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To Kill An Atomic Subwoofer; Or, How I Blew Up My Noisy Neighbor's Car Stereo

“The day will come when man will have to fight noise as inexorably as cholera and the plague.”

— Robert Koch, 19th Century German bacteriologist and Nobel Prize winner

How much can one take? How much pounding, booming noise, over a period of months, or even years, can one take from the dregs of modern society?

My redneck neighbours across the street do not mind at all that their booming car stereo has been blasting its obnoxious, dreadful-sounding tripe all over the neighborhood every Saturday and Sunday afternoon for the past year. It’s absurd enough that the vehicle from which my redneck neighbour Carl blasts rap and country music is a 1980 Toyota: an orange, beat-up truck that should have given up the ghost and gone to a junkyard back in 1985. Just to see that old truck pull up to his front door with DJ MuffinPuff or Ma and Pa Roach Stompin’ Two Steppers rattling my eardrums and shaking my windows, thump, thump, thump, was enough to make me want to set his truck on fire. I decided I had to do something.

Calling the police was not an option. A stereo being too loud in the middle of the day wasn’t going to be a priority for our city’s finest—even despite the new city ordinance prohibiting a car stereo being audible further than 25 feet away rom the car itself. City cops would not enforce it. City cops wouldn’t care that someone was disturbing the peace with a booming car stereo week after week, month after month, unless of course, that stereo was right next door to the cop’s house. In short, my city had demonstrated that it would do little or nothing to stop this horrible menace that has become a plague on American society.

I was determined to do something, and do something creative, subversive, and electronically devious before I went out of my mind. I was going to remotely destroy his radio.

There would be a risk I would get caught, but I was at my wit’s end. So, I decided it was time to set up shop or as they say, crap or get off the pot.

I had a little electronics experience building FM transmitters and a couple of amplifiers for the transmitters, as well as repairing a few other electronic devices. I was no stranger to a soldering gun. That’s right, even women can use those things! The problem was I had no specific idea what I could do to stop this redneck from ruining my weekends at home.

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I knew I had a lot of research to do before I could come up with the proper tool to end this assault on my eardrums. I found some likely options on the internet.

I was tempted by the possibility of completely obliterating the car stereo using a Directional Microwave EMP Rifle 50-Kilowatt X-band Military Microwave Magnetron. I’d found this machine online and was instantly intrigued. This device can be reduced to the size of the Super Soaker™ squirt gun. A machine of this power could create radio-frequency noise, ionize gases, cause semiconductors to burn out and microprocessors to malfunction, and erase computer data on hard drives. Reconsidering, though, I regretfully concluded that a machine this powerful would probably be illegal and dangerous, and possibly kill all the small animals in the area. So I decided to nix the EMP. Besides, how could I afford one of those?

I came up with another idea that had nothing to do with destroying his car stereo, but everything to do with annoying the complete crap out of him and his entire redneck family. I’d read a couple of years ago about how to make an entire side of a wooden building resonate using a wire. You insert a nail into the wood and attach a wire to the nail. Then you diligently rub the wire back and forth between your fingers and it starts vibrating so intensely that the entire side of the building resonates, like a giant violin, creating an unbearable noise inside. I envisioned them all running outside holding their eardrums in pain, like I do when I start to hear Master Jeezy Louizeey playing in his truck.

Then I realised that wouldn’t work either, because their house is made out of cinder blocks. I needed an even better idea.

I consulted a friend who will not be named, a tinkerer involved in laser research and electromagnetic studies. He suggested we build a remote-controlled taser-type device that would send a burst of electromagnetic energy to Redneck Carl's stereo that would short it out, and with luck do damage to other electronic parts in his truck, like his ignition coil or air-fuel ratio sensors. Or maybe it would even blast his battery and send his car hood flying up in the air. It would have been hilarious to see his driver’s seat explode through the roof. Then again, realistically, you generally only see that in a Roadrunner cartoon. Besides that, no ACME Company was available anywhere nearby offering all of the handy-dandy parts pre-assembled for me to use.

The basic theory was the same as a remote control, which uses pulses of infrared light to transmit a signal. The good thing about infrared light is that it is invisible to the human eye (including the eyeballs of my redneck neighbours). My electromagnetic signal woud be invisible if I could find out how to construct my own remote transmitter.

