The prank was a prank!

Dear RBCP,
I read your article on how to modify a CB radio to broadcast on drive-thru frequencies today. It was a great article, and a good YouTube video as well. I liked it so much, I stopped by my local RadioShack after work. I asked the employee to direct me to the CB radios. He showed me the TRC-241. I said to him "I see the screen is digital; but is the CB radio fully digital?"

He went off to look up the specs. Meanwhile I pulled up on my cellphone. I saw the model number you wrote down was an earlier version of what I was looking at. I interrupted the guy, saying "Never mind, the model you have looks fine. I'll take it." He responds "Is there anything else I can get you?" – "No, not unless you sell toasters." Perplexed his really cute female co-worker looked over, smiled, and asked me "What are you going to do with that?" I replied "Well see, toasters have a crystal that operates on a higher frequency, which will help me test a theory." Grining, I paid the man, gave a very flirtatious good-bye to the girl and went to Target.

I found their cheapest model for about 7 bucks. I was so excited to get some pranks going tonight, I couldn’t stand it. I kept fantasizing about how I was going to have a lot of fun, and maybe impress some friends.

I got home and set down the two items on my desk. I thought to myself "Hey, I'll film this as proof it can be done!" I set up my camera, hit record, and began to take apart the toaster. I was trying to be as entertaining as possible, all the while, sounding as educated about what I was doing (much like you were). I took off the knob and slider handle. Then I took off the bottom of the toaster; then the side. I saw a tiny circuit board, resting on the bottom of a support plate – mocking me. "Wait a second!?" I thought. "There should be a crystal soldered onto this board! RB said *all* toasters have these as a safety measure!"

I then took apart the CB radio and looked for the crystal there as well, only to find nothing. “What the fuck? 0 for 2, and I'm out $100+!” Surely I bought the wrong model, or sported for a toaster that was too cheap. I thought the comment section of your post would be a good start. Anyone that has run into trouble with this would have posted a solution, or their concern.

I was right. Someone said that the post was made near April 1st. I checked the YouTube page of the video, and plenty of people were shouting "this is so fake! you people are idiots!," etc. I knew right then, I have just been had. I started laughing to myself. I couldn’t believe that I wouldn't have second-guessed such a simple tutorial from you, the mighty trickster. I went back to the RadioShack and saw that the people I dealt with, had already gone home. I explained to the other guy that I was a victim of an elaborate joke, and how I took apart a toaster in order to get to a high-frequency crystal. The guy looked at me like I was the biggest moron on the planet, while he shook his head. "No.. No. You’re not going to find a crystal like that in a toaster." He replied.

To say the least, he refunded me my money. *whew!*

Thanks, RBCP, for giving me the motivation to tear apart a toaster!

Zan (

So…it’s been a few months now and I guess it’s as good of a time as any to state the semi-obvious…that article about modifying toasters and the accompanying YouTube video on the subject were hoaxes. There is no crystal inside a toaster to “control the frequency of the heating coils” and you can’t replace anything inside a CB radio to make it transmit on a drive-thru frequency. Sure, there are ways to hijack fast food frequencies, but using a CB radio and/or a toaster isn’t the way to go about it. Our goal was to destroy as many toasters on the planet as possible.

This turned out to be my most widespread hoax, thanks to Gizmodo, Consumerist, Fark and Digg linking to it. The video was watched over 100,000 times and I don’t know how many people visited the article on the same subject. It was a lot, though. I received at least 50 emails about toasters and many threads were created on the PLA Forums by new users, begging for help on the subject. We deleted a lot of them, but here are some of the surviving threads…

How To Hijack Fast Food Drive-Thru Frequencies This is my original thread on the subject. It was orginally posted in a secret area so we could laugh at everyone about the prank. There’s some links in this thread to other sites that linked to the video.
Yaesu question
Where can i find a 6.5536 crystal?
NEED HELP RE: YOUTUBE VIDEO OMG, this Trevelyn guy is such a newb!
Taco Bell Takeover
Hijack drive thru question

Even better than the forum posts were the YouTube comments on this prank. You’ll notice that many of the first comments were positive reviews of the video, a lot of them claiming that they tried the mod and it worked beautifully. These were mostly made by people from the PLA Forums, just trying to make the video more realistic by backing up the claims that it worked. The rest of the posts fall into these three categories:

  • You asshole, your prank cost me money! You suck!
  • Haha, your prank cost me money! You rule!
  • I’m so smart that I realize this is a prank and I’m desperate to prove this to everyone.

