How Telephone Phreaking Worked

Support The 8-Bit Guy on Patreon:
Visit my website:




  • Based on your LATA you could make a call that started with 1 eight digit dialing and be billed as a local call. Same with an 11 digit call 1+area code and not get a long distance charge. It would be divided into 4 zones based on millage between central offices. ABCD zones. You would get a chart showing the rates. Of course greedy phone company executives would be sure to squeeze offices into other zones. Your FtWorth/ Dalles calls were probably run both by the local provider who would charge more a call to LA or NY would use an actual long distance provider. 33 years telecom employee that use to work in billing and outside plant.

    Northville TunnelsNorthville Tunnels12 tuntia sitten
  • Your channel is awesome. I enjoy this and techmoan alot. Thanks alot 😎

    rain makerrain makerPäivä sitten
  • A shame you didn't include the first phreaking methods, the analog ones (aside from the black box), unless those were some of the other colors? We never knew the methods had names, all I know is that we knew 5-6 methods to place free calls from the payphone on the corner of the little playground in our street. Funnily, I would only know my own home number to call, so I would call home, mom would answer and I'd get in trouble for being on the wrong side of the road hahahahaha.

    Luke ArtsLuke Arts3 päivää sitten
  • If I remember correctly, the black box only worked when the end bx was made by Siemens. The BT S12 ones caught that trick (but not other tricks). However, those are still in use in India, which is probably why all the phone scam "companies" (aka gangs) are located there: free long distance calling. Why stop at scamming the world's citizens when you can scam the local phone company too?

    Luke ArtsLuke Arts3 päivää sitten
  • you forgot to mention playing the Final Countdown (Darth Vader bagpipe unicyclist)

    Luke ArtsLuke Arts3 päivää sitten
  • Kellogg: let's include a whistle for our Captain crunch cereal John Draper: Ima do something called a pro game move

    Wet P L A N TWet P L A N T4 päivää sitten
  • Brings back memories of my teenage years, I was no hacker, but I was a bbser, and bbs sysop many times.

    Craig RosenblumCraig Rosenblum4 päivää sitten
    • What

      Teagan WillisTeagan Willis3 päivää sitten
  • So once you found the number to a particular computer, could you actually do anything with it? Or was phreaking just about calling long-distance for free?

    MartinovichyMartinovichy6 päivää sitten
  • I can appreciate someone dressing up for a laugh as some character or other and attending a convention or something for shits and giggles as much as the next person. There go we all but not for the grace of splod. But the ones who are completely serious about it, they scare me. And metal fucking jesus is not a celebrity, stop it seriously 😅 I'd consider maybe someone like fucking ghandi could possibly qualify as a personality worthy of celebration, or mark fucking twain... Shakespeare. That level of character, not fucking metal jesus. Possibly vanilla jesus but definately not metal

    Combed AutumnCombed Autumn6 päivää sitten
  • I want to do this at some point....

    kaosz7777kaosz77776 päivää sitten
  • Awesome!

    Smoking Uncle FrankSmoking Uncle Frank7 päivää sitten
  • So was this monetized somehow or just free phone calls?

    Derek SteeleDerek Steele7 päivää sitten
  • Thanks interesting video

    Markus WernerMarkus Werner10 päivää sitten
  • A Naughty naughty anime magazine, now thats dedication David! -DanielJL

    Daniel64Daniel6411 päivää sitten
  • He didn't even need to justify the piracy, we're all pirates here lmao I downloaded lots of music before I had a job and watched lots of movies and animé on this website, but I own all the CDs and DVDs now so meh

    Corneilius SmithertonCorneilius Smitherton13 päivää sitten
  • In the late 70s, long distance was so expensive that we would only call east coast relatives once a year for a few minutes. It cost 1.00/minute then which would be 4.48 today. This was when the phone company "ma bell" was a monopoly. Later it was broken up.

    fred stevensfred stevens14 päivää sitten
  • Video starts at 5:21

    mirrortoremindmirrortoremind14 päivää sitten
  • shoutout 817 agg town baby

    Adam SewellAdam Sewell15 päivää sitten
  • Next you gotta show us how freddy freaker works

    felix o gaiterofelix o gaitero20 päivää sitten
  • 1:51 Look at that arse with his shoes on a beanbag. Raised by wolves was he?

