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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My Mom switched her phone service from AT&T (analog) to Surewest (digital, comes in on coax to modem then splits out to analog phone, TV and internet). She has a 1980's Western Electric Design Line phone in the basement that no longer dials out. The phone is a reproduction of an antique wood box phone with rotary dial. The phone has dial tone and can receive calls, but will not break dial tone to dial out! Checked polarity at the jack, it was reversed so I corrected that. Still can't break dial tone. I suspect that rotary dial is not compatible with digital service. I called Surewest to confirm my suspicion and was told that I needed a special cord from the phone to the wall jack in order for the rotary phone to work:no:!

Anybody out there with digital service experience? What do you think?
 

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I can't imagine them still supporting rotary. Someone would have to make a box that would convert the rotary pulses to tones.

On an unrelated note...I got a notice from AT&T telling me that I need to turn my cell phone in and get another one because they are doing something to their cell network next month which will cause my phone not to work any more. :blink:
 

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Donuts > Fried Eggs
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Up until a few years ago I know pulse dialing was still supported, because I have an old Bell rotary butt-set that I could still use in a pinch.

Does the "special jack" convert it from pulses to DTMF or is it something else altogether?
 

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animal lover /rat bastard
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you can easily check your service to see if it still supports rotary dialing by tapping out the number (doesn't take much practice, we use to do it to bypass "phone locks" back in the day)
 
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Their modem would have to make the conversion from pulse to tone. There is no other way to make pulse work with this system unless someone made a conversion box like I mentioned. Definitely no special wiring like they told you.

ETA: Their "special cord" may have a tiny pulse/tone converter built into it.
 

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my dad has telephony over cable, I gave him a 1940's western electric phone that I removed (was still wired to the wall) out of a customers house years ago. It works fine, you can dial out and everything. The ring is a bit quiet though...
 

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Sideways Sparky
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If memory serves me there are three conductors in the rotary and if you jump yellow to green or red it may work.
Some services no longer support it though and you have to buy a pulse to tone converter.
 

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When dialing with a rotary you are basically picking up and hanging up on the line at a certain timing rate. That is why the rotary dial has a spinning governor inside to keep the timing constant and if you try to force it faster or slower it won't dial properly. If your timing is really really good you could dial a complete number with the on/off hook button.

Going through a digital cable which has different RF frequencies and many subscribers presents a problem for rotary dialing because you have lost the direct wire and voltage connection to a standard phone line.

On the other end of the cable, which could be many miles away, there has to be equipment that emulates a phone hooked up to a phone line. The phone company exchange could very well be able support rotary dialing, but the equipment hooked to the line must also support it.

The modem in your house has to either convert the rotary pulses to touch tones with a digital code for each different number. Or staying with rotary, digital codes for each rotary number, depending on the modem and what the equipment on the other end can support including the telephone company exchange itself. So basically the equipment on the other end has to send either touch tones or rotary pulses into the phone line.

This is small portion of my trade except it's over fiber optics instead of cable but the equipment and theory is similar.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
If memory serves me there are three conductors in the rotary and if you jump yellow to green or red it may work.
Some services no longer support it though and you have to buy a pulse to tone converter.
Jumping the yellow wire to the red or green, sounds like a ground start circuit such as a pay phone.

My high dollar butt set has a tone/pulse toggle but that does not work either!
 

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To educate the younger crowd
On the flip side, mom took us to the worlds fair in NYC and I remember an exhibit with a rotary and touch tone phone. First time I had ever seen a touch tone phone. Anyway, there was a timer and you dialed the same number on each phone to see which one was faster. :laughing:
 

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Is it possible the modem is resetting dialtone due to the lenght it take to input digits... most cable cos have gone through multiple versions ofthe modem. May try a different model of modem.
 
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