The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

August 17, 2007


cradio1 = crystal radio reception normal; noise only; signal only
cradio2 = manipulated signal bringing out subtextuals
cradio3 = hiss only; signal only
cradio4 = signal only; hiss only
cradiodirect = signal only

recorded from 1912+ loose coupler in combination with parallel diodes and
variocoupler (in series with ground): the loose coupler has connections
only to the primary - the secondary is passive/tuning. the variocoupler
(two spherical coils, one within another) tunes by revolving the inner
coil. the antenna is a dipole, one length around 20', the other 100+'
after passing through a coil. the variocoupler and long antenna are from
1920+/1. the diodes are modern (the crystal is problematic). there are no
capacitors/condensers or resistors. the output goes to a low impedance
active speaker set with all but the cradiodirect; the recording is through
the speakers using an olympus voice recorder (which easily covers the
audio frequency of the radio). the direct connection results in hum for
the most part. the usual connection for the radio is a pair of 1918 high
impedance western electric earphone, but these proved inadequate for

the signals were processed in Cool Edit Pro, using hiss and noise reduc-
tion as well as amplitude normalization and hard limiting. the recording
was done around 12:30 a.m. here in brooklyn. i searched for station pile-
ups as well as 'gaps' between signals which were then amplified. the radio
had broad tuning - the five coils tuned broadly but surprisingly well. i'm
now waiting for a very large coil to see if vlf or anomalous signals may
be received; i'm also looking forward to recording lightning and other
sounds during thunderstorms. in its current configuration the radio pulls
in around 20 stations all over the a.m. band; there are hints of low
frequency beacons, but nothing certain.

tuning is done with a variety of methods in combination - the primary coil
of the loose coupler has a single slider; the secondary coil move within
the primary coil; the variocoupler rotor can be turned; and the vario-
coupler, large antenna coil, and loose coupler can all be moved in rela-
tion to each other. if the secondary coil is directly connected, it can be
tapped at various points. only the slider changes stations 'drastically'
the variocoupler and sliding secondary loosely isolate stations. unlike a
modern radio with a single 'action,' this radio (and other sets) require a
skein-like approach to tuning; everything modifies everything else, and
everything is brought into resonance by sliding, stepping, rotating, and
so forth.

theoretically, i want to explore notions of 'tending' equipment, adjusting
and re-adjusting, as well as thinking of this kind of technology as rela-
ted in a different way to earth (not only to grounding, but to notions of
soil, geology - there's something of heidegger in the background). they
are raw agents of 'earth-fields,' free atmospheric energy, world-static.
at one point, years ago, i wrote about the 'spectral mother' of short-wave
listening; the idea applies here as well - one listens to universal chora.

the recordings are hopefully sufficiently different to be of interest.
the subtextuals (for lack of a better word) are difficult to hear but
fascinating; some are clearly from 60 hz power grid stuff, but there are
others, which i hope to somehow amplify in the future, that seems unusual.
and then there's tapping the energy, running leds, future-cars and rumors
as lightning conductors...

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