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scratchytcarrier

Phreaking WA/OR (was: Minidisc is awesome)

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Ready? Dial 101-0555. That's it; no zero, nothing. What you get next is a dialtone straight from the tandem. In the case of the ex-Worldcom tandems, it's not quite as fun as it could be; it wants an authorization code a-la 950 calling card.

So I dialed 101-0555 and it says "No routes found". What is the deal with that?
Are you calling from a phone run by a certain cable company?
No MCI tandem dial tone here either in Crappylink 5ESS-land; just sits there expecting more digits then goes to local time-out:

tik--tick *ring* "If you'd like to make a call, please hang up and try again. If you need help, hang up and dial your operator. If you'd like to make a call, please hang up and try again. If you need help, hang up and dial your operator." BAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAP...

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BAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAPBAP...

 

... I didn't know reorder had an actual spelling.

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No, that's off-hook. "If you'd like to make a call" almost always dumps you into off-hook/silent permanent signal here after two rounds.

Reorder is somebody playing "boop boop boop boop boop boop" on the calliope, in contrast to busy, which is "boooop boooop boooop boooop boooop boooop" played on that same (?) instrument.

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Oh. Yeah, that's right... Heh.

 

I ring corrected.

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OT: Now that I think of it, back when I had a POTS line, the recording on perminant signal had the old text "Excuse me, there appears to be a reciever off the hook. Please check your main telephone and extensions, and then try your call again. Thank You." That did not repeat. I have never heard another PS with that recording.

Edited by xhausted110
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No MCI tandem dial tone here either in Crappylink 5ESS-land; just sits there expecting more digits then goes to local time-out:

 

Yeah, my DMS-100 does that too. Try putting # at the end of the number.

 

Anyway, does the spelling change when you're on a different kind of switch? The DMS-100 offhook tone always stutters when it starts up :).

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The DMS100 I grew up on goes straight from dialtone to receiver offhook tone.  There is no stutter.  This is the only switch regardless of type I've used that lacks a recording, and is also the only DMS I've used that does not stutter.

Edited by JmanA9
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The DMS100 I grew up on goes straight from dialtone to receiver offhook tone.  There is no stutter.  This is the only switch regardless of type I've used that lacks a recording, and is also the only DMS I've used that does not stutter.

 

I seem to remember your switch has that weird sounding reorder after you get disconnected from a call though, right? You should hear the Portland DMSes sometime, though. They don't even give you an off hook tone, they just dump you straight to silence.

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Try putting # at the end of the number.

That works.

You should hear the Portland DMSes sometime, though. They don't even give you an off hook tone, they just dump you straight to silence.

Whereas, a bit farther east, the payphones at the Multnomah Falls lodge/restaurant (old GTE/AE fortress-type units) just dump you straight into off-hook signal from the dial tone. No "if you'd like to make a call" recording or anything. I *think* (read: am probably completely wrong) that they are connected on either direct long loops (yikes) or concentrator to the CSLCORXARS0 Nortel RLC, as when I last used a phone in CasLocks about 7-8 years ago it did exactly the same thing.

It's been about as long since I've actually been inside the lodge. Knowing the general attitude of telcos toward payfones these days, even in touristy areas like that, I wouldn't be very surprised if they've all been pulled out by now.

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It's been about as long since I've actually been inside the lodge. Knowing the general attitude of telcos toward payfones these days, even in touristy areas like that, I wouldn't be very surprised if they've all been pulled out by now.

 

I think I know the place you're talking about. Is it near the restaurant, and the gift shop with the Toshiba PBX? I was there around Christmas of 2011, and there was still at least one fortress out there :) . It was cold and this particular phone was near a not particularly good smelling bathroom, so I didn't stick around for too long.

 

There's something about that particular telco and shitty payphones. A few years before that, I was out at a park a little further out in that neck of the woods - same host switch, different remote. So on my way out, I find this charge-a-call phone mounted to the side of a small, brick building. And, well, there's no two ways about it. You didn't have to walk in there to realize it was one of those bathrooms with no running water. So I got the number, and promptly took off. As it turns out, this phone would actually answer incoming calls with DTMF. I'll have to see if I can find where I put the number for it.

