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Frank’s Box #72 Created by Frank Sumption

Frank Sumption’s Frank’s Box #72 – Linear and Random

by Tim Woolworth

Frank Sumption has been working on his Frank’s Boxes since 2002. Each box is handmade and utilizes slight changes from the other Frank’s Boxes that have been produced. Frank is constantly modifying his Frank’s Boxes to find out what works best for instrumental transcommunication research. This box, Frank’s Box #72, was constructed in March, 2010 and given to me by Frank Sumption on Halloween Night, 2010, and it was designed to incorporate a single power supply and a random sweep with a DC offset.

Frank's Box #72 by Frank Sumtion

Physically, this Frank’s Box is constructed using a very attractive oak veneer face on a box that is dovetailed at all four corners. It measures 8” wide, 8” long, and 3” high. It is built very solidly and has a hefty weight to it. Frank has constructed this Frank’s Box with pads on the backside and on one edge so this box can be used laid on its back or standing upright. He has placed a handle at the top of the Frank’s Box for easy carrying.

This particular Frank’s Box was designed in an attempt to have a stabilized random sweep on one power supply that consists of eight AA batteries. Frank has achieved the most success with random using two power supplies and a change in circuitry allowed for this version of the Frank’s Box to use only one. There is a control dedicated to the Random Voltage Generator in the upper right hand corner. This adjustment allows for tweaking the amount of DC offset in order to fine tune the random sweep in an attempt to keep it stable. In addition to random, Frank’s Box #72 has his trademark linear sweep. Both linear and random have sweep adjust rates and can be used on both AM and FM frequencies. The adjustment knobs used are very solid and scalloped for easy gripping.

This Frank’s Box provides several outputs. There is a raw speaker output, a direct output and a line output with a monitor volume. There is also a microphone input. This box is designed to use an external echo chamber whereas many of Frank’s Boxes have one built internally. There are antennae post for both AM and FM, but living in a good size city, I do not have to use an antennae wire to receive a good signal. The speaker itself is very loud and quite impressive.

Franks Box 72 with open battery compartment

Franks Box 72 with open battery compartmen

The hinged lid can be flipped up to reveal to power supply. On the bottom of the lid, Frank has placed a magnet which is attracted to a screw put in the frame of the box. This prevents the lid from opening on its own. My only concern with the construction of this box is that the power supply is much smaller than the compartment it has been put in. Because of this size discrepancy, the power supply moves and bangs around in there with even the slightest movement of the box. I have remedied this by coiling the antennae wires and putting them inside the compartment with pressure upon the power supply; this prevents the power supply from sliding around while providing adequate storage for the antennae wires. This wound up being an easy and convenient fix so it really isn’t a concern at all!

Using Frank’s Box #72 is interesting. Before having this particular Frank’s Box in my hands, I had used the Minibox Plus and the Joe’s Box so I was aware of the power of a linear sweep without steps. The Frank’s Box, without a doubt, is much better at linear sweeping than either of those other two boxes. If you are not aware of what a linear sweep is, think of a Shack Hack. It moves in steps with a pronounced pause in between each step. A linear sweep is much smoother because there are no pronounced pauses and all the steps flow together. This allows for uninterrupted sentences of communication to occur. The rate adjust on the linear sweep of this box allows for slow reception in which whole words can come through or reception that is so fast that not even individual syllables are recognizable. I have found that the linear rate adjust functions best for my ears between 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock on the dial.

Franks Box 72 upright image

Franks Box 72 upright image

The random sweep does not work as well for me. I have used the Minibox Plus for over a year and I only use random on that box to achieve communication with the other side. On Frank’s Box #72, the random first takes a little while to “warm up” to the point where the signal continuously bounces up and down the frequency spectrum. Even when it warms up, the random seems to work in spurts and then fade away for a moment before coming back and working in spurts again. The best way to keep a random sweep going is to interact with what you hear by turning the RVG-DC offset knob when the signal starts to weaken. Even through this fine tuning, the random communication will be lost eventually and have to be regained. This box was designed as an experiment in getting a single DC power supply (instead of the more stable dual DC supply) to feed the Random Voltage Generator, and it does work as designed, but this setup requires a bit of extra manipulation on the part of the ghost box researcher to get the most out of it.

My only complaint about using this Frank’s Box in a session is that the AM band is unusable, even with an antenna. This may be a tuner issue because each and every Frank’s Box has a different tuner module than the others and they are built based upon what parts are available to Frank Sumption at the time of construction. The FM band provides more than an ample source of raw sound for communication and with the rate adjust, any music can be easily converted by the Others into a usable voice through the Frank’s Box. So, I have found that this box excels at linear sweep on the FM band. I have several communications that have come through on this setting.

Overall, this box is both a piece of history and a piece of art much like every Frank’s Box is. Everything is handmade and hand wired. This box serves a specific purpose, like all the boxes Frank Sumption makes. He is not content to rest on his laurels and seeks to improve his design with every new Frank’s Box he creates. The Frank’s Boxes require an ear that is trained to the unique sounds a Frank’s Box creates. It took a long while for me to train my ears to the sound of Frank’s Box by listening to audio Frank posts on his forum almost daily. So when I finally received a Frank’s Box, my ears were already trained for how the boxes sound.

I am glad to have this box and I have found it most valuable to me so far. It has its limitations in AM and random, but the FM and linear make up for it. The communications I have received so far have made the time spent with this box completely worthwhile to me. Ghost box researchers are always looking for a box that uses manipulated sound fragments for communication, and the Frank’s Box #72 accomplishes this admirably.

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Comments

  1. Ted Mason says:

    Frank, I recently obtained one of your boxes, #83 .. can you tell me about that box in particular.. there is no instructions or notes on the circuitry or what you were trying to obtain with that box.. any info would be appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Ted

  2. marie says:

    i, would like to know how much, the franks,s ghost box would be. thank you marie keever

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