Spirit Box

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The intent of this article is to discuss the most common spirit box devices out there, their differences, details and usage. It is not to persuade anyone that doesn’t believe in this device that it does work or even how it works. If you are not a believer in using a spirit box then this article more than likely isn’t going to sway you one way or another (although it does contain multiple examples of its use at the bottom). This article is intended for those thinking about purchasing a spirit box for their own use and as a helpful guide in things to look for (as well as to avoid) when using one.

P-SB7 Spirit Box

Designed by Gary Galka and Chris Fleming, the P-SB7 is designed to provide “real time” responses to specific questions. When used by a properly trained individual, under certain circumstances, the P-SB7 will provide results similar that of an EVP recorder, only in real time.

From the Pro-Measure web site:

The P-SB7 utilizes a millisecond adjustable forward or reverse frequency “sweep” technique coupled with a proprietary high frequency synthetic noise or “white noise” distributed between frequency steps. The new 2011 model now offers an enhanced FM frequency sweep which includes an additional 119 new frequencies from 76MHz to 87.9MHz. No other Hack Box or modified radio currently offers this. A seven step adjustable sweep rate provides user flexibility based on individual technique and session circumstances. There are two discreet audio outputs; (1) 15mW Earphone, and (1) 250mW Speaker. A bright EL back light display with manual ON/OFF select is ideal for viewing in the dark. The P-SB7  uses three “AAA” batteries. The P-SB7 is intended to be used by professional investigators to help promote the field of Paranormal ITC Research.

To make things slightly more confusing, Pro-Measure offers 4 different models of the P-SB7 which will be broken down for you based on features and cost:

P-SB7-FMModel: P-SB7-FM

Price: $59.90

  • Mini FM frequency sweep radio
  • Sweep forward / reverse selectable
  • Seven user adjustable sweep rates
  • New enhanced FM frequencies now include 76MHz to 87.9MHz (76MHz-108MHz Total)
  • 15mW earphone output (earphone included)
  • 250mW speaker output
  • Internal speaker
  • Blue EL back light LCD with Mmanual ON/OFF control
  • Power: (3) alkaline batteries (included)

Basically this model does not support the AM band. Two of the four available models are FM only as you will see. Although 4 models are sold, there are actually 2 models with a choice of FM only for each of them.

 

Model: P-SB7

Price: $79.00

  • Mini AM/FM frequency sweep radio
  • Sweep forward / reverse selectable
  • Seven user adjustable sweep rates
  • New enhanced FM frequencies now include 76MHz to 87.9MHz (76MHz-108MHz Total)
  • 15mW earphone output (earphone included)
  • 250mW speaker output
  • Internal speaker
  • Blue EL back light LCD with manual ON/OFF control
  • Power: (3) alkaline batteries (included)

Same model as above only with the AM band available. For an extra $20 this is a decision only the individual can make for themselves. I personally do not use the AM band ever as there are several things I don’t like about it while others swear by it. That being said, this is the model that I use most often. I just don’t use the AM band.

Model: P-SB7-FM-SDD

Price: $179.00

  • Mini FM frequency sweep radio
  • Sweep forward / reverse selectable
  • Seven user adjustable sweep rates
  • New enhanced FM frequencies now include 76MHz to 87.9MHz (76MHz-108MHz Total)
  • 15mW earphone output (earphone included)
  • 250mW speaker output
  • Internal amplified speaker
  • Blue EL back light LCD with manual ON/OFF control
  • Power: (3) alkaline batteries (included)
  • SDD Shadow Detection with ascending & descending audible tones and Red / Green alarm light
  • Tripod mountable (tripod not included)
  • (1) Long range RED & (1) short range RED (diffuse) illumination block (included)

This is where things start to change a little bit and is reflected in the price. Designed to compliment the popular RED & GREEN laser grids currently available. The purpose of the device is to measure very subtle light contrast variations and convert the changes into audible tones that your ears can easily discern. The P-SB7-FM-SDD is compatible with a RED, GREEN and WHITE LED’s, and it comes with a RED long range 75′, and a RED short range diffuse LED illumination source. When a contrast variation occurs between the LED illumination source and the P-SB7-FM-SDD, the audible tones will be heard. Ascending tones for light increase and descending tones for light decrease. Additional information can be found under Extended Specifications.

So basically what separates this model from the previous 2 is that it has a built in shadow detection unit, a tripod mount and the price. This model is also FM band only.

