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Author Topic: Were The PO Engineering Staff "On The Fiddle"?  (Read 2151 times)

burakkucat

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Were The PO Engineering Staff "On The Fiddle"?
« on: March 28, 2012, 07:45:57 PM »

I thought it best to start a new thread, otherwise it would seem like B*Sheep, 4C, HP and b*cat have comprehensively hijacked vhooker's topic, Running two BT phone lines over a single extension cable.

We seemed to have happily meandered onto the topic of 1960s/early 1970s Phone Phreaking. In the early hours of this morning I was routing through my "what not" when I came across a file with some notes, photocopies and pages from a certain magazine (New Scientist) & a journal (The Post Office Electrical Engineers' Journal).

On glancing at some of the pages from NS, I saw the phrase "Toll A Dropback" and that promptly brought back memories.  ;)

I have attached an image of the article from page 23 of the April 5th, 1973, issue of New Scientist in which an assertion was made that the PO Engineering staff "fiddles" were more prevalent than Phone Phreaking in the UK, around that time.  :o
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Black Sheep

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Re: Were The PO Engineering Staff "On The Fiddle"?
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2012, 08:55:40 PM »

I prefer to call it a 'perk of the job'.  ;) ;D

There was one guy I heard about who got the tin-tack years ago. He was the Exchange Maintenance TO (Technical Officer), and back then there were regular 'Late call-outs' to free up Strowger gear that had locked up, got stuck, popped a fuse etc etc .....

If something did go wrong on a rack/suite, it would send a 'Prompt' alarm to the monitoring centre, they would ring the TO, he would visit, job done.

What this individual had apparently done (I wasn't there, but believe the guy who told me), was to set up a uni-selector so that he could ring it up from home, and be able to make the selector 'arm' traverse around until it finally became the 'make' in a 'Make or break' circuit. Thus initialising a false alarm condition. He would then get the phone call, and about an hour later he would ring the circuit back up and proceed to 'break' the circuit, thus cancelling the alarm condition.

We get paid a minimum 3 hours pay for a call out, whether you're in attendance for 10 mins or an hour, so he could clock up a lot of cash without leaving the warmth of his bed. As with all greedy people, they push it to far and end up ringing alarm bells in other places.  ;D ;D
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HPsauce

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Re: Were The PO Engineering Staff "On The Fiddle"?
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2012, 09:17:42 PM »

..... it would seem like B*Sheep, 4C, HP and b*cat have comprehensively hijacked vhooker's topic
I don't think so really as it had totally run its course on the original topic and was then just "meandering out across the flood plain"  8)

But this is a good topic with a clear and relevant subject.  :graduate:
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4candles

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Re: Were The PO Engineering Staff "On The Fiddle"?
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2012, 06:34:57 PM »

I prefer to call it a 'perk of the job'.  ;) ;D

Quite so.   ;D

Of course in those days there was no 'internal market', service lines weren't metered, and it was just accepted as part of the job. During my time in a repeater station, we jumpered a 2-wire amp into one of our lines for international calls, cranked up to just short of self-oscillation.  :D

Some people got greedy, I suppose, hence the Bristol '173' fiddle (thanks for posting, b*cat  :)). There was a similar scheme in my local GSC - IIRC it was taken out when word spread about prosecutions and dismissals.

Re BS's story of the call-out fiddle - I can confirm that kind of thing happened. I was never tempted, as I had quite enough genuine call-outs. Still, the money was good, especially at double time on Sundays and triple (or double plus time in lieu) on bank holidays.
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