Munich American High School

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 Post subject: Ruf doch mal an?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2005 8:48 pm 
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Poobah
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Location: Boston-ish
I know a few of you will remember this...but who else used those 'toll free' German public phones that were all over town?

You needed a piece of tape, a good ear, and a fast finger. We'd take the phone off the hook, place the piece of tape on the hook thing and hang up with our finger. Let up slightly until you got a dial tone...which it would do for a split second before going dead, waiting for DM coins to complete the call. Once you found that sweet spot sound point, you'd tape the hook down to the main phone. Now you could tap the hook up and down, but never quite hanging up or getting to the point it wanted coins. To 'dial' was a matter of morse code. A one was a single tap, a two was two taps, etc.

It was a way for us to call the States and chat with old friends! But the paranoia was devestating. You always had to have one, and even better, two people watching your back. We'd always get stares from the locals when dialing 0 (ten taps) 0 (ten taps) 1 (1 tap) 2 (two taps) 1(one tap) 4(four taps)...and that was just the country and area code...still seven numbers to go...we were certain the Polizei were monitoring the phones, waiting to swoop down on us and haul us away for liberating a few calls from the Bundespost...

:P

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Tony Savageau
Class of '82


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2005 8:59 pm 
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Wind Up Merchant
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Joined: Mon Dec 13, 2004 10:50 am
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I remember walking for blocks and blocks looking for a telephone with:

1. no one around
and
2. that would do it...there were two types of pay phones at the time, one would do it and one wouldn't (i think those were silver on the phone face)

But I always kept three or four strips of tape taped under the phone book shelf at that phone booth at the S-bahn station....just in case....I wonder if they're still there...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 7:39 am 
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Wind Up Merchant
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you know, I was thinking about this a bit more

I used this a lot and often from the same few phone booths -- the one at the Fasangarten s-bahn, there was one at Ostbahnhof, and one about five blocks on the other side of the Fasangarten stop...I used others, but those were the main ones -- so it wouldn't have been too hard to catch me. Pretty much every Friday and/or Saturday night at around 10:30 i was catching a train at the station and, if I got there early, making a call. That went on for a year and a half at least. Seems like it would have been worth it...especially after I showed Tony how to do it.

AND, even if they couldn't post someone there to catch ME, they certainly had the numbers I was calling...my dad and a few stateside friends OVER AND OVER AND OVER. I remember a few times I didn't have the 20pf to make a LOCAL call and used it. How hard would it have been to contact the people I was calling? I mean, they had their phone numbers!

Oh well, for all I know there's no statute of limitations on this and they're still looking for me. If that's the case, I'd say I just gave them a heck of a clue.

and tony was right...dialing the states with 21 taps just being the country code, another 22 taps for my dad's area code and another 45 taps for my dad's number...what a pretty harrowing experience when there were folks around...I remember several times just ripping the tape off and heading off at a trot....


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 Post subject: heh
PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 9:14 am 
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F-Winger

Joined: Wed Dec 29, 2004 3:07 pm
Posts: 15
did that all the time..though best i remember the call would only last
about 5 minutes.
Bert


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 10:24 am 
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Wind Up Merchant
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Really?

I have no recollection of a time limit, but that could have been the fear.

What I'd like to know is WHO IN THE WORLD thought of it first? I can't for the life of me envision a situation that would place me in a phone booth with a roll of tape that would lead to me trying to place an international call with no money.

It's amazing.


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 Post subject: guilty
PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 8:37 pm 
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F-Winger

Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2005 1:06 pm
Posts: 21
I'm guilty too. I "tapped" the phones on quite a few occasions. How else could you call your friends stateside when your parents wouldn't let you run up a phone bill? I agree, it's one of those "who thought of this first" type of deals. All I know is I'm thankful for the friends who passed the knowledge. For those of us who were quite homesick when first arriving in Munich, this was a real important coping mechanism. See it wasn't anything illegal, it was therapy!


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 Post subject: tapping phones
PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 10:38 pm 
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WienerWalder

Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2005 12:43 pm
Posts: 89
Location: Waldorf MD
Why did I think I was the only one who knew how to do that? So I wonder who first figured it out. Sherri, did you teach me how to do that? You had to be really patient with the tapping because of all the numbers to get a stateside phone number. I used the one near the BX a lot. I remember the SPs coming by but me and my friends would just cover the phone where the tape was. I'm pretty sure there wasn't a time limit. I know I talked for a LONG time.

Mary (Gatt) '84

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Mary Gatt Davis '84


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 Post subject: who thought of it?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 6:21 pm 
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F-Winger

Joined: Wed Dec 29, 2004 3:07 pm
Posts: 15
don't know but we were doing it in 78 in Bad Tolz
Bert


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 Post subject: phones
PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 7:54 pm 
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F-Winger

Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2005 1:06 pm
Posts: 21
Good to hear from you Mary. Dianna Dickerson was the one who taught me. Chances are she taught you too. Do you have any ideal on where she might be? Last I heard from her she was married (last name Brenner), had a son, and lived in PA. And that was a long time ago. Keep posting Mary, I like reading your stuff!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2005 4:29 pm 
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Mustang!

Joined: Sat Aug 20, 2005 11:50 am
Posts: 27
Location: Mansfield, TX
Yeah, I was on an hour-plus call to Guy one time in '81 I think, from the phone in front of the PX, and the MPs drove by three times without stopping me. I think they knew exactly what I was doing. It was dark and there was NOBODY else around at all.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2005 1:40 pm 
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Mustang!
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Location: Dayton, OH
Tom81 wrote:
Yeah, I was on an hour-plus call to Guy one time in '81 I think, from the phone in front of the PX, and the MPs drove by three times without stopping me. I think they knew exactly what I was doing. It was dark and there was NOBODY else around at all.


So this is the closest I came to benefiting from this "secret". I never knew ("I don't understand!"). At least, after all these years, I can experience it vicariously.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2006 8:46 am 
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Perlurker

Joined: Tue Oct 24, 2006 2:01 pm
Posts: 6
Location: Nashville TN
I'm just back on this site after a year or so without a computer. I remember the 'sweet spot' phones and used them myself. One of the most used was at the S-Bahn station at Fasangarten behind the duplexes.

Robert


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 Post subject: Those old click phones
PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2006 10:42 pm 
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WienerWalder

Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2005 9:43 am
Posts: 54
Location: Morehead City, NC
I used to do this all the time from about every phone around the neighborhood (especially by the PX). I knew one or two that worked very well and noticed that the phone company had figured out how to eliminate the gap in dial tone so you couldn't get the tone on the newer phones.

Never really got close to getting caught, but I do remember teaching a few others.

It was one of those things that you just had to pass down as new folks moved into the neighborhood.

Sort of like noting when families within the neighborhood took vacation so you could get their beer delivery while they were away.

John


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2006 12:53 pm 
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F-Winger

Joined: Mon Oct 16, 2006 10:39 am
Posts: 18
Location: Texas
I used to do this to at the phone booth by the movie theater, I forgot who taugh me it was either Slyvia M, or either Sherri, Dianna etc.

erika

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 06, 2006 7:15 am 
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Wind Up Merchant
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Posts: 1641
roliver wrote:
I'm just back on this site after a year or so without a computer. I remember the 'sweet spot' phones and used them myself. One of the most used was at the S-Bahn station at Fasangarten behind the duplexes.

Robert


Actually Robert, unless I'm very much mistaken, YOU taught me how to do this little bit of larceny on that very phone.


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