Challenging, perhaps, but by no means unachievable, as [Helge Fyske (LA6NCA)] demonstrates with this ultra-compact regenerative vacuum tube receiver. It’s a companion to his recent “spy transmitter,” a two-tube radio built in — or on, really — an Altoids tin. The transmitter was actually a pretty simple circuit, just a crystal-controlled oscillator and an RF amplifier really, but still managed about 1.5 Watts output on the 80-meter ham band.
In our surface-mount age, it’s easy to be jaded about miniaturization. We pretty much expect every circuit to be dimensionally optimized, something that’s easy to do when SMDs that rival grains of sand are available. But dial the calendar back half a century or so and miniaturization was a much more challenging proposition.