Author Topic: Can anyone still dial a code number to make your own phone ring ?  (Read 25319 times)

Offline guitar1580

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For years, my state only had one area code, and only 7 digits had to be dialed to make a local call.  For as far back as I can remember, we could dial 998 and the last 4 digits of our own number to make our own phone ring, and I used this countless times when I first got into phone repair, and before I had a cell phone.

About a year ago, our state got a second area code, and we had to start dialing the area code, without the 1, for local calls.  At this point I tried the old 998 code just for the heck of it, and it no longer worked.  Oh well, the end of an era, I thought, and no matter since I can ring my # with my cell.

Interesting discovery:  Tonight I was reading through old threads, and saw someone asking about how to do the ringback if they didn't have a cell.  I went ahead and tried old faithful 998 with our 10 digit number, and it still doesn't work ... just a busy signal.  So what the heck, tried it without the area code, and voila, I got the ringback!

What a surprise.  How many times I used that as a kid to fool my sister or Mom into thinking the phone was ringing, then later for testing old phones.  To give it a try, dial the 7 digits, and listen for a dial tone, hang up receiver (or depress plunger) and let back up quickly, listen for a higher pitched tone, hang back up and phone will ring.  Other areas or states could have a code other than 998, but I was shocked to see this little trick still work.

Josh P

Offline Phonesrfun

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Re: Can anyone still dial a code number to make your own phone ring ?
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2011, 11:06:32 AM »
I am surprised it still works anywhere.  The revertive ringing feature was created so that someone on a party line could ring the other party, since dialing the number outright would result in a busy signal.

So, if it works, it works.  Good way to test your phones for ringing.
-Bill G

Offline AE_Collector

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Re: Can anyone still dial a code number to make your own phone ring ?
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2011, 11:30:57 AM »
There used to be all sorts of different schemes in use for "revertive calls" depending on the type of CO equipment in use. I thought that the most common way to ring your line these days was to just dial your pwn number and hang up.

Terry

Offline Adam

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Re: Can anyone still dial a code number to make your own phone ring ?
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2011, 12:06:27 PM »
Of course, if you had an Asterisk system, your own local PBX, you could ring your own phones all you want!

Making your own system is easier than you think, all you need is an old PC you probably already have laying around, and the Asterisk software is free.  It's a great way to demonstrate your collection! Anyone, send me a message if you want to know more.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2011, 12:16:01 PM by masstel »
Adam Forrest
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Offline Dave F

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Re: Can anyone still dial a code number to make your own phone ring ?
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2011, 01:10:40 PM »
Most C.O.s probably still do have ringback capability.  It's a useful tool when guys (or girls) on the pole need to verify that the wiring is correct.  Here in Southern California the ringback method has morphed over time.  Long ago, when it was SxS in Pacific Tel, ringback for everybody was simply 1156.  Later, when Crossbar and ESS were in vogue, ringback (in my area) was the unused prefix 251 plus the last 4 digits of my phone number.  As more and more prefixes went into use, they had to constantly move ringback to a "new" unused prefix.  I haven't done any recent experimentation, but I would expect that some as-yet unused prefix in your area plus those last 4 digits (no area code required) might still do the trick.  An additional note -- a similar method is still used to provide ANI (Automatic Number Identification) to outside-plant people.  A special 7-digit number with an unused prefix, when dialed, will read back audibly in a computerized voice the telephone number of the phone that called it.  If you ask some of your local linemen, sooner or later you will find one who will be more than happy to tell you the current ANI number for your area.  For security reasons, they routinely change the ANI number, as it is commonly used by people visiting friends who have unlisted numbers.  (Hey Dude, can I borrow your phone to make a quick local call?....)

