July 1961 Popular Electronics
[Table of Contents]
People old and young enjoy waxing nostalgic about and learning some of the history of early electronics. Popular
Electronics was published from October 1954 through April 1985. All copyrights are hereby acknowledged. See all articles from
But nine times out of ten when you draw a blank in analytic
geometry or calculus, you'll find that your trouble is caused
by weakness in algebraic manipulation." That statement is not
a major factor in the plot, but it does ring true in a familiar
way. I remember noting that the guys who had trouble in calculus
class usually did so because they were weak in basic algebra
and trigonometry. An engineering calculus class moves at such
a rapid pace, with many new concepts thrown at you every day,
that you absolutely must not have to learn algebra and trig
concurrently. My high school algebra skills were pathetic, so
prior to taking my first calculus course I took not only an
algebra course but also a precalculus course that taught trig
identities, complex numbers, and logarithms. I am convinced
that without mastering those skills first, I could not have
earned "As" in all my calculus courses that followed. While
I'm self-indulging, let me also mention having been introduced
to the word 'alacrity.' OK, on to the storyline. Carl and Jerry
build a minimum component FM radio using a tunnel diode and
a transistor, along with a handful of Rs,. Ls, and Cs.
Carl & Jerry: Treachery of Judas
By John T. Frye W9EGV
Outside it was a sizzling hot day, but Carl and Jerry were
sitting in the comparative coolness of their basement laboratory
boning up on algebra. Although this might seem like a strange
activity for a couple of boys who had graduated from high school
only a month before, there was a good reason for it. Older boys
drifting back from college for summer vacation had passed the
"Sharpen up your algebra! College math," they said, "is really
tough. Assignments there are three or four times as long as
high school assignments, and you'll have no time to catch up
on fuzzy fundamentals. But nine times out of ten when you draw
a blank in analytic geometry or calculus, you'll find that your
trouble is caused by weakness in algebraic manipulation."
Carl and Jerry immediately dug out their algebra books and
started going through them right from the beginning, each working
the exercises independently. When their answers did not match,
they examined their respective solutions until the mistake was
found. They both pledged to complete the review before leaving
for college in the fall.
But the boys were only human; so they dropped their books
with alacrity when they heard a knock at the outside door and
saw the outline of a visitor looming through the screen. A huge
man, well over six feet, stepped inside at Jerry's invitation
and stood in the middle of the floor mopping his brow.
"My name is Cody," he announced slowly in a deep voice as
though he had rehearsed every word. "I work for an agency of
the federal government - it's not necessary for you to know
which one ... I have a problem, and Police Chief Morton
thinks you may be able to help me. I doubt it; but if you will
come with me, I'll show it to you." He was already walking back
through the doorway as he finished speaking.
Jerry and Carl, exchanging puzzled glances, followed him
to a small foreign car standing at the curb. He was so big and
the car so tiny that it seemed he did not so much get into the
car as put it on. After a glance at the well-occupied front
seat, the boys got in the back; and the stranger drove silently
and rapidly out of town along the highway leading west.
About five miles from town he pulled off on a seldom-traveled
side road and stopped beside a heavy growth of trees. "We have
to go through the woods on foot," he announced, displaying surprising
agility as he climbed over the rail fence bordering the road.
He began to walk so swiftly that the boys almost had to trot
to keep up with him; yet those big square-toed shoes never snapped
a twig or dislodged a noise-making pebble.
After a twenty-minute trek, the stranger motioned the boys
to be silent and tested the wind direction with a moistened
forefinger. Then he lead them in a big semicircle, dropped to
his knees, and crawled toward the top of a small knoll. Carl
and Jerry, becoming more intrigued by the moment, slithered
along beside him.
Finally the big man stopped, and pointed down through some
low bushes at a small tar-paper shack standing in a clearing
not more than a hundred feet away. A short, fat, bearded man
was sitting on a low bench beside the open door playing a guitar;
and lying at his feet was the reason the government man wanted
the wind to be blowing from the cabin toward them. It was the
largest, roughest-looking Saint Bernard dog the boys had ever
seen. A stout chain went from the dog's broad leather collar
to an iron stake driven into the earth near the door.
"There's my problem," Mr. Cody said in a hoarse whisper.
"The man is the leader of a communist-backed group trying to
overthrow a government friendly to us. I have information that
two of his lieutenants may arrive at any hour for an important
meeting. It's most essential that I hear what's said at that
meeting; but how? No one can bug the shack with that dog on
guard, and he and the man are always together. Even if I could
hide a mike in the shack, the conversation might take place
outside where it's cooler."
"I always thought Saint Bernards were kindly dogs that brought
you a keg of brandy when you were lost in the snow," Carl muttered.
"This one probably never saw those cartoons," the big man
said with a trace of a grin. "He's as mean as they come. When
the man hears anything suspicious, he turns the dog loose; and
I'd as soon have a timber wolf after me."
"Wish I could see a little better," Jerry whispered. "I'm
getting an idea."
