Who Knows

An assorted collection of trivia

 

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Using a simple SPDT (Single Pole Double Throw) switch, you can take the 3rd column switch on the dial and connect it to the switch, so you can either use the dial standard or "Autovon" making FO F I P or A B C D. Look for the unused coil tap on the "high" coil.

In the "olden" days we did this to get into special functions when calling Information in other Area Codes. Now in many local offices, dialing a P or a D will cause a momentary interrupt of the battery on line and immediate re-order (fast busy). Most dial with coils on them have this tap. With IC dials it may or may not be present.

So, what happens in YOUR C.O. when you dial A B C or D? Or when you call one of those auto attendants or other automated boxes?

Hacking was so much fun in the olden days!

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Want more volume from your Touch Tone Dial? Look at the diagram of a TT Dial, you will note a resistor in the emitter of the transistor, about 47 ohms or so.... (TT Dial must be the one with 2 coils - not an IC)

Place a 47 ohm resistor across that resistor, this would be in parallel with the existing one, and the new value of the resistance
would be about half that or about 23 ohms. The volume will increase of the tones sent out, perhaps a bit more distortion, but ....

In the olden days we did this when stacking tandems, like routing calls in and out of several cities before the final destination. When
you disconnected the call, the called party would hear the 2600 Hz "wink" of all the tandems. It was fun to see how many cities you could route calls in and out of. Now with out of band signaling, you cannot do this.

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In a step by step office, you could trip ringing on your line with a simple push button, then if you only drew about 15 Milliamps or so (under the 23 Milliamps needed to trip the relays in the connector) you could talk and the caller would not be charged.

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An old word --- Manhole  --- we cannot use that any more it is sexist.

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Why did the old protectors have fuses rated at 7 Amps? Answer, so that if a street lighting circuit came in contact with the protector the fuse would NOT blow and allow the street lamps to remain in operation. That was the old way, series street lamps, using a high voltage line operating at 6.6 Amps. Today street lamps are parallel, not series.

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AE stands for Almost Electric, and you thought it was Automatic Electric.

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GTE is General Telephone and Electronics.. or something like that, that was before Verizon. We called it Great Telephone Experiment, they were never with it in technology.

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If you visit the Central Office in Twentynine Palms, California in the middle of a very hot place and a Marine Base, where NOBODY has grass because it is too hot, you will see a small patch of grass in the back of the Central Office. This grass is used as an indicator, if it is not green and nice, then the ground rods are dry, it needs water. All Central Offices MUST have a good ground connection.

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Old ringback was 115-6 or 115-7 depending on which party on a 2 party line you wanted to ring.

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Radio Central - in Los Angeles California - used dial up (well a dial on a dedicated line) to set up radio loops to common places.

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The glue used on carbon protectors, to hold the carbon blocks in place, will melt. If the gap has an arc, a long duration high voltage, the carbon heats up and glue melts. The spring holding the thing together will push the carbon gap together and ground out the telephone line, reducing the hazard of a high voltage. Ever take a look at your protector to see if there are strike marks on from high voltages? If not, go outside and do it now.

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In the old days the test for a good ground was if it would blow a 10 Amp fuse. You connected one wire to the hot side of the power line and a 10 Amp fuse. The other end of the fuse was connected to the ground rod or ground connection, the fuse should immediately burn out. Rather crude, but a very good test.

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If you use a rotary dial today, you can speed up the dial and it should work, perhaps at 15 pulses per second or maybe more. Just depends on your Central Office. "Speed Dialing" for rotary phones!

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Multi Line Key Telephones - the ones with the front row of buttons like a WE 565 or 2565, were good to use as conference phones. You opened the key strip (buttons) and took out the metal triangles. Then you could push down two or more buttons at once, a poor mans conference phone.

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Gas Tubes used for ringing were great. If you wanted more bells on the line you would use one. The Central Office in the olden days only checked the number of ringers by using 48 Volts DC and the gas tubes would not conduct. That was when the sets were rented to you and the phone company charged you for each one you had. As far as they knew I had only one.

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Step by Step offices would reverse the polarity of the telephone line when the called party answered.

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I visited the CCITT office in Geneva. Only 2 clerks and stack of documents.

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When talking on an under sea telephone cable in the olden days, the frequency response was a bit less then voice. The only way you knew for sure who you were talking to was by listening to the speech patterns and word usage.

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Carriage Return, Line Feed, Letters, Letters - anyone know this sequence?

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Old key telephone systems often used a pair to the Central Office that supplied 20 Hz ringing.

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If you dialed 11 (11 pulses) in a a Crossbar Office it would drop a card. This was like 2 IBM punched cards long. We did this just to annoy the switchman.

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Fast talking usually got results. I talked the phone company (Pacific Telephone) into giving me a ground start residence line. There is no tariff for this. I had it for years, somewhat different, as I had to wire my sets with a ground push button.

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All this has changed, I get my U-Verse (Internet and TV) from a fiber optic cable about half a block away. Seems like the olden days are gone forever!

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