Offline HarrySmith

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Re: Can anyone still dial a code number to make your own phone ring ?
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2011, 01:33:29 PM »
Way back when I was 15 years old and was having my fist telephone installed in my bedroom I had a very friendly installer. I followed him around as he ran a new line from the pole to the house then up to my bedroom asking a thousand questions. He was very patient and answered all of my questions, even gave me a tool for removing the fingerwheel to change the dial card and showed me how to use it. He also showed me a three digit code to ring back and another that would give the number. I used those codes for many years then they stopped working. Today I cannot recall what the numbers were. BTW that first phone was a black 500.
Harry Smith
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Offline Phonesrfun

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Re: Can anyone still dial a code number to make your own phone ring ?
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2011, 01:40:38 PM »
Where I grew up, the number was simply 119, and the fourth number was for party #1,2, etc.  Since we had a private line, we just dialed 1191 and hung up to get it to ring.

The numbers varied all over the map but I think 119 was a common revertive number within the Bell System.  It would not work now, of course because of the use of the number 1 in the front which signifies a toll number.  113 used to be repair service, and 114 used to be information.  When they went to putting a preceeding 1 on the beginning of the numbers to signify a toll call, information and repair service went to 411 and 311.  Obviously, changing 119 on revertive calling to 911 would not work, because if you tried to ring your own house, you'd get a fire truck instead.
-Bill G

Offline Dave F

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Re: Can anyone still dial a code number to make your own phone ring ?
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2011, 01:48:38 PM »
Way back when I was 15 years old and was having my fist telephone installed in my bedroom I had a very friendly installer. I followed him around as he ran a new line from the pole to the house then up to my bedroom asking a thousand questions. He was very patient and answered all of my questions, even gave me a tool for removing the fingerwheel to change the dial card and showed me how to use it. He also showed me a three digit code to ring back and another that would give the number. I used those codes for many years then they stopped working. Today I cannot recall what the numbers were. BTW that first phone was a black 500.
Harry,

That (very eerily) is EXACTLY what happened to me, except I was only 12, and the phone was a beige 500.  I still have the fingerwheel tool that the installer gave me -- KS16750L1 !!

Dave

Offline HarrySmith

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Re: Can anyone still dial a code number to make your own phone ring ?
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2011, 01:59:55 PM »
WOW! Cool! I had that tool for years but when I started with phones I went searching for it and could not find it!
Harry Smith
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there is only
do or do not"

Offline Dennis Markham

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Re: Can anyone still dial a code number to make your own phone ring ?
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2011, 02:00:36 PM »
Good stories, guys.  No wonder the phone bills were so high...they were giving away the tools! :)

Offline Dave F

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Re: Can anyone still dial a code number to make your own phone ring ?
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2011, 02:07:44 PM »
WOW! Cool! I had that tool for years but when I started with phones I went searching for it and could not find it!
Harry,

Check this out:  I just ran out to the garage (in the rain) and got this from my toolbox.  Of all my phone stuff, this one tool probably evokes more memories than anything else.  It has been 49 years since the installer gave it to me!!

Dave

Offline HarrySmith

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Re: Can anyone still dial a code number to make your own phone ring ?
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2011, 02:26:36 PM »
That does bring back memories, mine was blue ;D
Harry Smith
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there is only
do or do not"

Offline HarrySmith

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Re: Can anyone still dial a code number to make your own phone ring ?
« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2011, 02:29:19 PM »
You have had it for 49 years and you were 12 when you got it..........
That makes you.........
Older than me ;D
Harry Smith
ATCA 4434
TCI

"There is no try,
there is only
do or do not"

Offline Dennis Markham

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Re: Can anyone still dial a code number to make your own phone ring ?
« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2011, 02:31:27 PM »
That's very nice Dave.  I'd like to get my hands on one of those.  Maybe one will show up on eBay some day.  I have bent a lot of small paper clips getting the finger wheels off.

Offline Dave F

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Re: Can anyone still dial a code number to make your own phone ring ?
« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2011, 02:31:59 PM »
You have had it for 49 years and you were 12 when you got it..........
That makes you.........
Older than me ;D
Yeah, like I need to be reminded!