    I have a lot of emails that are pretty funny, but I’m too lazy to search through my archived email, looking for the best ones. Many thanks to all the people who helped with this prank by debunking the debunkers on YouTube and by stringing along the new users on the forums. And a huge thanks to Zan, who not only had an awesome sense of humor about the whole thing, but even sent in the picture of himself with a disassembled toaster. Go visit his iNFEKTiD website and pay your respects!

    And to you people who were hoping to hijack drive-thru frequencies – shame on you! Messing with minimum wage employees is wrong and very un-Christian-like! People like you cost these businesses lots of money and you shouldn’t be thinking of doing things like this! Shame, shame shame!

  • You’re going to HOPE, right? RIGHT??

    HOPE is less than a month away, so it’s not too late to make arrangements and attend. There will be a PLA panel there, just as there was in 2006, which will be on Saturday at 11:00 pm. Location: Turing, on the 18th floor. Join murd0c, RTF, I-ball and Sidepocket for an hour or so of PLA fun. And hopefully you’ll get one of the hundreds of PLA Media DVDs from the picture above. BE THERE!#@!!@1!!#&^@#%

    Unauthorized PLA TV

    In the spirit of unauthorized PLA Radio episodes, here’s a little unauthorized PLA TV made by Trevelyn, advertising the most recent episode of PLA Radio.

    And speaking of PLA TV, YouTube’s Related Videos on Trevelyn’s video shows a bunch of EvilCal‘s old videos that I haven’t seen in a few years, from when he posed as a reporter for at an Iraq war protest. Watch those too!

    Part 1
    Part 2
    Part 3
    Part 4

    And finally, there’s a new podcast out called Security Justice. It deals with all kinds of phone and hacker topics, including a little piece about voice authentication which was breaking news in PLA Radio Episode #17. Their show can be found at

    PLA Poetry

    For the past few days, members of the PLA Forums have been showing their sensitive side by writing beautiful bits of poetry on the Poetry Critical website. These inspiring words about cacti, telephones, motels, and hacking have been some of the highest rated poetry on Poetry Critical this week.

    Of course, some people are jealous of the PLA’s amazing talent. People like the regulars at Poetry Critical, who hate that their own emoness is being overshadowed by our sheer brilliance. But we can’t let a little jealousy keep us down. We’ll keep writing from the heart and try to ignore their unending hatred for cacti and telephones. Be sure to visit Poetry Critical and look at some of the insightful works of art that are currently featured in both the newest poetry and the highest rated poetry. Be sure to rate our poetry with whatever you feel is fair. And it’s easy to set up your own account and begin writing your own poetry immediately if you’re into that kind of thing.

    Also if you like to like to talk about cactus and poetry, their forums are full of interesting conversation. I’d like to say thanks to the Poetry Critical regulars who brought my newfound love for poetry to life by spamming my homepage this morning.

    June 22nd, 2008 update: The hilarity which once ensued on that site has nearly been extinguished at this point. They have banned all poetry with references to cactus in it and they’ve been deleting our accounts. The forums still have a small bit of hilarity left in them, but threads are quickly locked or deleted now. They really brought the hammer down on the cactus.

    PLA Radio Episode #18 – linear’s Unauthorized Episode


    linear here. you were expecting someone else? The United Phone Losers have hacked into the PLA mainframe gibson, and taken control of the beloved PLA Radio. Listen in as we give a brief UPL history lesson, hack rbcp’s voicemail, and mess with people on Craigslist.

    OMG HAX.

    Show Notes:

    00:00 Mitch Hedberg
    00:20 Intro
    00:47 Brief UPL History
    02:35 Call to Renita
    03:10 Call to Bertha
    04:25 Call to linear’s Mom
    05:25 Call to American Airlines
    06:58 Hacking Brad’s Voicemail Box (Music: Los Gatos Negros “We Shall Bring A Darkness”)
    07:15 Voicemails – (505) 796-4020 or on Skype
    11:15 Free Kittens
    12:35 Black Changing Table
    13:33 Wild Animal Park Sting Operation
    15:40 Sell Me That Fucking Ford part 1
    16:51 Sell Me That Fucking Ford part 2
    17:36 Sell Me That Fucking Ford part 3
    19:10 Confidential Carpet Cleaning
    20:57 visit
    21:02 Wham! “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”

    A few announcements…

    PLA will be at HOPE! Rob T. Firefly, murd0c, sidepocket, I-ball and others will be representing the PLA at this year’s Hackers on Planet Earth conference in New York. This will happen during the weekend of July 18th – 20th, so start making your plans to attend! They’ll be talking about the PLA’s major book deal, the new prime time PLA series premiering on FOX this fall, and the major motion picture about PLA that’s scheduled for release in 2010. They’ll also be talking about PLA history, giving away a few t-shirts and answering your questions. For a condensed version of how the PLA panel was at 2006′s HOPE conference, click here for a YouTube video.