    SevSev20 päivää sitten
  • This guy laughs at his own jokes a whole lot. Ehheheheh

    Kyle MouttetKyle Mouttet20 päivää sitten
  • In 2021, can you still get a land line phone in your home? Just curious.

    Tim FronimosTim Fronimos21 päivä sitten
    • Yep, CenturyLink still does landline services with internet

      TheDoomslayer 121TheDoomslayer 12119 päivää sitten
  • lol 1:44 ofcource!

    Beefus HumorBeefus Humor21 päivä sitten
  • Noob q hear but what makes this guy so pop ?

    London Ont Canada Drive Threw /Walk ThrewLondon Ont Canada Drive Threw /Walk Threw22 päivää sitten
  • That's pretty phreaking cool

    Team CyborgTeam Cyborg23 päivää sitten
  • 13:14 so your Neighbor is a very expensive phone call

    uninteressante Dingeuninteressante Dinge25 päivää sitten
  • I woke my cats up lolling at darth vader

    William BarnesWilliam Barnes25 päivää sitten

    ssfn1ssfn126 päivää sitten
  • Metal Jesus was wearing a Cradle of Filth shirt.. Epic

    Jamie StarrJamie Starr27 päivää sitten
  • Where does he actually get to the point? I've already wasted 1 minute, 26 seconds listening to a bunch of "blah blah blah blah" pointless bull crap, and I'm starting to think this is another one of those typical videos with 29 minutes of pure hogwash, and 17 seconds of on topic content. I'm so sick of idiot FIstartrs who pull those stupid stunts, I'm just not willing to listen more pointless trash, or sit through some moron talking for 30 minutes about something they can describe in 5 seconds. So ....anyone care to tell me where he actually gets to the point?

    MrFixit NCMrFixit NC28 päivää sitten
  • Did you mean to say captain crunch instead of sgt pepper at the end?

    Bobby GoetzBobby Goetz28 päivää sitten

      belly tripperbelly tripper20 päivää sitten
  • there was 3 other ways to get free calls on payphones back in the day! the first one was the best because it was discreet and and not illeagal the old star key trick when you lifted the reciever on the phone hit the star key once and if the dial tone stopped hit the hangup hook and repeat usually beetween 2 to 4 trys to get it when the dialtone stays on you could make your call, then there was grounding a paper clip between the steel cable and mouth piece, and the last the old quarter on a string trick, this one was good for local or long distance, the other tricks worked on local calls only! the star key glitch was removed in the early 80s but the other tricks worked untill the payphones demize ! yes there was string cutters on some phones but they were only a problem after your call if you used the coin return option, you could bypass this by pulling your coin out the way it went in but was more tricky because it could get stuck if you did it wrong! you would still get your quarter back but have to use another coin or tie the cut one back together if you used the coin return option if it had a cutter! To clarify you would hold a paperclip in a mouthpiece hole so it touched the metal mic plate and ground it to the metal cord when the phone company found out they put a barrier in there and it wouldn't work anymore, that's where heating up a paperclip with a lighter came in, you push it through the plastic and it will stop on the metal mic plate, then you could ground it to the metal cord and make unlimited local calls!

    paul solfeltpaul solfelt29 päivää sitten
  • I must really be a geek because I thoroughly enjoyed that!

    Frank PlughoffFrank Plughoff29 päivää sitten
  • When is the Next Gaming convention for 2021?

    John HersheyJohn Hershey29 päivää sitten
  • as dated as the movie "Hackers" is.... there's a GREAT phreaking scene with (obviously) phantom phreak dialing his friends in Venezuela using a gatekeeper dialtone recorded on a tiny audio cassette. i swear, I remember watching that as a 16 or 17 year old kid thinking.... "can you actually do that?!"

