10 forgotten wonders of 1980s homes

Rod Smallwood rodsmallwood52 at btinternet.com
Wed Dec 30 01:13:39 CST 2015

On 30/12/2015 05:30, Christian Gauger-Cosgrove wrote:
> On 29 December 2015 at 20:15, Chuck Guzis <cclist at sydex.com> wrote:
>> It was particularly amusing that in the heart of Silicon Valley in the
>> 1980s, Pacific Telephone still had many of its exchanges outfitted with
>> crossbar switches--with your shiny new touch-tone telephone, you could hear
>> the clicks in the background audio as the gear converted the DTMF to
>> pulses...
> Those pulses depend on what kind of crossbar you were homing on, and
> where you were calling.
> On a Number 5 Crossbar, your DTMF was never converted to dial pulse
> for the switch itself. The Touch-Tone Register would connect to a
> digit translator that inputs the 2-of-5 binary code directly into the
> relays of the Originating Register (which can still receive dial
> pulse). On Number 1 Crossbar and Panel however your DTMF would be
> converted to 20 pulse per second dial pulsing. Only in Step-by-Step is
> your DTMF converted down to "normal" 10 pulse per second dial pulsing;
> though it should be noted that in step it either gets converted by a
> "dumb" Touch-Tone Reciever Converter (DTMF goes in, dial pulse goes
> out) in a direct control step, in a common control step (yes that was
> a thing) the DTMF actually ends up getting converted in the same way
> as on #5XB with the common control elements dial pulsing.
> However it should be noted: Crossbar switches make noise when
> connecting through the switch fabric; and depending on trunking and
> the kind of switch you're calling you might hear dial pulsing, panel
> call indicator pulsing, or revertive pulsing. RP would be sent on a
> direct connection between a crossbar to a Number 1 Crossbar or Panel
> switch (and to Number 5 Crossbar occasionally). PCI is something you'd
> *never* hear in the 80s, since the only tandems that required PCI
> (namely Panel Sender Tandem) were gone by the 70s, and the tandems
> that replaced them (Crossbar Tandem) while it can still "speak" PCI
> would be more likely to use MF tones; also end offices that would use
> PCI, namely manual offices, were also dead and gone by the 80s. Dial
> pulsing however... well that goes to step offices, and if you have a
> step tandem anywhere in the chain (you could have a #5XB to #5XB call
> which you'd think would be MF'd; but if you have a step tandem you get
> dial pulse).
> Cheers,
> Christian
In the late 1960's I was what was then called a student apprentice.
This ment you did two weeks at work and one week at college.

I worked at at local cable manufacturing company and my desk was in the 
high voltage lab.
The building had been part of the Great Western Railways wartime 
It was a concrete blockhouse. Walls three feet thick and blast shutters 
over the windows.
It had the advantage of  being  warm  in winter and cool in summer.

We had a high votage test lab (up to 500,000 volts) , RF lab and the 
internal telephone exchange.
You could not dial out. There was a manual switch board with its own 
operators for that. (dial 0 and ask)

The internal exchange was a standard GPO Strowger type exchange.
It would have been 25-30 years old at that time but built under wartime 

One monday I arrived back at work from college to find a box on my desk  
containing many reels of PVC hook up wire and a set of tatty wiring 
There was a note from my boss saying "insulation in phone exchange 
cracking up - please rewire the lot"

First job  stick the blueprints on the glass  partition between my lab 
and the exchange with a light behind them.
Then to the exchange, take all the covers off the relay banks and 
sitting on my tall lab stool watch what happened.

Boss goes past and nods his approval and I went from there. Took a 
couple of months but it worked when I'd none.


We were right on the London main line.

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