Silently, Mr. Cody took a small telescope from his pocket
and handed it to Jerry. The latter focused it carefully on the
dog for a few seconds, then handed it back. "If you'll take
us back to town to pick up some equipment, I think we can fix
you up," he said confidently.
The large man looked at the youth steadily for a moment,
then turned around and started crawling down the slope. On the
way to the car, Jerry outlined his plan.
"My idea is to conceal a tiny FM transmitter inside the dog's
collar. That collar fits loosely, and there's plenty of room
for the transmitter I have in mind. You know what I'm talking
about, Carl. It's that little tunnel-diode job we built from
plans in the fifth edition of G.E.'s Transistor Manual. In addition
to the diode and a transistor, all it uses are a few resistors
and capacitors, a mike, and a coil. We'll pick up the transmitter
on Carl's transistorized FM receiver. Since you say the dog
and the man are always together, we should be able to overhear
the conversation no matter where it takes place."
"I'll have to take your word about what will work electronically
- Morton claims you know your stuff," the federal man said as
they got into the car; "but aren't you forgetting something?
How are you going to get the collar off the dog to install the
transmitter? I'd rather try to change the rattles on a diamond-back
"That's why I want to go see Doc Andrews, the veterinarian,
first," Jerry. declared, with an enigmatic look. Two could play
at this close-mouthed business!
Back in town, Jerry asked Doctor Andrews if he had a Cap-Chur
When he said he did, Jerry asked if they could borrow it
and a couple of charges that would immobilize a hundred-pound
dog. The doctor balked at this, but the federal man took him
over into a corner and showed him something in his wallet. From
that moment on, the veterinarian cooperated fully. He charged
a couple of syringes with 300 milligrams each of a nicotine
alkaloid drug and explained how the pistol was to be used.
Mr. Cody then dropped Carl and Jerry off at their laboratory,
saying that he would be back in half an hour. The first thing
the boys did was to arrange their tunnel-diode transmitter on
a flat metal sheet that could be fastened inside the dog's collar.
By the time they had collected Carl's transistor FM receiver,
Jerry's battery-operated tape recorder, a leather punch and
some soft brass rivets, the little car was standing at the curb
Their impatience made the trip to the edge of the woods seem
much longer this time. When they arrived, the federal man lifted
a grain sack - which contained something alive that squealed
and grunted - out of the luggage compartment under the hood.
"What's with the little pig?" Carl asked.
"You'll see - maybe," the big fellow replied as he slung
the sack over his shoulder and headed into the woods. When they
arrived at their former vantage point, both the fat little man
and his dog were apparently dozing.
"I'll stay here," Mr. Cody stated.
"You two go around to the other side of the clearing and
take care of the dog. When he scents you, he'll make a fuss
and the man will turn him loose. Let him chase you back into
the woods out of sight before you shoot him."
"I like that," Carl said as they started working their way
around the clearing. "We do the dirty work. What's the dope
on this Cap-Chur pistol, anyway?"
"The projectile is actually an automatic hypodermic syringe.
When compressed CO2 shoots it from the barrel of the pistol,
a brass plug sealing an opening at the back of the hollow rubber
plunger is dislodged by inertia, exposing gas-generating tablets
inside the plunger to the action of water. A collar on the syringe
needle allows it to penetrate the skin of the animal to just
the right depth; then the gas generated by the tablets forces
the plunger forward and injects the drug into the muscular tissues.
The pistol and a similar longer-range rifle are used a lot by
veterinarians, stock raisers, dog-catchers, and so on.
"Try to hit the dog right behind his rib cage," was Jerry's
final instruction. "Above all, don't miss!"
When they reached the edge of the clearing, the dog had awakened
and was gnawing on some bloody beef ribs. Every time he cracked
one of the bones with his powerful jaws, Carl winced. Suddenly
the animal rose to his feet, sniffed the air suspiciously, and
began to growl.
"What's wrong, Judas? Somebody out there ?" the little man
asked as he reached over and unsnapped the chain. "Go get 'em!"
Carl and Jerry were already fading back into the woods, and
the dog came bounding straight toward them. Each boy scrambled
up into the branches of a small tree. As the dog stopped beneath
them, raised his blood-stained muzzle into the air, and peered
at them with bloodshot eyes, Carl took careful aim with the
pistol and pulled the trigger.
There was a little "ph-t-t-t" of sound, the dog jumped, and
a tuft of yarn fastened to the back of the Cap-Chur projectile
to keep it flying point-foremost appeared in the dog's coat
a hand-span ahead of his hip bone. Almost at once his head sank;
he staggered drunkenly about, and then rolled over on his side.
Quickly Jerry slid out of his tree and gingerly started unfastening
the collar from the unconscious dog.
"Oh, oh!" Carl exclaimed from his vantage point in the tree.
"Fatso is getting worried about Judas. Here he comes out of
the shack with a double-barreled shotgun. Now we're in a pickle.
We'd better scram. Wait a minute ... Do you hear that?"