    Joey ClemenzaJoey Clemenza29 päivää sitten
  • I swear this is my 10th time watching this

    Coop1xCoop1xUukausi sitten
  • Fun trip down memory lane

    Clayton BoyleClayton BoyleUukausi sitten
  • In the 70,s and 80,s my uncle worked for bell south and he took me every summer during spring break along with him working on people's phones lol. I had every manual and learned all the tricks of phreaking, I would sell people a cassette tape with the tones on it to get free long distance calls for 5 bucks each, and they took it home and got free long distance. Then I took that money and went to the game room. Lol. Growing up in the 70,s and 80,s was awesome

    Joe BarnesJoe BarnesUukausi sitten
    • We just used a quarter on a string in the game room, free video games and pinball all day long! Not to mention it worked in payphones and pop machines as well! Back when pacmam first came out you could build up static electricity on the carpet if they had one and touch the metal coin slot and get free credits or use a electronic lighter sparker, they finally put a plastic coin slot on them instead and a circuit so the machine shut off and would reboot and deny the credits!

      paul solfeltpaul solfelt28 päivää sitten
  • I lived in Japan and foreigners would go to pay phones and use a push pin and pierce the telephone cord and ground it out. That would enable long distance calls to be billed locally. Did you ever hear of this method? Not sure if it worked everywhere but in Japan it worked.

    Dave DarinDave DarinUukausi sitten
  • My very first gaming console/computer was the VIC20.

    nissan2829nissan2829Uukausi sitten
  • Dude at 1:26 you SUCK at pinball lmao ;-)

    HardTekBenHardTekBenUukausi sitten
  • The darth vador guy, wow someone didn't get enough attention growing up...

    Patrick BaptistPatrick BaptistUukausi sitten
    • @MiloszCa I don't know the guy or have a clue who he is. Things are what they are though, going all out like that it's clear a person is hungry for attention though.

      Patrick BaptistPatrick BaptistUukausi sitten
    • This sounds like you have a problem with that guy, which is unthinkable. He's the best.

      MiloszCaMiloszCaUukausi sitten
  • I can't put my finger on it, but something is up with his hands. Are they just super small?

    Feed MeFeed MeUukausi sitten
  • Phreaking was so much fun.

    Scott MalcolmsonScott MalcolmsonUukausi sitten
  • 6.5536 mhz.

    jonnyfish76jonnyfish76Uukausi sitten
  • I miss the days of phone phreaking.

    jonnyfish76jonnyfish76Uukausi sitten
  • I wonder if any 3rd world countries still use old systems we can have fun with

    Jeremy hannaJeremy hannaUukausi sitten
  • I think truckers used more phone cards than anybody else in 70's and 80's

    Jeremy hannaJeremy hannaUukausi sitten
  • Phone numbers, loved the video and just want to comment on the meaning behind the numbers as regional indicators (want for a better term?). I remember with phone numbers weren't just numbers but letters. Like, SW7-1234 or RA2-1234. This usually indicated what 'part' of town you were from (the good or bad side of the railroad tracts). Also, I did not have a computer, but remember calling and when I found a modem connected number, whistling to try to make the computer change tone. Loved your videon.

    John BJohn BUukausi sitten
  • Phreaking is like one of those weird "hacks" you see in movies that are just nonsensical, but actually worked

    The God Emperor of MankindThe God Emperor of MankindUukausi sitten
  • He forgot to mention that you could buy a phone number from another area code and have it in your house as a second line, and basically call yourself. Yup, you could call "long distance" to yourself and test out a lot of things. You could even use one box to trick the numbers to test many of the numbers before you even called outside the house. Haha...not that I ever did that or anything.

    Michael AMichael AUukausi sitten
  • I knew John Draper back in the day. Crazy dude. Big heart. Sneakers the movie was about him wasn't it? He also served time in jail behind his phone escapades.

    Christopher FordChristopher FordUukausi sitten
  • Back in the day when the Coronavirus conspiracy theory wasn't rampant and we were allowed to gather and see each other.

    CheesyBreadCheesyBreadUukausi sitten
    • @Aaron Vey Pretty sure it is

      CheesyBreadCheesyBreadUukausi sitten
    • Not a conspiracy theory!!

      Aaron VeyAaron VeyUukausi sitten
  • My parents´ number was 6111. Imagine how happy I was to actually have managed to call them by just whistling the tones with the help of a friend - after some practice :)

    Paul KocylaPaul KocylaUukausi sitten
  • So this is why Audacity has DTMF generator...

    FSXgtaFSXgtaUukausi sitten
  • Yeah, before a global pandemic hit and people turned into crying little children about having their "parents"(government) tell them they cant hangout with their friends to avoid catching/spreading/dying from said pandemic. Boo hoo :'( 🤣

    unknown unknownunknown unknownUukausi sitten
    • Pfff! I've been a hermit for years! All those motherfuckers that used to try and diss and mock me.

