April 2019
« Mar    



The history of Carborundum

There is a very good blog call Arcane Radio Trivia which publishes interesting tidbits of radio trivia, and a lot of stuff that a reader might not have heard before, hence the name.  A post put up last week, when I was out of town, deals with carborundum (Silicon carbide) which is one of the first semiconductors used to produce diodes, and thus detectors for radio.

Certain naturally-occurring minerals can be used to detect radio signals, including galena, zincite, silicon,bornite and others. Carborundum was unique among the early crystals because it was synthetic. It was durable, and at 9 mohs much harder than most available crystals. More here. Also interestingly it requires it requires a negative potential of 1 volt to be used as a diode. Carborundum was not created with this purpose in mind. It was created in the early search for artificial diamonds

Like many things in early radio, there are several plot twists in this story and if one is interested in radio history, it is work a click to read.  While you are there, check out “It’s 105 degrees and rising


A pessimist sees the glass as half empty. An optimist sees the glass as half full. The engineer sees the glass as twice the size it needs to be.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
~1st amendment to the United States Constitution

Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.
~Benjamin Franklin

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. To be your own man is hard business. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.
~Rudyard Kipling

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes the freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers
~Universal Declaration Of Human Rights, Article 19

...radio was discovered, and not invented, and that these frequencies and principles were always in existence long before man was aware of them. Therefore, no one owns them. They are there as free as sunlight, which is a higher frequency form of the same energy.
~Alan Weiner

Free counters!