But I was far from being a Nikola Tesla or a Michael Faraday, or even a highly competent neighbourhood electronic tinkerer. I just wanted that joker across the street to silence his stereo.

Nikola Tesla, 1856-1943, American inventor of radio,controlled boats, the infamous Tesla coil, and tons of other neat little gadgets.

Nikola Tesla, 1856-1943, American inventor of radio,controlled boats, the infamous Tesla coil, and tons of other neat little gadgets.

I got to work. The internet helped tremendously with ideas and supported my research plans quite well. I dug through cardboard boxes in my closet and found some old capacitors, a few IC chips, resistors, solder, and my old FM radio transmitters with their transistors. I knew the transmitters could send out a signal of a “whopping” (I say this with sarcasm) 100 milliwatts, but I was looking for some real power. I wanted the transmitter to send a signal to the stereo that was powerful enough to fry its contents and silence DJ MuffinPuff and Ma and Pa Roach Stompin' Two Steppers for awhile. I also knew I had to get within about 100 feet of that old orange Toyota rust bucket to do my evil duty.

My friend estimated that with two transmitters and the amplifier running at the same time, with the resistor values chosen to get the maximum output, I could zap the stereo easily, or blow up both transmitters and the amplifier, or shock myself, or all three.

I arranged a visit to a friend of a friend, who had obtained some military surplus electronic parts that need not be named in this article. Another cohort was kind enough to lend me an old remote control from his very expensive remote-controlled toy car. I would use this to turn the transmitters on and off. The transmitters and amplifier would have to be keyed on and off quickly to keep them from burning up due to the intense, short bursts of electromagnetic power they were going to send to that orange rust bucket.

For the next three weeks, we spent the nights soldering and de-soldering, burning my fingers, and making little lights blink and IC chips get hot while we assembled my little project. I tested and retested, blew capacitors and resistors, and said more curse words than a trucker on a CB radio.

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I had to build an antenna and tune it to the exact frequency I was going to use to obliterate the redneck’s stereo. The frequency had to be high enough in the spectrum to deliver the type of damage we were looking for. The antenna had to be extremely directional, and small enough to not be too obvious. I knew I had to be extra careful because I could easily burn myself or cause myself a shock if I did not build the antenna properly. I had to go out looking for more parts and another special piece of equipment. I concealed the innards of the finished antenna inside a PVC pipe casing, painted dark green to camouflage it from prying eyes.

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Five weeks after I began the project, after a few tries and some tweaking, I felt I was ready to try out my new “invention.” The devices were contained inside black cases, inconspicuous at night, about the size of a CD case, but one inch thick.

One evening, at about 11 p.m., after my dear partner in crime had had to go home, I decided I couldn’t wait any longer to do a test. I went out in my backyard to try to zap some old electronic devices I had lying around the house.

My first victim was an old Nokia cell phone. I powered it up and placed it on the deck; its little green screen illuminated the wall. Then, I assembled my projects into a triangle and set up the PVC pipe antenna to aim directly at the cell phone, about 25 feet away.

I held the remote control in my right hand, shaking, hoping I wasn’t going to electrocute myself to oblivion. Being the pessimist that I am, I couldn’t imagine that I was going to affect this cell phone in any way. I sucked in my breath, aimed the antenna at the glowing Nokia, tapped the remote control to key up the transmitters, and saw a flicker of bright white light from the Nokia screen! It was just a flash, and I thought that it might have been a coincidence. Once again, I hit the remote, holding it down for two seconds, and the screen fickered and the phone's speaker emitted a crackle.

Then I said that was it, I was just going to zap this bastard into oblivion! I thumbed the remote button, the Nokia buzzed and crackled, and I heard a loud pop and smelled some electrical burning. The Nokia lay smoking on the deck. I’d killed it. I just stood there in disbelief. I picked up the phone and it was searing hot. So I stood there and started laughing.

My next victim was an old Hypercom T7P 257K credit card terminal that no longer felt like working, so I put it up on the deck. It too had a green screen. I walked 50 paces backwards and thumbed the remote, taking aim after a slight adjustment of the antenna. Nothing happened. Again, I shot at the terminal, moving the antenna and one of the transmitters a few inches. The terminal emitted a crackle and a weird smell. Walking over to look at it, I could see the screen had cracked, the liquid crystal inside had spilled its guts, and two of the buttons had actually melted into the body of the terminal!

