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TUCoPS :: Phreaking Public Phones :: chicagop.txt

A Thread on Payphone phreaking in Chicago in the old days





Date: 7 Jan 88 22:39:45 GMT
From: decvax!ima!johnl@ucbvax.Berkeley.EDU  (John R. Levine)
Organization: Not enough to make any difference
Subject: Re: Enterprise Numbers and other funny phone numbers

In article <2257@cup.portal.com> Patrick_A_Townson@cup.portal.com writes:
>OTHER MORE OR LESS STANDARDIZED PHONE NUMBERS IN THE 1930'S - 1950'S:
>...
>Coin phones always began with a 9, as in 9xxx. This was universally
>recognized ...

Well, not quite universally. My phone number is -9650 and as far as I can tell
hasn't been changed since the house got dial service, other than changing the
prefix from UNIversity to the equivalent 864. (I'm not that old, but the
number came with the house.) I note that -9649 is indeed a payphone in a
nearby bar. -9950 used to be the local business office, causing a certain
number of strange calls.

My understanding is that they put special relays on pay phone lines that
bounced when they connected, making a distinctive ticky-ticky sound that the
operator could recognize.

For that matter, when you make a toll call from a payphone, how does the long
distance company know that it's a payphone? Special trunks? Special bits in
ANI messages? Only AT&T does anything interesting with direct dialed calls
from payphones, but the other LD companies at least know to block them.

John Levine, ima!johnl
-- 
John R. Levine, IECC, PO Box 349, Cambridge MA 02238-0349, +1 617 492 3869
{ ihnp4 | decvax | cbosgd | harvard | yale }!ima!johnl, Levine@YALE.something
Gary Hart for President -- Let's win one for the zipper.

------------------------------

Date: 8 Jan 88 05:32:22 GMT
From: ptsfa!perl@ames.arpa  (R. Perlman)
Organization: Pacific Bell Marketing
Subject: Re: Enterprise Numbers and other funny phone numbers

In article <838@ima.ISC.COM> johnl@ima.UUCP (John R. Levine) writes:
>In article <2257@cup.portal.com> Patrick_A_Townson@cup.portal.com writes:
>>OTHER MORE OR LESS STANDARDIZED PHONE NUMBERS IN THE 1930'S - 1950'S:
>>...
>>Coin phones always began with a 9, as in 9xxx. This was universally
>>recognized ...
>
>Well, not quite universally. My phone number is -9650 and as far as I can tell
>hasn't been changed since the house got dial service, other than changing the
>prefix from UNIversity to the equivalent 864. 

Actually you are both right!  In step-by-step offices the 4 and 9
levels were ofter tied together when all line thousands groups
were'nt needed.  A non-coin would be assigned the number -4xxx
and a coin -9xxx, in fact it didn't matter whether you dialed a 4
or nine, you get the same number.

BTW, Operators have listings by area code showing all the NNXs
(actualy NXXs) that have coin stations.  Usually only 1 code per
CO has coin lines.  If a number (for 3rd number or collect
calling) is a -9xxx & is in a coin NNX then the Operator checks
with Rate & Route for a "coin check" to see if the number is
indeed a coin box.
-- 
"there's no success like failure and failure's no success at all" Bob Dylan
Richard Perlman  1E300 2600 Camino Ramon, San Ramon, CA 94583  (415) 823-1398
uucp {ames,pyramid,ihnp4,lll-crg,dual}!ptsfa!perl   ||   ceo rdperlman:8

------------------------------

Date: 8 Jan 88 16:59:14 GMT
From: codas!ablnc!maxwell@bikini.cis.ufl.edu  (Robert Maxwell)
Organization: AT&T, Maitland, Florida
Subject: Re: Enterprise Numbers and other funny phone numbers

> >Coin phones always began with a 9, as in 9xxx. This was universally
> >recognized ...
> Well, not quite universally. 