Edited by ThoughtPhreaker
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I think I know the place you're talking about. Is it near the restaurant, and the gift shop with the Toshiba PBX? I was there around Christmas of 2011, and there was still at least one fortress out there. It was cold and this particular phone was near a not particularly good smelling bathroom

Don't know what kind of PBX they have, but this was the fortress upstairs in the restaurant's waiting room, on the other side of the wall to the right of the front desk as you walk in. If the old GTE/Automatic fortress is still downstairs by the bathrooms, then it's the same type as in the restaurant. I think there may have even been another in the waiting room to the left of the doorway as you walk out to leave.

And yeah, though the bathrooms there used to be way worse (hopefully you didn't have to see them for most of the 90s), they still leave a lot to be desired in the way of cleanliness. This may explain why the espresso stand, when it's operating, now does so outside near the snack bar area on the building's east side!

There's something about that particular telco and shitty payphones.

Well I'll tell you, it was once United Telephone turf. That company was once EVERYWHERE in the gorge, from probably Sam Hill's place down to Troutdale. If you can imagine all the horror stories you ever may have read about GTE and U.S. West combined then multiply them by a factor of maybe several hundred thousand, then you'd have a general idea of how life on UnTel was like. (It's really no surprise, then, that in the 80s they were bought out by SPRINT, which subsequently merged with GTE because they were all apparently a match made in heaven.) Shitty telcos and shitty payfones go hand in hand, and I wouldn't be surprised if they were left over from that era.

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20 May 2015: Posts split from http://www.binrev.com/forums/index.php/topic/47251-minidisc-is-awesome/ follow.-scratchy

nobody in Hood River or The Dalles

I love the Dalles. One of my favorite cities in the world. Not that I've spent much time there. But my cross-coutry trips to Seattle were getting pretty routine for a while: get pulled over for speeding in Pendleton, stop and the night in The Dalles and eat dinner and a drink beers at the tavern with the local folk and wind-surfers.

Nice little town, IMO.

Edited by scratchytcarrier
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The Dalles is OK. It's really just a wide spot along 84 to change CDs and use the toilet. And really if you've made it that far into the gorge without pissing your pants, you can probably safely make it another 15 miles to Biggs, I know of a decent truck stop there. So basically it's like Cascade Locks (United Telephone*/WE step) but not as nice, though I think there is a Charburger there I.I.R.C..

Pendleton's a good place for FM-band DXing. Just don't waste your time trying to DX from the Wildhorse. there's too damn much computer noise from the casino for anything but the strongest of locals to get through. Forget SCA chasing there, too. The Red Lion back in town has a much lower noise floor and I just like the Red lion better, anyways.

* United Telephone DBA Crappylink now. According to Telcodata, all the UT COs around Ore-gone these days are Nortel RLCs. Mark would puke.

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Wouldn't know. Not too interested in the phone networks in every town I visit. LoL

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* United Telephone DBA Crappylink. According to Telcodata, all the UT COs around Ore-gone these days are Nortel RLCs. Mark Bernay would puke.

 

I'm kinda surprised to hear that. I first started being a phreak on those Centel switches in Virginia (I dunno what their relationship was beforehand, but they both became part of Sprint in the early nineties), and the network was incredibly colorful there. The switches liked to do lots of weird things, lots of interesting stuff was just lying around, and even the recordings were fun to just call around and hear. The only real letdown were those damn COCOTs everywhere.

 

So does United have any hosts in Oregon besides Tillamook and The Dalles?

 

EDIT: I should say *is* incredibly colorful. It was less than ten years ago, and there haven't been any major changes that I know of. Also, it's Sheridan I'm thinking of. Tillamook is a remote.

Edited by ThoughtPhreaker
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I really don't know, I haven't studied it very closely. If it says that Sheridan and The Dalles are their main hubs, then I'll go with that for the time being. I'm not familiar at all with the way United's network is structured these days, though I'm pretty sure they all home/d on Portland and Pendleton 4XB/4E/DMS (AT$T) at some point for long-distance access.

Enough has changed in Unitedland over the years that it's practically foreign to me now.

I'm kinda surprised to hear that.

I've heard (hearsay) that it had to do with GTE buying out Bell Atlantic running a foul of some obscure Oregon telco law or other. Rather than become Verizon like the GTEs in e.g. Gresham did, they had to go either spin off as a full independent (i.e. commit suicide) or go into ownership by the region's ILEC (Ma Bell d.b.a. Qworst). Or something like that. GTE and United only had loose ties (Untied?) but apparently they were closely enough related that Salem told them "ahhhhh...... no".