We were on to something really good, me and my nerd friend. I shot off an email to him explaining what had happened. He was very eager to see the results of my tests. He’d spent most of his time working on electronics in a shipyard for the past 15 years, and was never allowed to even think, at work, about building any device like this.

We agreed to meet early Saturday morning, at about 2 a.m., to get set up to drag our equipment across the road. That would be the night. No longer was I going to be disturbed by “Oh me so horny” music coupled with the blasting of Toby Keith or Travis Tritt. It was time for that car stereo to die a deserving death.

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Across the street, shielding part of my view of the redneck family’s house, was a stand of young trees with thin trunks, nestled next to the corner of a chain link fence. It made a perfect hiding place. We'd just have to move the equipment across the street and pile it near the trees. I’d found a great spot to erect the antenna, pointing directly at the truck which was parked a little too close to their little cinderblock house. Most of the equipment was already across the street, lying in the grass, waiting for my friend to arrive.

At 1:45 a.m. he showed up, passed by my house, turned around, and parked up the road a block. I’d suggested he not park in my driveway because I’m paranoid like that. I just looked at him walking up to my house and giggled like a little girl. Silencing that subwoofer and stereo was going to happen. There would be no backing down. That stereo was going to burn.

It was time to get busy. With the destruction, that is. We walked across the street and squatted down behind the trees in the corner, leaning against the chain link fence. I had a tiny light, but it was still hard to see. I had to feel my way around and he helped me get everything set in the exact position we needed. My comrade bravely stood up and checked the antenna and its position and then we positioned ourselves as comfortably as we could down in the weeds and dried leaves and broken branches. He asked if I was ready, and I was, so with a bit of hesitation he handed me the remote. I think in all essence he wanted to blast the stereo himself.

I crawled through the treetrunks, scratching the side of my face on a branch which stung, but I was so excited by this time I didn’t care. On my hands and knees, I raised the remote and aimed it at the transmitters, a little scared of the antenna above my head, and pressed the button. We heard a "ping" sound, like a rock hitting a piece of metal, from the area near the truck. We looked at each other, puzzled. I tried again, and heard another weird noise, like a grating sound, but not loud, which was good because I didn’t want to wake up the rednecks; it seemed to come from beneath the truck. We both crouched there for a couple of minutes as mosquitoes bit us, unsure what we should do.

By this time, I just got pissed and thumbed it again, holding it down, taking out my frustration on the remote. I saw a small blue flash inside the truck and heard a pop like a light bulb going out. We looked at each other again, and he wondered aloud if we’d actually hit the stereo or did even worse damage to the truck.

No answer was forthcoming. I decided we’d better get back to my apartment before we were seen, or someone in the cinderblock house woke up and went outside to investigate. Neither one of us wanted to face a crazed redneck who might have a shotgun.

Hurriedly we gathered up the equipment, pulled the antenna from the tree, and hustled quietly back across the road.

For the next hour or so, we sat in my darkened living room, discussing the whole experiment, and wondering just what might have happened across the road when we tried to tase the stereo. When the adrenaline faded, my eyes got heavy, and my colleague decided to head home and I watched him walk down the street to his car.

At 11 a.m. the next morning, I awoke from a strange dream, only to recall what we had done the night before. Panic started gripping me. There was a message from my comrade on the phone to call him.

First I had to see if there was any evidence of our dastardly doings. Pushing aside a few blinds on the living room window. I saw Redneck Carl outside with his truck hood up. Then, I saw his wife’s nice green Chevy Lumina, with its hood up too. He kept going back and forth from one vehicle to another. I just stood there in shock and said, “Uh oh.”

The best way to get a closer look was to just go outside and pretend to do yard work. My eyes still sticky with sleep, I stepped outside, grabbed the garden hose, and started to hose off my dusty car. The redneck’s kids came outside and I heard one of them say, “What happened, daddy? Why won’t the cars start?” My eyes got big. I heard him cursing and he yelled at his kid to go back inside. I stepped around to the front of my car, hose in hand, to get a better view. Then I saw him get in the truck and attempt to start it. I heard nothing. He then did the same thing with the Lumina. Once again, nothing. He cursed until his wife came out and he yelled at her to go back inside too.