Back in the days before the TSPS operator positions, the operators had
an indexed list at their positions that they used for identifying
area codes that listed almost every city or exchange in the USA.
One of items also listed in this index was the pay phone number series
in any exchange that used a special group of numbers. It has been a
few years since I last saw one, but I do remember the numbers for pay
phones could be anything from an exchange + 1 digit (ie: 321-9) to
a group of numbers (ie: 321-7800 to 321-8299). As I remember the
instructions with the list, this was a group to be checked for possible
pay phone, not necessarily an absolute list.

I don't consider myself very old, but I can remember when the phones were
so automatic, you didn't have to turn a dial or push buttons, you would
just speak the number you wanted into the mouthpiece and the connection
would be made. :-)
 
> For that matter, when you make a toll call from a payphone, how does the long
> distance company know that it's a payphone? Special trunks? Special bits in
> ANI messages? Only AT&T does anything interesting with direct dialed calls
> from payphones, but the other LD companies at least know to block them.
 
With ESS offices, the programming takes care of handling special needs for
a given line. It is reasonably simple to prevent charging LD calls to
a given line, no matter which company you use for LD. The same basic
technique that gives you 1+ dialing to your LD company can control how the
calls are accepted from a pay phone.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bob Maxwell	AT&T DP&CT	     |	All standard (and most non_standard)
Maitland, FL	ihnp4!ablnc!maxwell  |  disclaimers apply.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

------------------------------

Date: 12 Jan 88 06:43:03 GMT
From: imagen!atari!portal!cup.portal.com!Patrick_A_Townson@ucbvax.Berkeley.EDU
Organization: The Portal System (TM)
Subject: Re: Enterprise Numbers and other funny phone numbers

Perlman points out a method of detecting coin service which is correct.
If in fact the receiving number is coin; and if the caller insists on
making the call collect, and provided some fool on the receiving end
agrees to accept the collect call then he has to deposit the money as
if he were making the call. The only problem is, the distant operator cannot
supervise the collection properly. The operator tells called party to hang
up and wait a minute....she calls inward in the city in particular, and
asks for assistance from a local operator <in that town> in manipulating
the coin collection table; assistance in dumping the coins in the box,
collecting for overtime, etc. The local operator calls the coin box, gets
the money and connects the parties.

Does anyone on here remember when coin phones had <three slots> on the top
for nickles, dimes and quarters AND had no trap door on the coin return AND
had regular -- not armored -- cable to the handset?

As little kids we rarely paid for calls. We either applied ground to
the line through a tiny pin hole in the handset cord (which we put there,
of course) or we used a coat hanger bent in a funny way which we stuck
up the coin return. We would deposit the money which fell on the table
inside. The process was the operator would apply the tip and ring one
way to throw the table and toss the money in the box or would apply it
in reverse to throw the table in the direction of the return slot, to
give the money back if there was no answer, etc.

To make long distance calls, we would use the same quarter(s) over and
over. The operator would ask for two dollars -- in would go two or three
quarters (clung clung clung)...."just a minute operator, I am looking for
more change!..."and that coat hanger would go up the return slot and
trip the table, sending our quarters down the chute and back to us....
"Ok operator, here is the rest of the money...." and if we were fast
enough, or the operator was not suspicious, the coat hanger could be
used to retrieve the three quarters <a second time>...some operators
immediatly collected when there was an answer, especially if they
suspected hanky panky on the other end...some would not wait for the
full collection, but grab the coins as they came in, hitting that
ring key over and over knowing the brat-child on the other end of the
line had been thwarted in the process....

Some of the older exchanges in downtown Chicago years ago had to have the
assistance of a special "trunk operator" to return the money if a call
was not complete. Your operator would give up on completing the call and
tell you to hold on...after a few seconds and a click, someone would answer
"Wabash trunking"....and your operator would say something like "return on
circuit 5096"....and the phone would clatter and your coins would fall
back out to you. And there was also (downtown) the Franklin Coin Central
Office which handled nothing but pay phones in the downtown area.


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