected the station, an earphone to hear the broadcast, a ground wire to dissipate the electricity, and at the heart of the apparatus, a crystal detector that produced the audible signal. The crystal was a tiny chip of crystalline ore or stone such as galena. Generations of youths built the sets from scratch and spent hours hunched over the device to hear broadcasts from nearby stations. The reception range tended to be limited, so the introduction of diode tubes that increased reception marked the end of crystal sets' popularity.
See also: crystal, set
References in periodicals archive ?
The crystal set stirs up miserable memories of 1964, when Second Division Sunderland took George Best, Bobby Charlton and Denis Law to a second replay for a semi-final place.
He savored the growing of his own tomatoes and longed for the day he could once more listen to radio coming from the crystal set he might assemble.
It is particularly special because it has been signed by LE Bertrand, who organised the Secret Press and operated the crystal set, and Reginald Warley who manned the typewriter.
The crystal set era station 6LV began broadcasting on Wednesday, June 11 1924.
Without the luxury of the wireless, which was still to be invented, the crystal set consisted of a long aerial, an aerial coil, a pair of headphones or an earpiece and a detector.
These too have an end result which gives a sense of achievement when, for example, lights go on, motors turn, and the crystal set suddenly produces the voice of Bryan Adams ...
"The crystal sets my brother made, Ears aching with anxiety in the earphones, Tuning the faint songs and messages That pulsed across the desert, the iron mountains And the snows, to us, ached for love like that.