I went back inside, stifling laughter, and fell back on my couch and let go! I ran and called my friend and told him what was going on outside, and I swear I never heard him laugh so hard in my life!

Later that afternoon, my neighbor was able to get the Lumina started, but the orange truck was still dead. And so was its stereo. Weeks later, a nosy neighbor lady told me that Redneck Carl said he came out one morning to find his stereo wires with burn marks on them and also the faceplate melted on his Toyota truck! I feigned no knowledge of the incident, and told her that was the strangest story I’d ever heard!

To this day, no one in our neighborhood has been subjected to the obnoxious ghetto blasting we had to listen to for over a year. Mr. Redneck Carl has remained silent ever since, although he always keeps his porch light on at night now.

Our good deed was accomplished. Ever since, our neighbourhood has enjoyed only the sweet sounds of mockingbirds and chirping squirrels, no more “Me so horny!” 

Poetic Terrorism: What's That?

Comments

Joe Morgenstern on October 05, 2017:

Boom car boys are worthless to the cores of their souls and they should be killed at every opportunity to get away with it. People who are that obnoxious and that selfish need to die.

Trailer Trash (author) from Pensacola on September 19, 2017:

The article was fiction. The device does not exist. :)

czyxzzc on November 12, 2016:

YOUR POST:

By the way, this whole story is complete and utter bunk. Just thought I’d let you know.

MY REPLY:

Of course it is

Van on February 02, 2016:

I suspect a car's electronics would be quite shielded. A noisy apartment neighbor is a softer target. Try a high powered transmitter of a CB radio.

If this doesn't work, get a used microwave oven and modify it with a highly directional wave guide. Get as close to his electronics as possible.

Tune the transmitter until it interfers with the subwoofers' amplifier.

Be careful with the with the microwave technique---It can kill you.

Do basic research on these these things for effects and safety.

Do your research and construction while you are being assaulted by your

neighbor's noise. This makes your effort far easier!

Turn these things on only long enough to cause damage to the neighbors

electronics. This will thwart the FCC from sniffing you out.

Any harm done on the neighbors' side of the wall to his person is acceptable collateral damage. He fucked with you first!

The neighbor will never know he is under attack. Don't broadcast

your voice over the CB!

Rick on January 21, 2016:

I know that this was written some time ago,but i gotta say; This was absolutely the best story i have ever read! It was absolutely hilarious! I stumbled upon this article because while i dont have any jackass loid neighbors,the street i live on connects the decent part of town to the ghetto...So i have an issue with ghetto trash driving down the street blasting rap...

I would love to blow each and every subwoofer that comes down my street vibrating the house.

Max on August 14, 2015:

I started learning that this was fiction after the 1st paragraph! Yes you can make this or even worst device but illegal!

EX-Army with extreme electronics knowledge

WL7JA on July 24, 2015:

Would be to hard to actually build a device to stop the Boom boom now a days you would just need to build a Bias Generator.

Jmart on April 11, 2015:

How much would one of these costs to build

murphaleen on March 13, 2015:

I decided to read your article again today as good weather is beginning here in South Bend, Indiana and bad vibrations have already started filling the air.

Your writing is captivating, your subject is on the mark, and your denouement is a bell-ringer. I laughed heartily all over again, but felt that pang of regret once again at the back-to-real-life ending. Are we really helpless in combating this plague?

This year, I'm hoping for a peaceful summer outside, but the odds are not with me. I wish Code Enforcement was as rigorous in their pursuit of noise level violations as they are with parking on the wrong side of the street during snow removal days. In fairness they try to do an acceptable job, but neither they nor the police do much in terms of noise abatement. In fact, I've had a police officer tell me that we do not have a city statute for noise abatement (we do!). As British author, Robert Lacey, said: “Of all the varieties of modern pollution, noise is the most insidious.”

Not certain what agenda "An (?) Reader" had in his/her critique, but I do not hold with the stance. Carry on, "Trailer Trash" and fight the good fight!

