Wawina, MN Telephone Sounds

Sounds & Recordings from Wawina, MN

Wawina Township, MN is home to the Northern Telephone Company of Minnesota. What makes this place unique is that it is the smallest telephone company in the United States, serving less than 40 total customers. It is owned by Bob Riddell.

What also made this place unique is that it was also the last place in the continental United States to use a trunking system (inter-office circuits) that was called “N2 Carrier”, an analog system that utilized Multi-Frequency (MF) tones and the infamous 2600 Hz control tone for answer supervision and idle trunk condition.

On June 15, 2006, the analog N2 carrier was replaced with digital T1 carrier, and with it the use of MF signalling.

The following page are examples of sounds & recordings collected in 1999, 2002 & 2006.

Funny Centralized Intercept – 1999 & 2002

The following are examples of funny centralized intercept recordings from September 1999 & February 2002. These were homemade recordings by Bob Rindell or Shane Young.

1999 #1

Please ask your mother to help you. (Shane Young)

1999 #2

Check the address and write them a letter. (Bob Rindell)

1999 #3

Ask the operator to help you, but she’ll tell you the same thing. (Shane Young)

2002 #1

An update to #1 above, with SIT tones. (Shane Young)

2002 #2

Assembled from a “borrowed” recording. (Shane Young)

2002 #3

Assembled from a “borrowed” recording. Note it sounds like an old Bell System automated intercept recording from the 1980s. (Shane Young)

2006 Automated Intercept Recordings

Sometime around 2006, an automated intercept recording system was installed. Here are some examples.

2006 #1

Original automated intercept from March 2006 (218-488-0000). Notice the 2600 Hz answer supervision chirp at the end of the recording.

2006 #2

Updated automated intercept from April 2006. This one adds “Ask your mother to help you,” similar to that of the 1999 centralized intercept above. This recording did not supervise.

2006 #3

Same as #2 above, but with lots of background noise (N2 carrier combined with T1 carrier on same cable pair). (June 2006)

2006 #4

This one just gives out the phone number (in this case, 218-488-1300) and a 2600 Hz supervision chirp. (May 2006)

2006 #5

This one gives out an Internet IP address. (June 2006)

Time of Day Recordings


Time of Day recording (488-TIME). Notice the use of a “bong” tone, similar to that of AT&T. This does NOT give answer supervision. (February 2002)


Time of Day recording. The “bong” tone has been removed. This version does give answer supervision and a 2600 Hz chirp when it disconnects. (May 2006)

Other Interesting Recordings

Analog Hiss #1

Analog hiss from the N2 carrier system. You need to turn up your volume VERY loud to hear it. (May 2006)

Analog Hiss #2

Analog hiss from the N2 carrier system combined with the T1 digital carrier noise. (June 2006)

Wake Up Call

A system for initiating a wake-up call. (June 2006)

Mental Health Hotline

A funny joke that has been used for answering machines for a while. This one does supervise and gives a 2600 Hz chirp when it completes. (June 2006)

Supervision Test

A supervision test for the Redcom MDX-384 switch that is in use in Wawina. Notice the 2600 Hz chirps and high tone.

Loop/Miliwatt Tone

(218) 488-9108 and 9109 are the two sides of a conversation loop. When the loop is idle, you receive a very loud miliwatt tone. When the loop is complete (meaning there is a called party on both ends), you can have a conversation. This is an example of how the loop worked with a “conversation with myself.”

“Blue Boxing” Recordings

The N2 carrier system that the Northern Telephone Company of Minnesota used (supplied by Qwest from the Duluth, MN tandem) was 2600 Hz controlled and used Multi-Frequency (MF) tones. Normally, you would need to use “KP” (Key Pulse) before the digits and “ST” (Start) to terminate the MF string. But in this case, they were optional, as you can tell from these recordings. These were made on MCI, because AT&T mutes forward voice path until the called party answers. However, there is a 2 minute time limit on unsupervised calls, and that’s when you hear the reorder that ends these recordings. The “Blue Box” tones were provided by an old DOS program “Blue.exe” on my laptop, while my desktop recorded the call.

Blue Box #1
An example of Blue Boxing. Dialing various numbers with the 488 prefix. Notice it takes 7 digits and you can’t dial out of the system, only numbers within the switch.

Blue Box #2
Another example of Blue Boxing. Dialing various numbers with the 488 prefix. Notice it takes only 7 digits (no KP, no ST) and you can’t dial out of the system, only numbers within the switch.

Goodbye to N2 Carrier Voicemail

Supposedly this was the last N2 carrier system in the continental United States. Shane Young very graciously set up a voice mail system where people could leave their last respects to the N2 carrier system. Notice the 2600 Hz chirps at the end of each call. Notable people who left messages included old “phreaks” such as Captain Crunch (John Draper), Mark & Al Bernay, Joybubbles (born Joe Engressia) and many many other people.

By the cutover to T1 carrier on June 15, 2006, over 2 hours were recorded on the voice mail system. In order to share these with you, I have divided the recordings into 8 parts at 15 minutes each (part 8 is 17 minutes). All of these were retrieved off the voice mail system on June 16, 2006.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8