From the other side of the clearing there was a great rustling
of leaves. The little fat man, who had started to follow the
dog, turned around and began cautiously climbing the incline
toward the federal agent's hiding place.
When the man with the shotgun had almost reached the bushes
at the top of the knoll, a squealing little pig burst out of
them and ran toward him. "So, my little rascal, you were the
one making all that racket, were you?" he commented aloud, with
obvious relief, as he turned around.
Jerry had been working feverishly, punching holes in the
collar, riveting the transmitter in place, and arranging the
4 3/4"-length of black enameled wire that served as an antenna
for the 100-megacycle transmitter so it could function without
being noticed. He buckled the collar back in place and removed
the Cap-Chur hypodermic needle. Even as he did so, the dog began
The boys left hurriedly, but as they looked back over their
shoulders, they saw the huge beast get to his feet and - standing
with his paws wide apart - shake his head vigorously.
"Here, Jude; here, Judas!" his master called. The dog turned
around obediently and started lumbering toward the shack. At
the same instant there was the sound of an automobile motor,
and a car came bouncing out of the woods into the clearing.
Two dapper men stepped out and shook hands with the fat man.
Without waiting to see more, the boys returned to the place
where they had left Mr. Cody.
"That pig came in real handy," Carl admitted as he stretched
out beside the federal agent.
"I thought it might," Mr. Cody grunted, handing the FM receiver
and the portable tape recorder to Jerry. The latter turned on
the receiver with the volume down low, and instantly the voices
of the three men came in faintly but clearly; and well they
might. The fat man, with a visitor on either side of him, was
sitting on the bench fondling the dog's ears. The hidden mike
could not have been in a better position to pick up what was
The conversation being taken down by the little portable
recorder didn't make much sense to the boys. It was all about
automatic rifles, landing strips, beaches, grenades, and "our
agents." Dates and places were mentioned, and the whole thing
seemed intensely interesting and important to the big federal
man, who scarcely breathed as he listened.
Finally the two men shook hands with their host and left
in their car. The little man took Judas into the shack with
him and began rattling pots and pans. The three observers slipped
quietly away through the woods.
"Goodbye, boys," the federal agent said abruptly as he let
them out of the car at Jerry's home. "You did a good job. Don't
talk about what happened today - it's more important than you
can guess." Without another word he sped away.
"Well, that was a frustrating experience!" Carl fumed. "We
couldn't tell anything if we wanted to. We don't know anything.
We don't know who Cody really is, who Fatso is, what country
is involved, why those men weren't arrested - "
"Whoa, slow down!" Jerry interrupted.
"No doubt Mr. Cody has good reason not to tell us more than
he did. And we do know one thing."
"Such as?" Carl challenged.
"Such as how to make a dog betray his master," Jerry said
with a grin.
Carl & Jerry: Their Complete Adventures is now available. "From 1954 through 1964,
Popular Electronics published 119 adventures of Carl and Jerry, two teen boys with a passion for electronics and a knack
for getting into and out of trouble with haywire lashups built in Jerry's basement. Better still, the boys explained how
it all worked, and in doing so, launched countless young people into careers in science and technology. Now, for the first
time ever, the full run of Carl and Jerry yarns by John T. Frye are available again, in five authorized anthologies that
include the full text and all illustrations."
Carl & Jerry Episodes on RF Cafe
- Carl & Jerry: Anchors Aweigh, July 1956
- Bosco Has His Day, August 1956
- The Hand of Selene, November 1960
- Feedback, May 1956
- Abetting or Not?, October 1956
- Electronic Beach Buggy, September
- Extra Sensory Perception, December
- Trapped in a Chimney, January 1956
- Command Performance, November 1958
- Extracurricular Education, July
- Treachery of Judas, July 1961
- The Sucker, May 1963
- Stereotaped New Year, January 1963
- The Snow Machine, December 1960
- Extracurricular Education, July
- Slow Motion for Quick Action,
- Sonar Sleuthing, August 1963
- TV Antennas, August 1955
- Succoring a Soroban, March 1963
- "All's Fair --", September 1963
- Operation Worm Warming, May 1961
- The Crazy Clock Caper, October 1960
- Two Detectors, February 1955
- Tussle with a Tachometer, July 1960
- Therry and the Pirates, April 1961
- The Sparkling Light, May 1962
- Pure Research Rewarded, June 1962
- A Hot Idea, March 1960
- The Hot Dog Case, December 1954
- A New Company is Launched, October 1956
- Under the Mistletoe, December 1958
- Electronic Eraser, August 1962
- Blubber Banisher, July 1959
- "BBI", May 1959
- Ultrasonic Sound Waves, July 1955
- The River Sniffer, July 1962
- Ham Radio, April 1955
- El Torero Electronico, April 1960
- Wired Wireless, January 1962
- Electronic Shadow, September 1957
- Elementary Induction, June 1963
- He Went That-a-Way, March1959
- Electronic Detective, February 1958
- Aiding an Instinct, December 1962
Posted October 1, 2014