Alex Kaplan from Boston area on March 09, 2015:

Regardless of story authenticity, I remembered why I didn't reinstall my old system in the new car. Thanks for the nostalgic laugh.

scott on December 20, 2014:

these morons with the booming car radios , need to have there cars impounded, fined $5000 dollars , if illeagle deported, tfen maybe can get some sleep at night, sterio removed before car is released from impound, that's good for a start, scott n

Diego Prendergast on November 10, 2014:

The easiest way to get people to turn down their noisy stereos is to ask them, point-blank. This is a great article.

click on October 14, 2014:

I too had a noisy bass problem. Until i figure out a way too it down or off . You see most new audio or amps devices have a remote. A few mods on a universal remote get in range you can steal the. Remotes code and bam noisy car get possed by the Holy spirit.

flowboy on August 11, 2014:

enjoyed the tale, true or not. You could add that Tesla's most important invention was A/C - Alternating Current that we all use in our homes

Timothy on April 26, 2014:

My sympathies to anyone who is currently or who has previously lived near some cretin(s) who are bass addicts and or criminals. A little over a decade ago the home next door to mine was put up for sale. The elderly, original owner's moved to an assisted living center. They were a sweet, clean, quiet and friendly couple. I was sad to see them move.

The new family who moved in, a youngish hispanic couple, with five hyper active children, and their worn Ford Expedition with mufflers and a sound system that you can hear a block away.

When my new neighbors were moving in they permitted their five children to run trough my yard and those unruly brats trampled my beautiful iris garden that was in bloom! These were irises that the original owner of my home planted in the 1940's! I opened my front door and scolded the children. They just looked at me dumfounded and kept running around and screaming in my yard. Next their mother comes out and her children go darting off across the street and go running through my other neighbor's front yard. I introduced myself to my next door neighbor, and she didn't introduce herself to me. She knew virtually no english. I tried to explain to her that her children must be instructed to stay off of other peoples' properties. And I pointed to my trampled iris garden. She gives me a look like she'd shoot me if she had a gun. I tried to be diplomatic and not sound like some sort of egoist. But I was almost in tears over my beautiful irises being "murdered." My neighbor shouts out her husband's name and he comes out of the house. I was hoping he had some command of english but his was limited but not like his wife. I introduced myself to him and he was a little friendlier than his stone cold wife. I welcomed them to the neighborhood and then I politely asked the husband if he would please instruct his children not to run through my yard or anybody else's. He looks at me in sort of a glazed hypnotic trance like way and nods his head in "approval."

Things seemed to be in check for the first few weeks (except for my destroyed garden) that is until I was awakened by what sounded like a mariachi band playing in my hallway. It was that mexican polka style music that's nothing but over modulated bass fiddles, guitars and trumpets.

Here it is at 9:00 AM and my "lovely" new neighbors are hosting a festive birthday celebration for one of their five children complete with a live amplified band! It was horrible! The bass was so loud that pictures were falling off of my walls from the vibrations and a glass of water that was on my nightstand was vibrating. It was sheer hell! On top of that there were around fifty children screaming like chickens being slaughtered.

I look out my front window and there's several children running around in my front yard! Two of the brats were from next door and the others belonged to parents at the party. My lawn was torn up, sprinklers broken and pottery was damaged. I was so pissed by now that I screamed at these children to, "Get the hell out of my yard!" They all look at me and laugh and scream and kept running around.

One of the parents is out by her SUV and she comes storming over on my property claiming that "she saw me assaulting her son." I told her that, "I didn't touch your son or any of the other children who are on my property. They are trespassing and damaged my property." All this uncouth woman could say was f-you this, and f-you that, blah, blah, blah. And then she had the audacity to call me racist! Pardon me? Racist? I'd yell at any little sh^^ who was on my property destroying it!

Anyway the "gala" next door waged until 8:00 PM! I wanted to call the police because the bass was so intense I thought my home was going to be damaged from the ongoing infrasound rattling every room in my house. I wasn't going to leave for the day in fear that my property would be at risk.

Thankfully there were a series of complaints from other neighbors who reported the noise to the police. My neighbors were fined because there was alcohol being served without a permit and with minors present and that amplified music is prohibited indoors and outdoors if it exceeds certain decibels. And I was told that the police measured the sound at being 95db's from the front of their home!

After the party disbanded the husband next door comes over and wanted to know why I ruined their party by calling the cops. I told him that I wanted to call the police but I didn't. He looks at me like I had just been found guilty of murdering his whole family. He then rambles on how much this party cost and now his son is crying because the police said the party had to stop. I finally told my neighbor that, "I have lived in this neighborhood for a very long time and that I know my rights."