Total posts : 45366
when I was a little kid. It used a galena crystal and a cat’s whisker with tuning via a slider along a coil. I still recall using sand paper to make a bare track along the top of the coil for contact with the slider.
It came with an ear bud type phone and it didn’t sound good but my cousin gave me an army surplus headset and this helped quite a bit.
The sensitivity wasn’t very good and we lived out in a rural area with the nearest AM stations (mostly 5 kW) about 30 miles away so only a few stations could be heard until…
I discovered that the phone line made a great antenna! No recollection of the fidelity since this wasn’t in the vocabulary back then but a crystal or diode will introduce some distortion with how much depending on the non-linearity of the detector. The audio volume was whatever the signal strength would provide and was usually low.
When transistors became available there was a design which derived power from a strong station but could be tuned to another station with the audio amplified by the transistor but I didn’t have one of these.
It was fun to build and use but I had my own tube type radio procured for a quarter at an auction so I didn’t use the crystal set much.