The Aqua Box
Concept by: Captain Xerox
Plans by: The Traveler
Every true phreaker lives in fear of the dreaded F.B.I. 'Lock in Trace.'
For a long time, it was impossible to escape from the lock in trace. This box
does offer and escape route with simple directions to it. This box is quite a
simple concept, and almost any phreaker with basic electronics knowledge can
construct and use it.
A Lock-in Trace is a device used by the F.B.I. to lock into the phone users
location so that he can not hang up while a trace is in progress. For those
of you who are not familiar with the concept of 'locking in', then here's a
The F.B.I. can tap into a conversation, sort of like a three-way call
connection. Then, when they get there, they can plug electricity into the
phone line. All phone connections are held open by a certain voltage of elec-
tricity, that is why you sometimes get static and faint connections when you
are calling far away, because the electricity has trouble keeping the line up.
What the lock in trace does is cut into the line and generate that same
voltage straight into the lines. That way, when you try and hang up, voltage
is retained. Your phone will ring just like someone was calling you even
after you hang up. (If you have call waiting, you should understand better
about that, for call waiting intercepts the electricity and makes a tone that
means someone is going through your line. Then, it is a matter of which
voltage is higher. When you push down the receiver, then it see-saws the
electricity to the other side. When you have a person on each line it is im-
possible to hang up unless one or both of them will hang up. If you try to
hang up, voltage is retained, and your phone will ring. That should give you
an understanding of how calling works. Also, when electricity passes through
a certain point on your phone, the electricity causes a bell to ring or on
some newer phones an electronic ring to sound.
So, in order to eliminate the trace, you somehow must lower the voltage
level on your phone line. You should know that every time someone else picks
up the phone line, then the voltage does decrease a little. In the first
steps of planning this out, Xerox suggested getting about a hundred phones all
hooked into the same line that could all be taken off the hook at the same
time. That would greatly decrease the voltage level. That is also why most
three-way connections that are using the bell service three way calling (which
is only $3 a month) become quite faint after a while.
By now, you should understand the basic idea. You have to drain all of
the power out of the line so the voltage can not be kept up. A rather sudden
draining of power could quickly short out the F.B.I. voltage machine, because
it was only built to sustain the exact voltage necessary to keep the voltage
For now, imagine this. One of the normal Radio Shack generators that you
can go pick up that one end of the cord that hooks into the central box has a
phone jack on it and the other has an electrical plug. This way, you can
"flash" voltage THROUGH the line, but can't drain it. So, some modifications
have to be done.
a BEOC (Basic Electrical Output Socket), like a small lamp
type connection, where you just have a simple plug and wire
that would plug into a light bulb.
One of the cords mentioned above, if you can't find one
then construct your own; same voltage connection, but the
restrainer must be built in (i.e. the central box)
TWO phone jacks (one for the modem, one for if you are
being traced to plug the aqua box into)
Some creativity and easy work.
No phones have to be destroyed/modified to make this box, so don't go
out and buy a new phone for it!
All right, this is a very simple procedure. If you have the BEOC, it
could drain into anything, a radio, or whatever. The purpose of having that
is you are going to suck the voltage out from the phone line into the electri-
cal appliance so there would be no voltage left to lock you in with.
1)Take the connection cord. Examine the plug at the end. It should have
only two prongs, if it has three, still, do not fear. MAKE SURE THE ELEC-
TRICAL APPLIANCE IS TURNED OFF unless you wanna become a crispy critter
while making this thing. Most plugs will have a hard plastic design on the
top of them to prevent you from getting in at the electrical wires inside.
Well, get a knife and remove it. If you want to keep the plug (I don't see
why...) then just cut the top off. When you look inside, low and behold,
you will see that at the base of the prongs there are a few wires connect-
ing in. Those wires conduct the power into the appliance. So, you care-
fully unwrap those from the sides and pull them out until they are about an
inch ahead of the prongs. If you don't wanna keep the jack, then just rip
the prongs out. If you are, cover the prongs with insulation tape so they
will not connect with the wires when the power is being drained from the
2)Do the same thing with the prongs on the other plug, so you have the wires
evenly connected. Now, wrap the end of the wires around each other. If
you happen to have the other end of the voltage cord hooked into the phone,
stop reading now, you're too fucking stupid to continue. After you've
wrapped the wires around each other, then cover the whole thing with the
plugs with insulating tape. Then, if you built your own control box or if
you bought one, then cram all the wires into the box and re-close it.
3)Re-check everything to make sure it's all in place. This is a pretty
flimsy connection, but on later models when you get more experienced at it
then you can solder away at it and form the whole device into one big box,
with some kind of cheap Mattel hand-held game inside to be the power con-
In order to use it, just keep this box handy. Plug it into the jack if
you want, but it will slightly lower the voltage so it isn't connected. When
you plug it in, if you see sparks, unplug it and restart the WHOLE thing. But
if it just seems fine then leave it.
USING IT !!
Now, so you have the whole thing plugged in and all... DO NOT USE THIS UN-
LESS THE SITUATION IS DESPERATE! When the trace has gone on, don't panic, un-
plug your phone, and turn on the appliance that it was hooked to. It will
need energy to turn itself on, and here's a great source... the voltage to
keep a phone line open is pretty small and a simple light bulb should drain it
all in and probably short the F.B.I. computer at the same time.