Model: P-SB7-SDD

Price: $199.00

  • Mini AM/FM frequency sweep radio
  • Sweep forward / reverse selectable
  • Seven user adjustable sweep rates
  • New enhanced FM frequencies now include 76MHz to 87.9MHz (76MHz-108MHz Total)
  • 15mW earphone output (earphone included)
  • 250mW speaker output
  • Internal amplified speaker
  • Blue EL back light LCD with manual ON/OFF control
  • Power: (3) alkaline batteries (included)
  • SDD Shadow Detection with ascending & descending audible tones and Red / Green alarm light
  • Tripod mountable (tripod not included)
  • (1) Long range RED & (1) short range RED (diffuse) illumination block (included)

Same as the above model only with the AM band available. The only real cosmetic difference you will notice between the SDD and non-SDD models are some minor differences on the top of the device where there is a small switch and 2 LED’s. DHPR also owns this model.

Speakers

Each P-SB7 comes with an internal speaker as detailed above. However, you do not want to rely on nor even use this speaker as-is and is the only flaw in the device as far as I’m concerned. The following 3 speakers are options that do work with the P-SB7.

GigawareGigaware

Price: $15.90

A very small device that connects directly to the P-SB7 speaker output. I personally have never used one but know that many people do. It is a very cost-effective option with the biggest benefits probably being its lightweight design, extremely small size and ease of use. I cannot vouch for the quality, clarity or volume of this speaker.

One thing to consider is whether or not you will be recording your spirit box sessions on video.  While this speaker may work well in person, how will the audio quality and volume sound on video? My guess is not real well which is why you don’t see this device being used on those horrible television programs where video and audio quality is probably taken into consideration. Runs on 1 AA battery so I wouldn’t imagine it lasts a real long time.

AuvioAuvio

Price: $19.90

This compact portable audio companion gives you the freedom to listen to your  sessions out loud without having to carry around a cumbersome docking station or large speaker system. It folds in half to easily fit in a pocket, purse or backpack. The built-in amplifier with volume control delivers rich sound that can be adjusted, plus it has a standard 1/8″ (3.5mm) headphone jack so it can attach to your P-SB7 or RT-EVP directly. Portable speakers are sleek and can go anywhere.

I disagree with portions of the above description. I used these pancake speakers for a long time and to call them not cumbersome is a stretch. In my opinion they are very cumbersome. Also to fit them in a pocket when folded you’d either have to be wearing cargo pants or a clown suit. And they’d still be a tight fit in the cargo pants pocket. There’s also nothing sleek about them. Do they work? Absolutely. We own 2 sets of these. Are they something that you will find easy to transport while holding a video camera, EMF detector or digital voice recorder in the other hand? Probably not. These are however a good choice for when you’re planted in one spot and not walking around all night which is how we conduct most of our research. Also has its own volume control which is a plus. Runs on 3 AAA batteries.

Altec Lansing OrbitAltec Lansing Orbit

Price: $19.95 (Amazon)

My personal favorite and the one I currently use. Although not shown, this model comes with a wrist strap to prevent you from dropping it. The speaker wire wraps around the bottom of the base and locks into place for easy storage and to prevent damage to the cable.

This speaker will get loud, is easy to transport and simple to operate. It’s also durable and will take more of a pounding than the others listed above. Still a little bulky if you prefer to walk around all night but if you’re sitting down recording your session at a table this to me is the one to have. Does not have a volume control so all adjustments need to be made on the P-SB7.

Altec Lansing makes quality products. Runs on 3 AAA batteries.

Other Ghost Boxes

There were several radios on the market that were hackable. By taking them apart and making some modifications you could essentially make them into a version of a ghost box. They do not have all the bells and whistles of the P-SB7 such as adjustable sweep rates and a white noise generator but they can be useful if they are your only option.

Of all the radios out there, the Radio Shack models were the most popular and lots of web sites and YouTube videos are out there showing you how to modify the different models. The bad news is that the newest versions of these models have been modified so that these hacks no longer work. I was fortunate enough to purchase and hack the model below prior to them reconfiguring the internal components. Many sites are simply classifying these models as unhackable now.

12-587Radio Shack 12-587

Price: $29.99

This was a very simple hack which involved taking the radio apart and bending a specific pin so that it was no longer being used. I also removed the antenna completely. For me this model seems to work best in areas where you get very little or no radio reception at all.

