Friday, November 30, 2012

Radio Shack 12-470 Ghost Box

This is strange...eerie, even
This is the Radio Shack model 12-470 radio, and it's an overpriced piece of junk.
When I moved to Reno, the radio I brought with me crapped out so I was in need of a new one quick. I paid around $40 for this at Radio Shack new. I figured I paid too much and I was right, but I can't go for very long without a radio so I had to live with it.
It has served me faithfully at work, where I listen exclusively to a local AM radio station, 780 KKOH.
Luckily, all I needed at work was a local station because that's all this radio receives. It has an absolutely awful internal antenna. It works fine on FM with headphones but sounds tinny over the small speaker. The radio also includes TV channels 2-6 (now useless) and the NOAA weather band (helpful but rarely used).
Worst of all, it uses an odd-numbered three AAA batteries, most chargers only accept 2 or 4, and the batteries only last two days or 16 hours, so rechargeables are a must and a frequent irritation. I purchased a special charger that will take 1, 2, 3 or 4 batteries...wouldn't have had to were it not for this radio.
Recently, with a much better radio I've had a long time (Realistic DX-440), I've renewed a longtime interest in AM DXing and have built a 30-inch loop antenna to help receive far-away signals.
I was curious how that large antenna would affect the above junky radio and it does very well. Not a surprise, the large loop antennas will turn even the worst radio (read: Harbor Freight) into a good one and this is one of those cases.
I couldn't remember what I paid for the small portable, so I went looking on Google to find the MSRP. And to my surprise, the 12-470 is one hot little radio! With a simple modification it will scan the bands continuously, apparently a necessity when used as a "Ghost Box," or EVP (electronic voice phenomenon) receiver.
Now, as a talk-radio radio enthusiast I'm well aware of the EVP craze. I was a fan of Art Bell's Coast to Coast AM show before most other folks, and I think the EVP is the real deal. But, as much as I love visiting old ghost towns, especially Bodie State Park, I never really spent much time attempting to capture ghosts on recording equipment. I did once, in Bodie, with a cheap knockoff of those old hard-drive recorders, and before I could extract the audio files the thing burned out. There were ghosts in that machine!
Haven't really thought of doing any EVP recording since, but many people have and the above radio is at the heart of it. Apparently the band-scanning abilities of the radio plus its small size makes it ideal for ghost hunting. The phenomenon also has made this radio rare and quite valuable, selling in the range of $65-$70...unbelievable!
Never thought such a horrible radio would actually increase in value over 50 percent in a short time. This is a strange world we live in!


Unknown said...

I just got $110.00 for mine on ebay today...7.17.2014, what you think about that...

Hike of your Life said...

Supply and demand? Or just idiocy mixed with faith. Take your pick you've made a tidy profit!