Make Your Own FCD Portable

The whole purpose of the FCD unit is to be able to take it with you to UFO sites, portals, hotspots, etc., and use it there. The official Mk3 of the device uses expensive parts and is housed in a wooden box, so I wanted to make a similar version that could be constructed with cheaper parts and everyday items, lighter and more durable in bad weather conditions. I came up with the idea of the FCD Portable housed in a plastic lunch box! This unit, if you have the basic skills and equipment like a soldering iron, screwdrivers, scissors, pliers, etc., can be constructed quite quickly and easily. I will show you how below. If this is not something that you feel you have the confidence to do, but want one of these devices drop me a line and I will construct one for you at cost of parts.

THE PARTS LIST -what you will need:

1. A 'tupperware' style plastic food container and tight fitting lid. (approx size 18 x 12 cm)

2.  1 x Audiomax SR7 FM/AM radio

3. I x 60 mm dia  0.3W 8 ohms Speaker  (with Grille Cover to fit)

4. Sheet A4 thick card

5. 1 x Reverb Unit

6. 1 x Audio Amplifier

7. 1 x 9V battery and holder

8. 1 strip chocky block connectors

9. 2 x 2-way micro switches

10. 1 x 3.5mm to 3.5mm female audio lead (makes to connections cut in half)

11. I x 1Kohm Resistor

12  1 x 1N34 Diode

13. Assorted small screws

14. 1 x Extending Antenna

15. 1 x 5V Solar Panel

16. 4 x rubber feet

17. Wire Lengths with 2-pin connectors (x2 for reverb board).

18. 1 x 5V charging protection regulator USB board

2 x Plastic control knobs

Solder, USB lead (for charger board), hot glue, super glue, tape.


Note: All of these parts are available online and very cheap from the 'bay'.

NOT TECHNICALLY MINDED? You can get your ready built FCD Mk3 here.
NOT TECHNICALLY MINDED? You can get your ready built FCD Mk3 here.

This is essentially what the FCD Portable unit looks like, using the plastic box of the container to house the electronic parts and the pull off lid as the control panel. We will add the 5th Element crystal at the end which is not shown here.

1. The radio component of the FCD Portable is a small cheap AM/FM sweeping radio available on ebay for under £10 -the Audiomax SR7. This radio has to be hacked like a 'ghost box' to make it sweep through the AM and FM channels. I was inspired to use this radio by Keith Weldon who originally hacked it as a ghost box. You can see how he did this here:

Work on the back of the lid of the plastic 'tupperware' like container and cut holes carefully with a small craft knife (be careful!) for the radio screen and buttons. (I can supply you with a printed sticker to place on the lid to neaten up your cut outs). Make  a series of small holes at the bottom of the lid where the speaker will be and then glue the speaker grille over them. I mounted the speaker on thick card and hot glued this to the back of the SR7 radio.

2. Now we turn to the layout inside the plastic container.  Cut a piece of thick card as a base that is slightly bigger than the bottom of the container and push it down so you leave about 1 cm  gap under it. This allows you to screw parts to it without piercing the box.  assemble the parts as shown and secure with small screws. You will have to make holes in the plastic sides of the container for the control  knobs on the reverb and amplifier units potentiometers. I use a small screwdriver to make an initial hole and then a bigger one the size to fit the stem through and clean off the burr of plastic with a craft knife. Then make a bigger hole in a similar way for the on/off switch (top left of photo). Fit a suitable 9V battery holder (top left) -this will supply power to the amplifier and reverb boards. Keep all parts as close to the top of the unit as possible so that they do not obstruct the back of the speaker (on the lid). I will deal with the layout of the wiring soon, so don't worry about this yet. Fit the small 5V charging unit to the thick card (bottom right)  by Velcro or hot glue and cut a small hole in the side of the plastic container side  for the charging lead to be plugged into it. Hot glue the small two way switch to the side of the plastic container (next to the red reverb unit) and again, cut a small hole for the knob of the switch to pop through it. Make sure that it can move freely from side to side (on and off). Fit small wire gauge 'chocky block' connectors with small screws as shown.

3. Turn the bottom of the plastic container over and fit four small rubber feet with small screws. To fit the 5V solar panel (for charging the radio on the go), pierce a small hole in the middle of the base. Solder two wires (red and black) about 10 cm to the positive (+) and negative (-) solder tabs on the back of the solar panel and pass these wires through the hole.  Hot glue at the four corners of the panel to hold it firmly in place to the base of the container. To seal it from damp, run a bead of silicon glue around the edge of the solar panel.

4. Solder two wires about 40cms (try to shield them by wrapping foil around them and cover with insulating tape) to the positive and negative terminals of the speaker.

The other end of these two wires from the speaker connect into the 2nd and fourth terminal of the chocky block. The antenna is secured by making a hole in the top of the container and a hole at the bottom right hand side of the container. Pas through a screw to hold in place. For extra security, I looped a plastic tie around the antenna half way up the box side and pulled it tight around it.

5. Audio connections:  Essentially this is a mono circuit for the audio, but as the radio is stereo we have to change the wiring. This is quite simple. Follow the diagram below:

Diagram of audio leads /Circuit

6. Wiring connections: Don't be put off by all the is far more simpler than it first looks. Just follow the diagram here to make the connections on the 5V and the 9V circuits.

5V circuit diagram

9V circuit diagram

(Note - I placed a 1Kohm resistor between the positive leg of the LED and the junction 'choccky block) to avoid burn out of the LED when power is switched on).

7.  Finishing off: That's it! All the essential electronic parts are in place now. We just need to do a couple of things more. Make a small hole for the LED on the lid and add control knobs to our amp and reverb units. Last but not least, we need to add the essential 5th Element  crystal amplifier to finish the project off.

8. The 5th Element.....

The FCD portable unit as it stands is like any other 'ghost box', but in order to adjust the signals that we hope to receive from ETs,  we need to add the 5th Element. This quartz crystal in copper bound wire acts like an inductor and changes the frequencies of the radio waves received by the unit. To do this we use a 'point' clear quartz crystal which also adds a kind of light protection around the FCD when in use to stop any negative influences coming through.

You can place the crystal anywhere you like on the unit, even inside it if you want to. I placed mine on the side like this. The size of the crystal doesn't matter and you can experiment with how you like to wrap it with copper wire. Leave a length of this wire (if it is covered in enamel remember to scrape this off the wire to get a good solder connection) and solder this to the antenna base.

If you want to use this A4 template with sticker paper to print on, download Cut out the white parts for the screen and speaker.

That's it! You now have your own portable version of the FCD......

Tape up all the loose wires inside the box to make it neat and make sure nothing is able to short circuit. Check that all your connections are tight and correctly routed too. To operate the device, this is simple. You flick the on/off switch on the top of the unti to turn on the 9V circuit.  The LED will light up and stay on. Then press the on/off on the lid for the radio. It will show a radio frequency in the digital display. You can press the controls on the radio to change this to AM or FM. The same button controls the volume....I always put mine up to max (30) and adjust it with the amplifier knob on the side of the unit.  Turn the reverb control knob to about half way (you can experiment with this to get the best effects and reverb brings out extended voice samples which is what we want to hear). Now, flick the switch on the left side of the unit and the display will show a couple of lines across the screen, then go blank. The radio will begin to sweep through the frequencies. After about 30 seconds, turn this switch off and on again, and so on. You do not need to switch the 9V circuit on and off...only the sweep control for the radio.

Good luck building your FCD Portable Unit and I hope that you make contact with it very soon.