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Old 03-02-2009, 05:20 PM   #1
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Question Plain Old Telephone Mystery

OK here is the challenge.
You have multiple land line or wireless or both phones in your house/garage/shop etc. Same line, same phone number, AT&T in my case.
No speaker phones or anything special.

You want to pick up the phone in the garage and dictate to your wife,daughter,son,hubby etc in the den to dictate 25 minutes of notes you are observing while under your 59 Edsel or whatever.

You cannot phone the den because you cannot call your own number from one phone to another. So you arrange for your partner to pick up the phone after giving you time to dial any digit or digits to do away with the dial tone.

All is fine for a few seconds, but lo the phone either starts squauking or a robot comes on and says if you'd like to make a call hang up and all get the drift.

Is there a way to maintain the silent blank slate for any prolonged length of time? It seems this used to be possible with some trick. I called the operator she said she had no idea. She had 16 yrs experience.
Customer service said same thing. Said probably could not be done. 5 yrs exp she had.

Also do any know how to make your own phone ring? Maybe that's the answer to above puzzle. This used to be possible (at least to make it ring)?

I know I could use a cell phone and eliminate this need, but that is not what I want to do here.

BTW I do not have a 59 Edsel
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Old 03-02-2009, 05:30 PM   #2

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You can't use your distant drums?

sorry... couldn't resist.
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Old 03-02-2009, 05:37 PM   #3
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Wink Heap big Grin..paleface

Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
You can't use your distant drums?

sorry... couldn't resist.

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Old 03-02-2009, 05:39 PM   #4
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Oh boy, memories! I used to work for the telephone company. We used to have what we called a "2 Line PBX" service. We would install a red push button on all the phones at the residence or business. You would push the button and it would make all the phones ring on that line. Then you could pick up the receiver and hold a conversation with one of the other phones on your line. That was back when all the central offices were mechanical switching.

Fast forward to present day electronic central offices. What they "can" do now is make your private line into a "two party line", with only one line on it. What you would then do is dial your own phone number. You will get a recording saying that you have dialed a party on your own line and must hang up. Then your phone will ring. When the person on the extension picks up the phone, it obviously stops ringing, then you pick up your phone and you can converse.

I did have this on my line in Ohio, because we had a barn several hundred feet away from the house. I also had friends that worked at the phone company, that made this happen. You may well try and explain this to your phone company and they may think you are on crack. But it can be done if the switch has party line capability.
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Old 03-02-2009, 05:41 PM   #5
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I remember back in the 70's there was a way to ring your own number...But i'm too old to remember. Besides we ditched our landline in January 2007...The kids are all mobile and it never got used...

Just curious...Who has a Wife or kids they can dictate too these days? If it does not involve the use of SMS, IM, or Email...mine won't even acknowledge it.

Best of Luck,


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Old 03-02-2009, 05:52 PM   #6
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My Uniden phones have intercom buttons I have never used
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Old 03-02-2009, 05:54 PM   #7
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The two hand set wireless phone that we have has a paging system that works like what you want. My is labeled INTERCOM. Panasonic is the make.
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Old 03-02-2009, 06:00 PM   #8
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buy a pair of FM walkie talkie..
Talk for as long as you need or the batteries last..
YOU will need them while camping anyway~!
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Old 03-02-2009, 06:01 PM   #9
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I wonder if you had call waiting, and called yourself, your intended target could then pick up the phone after the beep. It's worth a try, but I don't guarantee it'll work as hoped.
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Old 03-02-2009, 06:08 PM   #10
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Don't work any more. I used to call my number from my phone, get a busy signal, hang up and the phone would ring. I could pick up and talk to the other phone.
Just yell and ask her to bring paper and pen. You could ask her to hold the light while you read and write. ha
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Old 03-02-2009, 06:24 PM   #11
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Years ago (1960) we used to be able to dial 1191 then hang up and the phone would ring. This way we could talk to the second phone. It hasn't worked like that for a long time now.
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Old 03-02-2009, 06:33 PM   #12
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when analog ruled (actually, it still does)

You used to be able to dial your own number, listen for the busy signal to go off for 2 (or maybe it was 3) times, then hang up, then your phone would ring, then you (and anyone else on that line)could pick it up and the line would be open. Haven't done that for a long time, but from the responses to this post, I suspect that doesn't work anymore. Those old Wireless Intercom devices by Radio Shack (and other) work quite well for short distances (between house & barn, ect.)and can be had for pennies at yard sales and such.

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Old 03-02-2009, 07:20 PM   #13
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Don't use the telephone company (regardless of which it is).

The phones recommended above with the intercom switches or buttons are your best bet. Basically they have some "centrex" (central office) functions built into them.

Of course if you're upgrading your cell phones you can choose something with "push to talk". It's costly so if you don't need push to talk for something else - such as your job - you'll save a lot of money with walkie-talkies.

Phone sets are pretty cheap and if you've got a decent thrift shop in your area you might even find them there.

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Old 03-18-2009, 11:54 PM   #14
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Another option, if you can find it, is to dial the local telephone company's "silent termination" number. Typically every exchange will have both a milliwatt test tone (often, the prefix plus 0020) and a silent term. An old line telephone installer in your neighborhood will be able to tell you. Few exchanges support the ringback codes that we used to use, probably because they haven't figured out a way to charge you for using them.
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Old 03-19-2009, 04:30 AM   #15
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Dljosephson has the best answer. Find a local phone repair person, and find out the local dialing number codes for ring-back testing, quiet-line testing, and-or milliwatt line testing. The repair center and business call center will not know these special numbers. With the advent of digital phone line exchanges, some of the testing features may be a programmable option for each line. Here in northern Oregon, the ring-back feature became an option that had to be programmed onto a line, it wasnít a billable feature, but a lot of lines just werenít built in the system with this feature. Some phone switches have a milliwatt test line that will give a 1000hz tone for a few seconds, and than time out to a quiet line, and this will still provide battery so that you can talk over it. What is obvious on this thread, is the dialing test codes are local and will only work in the local exchange or town.

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Old 03-19-2009, 06:21 AM   #16
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I just be missing something here, because all I could wonder as I read the posts was why are you using the wrong tool?

You can get either digital (using a memory chip) or analog (using "mini-cassettes") small hand-held recorders for little money these days. Heck, you might already have one.

What's wrong with one of those for your task? Dictating "live" to another person will inevitably entail them stopping you to ask questions regarding their understanding of what you said.

Recording lets them play it over and over to their heart's content to capture your words.

What's wrong with that?
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Old 03-19-2009, 06:31 AM   #17
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as others have said, multi phone cordless. many if not all have an intercom function. here is an example at target.

VTech DECT 6.0 Cordless Telephone Bundle with 3 Handsets - Silver/ Black (LS6125-3) : Target
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Old 03-19-2009, 10:11 PM   #18
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No. On further thought, I think we have it all wrong. It is necessary to install a small community dial office telephone exchange in the Airstream, with a distribution frame to outside plant in the electrical hookup bay. Then you can run field wire to any number of dial telephones in the woods, main house, etc. and dial between them. It's not only those 35,000 pound busmobile mohos that can have phones in every room.
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