Antiquated Phone? You May Not Want To Trash It

This is a discussion on Antiquated Phone? You May Not Want To Trash It within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Hello All, Ever been to a yard / garage sale and see one of those old phones with only the 12 buttons, 1-0, * and ...

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Thread: Antiquated Phone? You May Not Want To Trash It

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    VIP Member Array mprp's Avatar
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    Antiquated Phone? You May Not Want To Trash It

    Hello All,

    Ever been to a yard / garage sale and see one of those old phones with only the 12 buttons, 1-0, * and #? Well, if you don't own one, you may want to pick up the next one that you see at that yard sale or at any store that may carry them. You know, those "stupid" corded things that are a pain in the butt because you can't walk around the house with it like you can a cordless.

    So what is it that we hear quite often on here about home defense? Grab a firearm and call 911. Well what if you've limited yourself to equipment totally dependent on commercial power and there is none and you have no idea when it will be restored? Sometimes you don't have to.

    Many of you may already know this but it would be worth it to me if one person didn't and was helped out the next time the power goes out in their neck of the woods. Here's the thing. I work as an exchange manager at a phone company and so I see this all the time whenever the power goes out especially. Quite a few go without phone service because the power goes out and guess what goes with it? Those wonderful cutting edge cordless phones.

    What some people don't understand is that the newer phones need electricity and when the power goes out, it doesn't mean that they don't have phone service. Ok, granted the telephone lines aren't damaged due to the storm along with the commercial power. But in a rolling power outage situation you should still have telephone service which may be your last line of communication when cell phones go dead and the power is out for days. Normal telephone service does not rely on commercial power to feed dial tone to your house and is usually backed up with emergency power that should far outlast any outage thrown its way. But when the lights go dark, you wouldn't believe how many don't realize that there is phone service right there at their phone jack on the wall.

    Knowing what goes on in my telephone exchange area, the recent outage in WV got me thinking of how many people must not realize that their phone could still be working if they only had the right one. And although a lot of us are well prepared for things that come our way as far as extra food on hand, defensive weaponry etc., in our technological world it's easy to forget about those good old fashioned products that they just don't make like they used to or are very easy to pass up in the store because they just aren't convenient or "techni-cool."

    Now, one caveat to this is you may likely run into one of the old rotary phones that don't require electricity as well but the main switch at your phone company may choke on the inherent pulse platform. Not impossible to use but the switch technician may have to change a setting before it can work well. (I do with my switch) The corded push button type uses DTMF which is common with any other phones made today, even cordless. (Sans IP PBX phones) I'm refering to normal dial tone service.

    So although the big one, (SHTF) has yet to hit, those who are in the middle of a major power outage for a long period of time can probably parallel the two. Whenever I get a hold of an extra, I give it to a needy person when I find out that the power has been out and they've been without a phone. So if you do have normal phone service you may want to have one of these as a backup to increase your odds of reaching 911 during an outage. So these are just a few thoughts of mine, a bit unorthodox for a defensive firearms forum I know but I figured I'd pass it on as communication is also a big part of home defense.

    Don't be home without it!

    Vietnam Vets, WELCOME HOME

    Crossman 760 BB/Pellet, Daisy Red Ryder, Crossman Wrist Rocket, 14 Steak Knives, 3 Fillet Knives, Rolling Pin-14", Various Hunting Knives, 2 Baseball Bats, 3 Big Dogs and a big American Flag flying in the yard. I have no firearms; Try the next house.

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    Distinguished Member Array ericb327's Avatar
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    It's a good weapon too! Just don't let your wife throw it at you!
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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    The prevalence of cell phones has largely changed people's view on things, but good point about the power source for phones/networks.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
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    Now I have to just get the kids under 25 years of age to understand how a rotary dial phone works. It really does confuse them. They keep trying to punch the number paited under the rotary dial.......... LOL

    We never tire of getting a new kid, who comes to the house, and asking them to make a call on it. Priceless, every time.

    OP - totally agree. Have a backup 'old phone' for every location we now keep the cool modern cordless.

    Great advice!
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    In truth my phone company gives me every reason to fire them.

    I'm not too concerned about losing power for a cell phone or cordless phone as I think
    I have that problem solved, at least for a short run. The battery backup for my computers
    will handle power for a wireless phone or recharging for a cell phone, easily-- I don't for how long,
    but I suspect a very long time if the computer and monitor aren't draining the UPS.

    We have kept our land line, reluctantly. I learned during 9/11 that no calls would go through on the
    cell. I've seen the same happen during weather emergencies. So we keep the land line.

