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Everything posted by dmine45

  1. I recently purchased an Automatic Electric/GTE single slot pay phone (model 120B) off of eBay. It was an old pay phone that was in service in a small independent telco territory in Tennessee. They recently went through and took out a ton of these pay phones and sold them on eBay. I already have a key for the lower lock and the T-handle key for the coin box, but they failed to send me a key for the upper lock! I would really want to open up the phone and convert it to regular phone line use, but I don't know how to get in it. I've read somewhere that Western Electric single slot pay phones have the quirk that if you hit the lock with a hammer drill long enough that the screws for the lock (on the inside) unscrew themselves after a while, and the lock comes out. I don't know if AE/GTE pay phones have the same "feature" or not. But I'm curious if anyone has had experience with opening these types of pay phones or not. I'd rather NOT have to drill out the lock to get it open. I'm sure that there are too many combinations of the upper lock key that trying to get one that would work is next to impossible. Any reasonable idea welcome. Thanks!
  2. Hey! Long time no hear from you. Are you still around this board?

  3. Finally was able to do some AT&T tandem testing from an old school POTS line (getting really rare these days) So here's what I've come up with: A number of old 4ESS switches are still in the network, but they are fast being replaced with N4E switches. At the same time, a number of N4E switches are being installed where they never had a switch, or maybe a 5ESS as an edge switch. Either way, this makes for an interesting list. Some of these are guesses based upon my knowledge of the network, etc. These were all tested with the infamous NPA-959-69xx method, with the switch 144-T (Monrovia, MD) as the basis. Eventually I'd like to try some of these from other entry points into the network. And in a number of cases, the announcement machines are broken and all you get is reorder. Sadly they're just not caring and maintaining the old 4ESSes since they're slated for retirement. I'll also attach a file that shows more detail and depth of the testing. ("Local" means I got my local 4ESS recording, in my case 144-T) But here's the short list of what I've been able to verify during my test that took place between January to March 2020: Area Code ST Tandem N4E/4ESS 310 CA ? Reorder (4ESS) 312 IL ? Reorder (4ESS) 209 CA ? Reorder (4ESS) 860 CT ? Reorder (4ESS) 909 CA ? Reorder (4ESS) 912 GA ? Reorder (4ESS) 708 IL ? Reorder (4ESS) 505 NM 002-T Reorder (4ESS) 404 GA 007-T N4E 512 TX 008-T 4ESS 410 MD 010-T Reorder (4ESS) 205 AL 011-T Reorder (4ESS) 704 NC 015-T Reorder (4ESS) 304 WV 016-T 4ESS 216 OH 017-T 4ESS 803 SC 018-T 4ESS 614 OH 019-T Reorder (4ESS) 719 CO 020-T Reorder (4ESS) 609 NJ 022-T Reorder (4ESS) 515 IA 024-T N4E 303 CO 027-T Reorder (4ESS) 908 NJ 030-T local 508 MA 031-T 4ESS 817 TX 032-T N4E 616 MI 033-T 4ESS 910 NC 034-T Reorder (4ESS) 713 TX 037-T N4E 601 MS 040-T Reorder (4ESS) 423 TN 042-T 4ESS 816 MO 043-T N4E 517 MI 044-T 4ESS 502 KY 047-T 4ESS 501 AR 048-T N4E 915 TX 050-T 4ESS 901 TN 051-T 4ESS 603 NH 052-T 4ESS 615 TN 058-T N4E 504 LA 060-T silence (4ESS) 201 NJ 061-T Reorder (4ESS) 718 NY 065-T N4E 405 OK 069-T Reorder (4ESS) 510 CA 070-T Reorder (4ESS) 402 NE 071-T N4E 309 IL 073-T 4ESS 215 PA 074-T 4ESS 602 AZ 075-T Reorder (4ESS) 503 OR 077-T 4ESS 702 NV 081-T Reorder (4ESS) 219 IN 082-T 4ESS 916 CA 083-T N4E 818 CA 084-T 4ESS 801 UT 086-T 4ESS 619 CA 088-T N4E 415 CA 089-T 4ESS 408 CA 090-T 4ESS 217 IL 091-T 4ESS 413 MA 091-T Reorder (4ESS) 509 WA 093-T 4ESS 314 MO 094-T N4E 206 WA 095-T Reorder (4ESS) 315 NY 096-T Reorder (4ESS) 813 FL 097-T 4ESS 419 OH 098-T 4ESS 918 OK 099-T 4ESS 914 NY 104-T silence 414 WI 105-T 4ESS 212 NY 111-T Reorder (4ESS) 520 AZ 114-T Reorder (4ESS) 203 CT 119-T 4ESS 706 GA 126-T Reorder (4ESS) 954 FL 131-T Reorder (4ESS) 608 WI 132-T 4ESS 928 AZ 149-T N4E - Flagstaff? 239 FL 151-T N4E - Fort Myers/Cape Coral? 213 CA 152-T N4E - Los Angeles (replacement? addition?) 781 MA 153-T N4E - Boston suburbs? 432 TX 154-T N4E - Odessa? 480 AZ 155-T N4E - Scottsdale? 904 FL 157-T N4E - Jacksonville? 714 CA 158-T N4E - Anaheim? (replacement? addition?) 610 PA 159-T N4E - Allentown? 612 MN no ID N4E - Minneapolis? 301 MD no ID N4E - Not exactly sure (DC suburbs?) Area Codes for AT&T Tandem Testing March 2020.xls
