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Science Fair Globe Patrol

A Science Fair GLOBE PATROL radio kit built sometime around 1970. Science Fair kits were sold by Radio Shack.

Science Fair Globe Patrol
A four band radio covering from the AM Broadcast Band to 30 megacycles.
Science Fair Globe Patrol
This is the later model 28-205.

Rear view showing the antenna trimmer and the antenna and ground connections. An AC adapter jack is at bottom-right.

Size comparison of a Knight Space Spanner and a Radio Shack Globe Patrol

Of all the regen radio kits sold from the 1950s through the 1970s, the Globe Patrol probably had the best styling. The explanation for that is written on the back of the radio. It was "custom manufactured" in Japan!

The radio is small; it's only 5 inches high! It's 9 inches across and 4 inches deep. I suppose that could be an advantage, but the small tuning knobs make it hard to use. It also has a very small speaker.

Radios such as the Knight Space Spanner and the Lafayette KT-135 were "real" radios that you plugged into an outlet and had vacuum tubes. They had wooden cabinets and weighed a couple of pounds. The Globe Patrol hardly weighs anything. It runs on 4 "C" batteries, and I think the reason they chose that size was to weigh the radio down.

I had no interest in a Globe Patrol in the 1970s. It looked like a toy. However, I've always wondered how well they worked, so in January of 2020 I decided to get one, fix it up, and try it out.

Mine didn't have a box, but this is what one looks like. A NASA Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) is orbiting the Earth above a photo of the radio, which gives us a pretty good date for the box.

If the year was 1957, the LEM picture would be a Russian Sputnik. If the Globe Patrol had existed in 1957 and had a good antenna, it could possibly pick up signals from Sputnik. It could NOT receive signals from an Apollo era spacecraft.
This is either the other side of the box, or a different box from a different year. Near the top-center is the LEM orbiting the Earth. There was only one time when this happened. The date was March 7, 1969 during the flight of Apollo 9. We even have the name of the Lunar Module on the box; "Spider." Inside were astronauts Jim McDivitt and Russell Schweickart.

The box states that it is completely safe, but the manual says to connect 50 feet of wire to a tree for an antenna, and connect both the antenna and an earth ground to the radio. Now if I were a lightning bolt...
What's this picture on the box? It's a subliminal. If you buy this radio, you'll be able to listen to Apollo spacecraft while in some sort of computer room. You will be admired by a beautiful young woman, who stands watching you in the background. She seems to be dressed in just a towel, which may fall off at any moment.

Nobody will be able to tell if your mouth is open or closed, or whether or not you are actually cracking a safe in the picture.

In this ad from 1971, some kid is building what I thought of as a "toy" radio. How well would that thing actually work? Sure, you can "Use It Anywhere," as long as you had 50 feet of wire in your back pocket for an antenna.

As you read this, the boy suddenly becomes a girl with two big pigtails in your peripheral vision.
1979. Picks up all the CB channels! The cabinet appears blue in this picture.
Here's a later ad. The price has increased, but the kid hasn't aged. What's he been doing all this time?

Now it's a half century later and I think I'll get one to see how it works. I can add it to my collection of regen radio kits. maryooch54 had one on ebay that was a little beat up. Since it was the cheapest one on ebay at the time, I grabbed it. The highest bidder didn't try to outbid me. Maybe that was because I only gave him one second to try it.


Three days later the box with the radio and an envelope with some replacement transistors both arrived in the mail.