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Bugging, Tapping And Listening In

To learn different techniques of Bugging, Tapping And Listening In, you should first be familiar with bugs and taps. A bugging device is something that is concealed on a person, place or car to pick conversations, while tapping equipment is positioned around a phone which would then assist someone to hear the conversations through that phone.

Federal law:

Section 605 of title 47 of the U.S code, forbids interception of communication, or divulagance of intercepted communication except by persons outlined in section 119 of title 18 (a portion of the Omnibus crime control and safe streets act of 1968). This act states that “It shall not be unlawful under this act for an operator of a switchboard, or an officer, employee, or agent of any communication common carrier who’s switching system is used in the transmission of a wire communication to intercept or disclose intercepted communication.”


Everyone has at some time wanted to hear what a friend, the principal, the prom queen, or a neighbor has to say on the phone. There are several easy ways to tap into a phone line. None of the methods that I present will involve actually entering the house. You can do everything from the backyard. I will discuss four methods of tapping a line. They go in order of increasing difficulty.

1. The “beige box”:

a beige box (or bud box) is actually better known as a “lineman” phone. They are terribly simple to construct, and are basically the easiest method to use. They consist of nothing more than a phone with the modular plug that goes into the wall cut off, and two alligator clips attached to the red and green wires. The way to use this box, is to venture into the yard of the person you want to tap, and put it onto his line. This is best done at the bell phone box that is usually next to the gas meter. It should only have one screw holding it shut, and is very easily opened. Once you are in, you should see 4 screws with wires attached to them. If the house has one line, then clip the red lead to the first screw, and the green to the second. You are then on the “tappee’s” phone. You will hear any conversation going on. I strongly recommend that you remove the speaker from the phone that you’re using so the “tappee” can’t hear every sound you make. If the house has two lines, then the second line is on screws three and four. If you connect everything right, but you don’t get on the line, then you probably have the wires backward. Switch the red to the second screw and the green to the first. If no conversation is going on, you may realize that you can’t tap the phone very well because you don’t want to sit there all night, and if you are on the phone, then the poor tappee can’t dial out, and that could be bad…so……. method two.

2. The recorder:

This method is probably the most widespread, and you still don’t have to be a genius to do it. There are LOTS of ways to tape conversations. The two easiest are either to put a “telephone induction pickup” (Radio Shack $1.99) on the beige box you were using, then plugging it into the microphone jack of a small tape recorder, and leaving it on record. Or plugging the recorder right into the line. This can be done by taking a walkman plug, and cutting off the earphones, then pick one of the two earphone wires, and strip it. There should be another wire inside the one you just stripped. Strip that one too, and attach alligators to them. Then follow the beige box instructions to tape the conversation. In order to save tape, you may want to use a voice activated recorder (Radio Shack $59), or if your recorder has a “remote” jack, you can get a “telephone recorder control” at Radio shack shack for $19 that turns the recorder on when the phone is on, and off when the phone is off. This little box plugs right into the wall (modularly of course), so it is best NOT to remove the modular plug for it. Work around it if you can. If not, then just do you best to get a good connection. When recording, it is good to keep your recorder hidden from sight (in the Bell box if possible), but in a place easy enough to change tapes from.

3. The wireless microphone:

this is the BUG. It transmits a signal from the phone to the radio (FM band). You may remember Mr. Microphone (from Kaytel fame); these wireless microphones are available from Radio Shack for $19. They are easy to build and easy to hook up. There are so many different models, that is is almost impossible to tell you exactly what to do. The most common thing to do is to cut off the microphone element, and attach these two wires to screws one and two. The line MIGHT, depending on the brand, be “permanently off hook”. This is bad, but by phucking around with it for a while, you should get it working. There are two drawbacks to using this method. One, is that the poor asshole who is getting his phone tapped might hear himself on “FM 88, the principal connection”. The second problem is the range. The store bought transmitters have a VERY short range. I suggest that you build the customized version I will present in part four (it’s cheaper too). Now on to the best of all the methods….

