USING A CALLING CARD WITH MS WINDOWS

The procedure is pretty simple, but it is a little difficult to explain, but here goes.

From My Computer, open up Control Panel and click on Phone and Modem Options.

You will get a pop-up box with three tabs - Dialing Rules, Modems and Advanced.  Make sure that the Dialing Rules tab is clicked (this is the default tab and should already be open).  You will notice a box that has two fields - Location and Area Code.  You may or may not have anything listed.  For clarity, lets assume that you do not have anything listed.  I will limit my discussion to setting up a Calling Card.

Before we actually start defining a Location, lets talk about what how we will dial the toll-free number for our calling card.  We normally do not have to dial a special number (usually "9") to access an outside line.  However, if we are at a business or hotel, often you are required to dial a special number to access an outside line so that you can dial your calling card toll-free number.  I find it handy to create two "Locations" - one for when I can dial directly and one for when I have to dial a "9" to access an outside line.

To create a new "Location", click on the "New" tab.

A pop-up box named "NEW LOCATION" will appear.  At the top of the box, you can type in a name.  I use "Dial Direct" and "Dial 9+" for my two locations.  Let's assume you want to set up for dialing directly, so type in "Dial Direct" in the "location name" field.   Assuming you will be calling from the US, keep the default Country/region as "United States".  You will also need to type in an area code.  If you have a homebase, you will probably want to use that area code, but any area code will do.  Also note that this is where you identify any special numbers to be dialed for an outside line, and you would input these if you are creating a "Dial 9+" location.  Leave the carrier code for long distance and international calls blank.  Also, the checkbox for "Disable call waiting" is normally left blank unless you are calling from a phone that has call waiting.  If you have this box checked, you will have to type in the code to disable call waiting.  After you are done, click the "APPLY" button and then the "OK" button.

You are now back at the "Phone and Modem Options" listbox, and the last "Location" that you just created should be highlighted.  (If it isn't highlighted, click on it).  Next, click the "Edit" button.  You will see the "Edit Location" listbox, which is basically where you were just at when you created this Location.  This time, click the "Calling Card" tab.  

Your computer may have come pre-configured with a bunch of Calling Cards in the "Calling Card Type" field.  Delete every one of them by highlighted each of them and then click on the "Delete" button.  Also note that there is a "None" calling card option that you will not be able to select - if you select this, then your call will be dialed without using a calling card.  However, we want to define how we want Windows to use our calling card, so click the "New" button.

A pop-up window entitled "New Calling Card" will appear.  At the top, type in the name of your calling card.  Also, type in your account number and your PIN number in the appropriate fields.  Note that there is a small box that says "Calling Card Details....This calling card will be used when: There are no rules defined for how this calling card will be used".   When you are done, click the "Long Distance" tab at the top.

Now, here is where it gets just a little difficult to explain.  Take a minute and think about the steps you go through to use your calling card.  Usually, you dial the calling card toll-free number, you wait for it to answer, you get a voice prompt to enter your account number and PIN, and then they tell you to dial the destination number.  What you will be doing in this section is "programming" this information into the computer for using this calling card.

The following are the steps that you would use if you are using the ATT calling card, since this is one of the cheapest and most popular prepaid calling cards:

In the "Access number for long distance calls" box, type in the number (do not use any dashes, numbers only!).  You will notice a big white box that says "Calling card dialing steps" but has nothing in it.  Press Access Number.  This tells the computer to dial the access number than you input.  The next thing that happens is that you have to WAIT for ATT to answer the call, and then ATT says "For instructions in English, press 1, for instructions in Spanish press 2".  The key term in the last sentence is WAIT.  The computer will need to WAIT before it sends the number "1" (for English).  We will tell it how to do this by pressing the "Wait for Prompt" button.  After you press this button, you will get another box that says "Wait for" at the top.  You have several options to tell you computer to wait - wait for a specified time frame, or wait until the completion of a voice message.  I have not had good luck with the "wait until completion of the voice message" option, so I always input a specified time frame.  Right now, we are awaiting ATT to answer the call and also for the "For instruction in English.." message to play.  I usually input 6 seconds, but - for technical reasons I will not explain here - some systems take considerably longer.  If this is the case, you will need to input a longer timeframe, perhaps 12 seconds.  After you input the timeframe you want (lets assume you input 6 seconds), note that this step was added in the "Calling Card Step" box.  Now, we have assumed that ATT has answered, played their first message and we need to dial "1" for English.  Press the "Specify Digits" button and type "1" in the "Digits" box and press "OK".  Again, notice that this step was added in the "Calling Card Steps" box.  The next message from ATT tells me to input my calling card account number.  (Note that there is no PIN number with ATT).  But first, I need to tell the computer to wait two seconds, so I will push the "Wait for Prompt" button, click "Wait for Specific Time" and select 2 seconds and click OK.  Again, note that this line was added to the "Calling Card steps" box.  Now, press the Account button - again note that this step is added in the box.  ATT now plays a commercial message followed by an instruction to enter "1" for calling within the US or Canada.  This takes about 8 seconds, so push the "Wait for prompt" button, click "Wait for Specific Time" and select 8 seconds and click OK.  Then, click the "Specify Digits" button, enter "1" in the digits field and press OK.  ATT then asks me to input the called number, and this takes about two seconds, so press the "Wait for Prompt" button, click "Wait for Specific Time" and select two seconds and click OK.  Then, press the "Destination Number" button.  Last, you will hear a message from ATT telling you how much time you have left in your account for this call, and your ISP will answer.  Since this takes a long time to finally connect, I place one more "wait" instruction at the end.  To add this final instruction, click "Wait for Specific Time", click the "Specify Digits" button, and select 4 seconds.  Now, click the "Apply" button and then the "OK" button.

You are now taken back to the "Edit Location" box where you can add other calling cards.  When you are done, be sure to select the calling card you want to use (if you input more than one) and click the "APPLY" and "OK" tab - note that you must click Apply and OK even if you only input one calling card.

You can set up the Calling Card step box to work with virtually any calling card.  Just modify the procedure to meet your calling card's requirements.  After the toll-free access number is dialed, some of them require the account number be sent, then the PIN and finally the destination (called) number, with appropriate wait times in between.

Also, there are numerous ways to connect to differing ISP's.  I use Juno.  When I use Juno, I can select which calling card I want to use and whether I dial 1+ or 9+ for an outside line.  Some programs may require that these parameters be set prior to starting the dialing program.

Submitted by Bob Cook