  4. I go all over the US for work and vacation, and when I do I like to see how the local network homes on various tandems (AT&T, MCI, Sprint) when I can. I like to do it from landlines and cellphones since both route differently. I also do this with VOIP carriers since often times they dump you on the POTS network at various places, and this can either be static or dynamic. (Can you say Tandem round robin?) Often times calls from landline, cellular or VOIP go to the newer "edge switches" that are in the format of NPA-xL (like 412-9L). I believe most of these are 5ESS based. But most of the time you can reach a 4ESS in the format of xxx-T. Anyhow, I was in a very rural place in Wyoming in May while on vacation. It was a rest stop in the middle of nowhere. The rest stop used to have a pay phone (you can tell it was there and removed), but they did have a microcell for Verizon Wireless (obviously fed by DSL). Doing my test for AT&T, it did the round robin as I suspected (some sort of VOIP backhaul) and I came up on 088-T a few times. That *used* to be the AT&T tandem for San Diego. They retired the 4ESS a few years ago, but now it comes up in the "new" voice that AT&T is using for the new generation "N4E" system.The N4E uses the old 4ESS software hosted in a virtual environment in newer hardware (lot smaller footprint and more in tune with modern packet switching). Sure enough, I was in San Diego last week and tried it from a COCOT. Yup, they do have a new N4E and has the new voice on the trailer. So I'm wondering how many of the existing 4ESS systems will be replaced by N4E systems? I also wonder how many 4ESS and N4E systems are out there. I found a N4E in Scottsdale, AZ (NPA 480) not too long ago. Haven't explored what else is new out there recently.
  5. As I no longer have a POTS line at home, it's difficult for me to test traditional LD providers like AT&T, MCI and Sprint. Is there a VOIP/SIP provider that routes through AT&T so I can do tandem testing? The infamous NPA-959-69xx testing. Thanks!
  6. Replying to my own old thread... Looks like more 4ESSes have been replaces with N4E systems. Found this link that used Mark Cuccia's old 4ESS list and is being updated. I need to add a few to this list myself.
  7. How are you even able to call out from OSPSes these days? A couple of years ago AT&T got rid of their calling cards, so I haven't been able to explore OSPS systems like I used to. Unless you still managed to keep a working card somehow? And are you using the CVS technique to get to them or something else?
  8. I've seen a few, still as of May 2017. Saw one in former Commonwealth Tel. territory (now Frontier) in northeastern Pennsylvania (NPA 570). Sadly only a few of the phones still around are working, and those who are working are only sort of working (static, muffled sound, etc.). In other words, not maintained by the local techs - just left to pretty much rot in place. Full CO controlled, not a COCOT in any way. Up until about 2013 was still able to do intra-LATA long distance, but I think Verizon finally killed that off. Here's a pic of two from my last trip up to NE PA.
  9. From what I heard several years ago, the later 4ESS switches that were installed in the mid to late 90s were of a newer generation than those from 1976 to the late 80s. And yes, some of these switches are 40 years old!! But as TP said, over time I bet most of the guts have been replaced (though I do wonder about the announcement machines - some of which are quite broken!). But I think to say relevant, AT&T like a lot of other telcos are going VoIP. I know Verizon basically runs it's old school POTS TDM network and a VoIP network in parallel with gateways to cross connect the two worlds as necessary. Yeah, AT&T has introduced DMS-250, 5ESS, etc. into the long distance network, but the venerable 4ESS is still the backbone. Just curious what their strategy is to play in a mixed TDM and IP environment moving forward.
