Dedicated Ghost Boxes and Hacked Radio Ghost Boxes
*Please note, there is an updated hackable radio ghost box list current as of 2014 located on our Updated List of Hackable Radios page.
There are several types of ghost boxes available today. There are custom boxes (Frank’s Box, Joe’s Box); pre-packaged radios which have a universal modification (all “hack” models); mass marketed ghost boxes (Minibox, P-SB7); and pre-packaged radios which have had custom modifications applied to them (Steve’s Box, Rich’s Box, Chris’ Box).
The following is a list of Ghost Boxes currently in use. This list is incomplete because new hacks and modifications are being discovered all the time. If you possess a Ghost Box, or have created a new form of Ghost Box, Hybrid Ghost Box, or have discovered a new radio hack, please let us know by emailing email@example.com so we can add it to this list.
Dedicated Ghost Boxes
Frank’s Box: The Frank’s Box is a handcrafted Ghost Box made by Frank Sumption. They are hand wired and hand soldered creations. These Ghost Boxes are all unique and each one is based upon whatever tuner Frank has available at the time; due to this, each one of Frank Sumption’s Boxes sounds slightly different that the others. Some of Frank’s Boxes utilize a random sweep, some use a linear sweep, and a few use both, and all have variable sweep rate controls. Frank Sumption has built these boxes with only AM, only FM, or both. The Frank’s Box models typically have an internal speaker.
Minibox: The Minibox line consisting of the Minibox, Minibox Plus, and the Minibox Ultra Plus, were created by Ron Ricketts and was available only through the now defunct Paranormal Systems. These boxes were hand made by Ron, but they use pre-fabbed PCB boards and tuners so there is a consistent sound from one box to the next. These Ghost Boxes were available in either FM or AM model, with the exception of the Minbox Ultra Plus which allowed for both. The Minibox Plus and Ultra Plus allow for several modes of sweeping the radio frequencies with variable rate controls. The Miniboxes require an external speaker.
Joe’s Box: The Joe’s Box is a handcrafted Ghost Box made by Joe Cioppi (deceased). The Joe’s Box utilizes a pre-fabbed plastic casing, but it is all hand-wired and soldered inside. The Joe’s Box is set up for a linear sweep of the FM Band. The Joe’s Box utilizes a variable rate and bandwidth control that allows for fine tuning of the sweep. These Boxes utilize an internal speaker.
Spirit Box P-SB7: The P-SB7 is an MP3 player sized “Spirit Box” that is designed by Gary Galka. At the time of this writing, the P-SB7 is the only mass produced Ghost Box in existence. The P-SB7 utilizes a digitally controlled linear sweep that allows for fixed interval step sweep. The P-SB7’s have an internal speaker.
Ghost Box Hack Hybrids With Variable Sweep Rates
Steve’s Box: The Steve’s Boxes take their name from their creator, Steve Hultay, who is responsible for discovering the hackability of several of the Shack Hack models. Steve’s Boxes are based upon radios that are bought. He then adds a Linear Sweep Circuit to the radio that allows for a variable sweep.
Rich’s Box: Created by Rich Georgina, the Rich’s Boxes are made from commercial home stereo receivers. Rich modifies these stereo receivers with his hand made sweep circuits. Because these are receiver units, the Rich’s Boxes are not portable and do require an external speaker.
Chris’ Box: Much like the Steve’s Box, the Chris’ Box (made by Chris Salois) is an off-the-shelf portable Radio Shack model 12-589. He adds a sweep circuit which allows for a variable sweep rate of the radio bands.
Ghost Box Hackable Radios (AKA Shack Hacks)
Radio Shack 12-469: This is the original Shack Hack. Bill Chappell discovered this hack on November 24th, 2007. It is known for it’s classic “popcorn effect” sound as it step sweeps through the radio bands. This hack does not have an internal speaker.
Radio Shack 12-470: Following the instructions posted by Bill Chappell, Mike Colletta used the same technique to hack this radio. It functions just like the 12-469, but it lack the “popcorn effect” clicking sound in between stations. This model was available in two versions – one with an internal speaker and one without.
Radio Shack 20-125: This portable radio was hacked by Steve Hultay on January 12th, 2008. It is a very reliable hack and it has the “popcorn effect” clicking sound at every step of the sweep. When it reaches the end of the band, there is typically a silent pause as it cycles again providing an excellent opportunity to ask questions.
Radio Shack 20-820: Hacked January 31st, 2008 by Steve Hultay. An armband radio, this unit requires an external speaker to utilize. This model can by “turbo-hacked” to create a faster sweep rate.
Radio Shack 12-587: Hacked on June 30th, 2009 by Steve Hultay. This Shack Hack Ghost Box is everywhere. Since Steve made this Hack public, every paranormal product peddler out there seems to sell this model pre-hacked and ready to go. It does not have the “popcorn effect” and has an internal speaker. The 12-587 is very prone to stopping in mid-sweep but can produce some very good results when sweeping properly.
Radio Shack 12-588: This hack model is a small armband radio that requires an external speaker. This model can be “turbo-hacked” by adding a modification that allows for it to sweep at a faster rate.
Radio Shack 12-589: This model contains a large internal speaker and does not have any “popcorn effect” during the sweep. The 12-589 performs very admirably; because of this, Steve Hultay and Chris Salois have chosen to add a variable linear sweep circuit to this model.
Jensen SAB-55: This hack was discovered by Bruce Halliday and has come to be known as the “Halliday Hack.” It is an armband radio that needs an external speaker. It is important to note that only the “B” model of this radio can be hacked. Steve Hultay figured out how to “turbo-hack” to this model to speed up the sweep rate.
Sangean DT-200X: The Sangean Ghost Box is another hack that does not have the “popcorn effect” when scanning through the radio band. It contains an internal speaker and has an inherently fast sweep. The DT-200X was also hacked by Steve Hultay and it was the first hack that was not based upon a Radio Shack model.