[AMRadio] Landline vs cell

Donald Chester k4kyv at charter.net
Wed Jul 27 14:12:29 EDT 2016

> > **** With above ground telephone lines, which are subjected to more
> > weathering, cross talk is not uncommon. Cross-talk during the winter
> > months, with snow clinging to wires up on the poles and water/snow
> > leakage into the cross-connect boxes, was always a problem. I could
> > have multiple conversations without having to dial any numbers by just
> > lifting the handset.
> I have never in my life come anywhere close to that except for a few years
> the early 1970s when my parents were on an 8 party line.  our ring was two
> shorts and a long.  you had to get used to people listening in.  Now
> have their phone conversations anywhere standing right next to you at the
> store and out in the open, so today a party line would probably be fine
> most.

I can remember years ago, sometimes faint conversations could be heard in
the background, especially during long-distance calls. It seemed to be more
noticeable at times, perhaps after a heavy rainstorm somewhere in the
country.  I vaguely remember hearing about a fad amongst adolescents, to
dial  some service number that was supposed to be known only to telephone
repair personnel but somehow got  leaked to the public. You could dial that
number and after the dial tone went away,  hear faint cross-talk from phone
conversations in other parts of the country. Kids would shout their phone
number into the mouthpiece, and occasionally someone somewhere else would
copy it and dial back, and conversations would ensue between total
strangers, kind of like ham radio or on-line chat where you never knew whom
you might be hooking up with. 

I remember party lines too. At one time we were on an 8-party line; the
thing was practically useless because there would always be someone using
it, usually bored housewives having two-hour conversations with other bored
housewives.  If you really  needed to use the phone you could politely ask
for the line.  Sometimes the other parties would cooperate, and sometimes
not.  A "private line" was several times more expensive than a party line,
and one was not always available.

A trick used back before my time to clear a party line, in the days of
candle-stick phones and the wooden wall ones with the crank, when phones had
a separate earpiece (receiver) and mouthpiece (microphone), would be to hold
the receiver directly over the mouthpiece to cause a feedback howl, QRMing
the conversation hoping to make the other parties go away, something that
occasionally ended in violence.

Don k4kyv

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