  10. That's a cool find. Thanks for sharing. I'll have to explore these soon.
  11. Mind if I ask who this provider is and if they're willing to sell service like that? Or did they do you a favor and provide you with a special sevice? I'm on a landline VOIP provider and wish I could do 101-xxxx FGD testing. Only place that I can do a limited amount of that is at work on an old fashioned DMS-100 Centrex.
  12. Interesting. That's one of the tandems in Houston, TX. Mind if I ask you what you dialed to reach it?
  13. Jman - Glad you went. I took the opportunity in 2005 when my brother who lives in Tacoma got remarried. Of course nobody but me wanted to visit. So glad I went - and I want to go back! Next time I'm in the PNW I'll make it an effort to go!
  14. As I recall, the AT&T 4ESS tandems where that recording resides are regionally based. 074-T is Philadelphia and serves the mid-Atlantic region. I live in that area and I home on that as well.
  15. Gonna say, Evan Doorbell did a segment on Cognitronics and numbers stations, and those were well before 1987. Back in the 80s I listened to a lot of shortwave and they were around in the early 80s when I was first scanning the bands
  16. I wish I had obtained recordings as well. I didn't know which was going to be the last one. I thought it could have been one of the Savannah, GA switches. I sort of lost interest in all of this when a good friend of mine passed away back in 2014 (TP knows who I'm talking about) who absolutely tracked every last 1AESS until he died. I mean tracked everything about them. You may still find his old posts on the Internet. Then in the summer of 2016 I asked a contact that he knew about the status of the 1As. He told me only a handful were left. So I started to keep track again. But as time went on, I sort of got bored again. I shouldn't have dropped my guard. But as others have said, an era is over. No more steps, crossbars or "electronically controlled analog switches" anymore.
  17. For me it's 005-T (Washington, DC 4ESS). So I assume it's not necessarily your local tandem, but the regional tandem that has that has that recording. (Sort of what they do with 800 numbers that are no longer in service) Also tried it on MagicCrap and I got 010-T (Baltimore, MD)
  18. I need to visit there again as well. Glad you were able to make recordings of the switch sounds.
  19. So I take it that Odessa was the last 1AESS office? So what was the date that it went down? June 1st? Another notch in the change of technology. The last crossbar offices went away in the US circa 1993, the last step or XY office in the US was around 1999, Canada was 2001 (Nates, Quebec). And it looks like the last 1AESS was Odessa, TX in May or June 2017. RIP old switching systems.
  20. If I have time before I leave on yet another business trip, I'll contact a friend of mine at iConetiv (the successor to Bellcore, Telcordia, etc. etc.) to see what 1As are still around. Sad when Lafayette Main goes away since that's where my friend Mark Cuccia lived. He was the one who always tracked the last 1AESS switches in the US. Sadly he passed away in 2014. That's why I'm keeping this thread alive in his memory. (TP knows who he is too.)
  21. is another great resource.
  22. Yup, they're dropping like flies. Now that it's April, I bet there are less than 5 left. Wonder how we can test the remaining ones?
  23. Is that number consistent with all 1AESSes?
  24. TV Stereo used a different pilot for the L-R signal. Otherwise it was almost identical to FM Stereo. Yup, the 800 MHz band we know and love for cellular (the infamous "A" and "B" bands) were the old UHF channels 70 to 83. With the advent of ATSC (now known retroactively as ATSC 1.0), channels 52 to 69 were removed in 2009 and those are now known as the 700 MHz LTE band. With the upcoming ATSC 3.0 that's around the corner, UHF channels above 37 will be removed. That will become more bandwidth, probably for 5G wireless. In addition, TV stations are volunteering turning in their licenses, which will free up even more spectrum. With ATSC 3.0, the 6 MHz channels will handle up to 4K video and you can compress the living snot out of 1080, 720 and 480 (tons of sub-channels). So the now pretty much empty UHF band will shrink once again and will be littered with wireless. Yup, CED killed RCA. Sadly. Had they foreseen that lasers would come into play, they could have taken the market away from Sony and Philips. But that's another topic! As for upper cable bands - many people didn't realize that they co-existed with existing OTA stuff. Cable channels 14-22 were the infamous Air/Police band (and ITMS mobile phones back in the day!), and upper cable channels were mapped to UHF channels. Back in the 80s, I had an upconverter that converted cable channels 14-36 to upper UHF. Wonder if it can be repurposed in this day and age?
  25. I know on the DMS-100 Centrex where I work, you use the vertical service code before dialing 9 for outside line. So it's *67 (or 1167) + 9 + number. Otherwise as TP said it could have been misinterpreted as dialing 911. (Which is why they recently changed it for us to 9+911)