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It looks like there's one more host for the whole region; White City. All three hosts also function as tandems, so no need to go up to Portland. Though now that you mention 4Es, you've kinda got me curious. What're the AT&T homing arrangements for those tandems? For some reason, the Beaverton tandem has trunks to 253-9L, so you'll get to actually hear the Portland 4ESS (imagine that!) along with a few others under normal circumstances when you dial from GTE offices. I think Gresham is the one exception - it uses the Qwest tandem for everything except TOPS traffic. If I ever come back, one thing I want to find out is whether or not you can push toll-free traffic out of the Beaverton tandem by using an operator.

 

Anyway though, that is some pretty serious consolidation. I can see why you're not fond of them. Just based on how cool their offices were in the past, I'd definitely be willing to spend a lot of time looking for weird things their switches do.

 

Outside of Virginia, I will say the one weird experience I've had with United is Lyman, Nebraska. I got to briefly play with a COCOT while I was there once. It's a remote off one of those early Nortel packet switches. As usual, the COCOT did it's thing where it held down the switch hook for a few seconds to make sure you can't rotary dial a digit. But instead of hanging up, the switch interpreted it as a flash! I always thought the DMS-100 liked sticky switch hooks, but wow. My memory of what happened is kinda hazy, but I remember trying to three-way in another number. I think when I flashed over to bridge the two calls together, I just ended up getting some weird hum.

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has trunks to 253-9L

Seattle?

I'm still waiting for Seattle to get off its high horse and give us our area code back!@

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Seattle?

 

Nope, different switch type. I dunno for sure where 253-9L is, but I think Spokane, or another one of those southern Washington places with a 4E.

 

I'm still waiting for Seattle to get off its high horse and give us our area code back!

 

Maybe we should go on strike!

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Odd that Beaverton would home directly on Spokane instead of going through Portland or maybe Portland/Seattle. 253 is an overlay of the little bit that's left of 206 (Seattle) so it's also strange that a Spokane tandem would identify using one of Seattle's NPAs, since all of Washington east of the cascades is 509. (including the bulk of the gorge, once you're over the Clark/Skamania county line.) If this switch actually is in Spokane, then they probably got a master tape from Seattle and didn't bother recording 509-x over the 253 identifier, for whatever reason.

As usual, the COCOT did its thing where it held down the switch hook for a few seconds to make sure you can't rotary dial a digit

Was it one of those Nortel Millennium fones? I admit that while those have been around here for maybe 20 years or so I really haven't fscked around with them maybe as much as I should, so one of these days I probably ought to do a "phone trip" around Vancouver. There are still a bunch of old Western Electric fortress fones scattered around Vancouver and the Orchards area that have all been COCOTised (thanks a lot, F¢¢), but you still hear the dialtone mute as you put the coins in, so maybe they still have redboxes and the COs might still have some vestigial ACTS functionality?

At a couple old ex-AE fortresses in Camas (GTE) I know of that have been COCOTed, you can throw a string of seven # at it to knock the COCOT off. It will then dump you onto an unrestricted CO dial tone, from there you can hook-flash or DTMF any number and it'll go through. Since they were originally post-pay (strange for GTE which apparently always liked semi-dialtone first) you still have to put in however much to activate the mouthpiece. So you can't use it to make phree calls, but you can use it to make it behave more like a normal payfone.

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Odd that Beaverton would home directly on Spokane instead of going through Portland or maybe Portland/Seattle.

 

Well, Spokane via Mount Vernon anyway. I think it's just because that's where the GTE access tandem is.

 

If this switch actually is in Spokane, then they must have gotten a master tape from Seattle and they probably didn't bother recording 509-x over the 253 identifier, for some reason.

 

Now that I think about it, there's a 4ESS in Tacoma. 253-9L is probably in that same building. If you'd like to hear for yourself though, they're definitely two different switches; http://thoughtphreaker.omghax.ca/audio/253-9L_206-9L.flac

 

Sorry in advance. That's going over some of the scratchier trunks in the AT&T network.

 

Was it one of those Nortel Millennium fones? I admit that while those have been around here for maybe 20 years or so I really haven't fscked around with them maybe as much as I should, so one of these days I probably ought to do a "phone trip" around Vancouver.

 

Nope, it was a Protel COCOT, probably the 7000 model. When you hang up a Millennium, it'll just stick you on that fake dialtone instead of picking up the line again, and pretend there's no sound when you start dialing.

 

There are still a bunch of old Western Electric fortress fones scattered around Vancouver and the Orchards area that have all been COCOTised

 

Lame! It's definitely possible there's still some ACTS functionality on the line, though. I remember seeing that in Chicago O'hare a while back; there were some COCOTs that pushed 1+ calls through TOPS. I dunno if they're still there though, it's been a while.

