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!

  • Brad Carter

    I run this town.

    12 thoughts on “The prank was a prank!

    • July 14, 2008 at 7:14 pm

      oh,you said take the crystal from the toaster and put it in the radio?i put the crystal from a yaesu into my toaster…

    • July 14, 2008 at 7:49 pm

      I totally agree with you, Andre. I spent $50 on a CB radio and I had to beg my mom to let me destroy her toaster. I felt pretty silly, afterwards. Best. Prank. Ever.

    • July 17, 2008 at 9:50 am

      Yeah I wasted alot of fucking money too, and din’t get a refund either…. i dind’t find it so fucking funny.

    • July 17, 2008 at 4:02 pm

      I liked the voicemail from episode 18 I think where some kid called in saying it was a meta-joke. Nice job.

    • August 6, 2008 at 11:55 am

      I feel like such a fucking retard. I went around at garage sales and I bought 3 toasters. I looked inside them, and never found any crystal. I went over to Walmart and bought a brand new one JUST YESTERDAY! I’m glad I decided to check and see if I had the right toaster on this site before I opened it. Hopefully I can take the Walmart toaster back.

      I did however find a crystal in a walkie-talkie CB Radio that I got from a Garage Sale. It looked just like the one in the video, only it had a little blue seal/sticker around it that said “1.5 MHz” or something. Seeing that made me think this was totally true.

      RRRRGGGGG!!! I even told all my friends that this would work! Good Job, PLA! I’ve been had!

    • August 9, 2008 at 10:42 pm

      Only a few models you can mod for this, and if its an older model, you would most like have to realign the radio completey to transmit that high in frequency, so I’m not completey sure it was a prank or know, as there is some truth to the science. You’re essentially multiplying the LO xtal fundamental frequency, prior to going to the mixer. I have no idea which toasters would even use a crystal oscillator or their values, but most CBs don’t use the crystal frequency as described.. So you would probably have to go through a lot of CB Radios and electronics appliances trying to find the right combination. Also, most drive thrus operate just over 30mhz, so some export CB radios may already operate on drive thru frequencies as is or with a small mod.. I do not condone any of this, but you can easily listen to these with most scanners.. I do now know the exact frequencies, and I would be careful with wasting and destroying cb radios.

    • September 25, 2008 at 10:37 pm

      dude!!!!!…… i spent like $100 trying to do this so pissssssssssed

    • July 4, 2009 at 8:51 pm

      i’ve said this before in other places, once you have the freq the drive through is at you just must buy the crystal operating at that freq and put it into some sort of walkie talkie

    • December 1, 2009 at 7:55 am

      It’s kinda funny, and it’s not. You’re screwing with the crowd that likes you guys and you lose fans like that. Didn’t put the money down on a radio, but I did buy a 6.5536 crystal on the cheap.

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