The hack is intended to make it sweep without stopping when it finds a station. I would estimate that this works about 85-90% of the time but will still stop on occasion. If you simply hold the sweep button down however it will not stop.

I really only used this a few times but had good results with it. When the internal parts were changed the outside and model number remained the same so there’s no way to tell if a used 12-587 is hackable without opening it up. I do plan on dusting it off at some point and using it again because it does work, just not as well as the P-SB7.

 

12-589Radio Shack 12-589

Price: Varies (eBay)

This model is supposedly still hackable but no longer manufactured from what I can tell. The good news is that that doesn’t allow the internal components to be changed making it no longer hackable. The bad news is you may have trouble finding one.

I’ve never used this model but it appears to be a little bulky. I am not aware of what the hack requires but there are plenty of YouTube videos that show how it is done. If you like tinkering with electronics and happen to run across one at a thrift store for a great price I would grab it.

How to Use the Spirit Box

There are a lot of little things to know when using a spirit box that I have learned over time. I will only focus on the P-SB7 since I have far more experience using this device than any other. The sound of radio static is not a pleasant sound to most people. Using (and listening to) the P-SB7 takes time. You need to train your ears to hear things in real-time that many times are subtle and very quick.

Regardless of how much time you spend using this device, you will more than likely discover more things that you missed during playback than what you heard live. Many times I will end a spirit box session thinking it was a dud only to find multiple answers to my questions upon review. This is one of the main reasons that it’s vital to video record your spirit box sessions.

There is a fine line between a clear recording and static when recording your sessions. If the volume is too low or the camcorder too far from the device you will have an almost impossible time hearing what is being said during playback. If the volume is too high or the camcorder is too close you will not only run off most people watching the video but the voices will be too distorted to make out what is being said.

There is a balance between spirit box volume, distance from the device and even the specific camcorder you are using. The only way to dial it in for your particular setup is to practice. You need to run mock-up sessions using different volume levels and distance from the device until your recordings are as clear as you can make them. Nothing will ruin a good session more than distorted garbage when you play it back on video. The reverse is also true. A recording that is too quiet to pick out any voice responses will be useless.

I used to think I had a volume issue with my P-SB7 because the up/down volume controls on the device had no effect on the volume coming out of the speaker. I found this to be a case of things needing to be done in a specific order when hooking up and turning on the P-SB7 as well as the speaker. If not done in exactly the correct order, the volume buttons on the P-SB7 will not work to adjust the volume.

At times the volume will initially sound too quiet. You will need to stop the sweep and start it again at which time the volume will suddenly increase greatly. If this is the case and the volume buttons on the P-SB7 are not lowering the volume then the initial setup steps were done incorrectly. You need to practice setting it up over and over again until you get it down perfectly.

AM vs FM

I personally have had very little luck or patience with the AM band. As stated previously, others swear by it. This is a personal preference and there is no right or wrong way of doing it.  I personally don’t like the sound quality of AM and something about it just bugs me. The AM band also does not sweep as fast as FM (100ms) which for me is a deal breaker.

Sweep Rate

Again this is a personal preference and should be played with until you find what works best for you. I use the fastest sweep rate (100 ms) in reverse on the FM band probably 99% of the time. I will slow it down to 150-200 ms at times but this is very rare. I prefer to scan the frequencies as fast as the device allows and wouldn’t be upset if a future model allowed a sweep rate of 50 ms.

Observations

Having used the P-SB7 for a couple of years now there are some thing I’ve noticed that may or may not be the case for others.

For starters, it seems that some spirits don’t like, don’t know how or simply won’t use the device. I have been to 2 locations where they simply wouldn’t use it. I could get EVP’s on a digital voice recorder, see things with my own eyes, capture things on video, hear things out loud and feel them touching me but they would not use the P-SB7.

p-sb7In my experience, I believe the device to be some sort of beacon. I have many times used the P-SB7 with no voices at all coming through until it was running for 30 minutes or more at which point they would start trickling in. I have also used it for several days at a location before voices started coming through but once they did, I could get responses every time I turned it on.

Because of this I would caution you not to use it at home if this is something you are concerned about. I personally have no problem with this and turned one house I lived in from spiritually void to very active by the time I moved out. I believe a lot of this had to do with my frequent use of the P-SB7 at this location. By openly inviting anyone interested to communicate with me and by using this device, I believe I brought a lot of spirits to the house to the point I and others had multiple physical manifestations in the house by the time we eventually moved.

Examples: