Private Lines
About Private Line

Private Line covers what has occurred, is occurring, and will ocurr in telecommunications. Since communication technology constantly changes, you can expect new content posted regularly.

Consider this site an authoritative resource. Its moderators have successful careers in the telecommunications industry. Utilize the content and send comments. As a site about communicating, conversation is encouraged.


Thomas Farely

Tom has produced since 1995. He is now a freelance technology writer who contributes regularly to the site.

His knowledge of telecommunications has served, most notably, the American Heritage Invention and Technology Magazine and The History Channel.
His interview on Alexander Graham Bell will air on the History Channel the end of 2006.

Ken Schmidt

Ken is a licensed attorney who has worked in the tower industry for seven years. He has managed the development of broadcast towers nationwide and developed and built cell towers.

He has been quoted in newspapers and magazines on issues regarding cell towers and has spoke at industry and non-industry conferences on cell tower related issues.

He is recognized as an expert on cell tower leases and due diligence processes for tower acquisitions.

January 04, 2006

Extended discussion regarding that mobile telephone photograph

Mobile telephone expert Geoff Fors (external link) comments on the mobile telephone photograph on this page, and the other two images on my Seattle Telephone Museum Page:

"With apologies to the hard working people at the Telephone Museum, the photograph does not depict an old mobile phone, even though it might look like it does."

"The drawer unit (electronics package) is a GE Progress Line BE-33 or WE-33; they look the same, I think this one is a BE. Six volt versions were BA-33 or WA-33. The "B" means Bell System and the "W" means Western Electric. This unit appears to be a BE-33 which is actually a "dispatch" radio made for the Bell System maintenance trucks, and those usually did not have a VS-1 supervisory signalling set (the little stepper decoder). You can see the mostly empty panel inside where the VS-1 normally sits. I have such a radio in the basement. The WE-33 looks the same but came with a Western Electric series 47A head and a VS-1 rotary stepper decoder."

"Sometimes BE-33's were later made into mobile phones by using a Scantlin transistorized decoder which mounted under the car dashboard. The GE Progress Line unit in the photo dates from 1955-58. Bell System radios were for telco maintenance trucks and not true mobile phones. They are usually identified by the white "Bell System" lettering on the case. Only the WE-33 was a true mobile phone. I am not sure if WE-33 Western Electric contract phones said Bell System on the case as well. You would think they would have, but there were some strange protocols at the time."

"The control head above it goes with a Motorola Twin-V conventional two way radio of 1955-57 vintage and has nothing to do with the GE. They are not compatible and were never used together. The mike has nothing to do with any of the other pieces either."

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