      NevEdNevEdUukausi sitten
  • Great video. I really enjoyed this. Thank You.

    harryriveraharryriveraUukausi sitten
  • Ah yes when these mouth breathers could breath all over each other

    hard2borrowhard2borrowUukausi sitten
  • This is amazing. Unfortunately, I didn't grow up exposed to this scene. I had a Commodore but no understanding of freaking. Maybe I was too young. By the time I built my own PC it was 1995 and I had DSL.

    McnignogMcnignogUukausi sitten
  • Brings back memories. My mate used to use black box and involved called AT&T, sending some kind of tone down the line that took it over and then dialling anywhere for free. Must have been around 1991.

    BenGmanUkBenGmanUkUukausi sitten
  • i didn't know the guy who run this channel is islamophobic racist who mock other people religion sanctities, unsubscribe

    Ali AlamiAli AlamiUukausi sitten
  • very interesting

    tyler bonsertyler bonserUukausi sitten
  • Oh the good old days, nothing was as sphincter puckering as having the phone company call your parents because you were messing with your landline's local exchange controller and turning it into a party line. I remember using a c64 program (can't remember the name of it now, a friend from school hooked me up with a copy) that generated tone tokens via an older acoustic coupler modem (might have been a Dataphon or a clone).

    Nelson CabreraNelson CabreraUukausi sitten
  • Super cool video. Oh.... those were the days.

    Rand BurkeyRand BurkeyUukausi sitten
  • I'd love to go to that convention. I remember having my BBS learning all of this stuff. I was only 11-13 when I was into it but could still get free LD from people w/ call forwarding systems when I was in college. I'm so glad that I found this channel.

    Jeremy LJeremy LUukausi sitten
  • beanbag chairs.. ... my back hurts! i'm suing!

    3six53six5Uukausi sitten
  • I remember when we could place local calls with just 5-digits. Of course, there were pay phones/phone booths everywhere too. Cell phones screwed everything up.

    VictorWVictorWUukausi sitten
  • I remember phone phreaking, actually had the plans for a few phreaking boxes but never built anything.

    Myron ClementsMyron ClementsUukausi sitten
  • In the first few months of cell phone introduction in canada the trick was to foward the call to long distance in usa ...never got bill cause the billing system was not yet implemented ...few friends though received huge bills when they woke up ! Good video thanks for sharing. Hack =use but not abuse.

    Eloi MumfordEloi MumfordUukausi sitten
  • I loved the section on this in Ready Player One! I work for a phone company to answer your question on why it cost more to call a different area code that is close to you versus a different area code that is further away is because that is where a majority of the calls happen. Intralata vs Interlata calls. Phone companies quickly realized that people often call close by area codes more since they are likely to have friends there and will speak to them more often than they would friends or family in far away area codes, so since the majority of the traffic lies there they decided they would charge more money for those calls simply because it makes up the bulk of the traffic.

    Eerie Acres CemeteryEerie Acres CemeteryUukausi sitten
  • I really like the 80s living room setups.

    pizzamon 79pizzamon 79Uukausi sitten
  • I'm just here to fing out what phreaking is or why you spelled it that way.

    pizzamon 79pizzamon 79Uukausi sitten
  • Where is Keen 4 C. I would like to to play the adult version Commander Keen goes shopping. Keen should be the same age as I am considering we were the same age when I played the game.

    Mr. RightMr. RightUukausi sitten
  • Seeing this and wondering what other hacks are there.

    That SaviourThat SaviourUukausi sitten
  • The activity that is arresting a generation of our youth whilst the rest of the Worlds youth out-exceeds ours in education, ingenuity, and real-world experience. Makes us look like a nation of adult-children.

    SkyVector AerialSkyVector AerialUukausi sitten
  • Shout out to the guy who introduced me to phone phreaking back in '68, Dennie Teresi (now Dennis Terry).

    Bw BaconBw BaconUukausi sitten
  • At 2:05, you see two people Cosplaying as Emperial officers. They both have incredibly smug looks on their faces. I instantly disliked them. Then, I checked myself because they were wearing the *perfect* facial expression for the characters they were portraying. Good job, guys.

    Jeff BurrellJeff BurrellUukausi sitten
  • I wonder what happened to all my copies of 2600 magazine from the 90s...

    Ol' Grumpy BastardOl' Grumpy BastardUukausi sitten

      belly tripperbelly tripperUukausi sitten
  • "Do you need 2600 hz Tone?"