    UNITED PHONELOSERS are BACK!! Remember the time the UPL went missing for a few years, came back, then went missing again? Well, the UPL is back once again! What will happen next? I have my bets on the UPL going missing again, but I could be wrong. But for now, all the old UPL archives are back and so are the forums, which are actually pretty active already. So go sign up on them before linear loses them again at

    WE’RE on TWITTER! If you’d like to receive updates from the PLA and the UPL, you can follow them both on Twitter. You’ll find out important things, like when a phone mob happens, when a PLA Radio comes out, when RBCP gets arrested and needs PayPal donations for bail, and when UPL comes back once it disappears again. You might also want to follow linear or RBCP on Twitter, so you can find out what they’re having for lunch, what kind of pants they choose to wear each day, who they’re going steady with, etc.

    ONE MORE THING… This isn’t exactly related to the PLA, but a few months ago RBCP set up a new website called Sign Hacker, which features signs in public that have been manipulated in some way. The first entry there featured the PLA’s McDonald’s sign hack, and there’s some pretty good entries since then too. You can take a look at Sign Hacker by visiting

    Spread a little PLA love with our flyers

    PLA weight loss flyer

    If you’re into wasting your valuable printer ink and your valuable time to promote the Phone Losers of America, then you should love the new page of PLA Flyers. Print them out and stick them on bulletin boards, telephone poles, in newspapers, books, or just walk around and hand them to strangers like CK & RBCP did a couple of years ago. There’s also a page of PLA signs that people have sent in. If you think you can do better at designing some flyers or signs, email them to us and maybe they’ll end up on one of these pages.

    Free Cactus?

    Buy Lots of PLA Coffee Mugs From Us

    Your coffee will taste 170% better when it’s sipped from our new official PLA coffee mugs! You need to buy one of these for every member of your immediate family! Use them as a water bowl for your dog. Plant flowers in them. Keep your pens and pencils in them. Use them as a chamber pot. Do anything you want with them, just buy them from us! There is an imprint on each side of the mug – the PLA logo on one side and “Phone Losers of America” on the other. All cups are white with black print. Assuming you have PayPal, you can click on the button below to order several dozen of them. They are $5.00 each, plus $5.00 shipping no matter how many you buy.

    If coffee mugs aren’t your thing, you could always visit the PLA Store and buy some PLA t-shirts or caps.

    PLA Radio Episode #17 – Voice Authentication

    Pooh PhoneOMG, it’s a new episode of PLA Radio! In this episode I make a mockery of Bell Canada’s new voice authentication system. Boy, won’t they be pissed! There’s also a few voicemails and miscellaneous updates thrown in and best of all…DEBBIE GIBSON MUSIC!

    00:00 Gilligan’s Island
    01:12 Intro by Trevelyn
    02:08 April Fools!
    03:35 Richard Cardo
    04:30 Website issues
    04:55 Voice Authentication
    07:33 Call to Leslie
    11:50 The Test
    13:29 Voicemails – (505) 796-4020 or on Skype

    The Naked Kitchen Podcast

    Recently I began listen to The Naked Kitchen Podcast, and after listening to every single episode I’m finally ready to recommend it to everyone else. Besides interviewing famous people like Junkyard Willie from the Touchtone Terrorists, prank callers like Sandy Chapin and Jim Florentine (from Crank Yankers), YouTube stars like Cory Williams (aka Mr. Safety) and Zach from The Whitest Kids U’ Know, they also chat, play good music (or hilariously bad music), take calls and play prank calls.

    There’s really not many podcasts featuring so much prank call humor, so it’s great to finally find something like this. And best of all, they occasionally talk about how much PLA rules. You have to love a podcast that does that. You can visit their Myspace at, go to their blog or subscribe to their RSS feed in Itunes.

    Chris Hanson approves of this podcast.