    Anyway, good advice from the OP.
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    Ma bell's got the ill communication

    Sorry i couldn't resist
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    I'm still in the process of running string and tin cans to all my neighbors. Those will work with or without power.

    Seriously, good thing to consider. We just went 5 days in Ohio without power. All phones dead but the big button one in kitchen. You just don't think of things like this. And yes, cell phones change things but even that was spotty. Without the "old phone" we could not have called the power company.
    It's not a problem til they make it one!

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    I know that even if you don't have a contract with a cell phone company, that if turn on a cell phone and you try to make a 911 call then it will go through. Does the same go for a land line? I don't pay for a land line so it would be nice to know if that would actually work in an emergency.
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    Distinguished Member Array mkh's Avatar
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    It's a good idea and why I have kept one around the house. I have enough battery backup to power my cordless phones but that only lasts so long. I also have solar backup chargers. Never hurts to have redundancy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by usmc0311 View Post
    I know that even if you don't have a contract with a cell phone company, that if turn on a cell phone and you try to make a 911 call then it will go through. Does the same go for a land line? I don't pay for a land line so it would be nice to know if that would actually work in an emergency.
    Nope, unless you have service to your house, the land line won't work.

    I have the alternative for it though. I have a telephone butt set, and can wrench. As long as I can find a pedestal, I can find a live line and make a call.
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    VIP Member Array mprp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by usmc0311 View Post
    I know that even if you don't have a contract with a cell phone company, that if turn on a cell phone and you try to make a 911 call then it will go through. Does the same go for a land line? I don't pay for a land line so it would be nice to know if that would actually work in an emergency.
    You may want to check at the phone jack or open the "box" on the side of the house and locate the test jack, plug in a phone and see if there's dial tone. Chances are that if there is dial tone there then you would be able to dial 911 and your address displayed to the dispatcher. It will vary from company to company and it could even be in the regs for your state's Public Utilities Commission to have E 911 in place. I don't think that our company has to anymore, but at my office, all of the lines that don't have a subscriber to them but used to, has dial tone and E 911 capability. I decided to keep it that way for now until I see a good reason to change it.

    As far as cell phones are concerned, yes they work well when they aren't clogged up and you are in an area that has good coverage. The one good thing about landline 911 calls is they know where the call is coming from. A cell phone could be calling from anywhere. There will be a lot of people that are capable of using other means for help but where my service area is located cell service is marginal at best. The reason for the post was just to give one more step one can take that may make it possible to reach out for help.
    Vietnam Vets, WELCOME HOME

    Crossman 760 BB/Pellet, Daisy Red Ryder, Crossman Wrist Rocket, 14 Steak Knives, 3 Fillet Knives, Rolling Pin-14", Various Hunting Knives, 2 Baseball Bats, 3 Big Dogs and a big American Flag flying in the yard. I have no firearms; Try the next house.

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    VIP Member Array mprp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by archer51 View Post
    Nope, unless you have service to your house, the land line won't work.

    I have the alternative for it though. I have a telephone butt set, and can wrench. As long as I can find a pedestal, I can find a live line and make a call.
    archer, I see you are a bit versed in the telecom world. You will just have to convince the 911 operator that you are NOT at the address that is being displayed to them. LOL
    Vietnam Vets, WELCOME HOME

    Crossman 760 BB/Pellet, Daisy Red Ryder, Crossman Wrist Rocket, 14 Steak Knives, 3 Fillet Knives, Rolling Pin-14", Various Hunting Knives, 2 Baseball Bats, 3 Big Dogs and a big American Flag flying in the yard. I have no firearms; Try the next house.

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    Member Array boatman's Avatar
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    agree with the op, i have both rotary and pushbutton from the 70/80s. However, realize that if you get your phone service from cable or fios, this probably won't work as you are not getting 'real' dialtone. If you have actual phone wires coming in, great to have. Otherwise, with cable/fios, you are getting phone service thru your cable modem. Most have a battery back up, but this is only good for a bit, and if the cable line is out so are you. I have seen the comcast truck powering their lines during storm outages to keep phone service going.

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    VIP Member Array nedrgr21's Avatar
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    During Katrina txt messages went thru when voice didin't.

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    Another thing is that the telephone line usually puts out 50-70 volts. If you prepare ahead of time you can build a simple circuit that will allow you to tap into this to run 12 volt appliances. Free light during a power outage is not a bad deal. Most everyone has a phone line in each room nowadays.

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