    Viktor EngelmannViktor EngelmannUukausi sitten
    • "With T/D Switch or No T/D Switch" another terrible UI design

      Viktor EngelmannViktor EngelmannUukausi sitten
  • 1989 was my time to use calling cards

    Abdi PianoAbdi PianoUukausi sitten
  • my first time coding was basic on a commodore 64/128 and made a bouncy ball hehe.

    brainbahbrainbahUukausi sitten
  • 13:00 does anyone believe that this was actually an accident that they charged so much? lol.

    HeroofTime55HeroofTime55Uukausi sitten
  • I will never forgive covid for taking this away from me, this is the first time I'm learning about this con. I will make sure that I will be at PRGX 2022! Can't wait to see you and MetalJesus in person! What a cool con!

    gyrosplatergyrosplaterUukausi sitten
  • Wow, the memories… I am a native Sunnyvalian, and I remember the part of War Games when he mentioned calling all the numbers in the city! Funny stuff! Fast-forward to the mid 1980s, I remember first seeing Cap’n Crunch at the Stanford Macintosh User Group meetings and also the Photoshop User Group meetings. Interesting guy; honestly I thought he was homeless.

    Jickmady KulkarnisteakbaconJickmady KulkarnisteakbaconUukausi sitten
  • Really interesting video! I enjoyed watching this. Thanks

    Chris WheellerChris WheellerUukausi sitten
  • Ohhhhhh man, this takes me back. I'm subscribing and hoping there's video's on BBS' too!

    Timmy STimmy SUukausi sitten
  • Oregon Trail. Remember when you need to know some math and budgeting to play video games?

    Jason LuongJason LuongUukausi sitten
    • That was the school video game. Never played at home. A favorite during recess.

      Mr. RightMr. RightUukausi sitten
  • I knew a guy who got nailed doing this back in the 80's, Cops raided his house

    P DP DUukausi sitten
    • They probably found a box with some whistles. 🤣 Side note: Captain Crunch has a profile on Facebook but under his real name.

      AltSysRqSyncAltSysRqSyncUukausi sitten
  • Phreaking awesome... ;)

    neophytealphaneophytealphaUukausi sitten
  • $200 for that old ass computer? I've seen pallets of those for sale for that price!

    herbertmmmmherbertmmmmUukausi sitten
  • This video litterally brought a nostaglia tear to my eye. I miss the H/P days

    Mobile ContMobile ContUukausi sitten
  • I grew up with party lines, and instead of dialing the 7 digits such as 123-4567 (with no area code included) we would dial 5 digits such as 3-4567.

    Antique EnthusiastAntique EnthusiastUukausi sitten
  • War games the movie

    Fabio MarzolaFabio MarzolaUukausi sitten
  • I did all the above. I remember one time we plug a phone line right into the AC to see what would happen left it there for about 10 seconds hook the phone backup. Dial tone came back in about 30 seconds. At 12 years old didn't even think about possibly a telephone lineman working on that line at. that time.

    Tom WilliamTom WilliamUukausi sitten
  • It sounded like bagpipe guy was playing "The Final Countdown" by Europe.

    Elliott VaughnElliott VaughnUukausi sitten
  • Cool!

    P LedP LedUukausi sitten
  • Stop swearing!!! 🤮

    PolyBlankPolyBlankUukausi sitten
  • In NYC , all lines are trunk lines ..... Subscriber trunks , interoffice trunks , tandem trunks , LD trunks ..... Any pair of wires that carried a call was a trunk ..... Maybe Dallas was different ......

    Arnie TappArnie TappUukausi sitten
  • 10:54 FIrst I heard of this movie on a video about floppy disk and thow this movies uses 8" floppy disks - Yesterday I've watched WarGames on Prime and now I'm scrollin through YTs recommendations to see the thumbnail of this video. Well played, YT, well played.

    CrylhoundCrylhoundUukausi sitten
  • I can't get-over how ANNOYING you look &sound in stage, speaking as if your self entitled..... oh the producers didn't use my ads I sent out, oh no.... pretty sure nobody gives a sh*t! INCLUDING myself, AND over 1,000 people.... JUST in this video alone!

    The T-Man ShowThe T-Man ShowUukausi sitten
    • 46 to 1 ratio dude .....

      Arnie TappArnie TappUukausi sitten