Boutique Ghost Boxes and Hacked Radio Ghost Boxes
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 firstname.lastname@example.org so we can add it to this list.
Boutique 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 was based upon whatever tuner Frank had 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 built these boxes with only AM, only FM, or both. The Frank’s Box models typically have an internal speaker. There are 180 completed Frank’s Boxes in existence.
Minibox Line: 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 was a handcrafted Ghost Box made by Joe Cioppi. The Joe’s Box utilized 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 are equipped with an internal speaker.
Andy’s Box: These boxes are made by Andrew Openlander of Chicago Spirit Wave. The first three models (A,B,E) of the Andy’s Box were all housed in wooden cigar boxes. The Model A Ghost Box was a standard linear FM sweep box. The Model B Ghost Box was the same as the Model A, but it came with a smaller speaker. The Model E was essentially the same except that it came with an internal echo circuit. In 2015, Andy announced the end of the cigar box line and launched the PRD-1000 Ghost Box. The PRD comes in an all-steel chassis and allows for custom sweep controls, multiple sweep modes and delay/feedback control for the effects circuit.
Andre’s Box: The Andre’s Boxes are made by Andre Wullaert. Andre’s first boxes were housed in a cigar box and incorporated a linear sweep and echo capability. Andre has also crafted a linear sweep FM box housed entirely in copper. In 2015, Andre began the AGBX -3, a ghost box built within a project box that provides a linear sweep, tuning feature, a 90% mute function and an internal speaker.
Jay’s Box: Jay Prather runs IDC-Devices and his ghost boxes are exceptionally flexible. His ghost boxes all begin with a tuner and the customer decides what they want added to the box. There are several options including bluetooth, white noise generating, EM pumps, laser grids, internal microphones, recording capabilities, audio mixers, EMF and temperature sensors…if you can imagine it, Jay can build it.
Greg’s Box: Greg Manchester’s boxes are all unique. Each box has a different housing, with the exception of the White Box, and are all very unique. Greg does not manufacture for sale, but rather as a personal hobby that sometimes produces a box or two extra that he will put on the market.
Steve’s Box: Steve Hultay has created a handful of custom boxes over the years. Each model made has been in a different housing and utilizes a linear sweep. Some of his custom boxes have also incorporated an echo circuit.
Spirit Box P-SB7 / P-SB11: The P-SB line are “Spirit Boxes” that are designed by Gary Galka. At the time of this writing, the P-SB line is the only mass produced Ghost Boxes in existence. The P-SB’s utilize a digitally controlled linear sweep that allows for fixed interval step sweep. This sweep works in tandem with artificial white noise that has been added to the sweep. The P-SB’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. The first Steve’s Boxes were built upon manufactured radios that are bought. He then added 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)
*Please note, there is an updated hackable radio ghost box list current as of 2015 located on our Updated List of Hackable Radios page.
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 / DT-400: 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.