VOICE Home Page: http://www.os2voice.org
[Newsletter Index]
[Previous Page] [Next Page]
[Features Index]

October 2000

VOICE LINE (how to share it)

By Brian Crook ©October 2000

PMFax: http://www.kellergroup.com
VDIAL: http://hobbes.nmsu.edu/pub/os2/apps/comm/vdial323.zip
CRONRGF4: http://hobbes.nmsu.edu/pub/os2/util/schedule/cronrgf4.zip
Modem Hardware: http:www.netcomm.com.au
Brian Crook's own website: http://www.webone.com.au/~bnc

A users experience

After getting a 56K modem and an ISP that let me stay online I discovered I had two problems.

After being online for a few hours, "She who must be obeyed" said she wanted to make a phone call. Well, I can tell you it is a toss up who can stay online the longest! In addition my friends kept complaining that they could never get through.

The other problem was that I had an answering machine on and if I left my Fax software running I could only organize one of them to be picked up.

The solution to the above was to get two lines. The Net is on one and ALL my voice stuff is on the other. The trick to getting all of the voice stuff to cooperate was getting PMFAX; more on that later.


In order to get going you need to get the right hardware, a V90 Voice Fax modem.

Note: there may be other hardware that will do the job but I have not tried them.

I have tested two, a Banksia WAVEand a Netcomm Roadster II 56 Ultra.

Both of these have Rockwell chips and TWO voice codecs. Once I was fooled by one modem that said it had voice but it could do voice IN only. The Banksia has the added advantage of a speaker volume control.

Both of the above are available from http://www.netcomm.com.au The site is worth a visit as it has great documentation, and you can use its documentation for most modems.

I used to use the Netcomm for voice but I now use the Banksia because of the volume control.

The only other piece of hardware you need is a decent headset. Well you do not have to have one because the modem has a built in microphone and speaker, but I think the clarity is better if you separate the two. Currently I am using the modem microphone and the headset speaker. This is definitely a case of putting it all together and then adjusting the volumes/inputs to see what works best.

An optional piece of hardware is an additional Comms port card. You do not need this if you run a PS2 mouse and both of your Comms ports are free. However, I bought the additional card to give me 4 ports.


There are two software packages you need: PMFAX from Kellergroup and VDIAL by Rossen Assenov (http://www.kellergroup.com and http://hobbes.nmsu.edu/pub/os2/apps/comm/vdial323.zip respectively).

I will tackle PMFAX first; but note I will only talk about the Voice parameters. The Fax side is very powerful, too, but that is another story.

The installation of PMFax is quite simple, but the printer can be a little tricky. I will assume that you have PMFax installed, and just want to look at the voice stuff.

An important note here. The Faxworks lite supplied with the original bonus pack will work at a basic level but is not good for voice because it does not have the driver that shares the comms port.

PMFax setup

When you first fire up PMfax it comes up with the Main window and an optional Status window.

The main window gives you the tool to record and play your voice messages. The Status window shows messages since PMFax was started and the current FAX status. Two points here, if the fax status is receive then you cannot use the modem to make calls( more on this later), you can turn this status on an off using REXX. In fact you can do an awful lot with REXX.

The HELP in PMFax is pretty good, it will get you out of most situations.


Under Utilities there is a SETTING option. Some are for the fax side, I will just do the Voice stuff.

You need two comm ports to make this work. I use ports 2 and 4. If you do not put the supplied FMD.SYS in your config.sys, this page asks you to select a COMx port.

This is my config.sys statements which tells the system what ports are available.

DEVICE=C:\OS2\BOOT\COM.SYS (1,3F8,4) (2,2F8,3) (3,3E8,13) (4,2E8,11)


From the image you can see that PMFax has found all the comm ports and the two FMD ports with modems.

I have my fax set up on port 2 to send and receive, remember this is just the initial settings they can be changed by Rexx at any time.

In the PMFax properties is a Voice tab. This is where you set up your Voice stuff. The Enable box must be ticked if you want voice. Other wise it will just act like a fax machine. The parameters in the white box are used as variables by your voice scripts. The OGM or Outgoing Message is how PMFax knows which Greeting message to play.

Dial Script:

You could have a Rexx script to do things on Dial. I have not had a requirement for this yet.

Answer Script:

This is the bit that is not available in Faxworks, It defaults to an * which will just play the OGM if PMFax picks up a voice message. One of the things you can download from Kellergroup is a zip file that contains a whole lot of voice scripts. These scripts vary from a simple answering machine to a very complex multiple LAN/MAILBOX environment.

The script I use above enables me to dial in to home and retrieve voice messages, have faxes redirected to another fax machine, as well as just a plain answering machine.

All the scripts are in Rexx so they are easy to change. By default they play some supplied WAV files. You could have a bit of fun re-recording these. A word of caution here. Remember we are talking about voice down a telephone line here, not HI-FI.

The voice files must be recorded in the same format as the ones in the scripts and fax log. This is because the log will store one or the other not both. I have stuck to the 8bit pcm mode at 44Khz.

Not much applies to voice here except that the 'private' option must not be ticked. This is because it grabs the line so that it cannot be shared. You also need to set up the number of rings. I tried setting this to 9, but the fax machine I used to send with timed out before my modem picked up. It works fine with 5.

Not much to say here except that you need to know what class of fax your modem supports and provide the correct special command. This should not effect the voice setup.

This is where you get to specify your modem, as I said I have only tested the Rockwell ones.

You can also specify where to get the sound from. I originally had it going through my sound card.

The sound card did not perform too well and I had to have a microphone and extra cables. Putting the headset directly into the modem was a lot easier. This is the one area where you may need to experiment a bit.

At this point you should be set up such that when the phone rings, if you do not pick it up within 5, PMFax will get the modem to pick up the line, decide if it is voice or fax, and store the message in the appropriate format. So when you RMB and open the log you get;

Which shows the type of message received together with time, duration etc. Note PMFax will also let you edit a fax to resend or save to OCR.


Voice scripts use Rexx, so do the commands.

When I leave for work I sometimes forgot to put the fax into receive. Then when I came home sometimes the machine would answer because I forgot to take the 'receive all calls' off. I got around this by using CRON to schedule these two commands. I need the path statements because I do NOT install PMFax I just run it out of its own directory.


PATH f:\pmfax;%PATH%

dpath f:\pmfax;%DPATH%


FxRcv.exe -off


PATH f:\pmfax;%PATH%

dpath f:\pmfax;%DPATH%


FxRcv.exe -on

Complicated isn't it.


Vdial is a nice little program that does it's job pretty well, it is written by Rossen Assenov.

The image is fairly self explanatory with most buttons working as expected. I have even used it to ring up and respond to prompts with the tones from the numbers. The tones have always been correct.

The 'ring on incoming call' works but if it is set it grabs the line so that you cannot make or receive calls.

The 'Auto Answer' is nice if you are going to be near the phone for some time. When someone rings you just have to put on the headset and start talking.

The phone book works but is a bit clumsy and not recommended if you have a very large list.

All of the buttons also work from the keyboard, so if you get a call, pressing T will pick it up.

All calls are logged, which makes it great for checking phone bills. I have been looking at writing a Rexx program to process the logs in my spare time. What spare time! it is now 01.00 and I still have not finished this.

RMB to get the settings.

Select your COM port and modem.


PMFax is nice because it does the basics very simply but it has the capability to be as complicated as you like.

Vdial does its job and saves you the cost of a telephone.

Together marital harmony is restored.

[Previous Page ] [ Index] [Next Page
VOICE Home Page: http://www.os2voice.org