 

At a couple old ex-AE fortresses in Camas (GTE) I know of that have been COCOTed, you can throw a string of seven # at it to knock the COCOT off. It will then dump you onto an unrestricted CO dial tone, from there you can hook-flash or DTMF any number and it'll go through. Since they were originally post-pay (strange for GTE which apparently always liked semi-dialtone first) you still have to put in however much to activate the mouthpiece. So you can't use it to make phree calls, but you can use it to make it behave more like a normal payfone.

 

Really! Do you happen to know what model COCOT that is?

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I think it's just because that's where the GTE access tandem is.
That would explain it then...
Really! Do you happen to know what model COCOT that is?
It just has the "GTE Automatic Electric" logo on the front panel. Same GTE Fortress-type rigs they have at Multnomah Falls. As far as I can tell they're regular fones that have been converted, like the few WEs around Vancouver. They used to have a bunch of those back home too (regular ones on step lines, they didn't have COCOTs then) (might have even been Strombergs rather than AE) but I have no idea about the status of payfones in White Salmon these days.Chances are the ones at Multfalls might behave the same way but I think it would depend on the type of COCOT hardware they have installed in them.
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Anyway, does the spelling change when you're on a different kind of switch? The DMS-100 offhook tone always stutters when it starts up

I think on my EAX line in Gresham they spelled it the same. Back home in United step-land, they had the ESS tones but the off-hook was a high-pitch downward sweep tone that went something like "vweeeep vweeeeeep vweeeeeeeeep vweeeeeeeeeeeep vweeeeeeeeeeeeeeep vweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep", increasing in length for about 2 minutes before starting that cycle over again. It would keep doing that indefinitely until you hung the fone up.

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Shitty telcos and shitty payfones go hand in hand, and I wouldn't be surprised if they were left over from that era.

Huh, Estacada wasn't always an independent?

Back home in United step-land, they had the ESS tones but the off-hook was a high-pitch downward sweep tone that went something like "vweeeep vweeeeeep vweeeeeeeeep vweeeeeeeeeeeep vweeeeeeeeeeeeeeep vweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep", increasing in length for about 2 minutes before starting that cycle over again. It would keep doing that indefinitely until you hung the fone up.

Huh! Were you served out of a Pentaconta or something? That sounds almost like the one in Evan Doorbell's Asheboro tape.

I think on my EAX line in Gresham they spelled it the same.

Kind of a stark contrast to now, isn't it? I don't think the GTD-5 is even capable of generating an offhook tone. The one there definitely isn't configured to use it. In some places, they have the AIS kick in and generate it; 712-374-1256 . Things must get interesting there when it floods.

The DMS-100 offhook tone always stutters when it starts up

So I take that back, there's actually one case where it actually doesn't. When you three-way, for some reason, all the tones come from a different source - even ringback. I'll have to demonstrate it sometime. In any case, they sound quite different if you're comparing them side by side.

About a week ago, I was talking to a friend about switches, and they said DMS-100s sound boring. I just...I just looked at him :blink: .

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Huh! Were you served out of a Pentaconta or something? That sounds almost like the one in Evan Doorbell's Asheboro tape.

Step. The Pentaconta was ITT's crossbar system and as far as I know the only class 5 XB-type machines around here were in bigger areas like Portland and Orchards. (Though I'm told VANCWA01 back then was also step, but then Orchards had to service a geographically larger area [eastern Clark County] than incorporated Vancouver.) Most of the United areas in the gorge that Mark Bernay went to in the late 60s were I.I.R.C. WE step and maybe a few XYs around (need to review oregon2 again, I guess), so chances are White Salmon was also a WE or a Stromberg with a nonstandard tone arrangement.

Kind of a stark contrast to now, isn't it?

Couldn't tell you, I haven't made a call on that system since I called mother to tell her I was headed back to Vancouver the day I moved out ~12/13 years ago.

I really must plan a phield trip to Gresham one of these days, any suggestions for payfones there that are reasonably easy to access/record off of?

EDIT ADD: Hood River was NX1. I recall that because my second-grade class took a field trip to that office (then about a year later they cut over to the electronic system, then a couple years later divestiture happened). Why we went across the river and didn't go to our step office is beyond me, but I guess the school district couldn't talk United into doing a tour or something. It was a pretty small office then so there probably wouldn't have been much to see in there anyways.

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