4. The “easy-talks”:

This method combines all the best aspects of all the the other methods. It only has one drawback… You need a set of “Easy-talk” walkie talkies. They are voice activated, and cost about $59. You can find ’em at toy stores, and “hi-tech” catalogs. I think t(at any voice activated walkie talkies will work, but I have only tried the easy-talks. First, you have to decide on one for the “transmitter” and one for the “receiver”. It is best to use the one with the strongest transmission to transmit, even though it may receive better also. De-solder the speaker of the “transmitter”, and the microphone of the “receiver”. Now, go to the box. put the walkie talkie on “VOX” and hook the microphone leads (as in method three) to the first and second screws in the box. Now go home, and listen on your walkie talkie. If nothing happens, then the phone signal wasn’t strong enough to “activate” the transmission. If this happens, there are two things you can do. One, add some ground lines to the microphone plugs. This is the most inconspicuous, but if it doesn’t work then you need an amplifier, like a walkman with two earphone plugs. Put the first plug on the line, and then into one of the jacks. Then turn the volume all the way up (w/out pressing play). Next connect the second earphone plug to the mice wires, and into the second earphone outlet on the walkman. Now put the whole mess in the box, and lock it up. This should do the trick. It gives you a private radio station to listen to them on: you can turn it off when something boring comes on, and you can tape off the walkie talkie speaker that you have!


In this part of Bugging, Tapping And Listening In, you will learn about a tiny transmitter that consists on a one colpitts oscillator that derives it’s power from the phone line. Since the resistance it puts on the line is less than 100 ohms, it has no effect on the telephone performance, and can not be detected by the phone company, or the tappee. Since it is a low-powered device using no antenna for radiation, it is legal to the FCC. (That is it complies with part 15 of the FCC rules and regulations). It, however is still illegal to do, it’s just that what you’re using to do it is legal. This is explained later in part 15… “no person shall use such a device for eavesdropping unless authorized by all parties of the conversation” (then it’s not eavesdropping is it?). What this thing does, is use four diodes to form a “bridge rectifier”. It produces a varying dc voltage varying with the auto-signals on the line. That voltage is used to supply the the voltage for the oscillator transistor. Which is connected to a radio circuit. From there, you can tune it to any channel you want. The rest will all be explained in a minute….


C1 – 47-Pf ceramic disk capacitor
C2,C3 – 27-Pf mica capacitor
CR1, CR2, CR3, CR4 – germanium diode 1n90 or equivalent
R1 – 100 ohm, 1/4 watt 10% composition resistor
R2 – 10k, 1/4 watt 10% composition resistor
R3 – .7k, 1/4 watt 10% composition resistor
L1 – 2 uH radio frequency choke (see text)
L2 – 5 turns No.20 wire (see text)
Q1 – Npn rf transistor 2N5179 or equivalent

L1 may be constructed by winding approximately 40 turns of No. 36 enamel wire on a mega-ohm, 1/2 watt resistor. The value of L1 is not critical. L2 can be made by wrapping 5 turns of No. 20 wire around a 1/4 inch form. After the wire is wrapped, the form can be removed. Just solder it into place on the circuit board. It should hold quite nicely. Also be sure to position Q1 so that the emitter, base, and collector are in the proper holes. The schematic should be pretty easy to follow. Although it has an unusual number of grounds, it still works.


The odd thing about this bug that we haven’t encountered yet, is that it is put on only one wire (either red or green) so go to the box, remove the red wire that was ALREADY on screw #1 and attach it to wire ‘A’ of the bug. Then attach wire ‘B’ to the screw itself. You can adjust the frequency which it comes out on the FM channel by either smooshing, or widening the coils of L2. It takes a few minutes to get to work right, but it is also very versatile. You can change the frequency at will, and you can easily record off your radio.


Helpful hints for Bugging,Tapping And Listening In. First of all, With method one, the beige box, you may notice that you can also dial out on the phone you use. I don’t recommend that you do this. If you decide to anyway, and do something conspicuous like set up a 30 person conference for three hours, then I suggest that you make sure the people are either out of town or dead. In general, when you tap a line, you must be careful. I test everything I make on my line first, then install it late at night. I would not recommend that you leave a recorder on all day. Put it on when you want it going, and take it off when you’re done. As far as recording goes, I think that if there is a recorder on the line it sends a sporadic beep back to the phone co. I know that if you don’t record directly off the line (i.e off your radio) then even the most sophisticated equipment can’t tell that you’re recording. Also, make sure that when you install something, the people are NOT on the line. Installation tends to make lots of scratchy sounds, clicks and static. It is generally a good thing to avoid. It doesn’t take too much intelligence to just make a call to the house before you go to install the thing. If it’s busy then wait a while. (This of course does not apply if you are making a “midnight run”).

All in all, if you use common sense, and are *VERY* careful while you are Bugging, Tapping And Listening In, chances are you won’t get caught. Never think that you’re unstoppable, and don’t broadcast what you’re doing. Keep it to yourself, and you can have a great time.

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